By on July 27, 2020

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock_1

Ram bucked the trend of offering a short-term extension of a previous-generation product, keeping its older-model 1500 pickup in production for longer than the typical year, let’s say.

Having the old model stick around after the new-for-2019 1500’s appearance paid dividends, with Ram muscling past Chevrolet’s Silverado in sales last year. Without a midsize pickup with which to tempt lower-priced buyers, the brand felt that an aging full-sizer with a pared-down price tag was the next best thing for boosted volume.

For 2021, that recipe hasn’t changed.

According to dealer order guides seen by CarsDirect, the Ram 1500 Classic will stage a return for the coming model year — its third year playing second-fiddle to its vastly updated new-generation sibling.

Debuting at the 2008 International Auto Show in Detroit, the fourth-gen Ram 1500/Classic has now entered its second recession. Rolling out of Fiat Chrysler’s Warren, Michigan truck plant, a facility the automaker infused with $1.5 billion in new funding back in early 2019, the 1500 Classic will soon gain company in the form of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

The ’21 Classic doesn’t rock the boat, but base MSRP does grow a little. For the coming year, entry-level Tradesman 4×2 regular cabs carry an after-destination sticker of $30,145 — a hike of $250 over 2020. That’s still $3,800 cheaper than the barest-bones 2021 1500. Both field a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Mid-grade Classics wear Express badging, while the Warlock picks up where the Rebel left off. Can’t have two generations wearing the same name concurrently.

As Ram doesn’t seem poised to offer a midsize pickup anytime soon (it’s on their radar, and CEO Mike Manley would like to have one), the Classic’s lifespan seems open-ended. That said, incentives on the newer, better-equipped 1500 and increased competition in the full-size field, coupled with the Classic’s advanced age (this is its 13th year), means it might have to work harder to gain buyers in ’21.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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28 Comments on “Even Classic-ier: Old-gen Ram 1500 Soldiers On for 2021...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Ram is doing well.
    When they add the Stellantis branding, it’s gonna go thru the roof.
    Guys will think it’s an ED enhancement!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Make mine Warlock, Hemi, 4×4

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Make mine a ’88 two-door Chevy in nice condition, red, with 4wd and cloth seats. Today’s pickups are silly looking, too big, and laughably expensive. No thanks…I’ll pass on all of them.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Within 300 miles of me (per Autotrader) there were over 50 RAM Warlock trucks mostly with every option box checked – MSRP roughly $50K being advertised for $37K-$38K.

        At those prices I understand the attraction.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I get it too…but if I’m looking for a four-wheeled Macho Mobile for that money, I’m in a Mustang or Challenger.

          YMMV, as they say…I’m just not a “truck guy.” I’d rather go fast.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            My idea of a performance truck isn’t a street machine. Any car with an equivalent pickup sized engine would slaughter a street truck.

            I want a truck to carry stuff but I also want a truck that has enhanced off-road abilities. Ford needs to Sasquatch the Ranger. The Tremor is a step in the right direction but its 35’s are tall and skinny. The Raptor is too wide.

      • 0 avatar
        eng_alvarado90

        Make those cloth seats red as well. I recall a 92 Chevy 3500 we had on the family with silver exterior over a blue cloth interior and 4 spd manual. We also had a 96 Ranger with a blue interior. They looked refreshing compared to the typical gray and beige interiors from today.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “…laughably expensive…”

        That’s the first time I’ve heard that! But seriously, base trucks plus V8 and 4X4 (and a couple incidentals) are the only way to go. The rest (leather/gadgets/wizardry/offroad/bro/pimp) can be added as you go.

        But you’re not the first to notice you can buy a hell of a truck from 1988 for a tiny fraction of even the mid-trim new trucks. Even if you spend $20K to restore or resto-mod and old truck that incidentally stops traffic, drop jaws.. 5 years later it’s worth about the same, assuming you don’t drive it into the ground.

        And those “laughably expensive” trucks have spawned a cottage industry that restores/upgrades ’90s/’00s diesel pickups (pre emissions) and they fetch easily 3X their “Blue Book” values with a waiting-list several months long.

        I’ve seen those restored trucks used commercially (not hotshot) even for Calif runs (under 14K lbs/gross GVWR) since they have most of the power of the new diesel pickups, but without the emissions, MPG and other setbacks/headaches of new pickups.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          So a 1990 F150 XL RCSB was 12,584 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that would be 24,821 dollars. For that you got a 145 hp 300 straight six with 265 Lb-Ft of earth moving torque, a manual transmission and No A/C and an AM radio. Today an XL is 28,745. With the price increase comes AC, automatic, AM/FM with USB and Phone integration, cloth seats and a 3.3 Litre V6 with 290 HP and the same 265 Lb-Ft of Torque. That price increase is roughly 2000 1990 dollars which is coincidentally about what it would cost to bring that 1990 truck up to the same specs as the 2020.

          yes, you can spend way more on a truck now than 30 years ago, but if you don’t shell out for options and power levels that weren’t around 30 years ago at any price, you will find that not only are they roughly the same size as they were back then, but also roughly the same cost.

          Things were sometimes better in our memories than they actually were.

          • 0 avatar
            Drew8MR

            The load floor is way higher now on average. From a short guy who loads stuff into pickups every day. No way you’re running a loaded wheelbarrow into a new truck, or even loading a heavy mc by yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Anybody keeping score, here in the Southwest anyway a V8 Charger/Challenger with the same level of equipment as a 1500 RAM – the RAM is actually cheaper.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Why it’s an outrage, that’s why.

            Pickups cost nothing to build, I guess, compared to unibody cars? That have been around since the Clinton Admin? And cars that take the same body, from “base” to possessed Devil cars on acid?

            Well, they should note every engine-choice on a pickup takes a different frame, and they don’t just come out of a bin. Even if two frames are the same length/wheelbase, if different cabs, then different frames.

            4wd vs 2wd? Different frames. But aside from frames, just the endless variations, packages and combinations make pickups a logistical/assembly nightmare.

            But still, how dare they??

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Denver Mike Ford got away from different frames for 2wd and 4wd many years ago and they never had different frames for different engines. Maybe the diesel 1/2 ton has changed that.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      This one seems okay for me. V8, 3.92, limited slip, RCSB, red.

      wellsmc.com/inventory/display/new/2020/Ram/1500-Classic
      /3C6JR6ATXLG152106

      Not sure about the Ramboxes though.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    All the fleet buyers who still want RCLB trucks will keep buying Classics. The current-gen truck doesn’t even offer a regular cab.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Having never driven either truck, can anyone compare the driving experiences between the classic and new model? I know the new one is nicer to be inside of but beyond that?

    And I guess the real question is what are the out the door prices on these? You can already get some pretty solid deals on the new model. Are these going for insanely cheap out the door?

    Kinks worked out?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My understanding is that the older pickup feels…classic.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Owned a 2014, replaced it with a 2016 Ford, drove a 2019 for about 20 minutes.

      Power. 2014 Ram was awesome. Mine had the 3.92 axles and that truck felt eager to lay rubber. I didn’t drive it back to back with the 2019, but back to back with the Ford it was much better than the 5.0 that I thought I’d buy and a little better than the 2.7 that I actually did buy. For being the same powertrain on paper the 2019 really doesn’t feel like it. Back to back with my 2.7 the 2019 (3.55 axle) felt a bit dull. Plenty of power but tip in isn’t aggressive and it’s so smooth and isolated that you really can’t feel it. Subjective but preferred the 2014.

      Interior. 2019 by a mile. By two miles. Not just nicer than the old gen, actually nice. And not just the 70K press trims either, the Big Horn puts every other truck to shame too. My 2014 was an Express and it was chintzier inside than my 15K Hyundai. Downside, the dash is higher, bed sides deeper, still has that idiotic dial shift.

      Drive. Hard for me to compare, the aluminum Fords are jittery things and after calibrating to that for three years everything feels like a Cadillac. Quiet, really well sorted out over bumps, feels like 6,000 lbs when you turn the wheel, it’s fine. They’re all fine.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      I haven’t driven the newer Rams but I own a 2014 1500 Classic and have also driven Chevys and Fords from the same years and hands down the Ram handles better. It may have something to do with the coil springs on the back. It just feels more confident on the turns. Towing and hauling suffers a bit but I can still haul 1680 lbs on the bed, so I wouldn’t say it’s much of a letdown. Mine’s an SLT so it isn’t pretty inside, but Laramie and higher trims are still better than what Chevy offers and on par with Ford’s best. OTOH, the newest Rams are years ahead interior wise

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    What helped Ram temporarily take the lead over Chevy was the low availability of the then new GMs.

    It is a stupid move, but expected, given the focus on merging/selling off the company since Fiat was given the last of the FCA stock. Playing the long game was never Sergio’s desire and that has continued.

    They aren’t recovering the cost of the new truck and won’t do so anytime soon with 2 of their 3 truck plants still producing their old truck.

    In other words the new truck is not selling well at all and FCA lacks the confidence that it can sell many on their virtues alone instead of price.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Gotta disagree on this. Here in truck-centric Texas, I see a lot of the new Ram 1500. Certainly more than I see of the new Silverado.

      Chevy is worried about losing (perhaps one time only) the runner-up sales crown to Ram…otherwise they would not have ordered emergency surgery. Personally I think the Silverado is pretty hideous looking, but the Sienna is not nearly as bad.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        In your area maybe the Ram does sell better, I know there was at least one state in the past where the GMC was the best seller. However Nationally Chevy has pulled back into 2nd place. Meanwhile FCA makes Ram trucks in 3 plants, only one of which produces the new truck.

        So yeah overall nationally the new Ram 1500 is in 5th place, at best, while the old truck which is still the basis for the 2500 and up trucks as well as the Classic slots into 3rd place.

        • 0 avatar
          1500cc

          I don’t think FCA breaks it out officially, but I’ve read that the Classic is responsible for about 40% of Ram’s sales.

          I find it a little amusing that people complain if GM fans combine the Sierra’s and Silverado’s sales to make the point that GM (sometimes) outsells Ford and take the number 1 spot. But no one complains about FCA combining two completely different trucks into one sales number. I dunno, to me if you’re trying to figure out the most popular truck, it’s more legitimate to combine sales of two versions of essentially the same truck, versus combining two completely different trucks.

  • avatar
    Dan

    “… coupled with the Classic’s advanced age (this is its 13th year)”

    The 2013 refresh was pretty substantial but yeah these are getting up there.

    That said I really liked my 2014 other than the QC issues. The cheap interior bothered me more than I thought it would but that was my fault for buying the cheap one – the dollar store touch points were a constant reminder.

    I test drove the 2019 and while the interior actually felt like 50K it didn’t impress otherwise. Higher dashboard, angrier styling, even chintzier sheetmetal (still not as bad as my Ford which can be dented by large raindrops), stop start, bigger ipad in the dash, trucks are on the same trajectory as cars and the peak is behind us.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      From what I have been hearing from many new style Ram owners, quality control is very spotty. One friend of mine has a 2019 dark blue eTorque 5.7 Ram Big Horn and has had it in numerous times for a rough clunky shifting transmission and another co-worker has had issues with the electronics with his 2020. The current Silverado’s seem to have a lot of complaints with the volume LT/RST models with the 8 speed transmission and F-150’s have issues with the joint venture 10 speed setup so none seem immune to early teeting troubles.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    From what I’m seeing there isn’t that big of a difference in base pricing if you compare like trucks.

    What it is showing for my area right now for a Classic Quad Cab has a sticker price of $32,105 and after destination and listed discounts the net price $30,050 and a lease payment of $364.

    Meanwhile the new truck in Quad Cab form starts at $32,145 and the net price with fewer discounts is $31,840 and a lease payment of $362.

    They don’t note the up front costs of either lease.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    My problem with the latest gen trucks wasn’t the interior, it was passable, but the buckets of ugly poured onto the outsides of them, holy shit, it’s bad.

    A friend has a new Silverado. It drives fine, and the interior doesn’t annoy me for the most part, but it’s so damn ugly.

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