CPO Showdown: Ford F-150 vs Ram 1500

A black 2019 Ford F-150 is shown driving on an open road.

Trucks are built to be tough and withstand years upon years of heavy daily use. Since they stay in good shape for so long, you can save some cash by opting for a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) model without sacrificing much in the way of quality and longevity. But which truck should you be looking for? Today, we’re going to put two popular pickups head to head and look at their stats, features, and capabilities. So let’s dive in, take a look at what a CPO Ram 1500 and a CPO Ford F-150 have to offer, and see why so many Sacramento County drivers are looking for a CPO F-150 in Folsom.

Engines & Performance

Looking at the two trucks throughout the years, the F-150 consistently has more engine options than the Ram 1500. This gives buyers a wider range to choose from, so you can strike just the right balance between power and efficiency, not to mention budget. While towing and payload capacities vary depending on model, trim, engine, and optional equipment, Ford overall has the best stats.

For example, let’s look at the 2021 model year. Ram’s most powerful engine (excluding the off-road TRX model) is a 5.7L V8 that offers 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The F-150’s strongest option (excluding the off-road Raptor model) is a twin-turbo 3.5L V6 Hybrid that delivers 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque. Properly equipped, a 2021 Ford F-150 can tow up to 14,000 lbs, while the 2021 Ram can only handle up to 12,750 lbs.

Safety Ratings

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, it’s important to stay safe. Since safety features tend to improve over time, it’s especially vital to look critically at the safety of used vehicles. Now, just because a truck was built before lane-keep assist was a common feature doesn’t mean it’s not safe. But you should always do your due diligence and make sure the model you’re looking at is a crash-worthy vehicle.

To compare the safety of the Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150, let’s take a look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety ratings of the two trucks from recent models all the way back to the 2017 model year (the oldest year eligible for Ram’s CPO program). The NHTSA provides up to five-star ratings for frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests, as well as an overall safety rating.

As expected from full-size trucks, neither the Ram 1500 nor the F-150 have received five-star ratings for rollover. However, the F-150 has managed five-star overall safety ratings across the board since its 2021 redesign and has consistently scored four and five-star ratings back to 2017. The Ram 1500 has never received a five-star side crash rating, and only its 2019 and later crew cab models have received a five-star overall safety rating. Ram has even been dinged with three-star rollover ratings for its Classic line as recently as the 2022 model year.

A white 2020 Ram 1500 is shown parked in front of a barn.

Cargo Space

Being able to fit plenty of cargo in the bed is one of the big advantages that trucks have over other vehicles. Both the F-150 and the Ram 1500 offer a few different choices when it comes to bed size. These have changed throughout the years, but it should be kept in mind that Ram dropped the option for a regular cab and eight-foot bed when the Ram 1500 was redesigned in 2019. You can still get an eight-foot bed with the Ram Classic, but that means sacrificing features and safety. In contrast, Ford continues to provide the option for short, regular, and long beds for every model year of the F-150.

Interior Features

In the 2019 model year, the Ram 1500 got an upgraded interior that was widely praised for being comfortable, functional, and spacious. It was a big improvement over what came before, meaning that 2018 Rams and older leave a lot to be desired. The 2018 Ram 1500’s cabin felt outdated even when it was first released, with less interior storage space than rivals and an uninspired interior design.

By contrast, the 2018 F-150 comes loaded with plenty of cubbies and storage spaces. Its controls are all comfortably within reach of the driver and are intuitive enough that anyone can figure them out easily. And while the 2019 F-150’s interior didn’t see as big of a change from the previous model as the 2019 Ram, it wasn’t really in need of a dramatic overhaul. If we fast forward to the 2021 model year, we see that while the Ram 1500’s interior is lush and high-tech, the Ford F-150 also has plenty of useful tech and creature comforts. This includes innovative features like front seats that can recline all the way back so workers can catch some z’s during a break and a shift lever that can fold flat to create a mobile workspace in the cabin.

While the interiors of 2019-2020 CPO Ram 1500 models may be able to win in a head-to-head with their Ford counterparts, the F-150’s interior quality is more consistent over time. Even older models have a lot to offer modern drivers in terms of functionality and comfort. So when it comes to CPO vehicles overall, this category goes to Ford.

Off-Road Options

Most truck drivers are looking for versatile vehicles that can handle towing, hauling, and long drives but don’t need their trucks to handle rocky trails and uneven terrain. However, some adventurous folks use off-road capable trucks to help them get gear to campsites and explore the great outdoors. Ford and Ram each offer an off-road version of their light-duty truck.

The Ram 1500 TRX has only been around since the 2021 model year, so finding a CPO model isn’t impossible, but it is pretty tricky. The 2021 TRX has a 6.2L HEMI V8 under the hood, which can produce 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The truck can haul a payload of up to 1,310 lbs and tow up to 8,100 lbs. When it comes to EPA fuel economy estimates, the 2021 TRX is even less impressive, rated at 10 MPG in the city and 14 MPG on the highway.

The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is powered by a 3.5L EcoBoost V6. While its engine offers less horsepower than the TRX’s V8, the Raptor can tow and haul more: it can handle 1,400 lbs of payload and tow up to 8,200 lbs. It’s also more efficient, with EPA ratings of 15 MPG in the city and 18 MPG on the highway for the 2021 model, so you won’t burn through as much fuel on the way to the off-road park.

The Raptor has also been around for way longer than the TRX. The original SVT Raptor was produced for the 2010 to 2014 model years, then the Raptor was revived in the 2017 model year and has been in production ever since. That means you’ll find plenty of options to choose from when shopping CPO, so you’re more likely to find the truck that fits your needs. And even a 2017 model is plenty capable, with a powerful twin-turbo engine, high-quality suspension and shocks, and modern conveniences like an infotainment system.

A popular CPO F-150 in Folsom, a grey 2020 Ford F-150, is shown off-roading.

CPO Warranties

Even the toughest truck needs maintenance and repairs from time to time, so it’s always nice to have good CPO warranty coverage. Ford offers two levels of its CPO program. Gold Certified models are up to six years old with fewer than 80,000 miles and come with a 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive warranty, plus a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Blue Certified vehicles can be a bit older (up to ten years old with fewer than 120,000 miles) and come with a 90-day/4,000-mile comprehensive warranty. Both levels include 24/7 roadside assistance and FordPass rewards points for your first maintenance visits.

Ford’s two-tier CPO system allows buyers of older and newer used vehicles to get the coverage they need. Ram, on the other hand, has a more limited CPO program. Ram only certifies trucks that are up to five years old with fewer than 70,000 miles, which is even less than what Ford covers for its Cold Certified models. Ram’s bumper-to-bumper warranty is also only good for three months or 3,000 miles, which is not only less than what Ford offers but is well below the industry average.

So, Who Wins?

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in America for over four decades, and for good reason. The F-150 is reliable and capable, and its quality is consistent year after year. Plus, Ford’s comprehensive CPO warranties guarantee the quality of your truck. The Ram 1500 is a great truck too, and it’s gotten some luxurious upgrades in recent years while still providing plenty of capability. Some specific CPO Ram models may even offer a little extra luxury compared to equivalent F-150 models. But if you’re on the fence about which one to get, consider that Ford’s sterling reputation and knack for versatility make the F-150 a truck that you can count on, mile after mile. New, used, or CPO, the F-150 is always a smart pick for Folsom drivers.


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