The Ram HD proves there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned power and capability. Despite an aging architecture, this heavy-duty pickup has a trim for every trade and a powertrain for every preference. The Ram 2500 has the segment’s only rear coil-spring suspension for an improved ride. The Ram 3500 has a class-leading 930 lb-ft of torque with its optional Cummins diesel, which can tow up to 31,210 pounds. Although the Ram HD can handle almost any job on the planet, this prehistoric powerhouse lacks the tech and refinement of its sophisticated rivals from Ford and GM.
What’s New for 2018?
While the 2018 Ram is without major changes, it steals the class-leading torque crown from the heavy-duty Ford with the available Cummins 6.7-liter inline-six diesel in the Ram 3500. The lineup also adds the posh new range-topping Limited Tungsten Edition and a new Harvest Edition aimed at the agricultural market. The optional 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen adds desirable features such as a Wi-Fi hotspot and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support. A backup camera is standard on all models, and a remote exterior switch in the cargo box activates LED bed lights.
- Tradesman: $34,740
- SLT: $39,090
- Lone Star: $46,080
- Big Horn: $46,080
- Laramie: $50,140
- Longhorn: $58,140
- Limited: $60,240
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Class-leading maximum capacities and engine outputs of these heavy-duty pickups shift almost every year, and the 2018 Ram HD holds the current torque crown with an available 930 lb-ft. Its optional six-speed manual transmission and myriad engine combos are intriguing, but Ford and GM rivals are more refined, at least for now. The base engine is a 383-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 making 400 lb-ft of torque. The other available gasoline engine is a 410-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 producing 429 lb-ft of torque. Both engines pair with a serviceable six-speed automatic transmission. The Ram 3500’s available 350-hp Cummins 6.7-liter inline-six diesel was reworked to make an additional 30 lb-ft of torque (up from 900). It comes with its own six-speed automatic and is capable of towing up to 31,210 pounds. None of the Ram HD’s powertrains can match the straight-line speed of their rivals, but they do have unique suspensions that provides a comfortable ride for the most part, which is about all you can hope for in these beasts of burden. Over uneven sections of highway, an annoying bounce accompanies every expansion joint as if the truck had a case of the hiccups. Still, the Ram exhibits the best body control of its competitors.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Despite having a roomy and comfortable cabin, the Ram HD interior is overdue for a redesign. It lacks some of the optional interior features of its competition, such as the massaging front seats on the Ford Super Duty or the rear-seat entertainment system on the Chevy Silverado HD. Practical switchgear and a space-saving rotary shifter located on the center stack are standard interior highlights. The new Limited Tungsten Edition sits atop the Ram HD hierarchy with its premium interior materials and luxurious appointments, such as a suede headliner, genuine wood accents, and high-class leather on the seats and other surfaces. Hauling and storing stuff is a pickup’s forte, and the Ram HD is no exception. Its smaller cargo-bed volumes and interior storage space are forgiven thanks to available features such as integrated cargo boxes, a fold-flat load floor, and versatile in-floor bins in the rear of the cab.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Ram HD’s available Uconnect infotainment system is one of the best in the biz. It’s responsive and loaded with desirable features, such as a 4G LTE mobile hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen has improved resolution and pinch-to-zoom functions for 2018. Base models come with a six-speaker stereo, two USB ports, and an auxiliary input. Higher trims and options add such items as navigation and a 10-speaker Alpine audio system.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer’s CPO program.