Some jobs are just too big for conventional pickups. Chassis cabs are what commercial operators turn to when they need a hardcore work truck that can be adapted to suit even the most unique of applications. Let's see how two of them measure up by comparing the 2018 Ford F-450 with its direct rival the Ram 4500.
Capability: 2018 Ford F-450
Not too many people looking for an alternative to a family SUV for weekends in the wilderness are going to turn to one of these. That means they're almost exclusively going to be used for commercial duties so capability is all-important. The Ford F-450 certainly stacks up well in that department with a maximum 5th-wheel tow rating of 26,400 pounds, maximum conventional tow rating of 17,500 pounds, 34,500-pound GCWR, 16,500-pound GVWR, and maximum payload of 9,850 pounds. As for the Ram, the 4500 has a maximum towing capacity of 25,650 pounds and a maximum GCWR of 33,500 pounds, falling short of what the Ford has to offer.
Engines: 2018 Ram 4500
The engines available under the hood of a truck like one of these also has a big bearing on any buying decision. The Ford F-450 is available with a standard 6.8-liter Triton gas V-10, developing 288 horsepower and 424 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the optional diesel engine is a turbocharged 6.7-liter V-8 Power Stroke boasting 330 horsepower and 750 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Ram 4500's standard gas powerplant is a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 offering 366 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of available torque. However, there's actually a choice of diesel engine for the Ram, although they're both 6.7-liter Cummings units but one is a higher output version. The first of the pair produces a healthy 320 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft., which goes to the rear or all-four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, while the higher-output take on the turbodiesel ups the power ante here to 325 horsepower and 750 lb.-ft. and comes mated to a six-speed auto. With a more powerful gas engine and a choice of diesels this round has to go to the Ram.
Trim levels: 2018 Ford F-450
We're used to light-duty trucks coming in a myriad of trim levels, but while these hardcore work trucks tone things down a bit in that direction they can still be quite nicely equipped. The Ford comes in three trim levels of XL, XLT and top-of-the-range Lariat. The Ram 4500 is also available in three different forms, which in this case are the entry level Tradesman, the mid-range SLT and the top-of-the-line Laramie. There's not a great deal between these two at the entry level, but the F-450 Lariat is quite a bit more luxurious than the Ram equivalent so this is another win for the Ford.
If you're just looking for a hardcore workhorse to fulfil a specific task that will do the business day-in, day-out, you're not going to be disappointed with either of these two. But if you're looking for the more modern truck and you want to have a cab as comfortable and luxurious as many premium sedans, the 2018 Ford F-450 is the clear winner.