Compared: 2023 Ram 1500 vs. 2023 Ram 1500 Classic

Ram offers two generations of its half-ton truck, catering to a wide range of needs.

2023 Ram 1500 in yellow above 2023 Ram 1500 Classic in redRam | 1500 (top) and 1500 Classic

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When a redesigned Ram 1500 arrived in 2018, the automaker decided to continue selling the previous-generation truck alongside it, calling it the 1500 Classic. Today there are still two generations of the truckmaker's half-ton pickup available on the showroom floor: the 2023 Ram 1500 and the 2023 Ram 1500 Classic.

The 1500 Classic is more affordable, making it a great choice for budget-conscious shoppers, and it still offers the work-friendly configuration of a two-door regular cab with an 8-foot bed. Those in search of creature comforts will want to skip right past it, though, as the Classic is available in two trims, neither of which boast many amenities. The redesigned Ram 1500 sports plenty of luxury features as well as higher towing and payload capacities than the Classic.

text: 2023 Ram 1500 TRX in blue driving aggressively on dirtRam

2023 Ram 1500 vs. 2023 Ram 1500 Classic: Price

The cheapest 2023 Ram 1500 starts at about $40,000. That price gets you a bare-bones, quad-cab Tradesman with a 6-foot-4 box, rear-wheel drive, and a 305-hp 3.6-liter V6. The Tradesman comes fairly well equipped when compared with base model trucks of the past.

 2023 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock in grayRam | 1500 Classic

The entry-level 2023 Ram 1500 Classic — also called a Tradesman — comes with two fewer doors and an 8-foot bed but no fuel-saving stop-start tech for the 3.6-liter. It starts just under $33,000. While that's about $7,000 cheaper than the newer truck, and in a combination no longer offered in the newer truck, the Classic's standard equipment feels like one of yesteryear's base model trucks: manual windows and door locks and a basic 5.0-inch infotainment screen. Bigger screens are available and power windows and locks come in a package, but they add some cost. Whether the Classic's lack of equipment is a problem depends on what features are must-haves.

On most trim levels, Ram charges $3,800 for four-wheel drive. The exception is the base Ram 1500 Classic, where it's about $7,000 to add. The diesel option is gone, but swapping the V6 for the 395-hp 5.7-liter V8 costs about $3,000 on either truck. That engine comes standard on the luxury-oriented $66,000 Limited trim, which is exclusive to the 2023 Ram 1500. There's also the $87,000 F-150 Raptor-fighting 2023 Ram 1500 TRX model. It comes only in crew-cab with a 5-foot-7 bed, four-wheel drive, and a 702-hp 6.2-liter V8.

 2023 Ram 1500 with 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment systemRam

2023 Ram 1500 vs. 2023 Ram 1500 Classic: Features

The Ram 1500 has the Ram 1500 Classic beat when it comes to features. Shoppers can find leather upholstery, a multifunction tailgate, a customizable digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, a smartphone charging pad, a panoramic sunroof, and power running boards available in the new truck but not the old one.

2023 Ram 1500 Classic interiorRam | 1500 Classic

Some of those features are exclusive to the range-topping Limited or TRX. In fact, Ram's current Uconnect infotainment system (and 8.4-inch touchscreen) costs extra on the Classic. The standard setup uses an older version of the software and a 5.0-inch screen. The giant 12.0-inch display in certain fifth-gen trucks is not available on the fourth-gen model.

2023 Ram 1500 in red towing trailer with two off-road vehicles (side-by-sides) loadedRam

2023 Ram 1500 vs. 2023 Ram 1500 Classic: Towing and Payload

When properly equipped, the 2023 Ram 1500 can tow up to 7,730 pounds with the V6 or 12,750 pounds when fitted with the V8. That's more than the 2023 Ram 1500 Classic can manage, which offers ratings of up to 7,600 pounds with the V6 and a maximum of 10,620 pounds with the V8. The Ram 1500 also has a maximum payload of 2,300 pounds, which is 420 pounds higher than the Classic's.

2023 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock rear three-quarter angle in grayRam | 1500 Classic

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Matt Fink
Matt Fink has run an auto-detailing business for 20 years. After about a decade in, he realized his passion for writing about cars, too. He lives in Ohio and drives his 1971 Mini Cooper whenever he can keep it running.