Modern vs. Retro: A Look at the 2023 Ram 1500 and 1500 Classic

May 12th, 2023 by

A white 2023 Ram 1500 is shown from the front at an angle.

The Ram 1500 Classic is an interesting truck in the iconic brand’s lineup. Ram released this truck only a couple of years ago, and it’s become a fan-favorite among Ram enthusiasts. It’s one of the most affordable trucks in its class, putting it within the financial reach of a broad range of drivers. The truck’s exterior design is almost identical to the early 2000s Ram design. It still offers some great functionality, with two powerful engine options and an array of modern features which make it feel like a modern truck coupled with that classic Ram look. While the main advantage of the Ram Classic is the price, it also offers an attractive retro design to those nostalgic for the trucks of yesteryear. For North Dakota drivers looking for a great Ram dealer in Minot, look no further than Ryan Chrysler Jeep Dodge, conveniently located in Willison.

The standard Ram 1500 is an advanced version of the Classic, providing more options, more power, and a modern design inside and out. While it retains the uniquely Ram look and exterior design, it has been modernized in ways that the Classic isn’t. The 1500 has more engine options, better safety features, and way more customization options, making it better in almost every way except price. Which truck you choose will mostly depend on how much you like the old design and how much you are willing to spend. We love both trucks, and each has its own pros and cons. Our recommendation will greatly depend on the needs of each individual.

A red 2020 Ram 1500 Classic is shown from the front at an angle.

The Ram 1500 Classic

Sometimes you find the perfect truck with a great design, a powerful engine, and a proven track record, then the manufacturer updates the design, changing the body’s look and adding newer features, and now it just feels different. That’s ok; you already bought your perfect truck. But what about when it’s time to find a suitable replacement? You’re going to miss that truck, though if your truck is a Ram, maybe you won’t have to say goodbye. Ram has done something special with their Ram 1500 Classic. They have retained the old Ram design from the early 2000s and made it a budget option to complement the standard Ram 1500. This truck perfectly blends the old exterior design with several modern features, making it the perfect upgrade for the nostalgic buyer.

The Classic has two engine options, the 3.6L Pentastar V6 and the 5.7L HEMI V8. The Pentastar offers 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, making it a decent engine for basic truck needs. The HEMI offers a significant power upgrade from the Pentastar, improving the horsepower to 395 and the torque to 410 lb-ft. The HEMI is an upgrade from the Pentastar and offers up to 10,620 lbs of towing capacity, while the Pentastar offers 4,720 lbs of towing capacity. The Pentastar is a great engine option for many applications, but for those needing maximum power, the HEMI is the way to go.

The Modern Ram 1500

Maybe you like the old Ram design, but you’d like an updated version in every facet of the truck. The modern Ram 1500 comes in several trim options with a modernized body design inspired by classic Ram design, more powerful engine options, and high-tech features. The Ram 1500 comes with four available engines. The aforementioned 3.6L Pentastar and 5.7L V8 HEMI are available, though they have been modified on the 1500. They are equipped with the eTorque Mild Hybrid Technology System, which improves the engine’s performance.

The other two engine options are what make the engine options significantly different from the Classic. A 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 and a Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 offer much greater torque and horsepower options over the other engines. The EcoDiesel offers 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Many think horsepower is the most important factor, but true truck enthusiasts know that torque is often more important. Horsepower tends to point mostly to the vehicle’s top speed, while torque indicates the actual working capacity. Diesel engines tend to be designed for high-torque applications. The 6.2L HEMI available on the TRX model provides a whopping 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, offering a level of power few trucks can compete with.

A black 2023 Ram 1500 is shown from the front at an angle.

Which Model Is for You?

Each of these trucks offers some unique advantages. The Classic is significantly cheaper and is, in fact, the most affordable truck in its class. Price is a major concern for shoppers, so affordability is probably the most significant advantage that the Classic has over the regular 1500. Other pros include the retro exterior design, which feels like stepping back to a simpler time. The Classic also has integrated modern features like the multimedia system, safety features, and climate control. It can also be upgraded with a bigger screen, a bigger engine, and several other upgradable features. The main cons to the Classic are the lack of customizability, fewer engine options, a lower number of trim packages, and fewer safety features than are available on the regular 1500.

The Ram 1500 may be more expensive than the Classic, but it provides many more features and options than the Classic. There are two more engine options, making it much more powerful. The standard 1500 has eight trim options, while the Classic only has two. If the Classic has the options you want, it is a great choice for you, but if you are looking for something more customizable, the 1500 offers much greater flexibility. Also, if you are searching for a more luxurious truck interior, the 1500 will be the better choice because of the much higher-end features available.

Our recommendation for which truck you should choose is unique to each individual, though we can make some generalizations. If your budget is tight, the Classic is a more affordable truck, making it a great option for those looking to save money. The Ram 1500 is more pricey, but with the added cost comes more features, options, and power. So if performance is a primary concern and customization is high on the list of preferences, the 1500 will probably be a better choice for you. If you have more questions or concerns about the differences and what that means for you, we would love to answer any of your questions here at Ryan Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

Test Drive Them Both Today

Both of these trucks offer the Ram quality, design, and durability the manufacturer is known for. For those who appreciate a classic and retro look, the Ram 1500 Classic is an attractive and affordable buy. For those who prefer newer features, a more modern design, and more customization options, the regular 1500 is worth the extra cost.

We like both of these trucks and enjoy the features which each offers. We believe the best way to see which vehicle is the best fit is to come in for a conversation and a test drive. Our staff is knowledgeable about all the differences between these trucks and would love to find out about your specific needs. Once we get an idea of what you’re looking for in a truck, we can get you to test drive the two trucks, and then you will have a much better idea of which one is going to be a better fit for you. Come in today and let us help you find the perfect Ram 1500 truck that will be sure to enhance your everyday travels.