2018 Ram 3500
Diesel engine and automatic transmission yield monumental torque
Cabin offers excellent fit and finish
Ride is comfortable and quiet, especially for a large truck
Available load-leveling air suspension
Diesel engine delivers lower power with manual transmission
Manual-shift control is in a clumsy spot on column shifter
Six-cylinder diesel not as quick as V8-powered competitors
In the market for a heavy-duty pickup? The Ram 3500 Heavy Duty offers big-rig styling, an imposing front grille, and massive power for towing and off-roading, along with options and trims that will make getting to the worksite more comfortable.
Ram keeps it simple for drivers to choose a bed and cab configuration compared to rivals from Chevy and Ford. Ram offers regular cab trucks with an 8-foot bed; crew cabs with a 6-foot, 4-inch or 8-foot bed; and the massive MegaCab with the 6-foot, 4-inch bed.
Ram trucks have well-designed interiors, with welcoming aesthetics and controls that will become second nature to operate. In crew cab and MegaCab versions, the rear seat folds up, providing added storage; drivers can fold out a panel for a flat, hard load floor. Some versions also offer a center console in the front seat that folds up, allowing for a bench seat and 6-passenger seating.
Trim levels for the Ram 3500 include the Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited. The base Tradesman lives up to its name with muted black bumpers and grille, 17-inch steel wheels, a vinyl bench seat, basic 3-inch LCD radio interface, and six speakers.
The SLT provides more creature comforts, including cloth seats, power windows, a sliding rear window, and Uconnect 3.0 with a 5-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.
The Big Horn builds on the comforts of the SLT, adding power-adjustable seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, and a complimentary SiriusXM radio subscription for one year.
The Laramie starts to ramp up the luxury with a 7-inch customizable digital instrument cluster display, leather seating, heated-and-ventilated front seats, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, and the large 8.4-inch Uconnect screen.
The range-topping Limited has a unique grille design, added chrome exterior elements, 20-inch chrome wheels, premium Natura bucket seats, and unique interior badging and details.
The range-topping 8.4-inch Uconnect system, available in the Laramie and Limited, is one of the best infotainment units on the market. It has a tablet-like layout and features pinch-to-zoom for the navigation function. This infotainment system also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for compatible smartphones.
New for 2018 is the Tungsten Limited. Offered as a package on the Limited, it dials back some of the chrome but keeps the luxury dialed all the way up. This package includes blacked-out headlight bezels, 20-inch “satin carbon” wheels, body-color door handles, and massive RAM lettering on the tailgate. Inside, this package adds a suede headliner for a unique cabin look.
The Ram 3500 is available with the RamBox cargo-management system. These power-locking compartments are located along the outer bed wall on either side of the truck.
They are illuminated, spacious, and drainable. These compartments are tied into the truck’s remote locking system, which helps keep gear inside safe.
The base engine in the Ram 3500 is a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that creates 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. For true stump-pulling capability, drivers can choose the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine. This massive inline 6-cylinder engine generates 385 hp and an astounding 930 lb-ft of torque.
The gas engine comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the turbodiesel gives you the option of a 6-speed manual or two different 6-speed automatic transmissions. The Aisin automatic gives you the massive torque numbers we mentioned. If you opt for the 68RFE automatic,
power falls to 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. If you go with the manual, output is 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque.
When properly equipped, the Ram 3500 can tow up to 31,210 pounds with a diesel engine and carry a payload of 7,350 pounds for gas engines.
The big safety addition for the 2018 Ram 3500 is a standard reversing camera. On the base model, its view gets displayed in a small screen embedded in the rear-view mirror. For models with the 5-inch or 8.4-inch Uconnect system, the backup camera’s view gets displayed on the touchscreen. Other standard safety features include front and side-impact airbags, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, rain braking support, and trailer sway control.
Models with the 8.4-inch touchscreen are available with a truck-bed camera mounted above the rear window. This camera is a great way to monitor your trailer while towing or backing up. When in reverse, you can cycle between the two camera views via buttons on the touchscreen.