Ram 1500 Classic rolls into 2021, celebrates becoming a teenager

CarsDirect crossed paths with a Ram dealer order guide revealing a 2021 Ram 1500 Classic. That news nugget means the fourth-generation Ram truck will get a third year on the market sold alongside the fifth-generation Ram 1500 that entered production for 2019. FCA didn’t need more help being the undisputed king of successfully milking a platform (Challenger or Grand Caravan, anyone?), but a 13th year of what’s now the Ram 1500 Classic puts local competition out of reach. This truck greeted the world for 2009, when Chrysler — then an unalloyed automaker owned by Cerberus — marched 115 head of cattle down a Detroit street in January to create a spectacle for what was to be the brand-new 2009 Dodge Ram.

The order guide showed a $250 bump over the 2020MY pickup, for a total of $30,145 after a $1,695 destination charge to get into a Tradesman regular cab 4×2 powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. That’s the only change CarsDirect mentioned for the new year. The fifth-generation Ram 1500 in its base trim, a Tradesman Quad Cab 4×2, is $3,800 more expensive.

However, it’s important to note that there’s a full line-up of Ram Classics. It’s not just the stripper Tradesman model. You can’t get the high-dollar Longhorn or Limited, but there’s still the mid-grade Big Horn, leather-lined Laramie and the above-pictured Warlock, which is a sort of Rebel-lite model. 

Some take the Classic’s undying existence as a way for Ram to lure mid-size pickup buyers with the most inexpensive full-size pickup. It’s possible, yet midsize buyers often don’t want to deal with the size and bills that come with full-size trucks, never mind the higher MSRP. One size down, the 2021 Ram Classic costs roughly $1,500 more than a base Tacoma, $4,000 more than a Ford Ranger, and $7,000 more than a Chevrolet Canyon. Incentives this month can take as much as $6,250 off the Ram’s price, but Ram isn’t alone in putting money on the hood.

Besides, the Ram Classic isn’t a runaway price champ compared to other full-sizers. A 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 regular cab 4×2 starts at $30,095, and next year’s Ford F-150 will start at $30,635 after destination. The Ram Classic makes more sense as a base-truck competitor for full-size competition, one that pays a lot more profit to FCA. And having the old guard on duty did help Ram outsell the Chevrolet Silverado last year.

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