Ram 1500 Big Horn Vs. Tradesman – Which Is Right For You?

When you say Ram trucks you immediately think of the heritage and the tradition of these vehicles. For decades they have established a brand of trucks that truly represented American automotive genius. In this article, we will be discussing the difference between two of their half-ton trim levels, the Big Horn and the Tradesman. We've done the research for you to find out which variant is the right one for you. 

Both trim levels have their own unique quirks and features. The Tradesman is Ram's base trim on all its trucks, while the Big Horn is the next variant after the Tradesman HFE on the hierarchy of trims. The  Big Horn will have slightly more upgraded amenities, but both trims have the same option when it comes to engines. It is important to identify what you need and what you want out of your truck before choosing between the two. 

Interested to learn more about the comparison between the two trim levels? Continue reading as we discuss further details that separate these two variants! We will also be suggesting related articles in the end that we think might pique your interest. 

2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Long Horn, Crew Cab, Rambox - Ram 1500 Big Horn Vs. Tradesman Which Is Right For You

Differences Between Ram 1500 Big Horn and Tradesman

2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Long Horn, Crew Cab, Rambox 

On the surface, the Big Horn might appear to have the advantage. It is after all the next trim up, has more tech, and more comfort compared to the base Tradesman. But having all the bells and whistles does not mean that it is the right vehicle for you. What will you do with those extra features if you won't even use them?

This is very important, especially if you are constrained by budget matters. Why pay for a higher sticker price when you don't need the extra features on the car. 

This is why in this section, we will be showing you some key features of both trim levels. Hopefully, this will help you have an apple to oranges comparison and finally determine which variant should you go for.


Ram 1500 on display at a Stellantis Ram dealership. Ram 1500 models include the Laramie, Tradesman and Rebel.

At the base trim level, you can expect the most basic features for the Tradesman—a truly work truck that has no unnecessary tech. You can use this truck for everyday rugged work and won't be in regret that you are quickly wearing out luxurious materials. 

The Tradesman has an MSRP starting at  $35,200. Here are some of its key features:

  • 3.6L Pentastar® V6 24V VVT Engine with eTorque producing 305 HP and 269 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 4x2 or 4x4
  • 7,730 lbs. maximum towing capacity
  • Hill-start assist
  • Traction control
  • Electronic stability control
  • Electronic roll mitigation
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Parkview rear backup camera
  • Uconnect 5 with 5-in. display
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Bluetooth® technology
  • Four-way manual adjustable driver and front passenger seat
  • 40/20/40 split-bench seat
  • Available driver assistance tech features

Big Horn

2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Long Horn, Crew Cab, Rambox.

Just moving up two steps is the Big Horn. This variant will give you a taste of what you can expect when going up higher on trim level. If the Tradesman is the base level, the Big Horn is a slightly upgraded version with luxury features slowly seeping into its designs.

The Big Horn's MSRP starts at around $40,155. Some quick rundown of the Big Horn's features include:

  • Fog lamps
  • Chrome grille surround
  • 18-in. aluminum wheels
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
  • Available Rambox cargo management system
  • Available dual-pane panoramic sunroof
  • Available Uconnect 5 or Uconnect 5C NAV with 8.4- or 12-in. display 

What other trims does Ram offer for their half-ton trucks?

Currently, Ram is offering eight main trims in a total of one off-road specific iteration for its half-ton segment. These are the following:

  • Tradesman
  • Tradesman HFE
  • Big Horn
  • Laramie,
  • Rebel
  • Limited Long Horn
  • Limited

An off-road specific variant for the Ram 1500 is also available. It's called the TRX. 

What engine options does Ram offer for their half-ton trucks?

Ram mainly offers four engine choices for its consumers. They give you the choice of nearly all of the engines in each trim level. Some have the option for all four, but as you go higher up the trim, the less powerful engines get omitted from the list to compensate for the power needed.  

Here is a quick walk-through of the engines available for the Ram 1500:

3.6L PENTASTAR® V6 Engine with eTorque

The entry-level engine on the 2022 Ram 1500 is a 3.6L Pentastar V6 with eTorque. This engine has advanced wide-range variable valve timing (VVT).

The power output for this engine is 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, which allows for towing up to 7,510 lbs. Giving you an average of 19 MPG in the city, and 24 on the highway. 

5.7L HEMI® V8 Engine

The old and crown favorite 5.7L V8 engine is still available. It is also equipped with VVT and a Multi-Displacement System (MDS) with Fuel Saver Technology.

This engine can output power numbers of 395 horsepower, 410 lb-ft of torque, and can tow up to 11,310 lbs, giving you an average of roughly 15 MPG in the city, and 21 MPG on the highway.

5.7L HEMI® V8 Engine with eTorque

A newer version of the 5.7L Hemi V8 is equipped with eTorque. This engine has a power of up to 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. The eTorque option gives this engine more pulling capacity at 11,3200 lbs. This will give you an estimated average of 18 MPG in the city, and 22 MPG on the highway.

3.0L EcoDiesel V6 Engine

The 3.0L Ecodiesel V6 engine is the Diesel offering of the Ram half-ton trucks. Although the engine puts out less horsepower compared to its brothers at 260. But this motor is still the best-in-class diesel torque of 480 lb-ft, allowing you to tow 9,660 lbs, with an average of 21 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. 

Supercharged 6.2L HEMI® V8 Engine

The supercharged engine continues to be the most powerful factory-installed engine ever on a half-ton truck. This monstrous 6.2L Supercharged Hemi V8 engine puts out slightly the same equal numbers as it did for last year's models.

With a 702 max horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, and a top speed of 118 MPH, it is only rated, however, to tow 8,100 lbs and 1,310 lbs of payload. This engine can achieve 0-60 MPH in just 3.7 seconds. Nearly a second faster compared to last year's engine. 

Here is the list of engines available per trim level:

2022 Ram 1500 Tradesman

  • 6L PENTASTAR®V6 Engine with eTorque
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine with eTorque
  • 0L EcoDiesel V6 Engine

2022 Ram 1500 Big Horn

  • 6L PENTASTAR®V6 Engine with eTorque
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine with eTorque
  • 0L EcoDiesel V6 Engine

2022 Ram 1500 Laramie

  • 6L PENTASTAR®V6 Engine with eTorque
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine with eTorque
  • 0L EcoDiesel V6 Engine

2022 Ram 1500 Rebel

  • 6L PENTASTAR®V6 Engine with eTorque
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine with eTorque
  • 0L EcoDiesel V6 Engine

2022 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn

  • 6L PENTASTAR®V6 Engine with eTorque
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine with eTorque
  • 0L EcoDiesel V6 Engine

2022 Ram 1500 Limited

  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine
  • 7L HEMI®V8 Engine with eTorque
  • 0L EcoDiesel V6 Engine

2022 Ram 1500 TRX

  • Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 Engine

Are Ram trucks reliable?

RAM 1500 Rebel stopped next to lake in a sunset

Based on average ownership, a Ram truck has a common lifespan of 13 to 17 years and 200,000 to 300,000 miles, but with older models, these numbers are even higher.

The 1500 trucks also age better compared to its bigger brothers, the 2500 and the 3500 trucks. This is due in part that those vehicles are used in more extreme and heavy-duty work. Although those vehicles are rated and designed to take up those beatings, they are often pushed to their limits, and sometimes even over it. This contributes to it having a shorter lifespan.

But no matter how rugged and overbuilt your vehicle is, it will only last you depending on how well you take care of it. With proper care and maintenance, your car can easily last you decades and decades even if you use it every day.

Regularly changing its oils when needed, not going over its rated limits, and immediately having it fixed as soon as it encounters issues will all help your Ram truck last long. Always remember the saying, "Take care of your car and your car will take care of you."

How well does Ram compare to other half-ton trucks?

1958 Chevrolet Apache 31 Half Ton Stepside Pickup Truck at a local car show.

For the past model years, Ram has been challenging its main competitors (Ford and GM). Although classified by some as tier-two trucks, Ram has slowly been proving their doubters wrong as they continue to innovate and put more power in their trucks as evident with their supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 engine.

In Conclusion

Choosing the right trim level for you ultimately boils down to your needs and preference. But even if you do not need the bells and whistles of the higher trim, if you want it, you can always go for it.

Never forget, you should always choose the truck that doesn't just get the jobs done, but also gives you fun while driving and owning it, especially since these trucks are not very cheap!

Here are some related articles you can check out:

Can A Dodge Ram 1500 Pull A Toy Hauler?

How Big Is A Ram ProMaster? [2500 And 3500 Models]

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