2016 RAM 1500 vs 2016 RAM 2500 Comparison
Posted on January 14, 2021
Deciding that you need to buy a new truck is the easy part; the real test comes in deciding which one. You've already made your mind up that you want a Ram, but do you go for a 2016 Ram 1500 or 2500? The final decision will almost inevitably come down to what you intend to do with your truck, or rather what you want the truck to do for you. The basic differences between the 1500 and 2500 are size and capability, with the 2500 being available in configurations that are intrinsically designed to cope with even more arduous towing and hauling tasks than the 1500. There are obviously an awful lot of similarities between these two outstanding trucks, but here's a guide to the main features and differences between the 2016 Ram 1500 and 2500.
Size is one of the main differences between these two, although it has to be said that they are identical in terms of width, with all variants of both trucks being 79.4-inches wide. It's also important to note that the corresponding cab options seat the same amount of people in both trucks, but there is more legroom in 2500 models even though headroom is pretty similar whichever you go for.
There's quite a variety of engines available in the 2016 1500 and 2500 lineups. The 1500 range starts off with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that isn't available in the 2500, while next up is a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that features heavily in both lineups for 2016. A significant difference here though, is that the Hemi V-8 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission in the 2500 while it comes with either a six-speed or an eight-speed auto in the 1500.
As you would probably expect, there are diesel engine options for both models, but this is where something of a line is drawn in the sand. That's because while the diesel in the 1500 is perhaps as much about efficiency as it is about capability, the 2500's diesel is definitely the power plant for those really demanding jobs. The diesel in the 1500 is a 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel unit, which offers a superb combination of fuel economy and capability thanks to its 240 horsepower and exceptional 420 lb.-ft. of torque.
The diesel option in the 2500 is 6.7-liter Cummings that produces a simply phenomenal 350 or 370 horsepower and 660 or 800 lb.-ft. of torque, depending on whether it's mated to the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Just as the 1500 has the 3.6-liter V-6 you don't have in its bigger brother, the 2500 also has a gas option not available in the 1500 in the shape of a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 developing 410 horsepower and up to 429 lb.-ft. of torque.
If you're not likely to need the extra power offered by some 2500 models on a regular basis, you might be tempted by the impressive fuel-efficiency of the 1500. The most economical engine in the 1500 is undoubtedly the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, which can get you as much as 21 mpg in the city and up to 29 mpg on the highway.* If you prefer gas though, the 3.6-liter Pentastar is a close rival to the EcoDiesel as it gets you 18 mpg in the city and up to 25 mpg on the highway. The diesel has the edge in terms of towing, but the Pentastar is the winner when it comes to maximum payload.
It certainly gets easier to choose between the 1500 and 2500 if you have a good idea of how much you are going to be hauling or towing with your truck, though. The maximum you can tow with a 1500 is 10,640 pounds with the Regular Cab model with an 8-foot box, two-wheel drive and 5.7-liter V-8 with manual transmission. The same cab and box format with the 2500 lets you tow up to 17,790 pounds, but that's largely thanks to the power of the 6.7-liter Cummings diesel and six-speed automatic.
That same format of the 2500 is also the payload champion of the two lineups with a maximum rating of 3,990 pounds. The most you can haul with a 1500 is still impressive at 1,890 pounds, and that's for a two-wheel drive Quad Cab with a 6-foot 4-inch box and the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission.
Another reason you may favor one truck over the other could be your budget. It will hardly come as a surprise to find the 1500 range starts at a lower price point than the larger 2500, with the 2016 1500 having a starting MSRP of just $26,145 and the 2016 2500 costing from $31,780.
Once you decided between the 1500 and 2500 based on you basic requirements, you've then got the really fun part of choosing the way you want your new truck kitted out. As well as the incredible amount of choice you have with engines, cabs, bed lengths and drivetrains, both the 2016 1500 and 2500 also come in a wide range of trims and with an extensive list of available options.
Both ranges begin with entry level Tradesman models, which are exactly what the name suggests; great value, no-nonsense workhorses that still have all the essentials you'd expect from a modern truck. At the other end of the spectrum are the Limited models, which rival some prestige sedans when it comes to luxury and features. You can have just about any feature you can think of in your Ram truck these days, from heated and ventilated leather seating and climate control to remote start, Uconnect infotainment systems, Rear Park Assist and Trailer Brake Control.
Although the 1500 is an incredibly capable truck in all its forms, when you start to look more closely at the details of the 2500 you will find it does has more in its armory to cope with the bigger jobs than just size and power. For example, heavy-duty engine cooling and a next-generation engine controller are now standard on all 2500 model trims, along with the class-exclusive five-link coil spring rear suspension that's revolutionary in the heavy-duty pickup segment.
The bottom line is that the 2016 Ram 1500 and 2500 are fantastic trucks that have all the bases covered when it comes to getting the job done. It's down to you to decide which one is the right one for your particular demands and needs, because you know there's a Ram 1500 or 2500 that's going to meet your requirements exactly.