Comparison Test: 2013 Ford F-150 vs 2014 Ram 1500
Comparison Test: 2013 Ford F-150 vs 2014 Ram 1500. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Tom Sedens

Here we have an apples-to-oranges showdown. I had the opportunity to spend a week with two trucks and compare them back-to-back. They’re both fierce competitors – Ford’s F-150 has been and continues to sell in droves (they moved over 100,000 F-series trucks in Canada last year) and the Ram is relentlessly picking up sales steam as of late. Unfortunately, they weren’t direct competitors here because of the drivetrains, but it was a great chance to see where the companies are coming from these days.

If you’re shopping for half-ton trucks these days, the choices in trim levels alone are dizzying. There are 11 different Ram 1500 models and 10 different Ford F-150 models. To save you the boredom, and the half-hour likely required to cover all the options, I had a Ram 1500 Outdoorsman, which is about middle of the line in terms of trim, but uses the entry-level Pentastar engine. The F-150 I had was the Lariat EcoBoost, which is also middle of the line for trim but has an optional upgraded engine.

2014 Ram 1500
2013 Ford F-150
Comparison Test: 2013 Ford F-150 vs 2014 Ram 1500. Click image to enlarge

Though it’s the underdog in this contest, the Ram’s 3.6L Pentastar V6 is nothing to sneeze at. It puts out a decent 305 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque at 4,175 rpm. It’s paired to the new eight-speed automatic which allows the truck to realize relatively decent fuel economy (relatively, I said!). Ram makes a big deal about it on TV and on the billboards everywhere. The rated fuel economy is 13 L/100 km in the city and 8.5 L/100 km on the highway. I thought it would be laughable to try to achieve that, but I was shocked to see myself average 14.1 L/100 km over the course of the week. Shocked because that’s really good.

Ford’s EcoBoost, an exercise more successful in marketing than in practice, gives you a 3.5L twin-turbo V6. On paper, the difference is immediate. The force-fed engine churns out 365 horsepower at 5,000 RPM, and more importantly, a massive 420 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 RPM. Ford’s automatic, being a six-speed, is a couple of gears short of the competition. The EcoBoost’s fuel economy is rated at 14.1 L/100 km in the city and 9.6 L/100 km on the highway. My average was 14.6 L/100 km over the course of a week.

The Ram’s fuel tank holds 98 L. The F-150’s doesn’t mess around – it has a 136 L tank.

Both trucks were subjected to a significant amount of city driving as well as a highway towing test. The one difference is that the Ford also covered an additional 330 kilometres on the highway, which gave it an opportunity to bring its average down.

Ram advertises the 1500 as all-new, but I’d say the changes are incremental. The look has evolved but realistically, you can easily trace it back to the “little big rig” design that debuted 20 years ago. It’s not a bad looking truck, but in my opinion, the design is starting to get tired.

The distinguishing characteristics are the lower front fenders that give a nod to big rigs and the backwards slanted grille. I have always liked the wheels on Rams, and the 20-inch rims on this one are no exception. They’re shod with fat 275/60-sized rubber.

2014 Ram 15002014 Ram 15002013 Ford F-1502013 Ford F-150
2014 Ram 1500 & 2013 Ford F-150. Click image to enlarge

Though the F-150 isn’t a real head-turner either, I prefer the less aggressive and classier look. The lines are cleaner than the Rams, and are less likely to garner a second look. Maybe it’s me being an old man, but I like the smoothness of the current F-150 over the “I WILL race you” look of the Ram. The Lariat trim adds some chrome options and slick HID headlights. The 20-inch rims aren’t as nice as the Rams and are wearing similarly sized 275/55 boots.

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