And why luxury sedans should watch out.
Luxury car buyers are swapping out their sedans for full-size pickup trucks more than ever before. While this might sound strange for people living in other parts of the world, it makes perfect sense for buyers in the United States. All three major American automakers - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, and General Motors - will no longer build full-size luxury sedans after the 2020 model year. Once the Cadillac CT6 and Lincoln Continental end production, pickup trucks will take over as the number one American luxury vehicle.
There are plenty of decked out trucks to choose from including the Ford F-150 King Ranch and GMC Sierra Denali but if you want the most luxurious option available, the 2020 Ram 1500 Limited is your best bet. The Ram 1500 Limited is packed with amazing features and in six crucial ways, we think it is actually a better luxury vehicle than many European sedans.
Full-size American trucks have been available with luxury trim levels for many years now but the current Ram 1500 may mark the first occasion where we can say the interior matches Europe's best with a straight face. The cabin is filled with supple leather, real wood, and soft-touch materials. Most trucks, even the luxury trims, have often been filled with cheap-looking fake wood and hard plastic surfaces but Ram has managed to craft an interior that wouldn't feel out of place with a luxury badge on it.
Even in the largest luxury sedans like the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, rear seat occupants only get around 40 inches of rear legroom (sometimes less). In the Ram, rear passengers are treated to more than 45 inches for their legs, which matches or bests the space found in the long-wheelbase versions of many European luxury cars. Backs seats in trucks can often be uncomfortable because they force you to sit up straight against the bed wall. In the Ram, the rear seats slide, allowing passengers to recline for a more comfortable experience. With regards to the headroom, the Ram offers 40.9 inches up front and 39.2 inches in the back, which is much more than most European sedans. No luxury sedan offers as much interior volume as the Ram and as we all know, space equals luxury.
It may seem impossible to think that a pickup truck could possibly have more technology than a European luxury car but the Ram is a tech-lover's dream. FCA's 12-inch infotainment system is rivaled only by Tesla and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 360-degree camera helps you squeeze the Ram's massive profile into tight parking spaces and the truck can even navigate itself into a parking spot semi-autonomously. There's also a 19-speaker Harmon Kardon premium audio system that matches the systems found in pricier German cars.
While the Ram isn't quite as comfortable as the cushiest luxury sedans, it is more than suitable for the average buyer. The Ram Limited includes a four-corner air suspension, which takes away nearly all of the harshness that is typically associated with pickup trucks. Over most roads, the Ram floats over bumps and other imperfections, lending to its overall feel as a luxury vehicle. This truck may single-handedly erase the term "rides like a truck" from existence.
While full-size luxury sedan trunks max out at around 18 cubic feet of storage, the Ram offers the ultimate "trunk" in the form of a pickup truck bed. Even the 5'7" short bed found on the 1500 Limited trim houses 53.9 cubic feet of storage space with a payload of up to 2,000 pounds. The RamBox Cargo Management System offers smaller storage areas on the bedside, while the cabin boasts massive storage areas with way more room than any European luxury sedan.
Value. That's the number one reason why someone would choose a pickup truck over a luxury sedan. While flagship German luxury sedans can easily top $100,000 or even $200,000 in some cases, the 2020 Ram 1500 Limited with the most expensive engine and nearly every option rings in at around $75,000. Factoring in incentives, it can be even less. For this price, you'd be able to get a nicely equipped (but not fully-loaded) mid-size option from one of the European manufacturers like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, or Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
To get one of those as well-optioned as the Ram Limited, you'd have to spend at least as much (if not more) and you'd be getting a lot less space inside with less capability. It may not be the right decision for everyone but we can clearly see why former luxury sedan owners are flocking to trucks.