Ram Ram Pickup 1500 ›› 2018 ›› 2018 Ram Ram Pickup 1500

2018 Ram Ram Pickup 1500

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Overview

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Overview (Final Score: C+)

The Ram 1500 has always done things a bit differently from competitors, from offering the widest range of trims in the full-size truck category to having a number of class-exclusive features such as an air suspension and diesel engine.

But before too long, the current Ram 1500 will drive off into the sunset. Ram introduced a new version of the 1500 at the Detroit Auto Show in early 2018. The new model promises key improvements in overall capability, refinement, fuel economy and interior appointments.

Does that mean you should skip the current Ram 1500 or not? We spent a week in the 2018 model to find out.

What We Love About the 2018 Ram 1500:


  • Distinct exterior styling

  • One of the smoothest rides in the class

  • Updated UConnect System


 

What We Didn't Love About the 2018 Ram 1500:


  • Lacks a number of driver assistance features

  • Low towing and payload numbers compared to competitors

  • Heavy and numb steering makes the truck feel larger than it is


 

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Exterior View (8/10)

No doubt about it, there is nothing quite like the Ram 1500's looks. The big-rig styling it's had since the 1994 model year still looks good and gives the impression of being very capable.

Certain trims like our Limited tester swap the standard crosshair grille for one with "RAM" in big letters. We find that to be a bit much and not fit in with the rest of truck's styling. The Limited also gets a raised hood with vents and a set of bi-function projector headlights with LED daytime running lights. Twenty-inch polished aluminum wheels come standard on the Limited.

Like most truck manufacturers, Ram offers three bed lengths: 5.7, 6.4 and 8 feet. Our crew cab tester featured the 5.7-foot bed with the optional RamBox cargo management system. The RamBox gives the 1500 a unique advantage over other trucks by providing additional storage for tools and other items. The boxes also provide peace of mind as they can be locked. However, the Ram 1500's bed trails competitors in terms of overall volume. The 5.7-foot bed only has 50 cubic feet of space, below GM and Ford's offering of 53 cubic feet.

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Interior Comfort, Quality and Ease of Use (7/10)

The Ram 1500 Limited comes furnished with a number of luxury touches, such as leather upholstery for seats and other trim pieces, wood accents and large areas of soft-touch plastics. Some of the Limited's other appointments, such as the belt-buckle seat pockets and a "Limited" badge stitched on the center console's lid, might not be as appealing.

You can't fault the Ram 1500's control layout. With large buttons and knobs, finding the various controls to turn on the heated seats or setting the cruise control is easy.

The Limited offers 10-way power adjustments for the driver and 6-way adjustments for the passenger. The lack of a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel makes finding a comfortable position difficult. Ram offers power-adjustable pedals to make up for this, but they don't fully solve the issue. Backseat passengers will find plenty of head and legroom.

For interior storage, the Ram 1500 offers a deep center console, a storage bin in front of the center stack with a clever phone grip and various cubbies throughout.

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Technology (9/10)

For 2018, Ram Trucks installed the newest version of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' UConnect system. Compared to the outgoing version, the latest one brings an updated interface, improved performance, and integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

We like UConnect for its easy to use interface with large touch buttons and clear graphics. FCA's integration with Apple CarPlay integration is one the best, as it only takes a few seconds for the system to bring up the simplified home screen of the phone. The various shortcut buttons for UConnect's functions are still available underneath the CarPlay interface. The only item we'd like to see UConnect improve is the USB device indexing. We found that it took a minute or so for the system to index all of the tracks on our iPod.

Fuel Economy (7/10)

EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Ram 1500 when equipped with a 5.7L V8 engine and 4-wheel drive stand at 15 city/21 highway/17 combined, which puts it in the mid-pack of full-size trucks. Our average for the week landed at 14.8 mpg in mostly city driving. Those wanting to fill-up as often can go with the 3.0L turbodiesel V6 that has fuel economy figures of 21/26/24.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

The Ram 1500 does better than its heavy-duty brother in terms of predicted reliability. Both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power give the 2018 Ram 1500 give an average rating for reliability. For initial quality, the Ram 1500 is considered one of the best by J.D. Power.

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Safety (6/10)

Ram equips the 1500 with a set of airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and a backup camera. Certain trims get front and rear parking sensors. Don't expect to find any driver assistance technologies such as blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, or lane departure warning.

Crash test ratings are average for the class with a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a mix of "Good" and "Marginal" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Performance (8/10)

Three engines are on offer for the 2018 Ram 1500. The base is a 3.6L V6 producing 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Next is a 5.7L HEMI V8 packing 395 hp and 410 lb-ft. The third is a 3.0L turbodiesel V6 with 240 hp and 420 lb-ft. All engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic and the choice of two- or four-wheel drive. Our particular Ram 1500 configuration had the V8 and four-wheel drive.

On paper, the V8 should make the Ram 1500 somewhat quick. But in reality, it is actually one of the slowest trucks in the class. Zero-60 mph takes a hair over seven seconds. When equipped with their V8s, most competitors are able to do it in the 6-second range. This will mean a slightly longer time to make a pass or merge on to the freeway. At least the rumble of the V8 will give the illusion that you're going much faster. The eight-speed automatic goes about its business without making any fuss. Gear changes are smooth and the transmission is willing to downshift to provide extra power.

When properly equipped, the 5.7L V8 can tow up to a maximum of 10,700 pounds. This puts it ahead of the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra, but behind the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra. Maximum payload for this particular configuration stands at 1,510 pounds, again trailing most competitors.

Ram redeems itself when it comes to the 1500's ride. Unlike other trucks that use a leaf spring setup in the rear, Ram employs a multilink and coil-spring setup. This gives the Ram similar ride quality to a sedan, with most bumps being smoothed over. The optional air suspension makes the Ram 1500 almost float across the road surface with barely any imperfections transmitted. The air suspension also allows a driver to adjust ride height, which makes it easier to get in and out of the truck. On a winding road, the Ram 1500 feel steady and shows little body roll.

Steering is where the Ram 1500 falters. It feels too light and takes a lot more effort to turn the truck. This makes the Ram 1500 a bit of a handful in parking lots where three-point turns are common.

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Pricing and Value (9/10)

Ram has been the leader when it comes to offering numerous customization options on their trucks. The 2018 model year sees Ram offering nine different trims, ranging from the work-truck Tradesman to luxurious Limited. Add in the three cab options and bed lengths, and you'll easily find a truck that fits your needs.

It doesn't hurt the 2018 Ram 1500 is also the least expensive truck in the class with a base price of $26,495 for the two-wheel drive Tradesman regular cab. Our Ram 1500 Limited tester begins at $56,375 for the Crew Cab and 5'7" cargo bed. With a number of options ticked, the as-tested price came to $63,870. This may seem like a lot of cash to drop on a truck, but similar luxury trims found on competitors can reach $70,000 and above.

For most people, our pick of the extensive Ram 1500 range is the Big Horn. It offers most of the features needed, along with providing a long option list to help make it your own. For those who dream of taking their truck off-road, the Rebel should be on your list. This model comes with meaty off-road tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, increased ground clearance, and rugged looks inside and out.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (62/80, 78%)

We can't talk about light-duty pickups without mentioning the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the Ford F-150. America's best-selling vehicle for a number of years has a lot going for its current-generation. An excellent range of engines gives the F-150 class leading numbers in towing and hauling. Ford has also given the F-150 a number of active safety features and clever features such as an integrated step in the tailgate.

GM's full-size trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra shouldn't be discounted either. Both trucks offer one of the most powerful V8s in the class, along with providing a ride as smooth as the Ram 1500 does.

The biggest competitor to the 2018 Ram 1500 will be the upcoming 2019 Ram 1500 due later this spring. The 2019 model brings a number of interior, powertrain and suspension improvements, along with a lot of new tech in terms of safety and fuel economy.

The current Ram 1500 is getting up there in age, as evidenced by its lack of active safety features. It also trails competitors for towing and payload. But that doesn't mean the 1500 should be overlooked. Ram still leads the pack in terms of ride quality and a design that stands out. Plus, the updated UConnect system adds some new features to keep the Ram 1500 competitive. Despite being one of the oldest trucks in the class, the 2018 Ram 1500 can still hold its own.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Crew Cab - 4WD
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 34695
Express Express 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 34695
Harvest Harvest 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 4WD 38845
Big Horn Big Horn 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 38845
Lone Star Lone Star 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 38845
Sport Sport 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 4WD 42395
Night Night 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 4WD 42395
Laramie Laramie 4x4 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 43845
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 37195
Express Express 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 37195
Lone Star Silver Lone Star Silver 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 41395
Lone Star Lone Star 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 41395
Big Horn Big Horn 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 41395
Harvest Harvest 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 4WD 41395
Sport Sport 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 4WD 44595
Night Night 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 4WD 44595
Laramie Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 45845
Rebel Rebel 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 4WD 47595
Longhorn Longhorn 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 53595
Limited Limited 4x4 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 53595
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 37795
Express Express 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 37795
Harvest Harvest 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 43395
Lone Star Silver Lone Star Silver 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 43395
Lone Star Lone Star 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 43395
Big Horn Big Horn 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 43395
Sport Sport 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 46595
Night Night 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 46595
Laramie Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 47845
Longhorn Longhorn 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 53995
Limited Limited 4x4 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder 4WD 53995
Crew Cab - RWD
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 31095
Express Express 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 31095
Harvest Harvest 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 35145
Lone Star Lone Star 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 35145
Big Horn Big Horn 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 35145
HFE HFE 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 37895
Sport Sport 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 38795
Night Night 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 38795
Laramie Laramie 4x2 Quad Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 40345
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 33495
Express Express 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 33495
Lone Star Silver Lone Star Silver 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 37795
Lone Star Lone Star 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 37795
Big Horn Big Horn 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 37795
Harvest Harvest 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 37795
Sport Sport 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 40995
Night Night 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 40995
Laramie Laramie 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box V6 RWD 42345
Rebel Rebel 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box 8 Cylinder RWD 45495
Longhorn Longhorn 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 50095
Limited Limited 4x2 Crew Cab 5'7" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 50095
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder RWD 34195
Express Express 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 34195
Harvest Harvest 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 39795
Lone Star Silver Lone Star Silver 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder RWD 39795
Lone Star Lone Star 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder RWD 39795
Big Horn Big Horn 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder RWD 39795
Sport Sport 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 42995
Night Night 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 42995
Laramie Laramie 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 44245
Longhorn Longhorn 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 50395
Limited Limited 4x2 Crew Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 50395
Regular Cab - 4WD
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 31895
Express Express 4x4 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 31895
Lone Star Lone Star 4x4 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 35895
Big Horn Big Horn 4x4 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 35895
Sport Sport 4x4 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 39095
Night Night 4x4 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 4WD 39095
Express Express 4x4 Reg Cab 8' Box *Ltd Avail* V6 4WD 31895
Tradesman Tradesman 4x4 Reg Cab 8' Box V6 4WD 31895
Lone Star Lone Star 4x4 Reg Cab 8' Box V6 4WD 36195
Big Horn Big Horn 4x4 Reg Cab 8' Box V6 4WD 36195
Regular Cab - RWD
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 27295
Express Express 4x2 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 27295
Lone Star Lone Star 4x2 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 31395
Big Horn Big Horn 4x2 Reg Cab 6'4" Box V6 RWD 31395
Sport Sport 4x2 Reg Cab 6'4" Box 8 Cylinder RWD 37095
Night Night 4x2 Reg Cab 6'4" Box *Ltd Avail* 8 Cylinder RWD 37095
Express Express 4x2 Reg Cab 8' Box *Ltd Avail* V6 RWD 27295
Tradesman Tradesman 4x2 Reg Cab 8' Box V6 RWD 27295
Lone Star Lone Star 4x2 Reg Cab 8' Box V6 RWD 31695
Big Horn Big Horn 4x2 Reg Cab 8' Box V6 RWD 31695

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