By on August 30, 2019

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Get your filthy minds out of the gutter — we’re talking about touchscreens here. Big ones. Specifically, the monstrous, tombstone-sized slab of screen found in Ram’s new 1500 and Heavy Duty pickups.

Apparently, the boys and girls in Dearborn are envious of their rival’s vertically-oriented footlong and aim to get their hands on an even bigger one.

According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, Ram’s dominance in the touchscreen size contest has compelled Ford to develop a worthy competitor. Blue Oval engineers are apparently tasked with boosting their screen’s size by at least 50 percent. For current-generation F-150s, touchscreen width tops out at 8 inches.

As the two rivals battle for torque, towing, and fuel economy supremacy, it seems another battle has broken out. This is what happens when you’re sharing space in a hot segment.

“When you get in the Ram and look to your right you see a big, 12-inch display and it’s very eye-popping,” commented Kyle Davis, analyst at IHS Markit. “There’s a decent amount of content on it, but it doesn’t overload the user.”

Ford’s aim is to at least match Ram’s screen size, the sources claim, with future truck buyers being able to handle simultaneous functions on the glowing expanse of plastic. Navigation and audio, you get the idea.

Ford’s not commenting on future product, but Bloomberg‘s sources claim the automaker wants the screen ready for the looming next-generation F-150, expected to land next year as a 2021 model. Should the engineers succeed in incorporating such a screen into the next F-150, both Ford and Ram will hold a tech advantage over General Motors, which just released its new full-size and heavy duty pickup models. The screen in those trucks tops out at 8 inches.

[Image: © 2019 Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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41 Comments on “Report: Emasculated by Ram’s Impressive Size, Ford Wants to Up Its Inches...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    I think we can all agree that while size is important, it’s all about how you use it.

    For instance, I was in a rental Mazda CX-5 for a business trip recently and found to my initial dismay that the touch features of the screen were actually disabled during Apple CarPlay, with all functionality defaulting to a knob on the center console. This actually proved to be something I enjoyed more than using the touch screen, as I found the knob very effective at getting me where I needed to be and hitting all the right places, and much less distracting than trying to hit the right spot with my fingers. I can’t even remember considering the size of the screen as too big or too small.

    I was quite satisfied.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Ford has been good about keeping knobs and buttons on their systems for volume and HVAC so they could be used with work gloves. I hope there is at least such an option that doesn’t make one feel like they cheaped out. I was strictly a non touchscreen guy but I like Android Auto/Car Play nowadays but like knobs also. I fear this takes up too much real estate to offer the later.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wife’s 1st gen Terrain – 5 in screen, eh.

    Father-in-laws 2nd gen Terrain – 7 in screen, better – livable

    TourX Preferred with Sights & Sounds package 8 in screen – just right. Usable but not distracting.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed. I think 8″ to 10″ is the “perfect” size depending on how the UI is designed. Seven inches is workable. After that you’ve got some glowing TV screen in the dash.

      With that said, the FCA touch screen systems are gorgeous, and I love uConnect.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        RAM’s 12” works well because the UI is essentially just two normal size touchscreens on top of each. You are basically just deciding what two pages of the menu you want to see at once.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    You know the automotive world is completely [email protected]&ED when a useless gimmick like a touchscreen matters more than what’s under the hood. If anything is ‘emasculating’ it’s the pathetic ricey flatulence of an Ecobust with a fart pipe. It’s absolutely wretched sounding. I can imagine how bad it’s gonna be when someone tries this with a 4cylinder GM truck.

    The SMART thing to do with infotainment in vehicles would be better integration of smartphones. Computer hard/software is obsolete in a couple years anyway, and who doesn’t upgrade their phone every 1-3 years as it is? These screens are just expensive redundancy. There’s literally nothing they can do better than my iPhone except empty my wallet faster if they break. Rare, but it happens. Having a couple of standardized apps (iOS and droid) that talk to the existing PCMs would be FAR better. Just think how docking with your vehicle could lock out all texting for voice commands. Thatd make distracted driving laws irrelevant and eliminate the associated tickets…oh wait, that’s NEVER gonna fly…

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      MR74 – totally agree. For those with less acute close vision, put in a factory tablet mount that is sturdy so people don’t have to hook them to the air vent. The car screens tend to slow, obsolete when new, very expensive, and generally suck compared to a cheap used Ipad.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Imagine the cost to repair. My C7 just had its touch screen replaced. The bill was 900 bucks. Glad I had an extended warranty to cover it. When these touchscreen vehicles age there are going to be a lot of vehicles with good service life left ending up in in the junkyard because of the cost to fix this stuff

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        On the flip side, I did a friend’s for like 40 bucks. He purchased the screen and I soldered it in versus buying an entire factory unit.

        These are the skills you will need to keep modern cars on the road decades down the road. Frankly this sort of thing and custom ecus, etc. Intimadate me less than tuning a carb.

    • 0 avatar

      There already are systems in place to help alleviate or even stop texting while in motion. But it is ultimately up to the owner to pair their phone and turn that feature on in the settings.
      I think what needs to happen is that the phone should come with those options already turned on, and make it hard to turn off in the settings, if at all.
      But then you have the issue of the phone needing to be paired. I sold a lot of cars, and a lot people don’t want to bother with or remember how to pair their phones. I see a ton of people in cars that I know have bluetooth, but not using hands free.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        The number of people who have vehicles that are obviously equipped with Bluetooth, but who still hold their phone in their hands like a slice of pizza to carry on whatever conversation they’re having is astonishing. Minnesota recently went hands free, but it hasn’t helped one whit. I still see the tuck and type regularly.

        Meanwhile, I connect my phone to the Bluetooth system before I even pull off the lot. Then it goes in the armrest and I forget about it. Using some of the voice functions at 70 mph with Android Auto (I actually plunked down the money to upgrade) is a challenge, but I generally don’t need to.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike-NB2

      “You know the automotive world is completely [email protected]&ED when a useless gimmick like a touchscreen matters more than what’s under the hood.”

      100% agree. I find it frustrating when I go to a manufacturer’s web page to look up some specific (and not obscure) spec. Like torque, for example. On many occasions I’m bombarded with boasts of screen size and can’t find what I’m looking for. I’ve given up and just googled what I’m looking for. I can see if I’m looking for torque ratings on a car where almost no buyer would be interested in knowing that spec (like a Corolla) but I’ve been unable to find those specs on performance cars.

      And for the record I HATE touchscreens.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The whole “size matters” media play on words isn’t new. The banned Dodge Durango commercial is hilarious. https://www. you tube.com/watch?v=ltEJJrAB6w8

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I remember saying yesterday that if I bought a truck, I’d buy a Tundra because it’s an honest vehicle that doesn’t go in for this kind of bulls**t. I’ll go with that today as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Robotdawn

      Yep, I’ve not been shy in saying I don’t see what the big deal is with the new Dodge trucks, and after seeing them in person I still don’t see it. I like UConnect, it’s a good system, but if you are buying a truck based on a 10″ screen you have priority issues.
      I’d buy a Toyota a million times sooner than a Dodge. At least I figure it’s a Toyota and although it may rust out from under me, it’ll run until the last day it does.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      2FreedMike – I’ve always had to argue with dealerships when requesting a plain truck. My first truck, a 1984 Ranger 4×4 required a special order. I wanted a simple off-road truck. The 1990 F250 I bought had a clothe seat and cruise and tilt. That was it. My current 2010 F150 SuperCrew is supposed to be one step up form base model and by far is the fanciest rig I’ve ever owned.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I’ve been looking at new trucks. It’s not just about the screen. The Tundra feels a little like an old 2500 – kind of shuddery and the back will skip on you when you go around a corner, etc. The new Ram just feels like it’s better engineered.

      Driving it matters quite a bit if you’re going to compare these 2. I liked the Ram better than the Ford, but those 2 were MUCH closer.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      But it is an option. You don’t want it, don’t buy it. When I got my F150 I counted 16 XLT trimmed trucks…cloth seats and all on the lot. Some of them had sync, some didn’t. I don’t recall if any had the 3.5 TT but the first one I drove had the 5.0. This is the truck everyone claims dealers don’t stock in favor of 70k half tons (they had those too). It was sub 40k out the door. If you were really frugal there were a bunch of XLs as well. The number of XLT trucks alone that dealership had was more than the Toyota dealer had Tundras. I went in wanting an XLT, 2.7 or 3.5 TT, rear locker, no sync 2, tow package, and the taller rear axle. 2wd, caribu brown. I added the chrome package to my wish list after seeing them. I got that exact truck.

      I couldn’t begin to be that specific on a Tundra. And had I wanted a decent, modern infotainment I’d be SOL.

      Anyway, I see reasons people get Tundras, I just can’t fathom buying one for the options the manufacturer doesn’t offer.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “But it is an option. You don’t want it, don’t buy it.”

        Unfortunately options are bundled and/or tied to a trim level. Dealers tend to order what sells so you might not be able to find a truck the way you want.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    No surprise to see this coming. Ford’s screen with be 14″, then GM’s quick interior redesign will be 18″ then 15 years from now the entire dash will be a big screen with a picture of a dash on it that you can redesign when you get tired of it.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      No it is GM. They will finally release a 12” touchscreen just when the industry moves to 20” standard.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      Man, that would be so awesome.

      Hell, imagine if the entire windshield was a screen. Not only would you never have to worry about chips and cracks again, it would be safer in a crash, and you even put in night vision so you could see in the dark.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      Man, that would be so awesome.

      Hell, imagine if the entire windshield was a screen. Not only would you never have to worry about chips and cracks again, it would be safer in a crash, and you even put in night vision so you could see in the dark.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Obviously Tesla wins today’s prize in touch screen size, but there are others vying for the title. The Lucid Air and Rivian come to mind.

    • 0 avatar
      Deontologist

      A Pyrrhic victory. Tesla used non-automotive grade screens to get the size desired, and the number of people complaining and taking Tesla to court over yellowing screens is astronomic. Tesla refuses to do anything but offer a temporary fix, choosing instead to fight everyone tooth and nail over an obvious issue.

  • avatar
    downunder

    Isn’t there a story going around that the US Navy has decided to go back to button’s, knob’s and dials and move away from touch screen controls? They note that the screens do not give enough tactile information and require looking at to confirm an action, than with a twist of a knob or pushing a button gives better feedback and allows the user to keep their eyes where they should be. I am all for configurable display screens for information, but to touch a screen, glance at it to make sure that it has done its job seems a little backward, whereas pushing an button, that’s fixed in place and does one action seems a better idea.

  • avatar
    Dan

    More is only better until it’s big enough to read the street names and see the backup camera clearly and 8″ already is. I found the 12″ screen on the new Ram more distracting than useful, and it was a $2100 (!) option.

    Hard pass.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Well, well. It looks like Tesla was ahead of the game (~7 years ago) and Ford is playing catch-up (maybe possibly a year from now).

    “In the car business, you lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Thank you, Elon.

    Have fun relocating those HVAC vents, Ford.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think Ford or GM will go to a large screen like Dodge has. Their recent studies actually show that more people prefer buttons and knobs more than a touch screen. That is why I am surprised about this article.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    I would pay extra to have no screen. Most useless option feature ever – takes up dash space, adds to repair cost, and reduces safety. Also saps our precious bodily fluids.

    About 25 years ago GM lead the way with the Buick T-type, a menu-driven system for controlling havoc and radio, etc. Car and Driver pilloried them for this calling it the “tv type’.

    Give me 3-pedals, a couple climate sliders, a volume knob, and a star to steer her by.

  • avatar

    I can tell you that Ford just went through a big ordeal about their touch screen in their other cars, and more people wanted knobs and buttons to touch and turn rather than a large touch screen that you had to toggle around in order to find the HVAC, then stereo, then nav etc. So I’m not sure why they want to go through that in the trucks.

    I have been in all three, and I can tell you that Dodge has a nicer interior period, and it isn’t all about the large screen in the middle. The finished product is head and shoulders above the other two companies because they use better quality products. GM hasn’t changed their interior in well over ten years, heck, I’d say maybe even since 2000.
    Although with all of the cameras they are putting in the trucks, I could see a separate display for the cameras, and one for the Nav/navy stereo, because you came see both the nav and cameras at the same time. Although you really don’t need to, now that I think about it. So if they have an easy toggle between the nav and cameras, that could work. Although, a 10 inch display would be a little better.

    And for the record, I am and always have been a Chevy guy, and am in the information gathering phase for my next 3/4 ton truck. So don’t think I am jumping on the Dodge fan boy band wagon for recognizing their interior as being nicer.

  • avatar
    la834

    Forget bigger touchscreens; give the F-150 coil springs.

  • avatar
    mpzz

    This is why we need government regulators. These TV screens for drivers to look at never should have been allowed in the first place and certainly should have been legislated out of existence the year they showed up in a car sold in the US! They have to cause more accidents than cell phones at this point.


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