Before you buy a truck you need to see the new Dodge Ram 1500.
Without a doubt, the 1500 Ram is a pickup truck that will match up with you whether you’re dusting down your work boots or you’re formally suited to roll up to the office. With roots that can be traced back to the 2009 model, the 1500 is still the only full-size pickup that relies on standard coil springs both in the front and the rear. Most other pickups on the market today tend to use the much less sophisticated leaf spring suspension for the rear axle. However, much like its competitors, the Ram is available in a range of trim levels that can be mixed with the three cab configurations (two-door regular, four-door quad and four-door crew) and three bed lengths (67.4, 76.3 and 9.3 inches).
What’s new for 2018?
A few special editions have made an appearance in the 2018 model. For those that want to add an extra luxurious touch, the Limited Tungsten Edition includes a faux-suede headliner, trim-specific leather and wood accents. With the Harvest Edition, the company has targeted the agricultural industry to create a pickup that has a taller ride height, a mesh grille and paint colors that match certain tractor makes. Finally, the Sport models now have grilles that are mimicked on the look of the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn and the new Ram 1500 Big Horn Black entirely foregoes any use of chrome.
With an optional 8.4-inch infotainment system you’ll benefit from the things you’d expect in a truck of this calibre such as the latest Uconnect software with features like 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Android Auto compatibility, Apple CarPlay and more. A backup camera now comes as standard on all models, and there’s a remote exterior switch that can be used to activate LED bed lights.
Engine and transmission
There may not be any changes from the three available engines we saw in 2017 but what we shouldn’t fail to recognize is that the Ram 1500 gives us what no other full-size pickup truck currently offers: a diesel engine. So far, this has for many proven to be an attractive alternative to outdated gas-powered vehicles.
The three available engines include the base 3.6-liter V-6 with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the 5.7 liter V-8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, and the turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 that boasts 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of which you go for, you’ll benefit from an eight-speed automatic transmission and the choice of rear or all-wheel drive.
Fuel economy and performance
As we’ve mentioned, the diesel engine on the 1500 is, as it stands, the only one of its kind so of course, it comes as no surprise that it has impressive fuel economy. No powertrain changes are present in 2018’s upgrade, but the EPA-rated highway estimate has decreased from 19 to 18 mpg.
This year there’s no change to the truck’s chassis, either but performance-wise it does continue to offer the most comfortable pickup ride thanks to its exclusive air suspension. We’re almost certain that those looking for a pickup truck won’t be doing so with the drag strip in mind and in that case acceleration proves to be just right. It’s fast enough for everyday duties such as taking the kids to and from school or hauling your shopping home from the mall.
Compared to its rivals, the Ram tends to have a better suspension setup. It does this by using multiple links and coil springs, so the ride feels much more like being in a car than in a pickup truck. Trust us when we say that those that opt for the air suspension will benefit from handling that will feel like they’re riding on a hoverboard akin to that of Back to the Future.
Interior and infotainment
The standard interior is practical and the higher up the trim levels you go, the more premium materials you get. With the top of the range Limited Tungsten Edition model, you have the chance to choose an all-new leather-interior option with a faux-suede headliner and wood accents. The rugged Rebel trim is also now available with a leather interior. Nonetheless, the Ram’s overall interior isn’t the most spacious. There’s around two or three inches less space in the rear, but this doesn’t mean that it feels cramped.
The optional Uconnect system has improved its resolution and now includes in-demand features like 4g LTE mobile hotspot, HD radio, Apple CarPlay and compatibility with Android Auto. At 8.40-inches this is the largest infotainment system among full-size pickups and it’s incredibly easy to use.
Even though we haven’t seen a complete redesign since way back in 2009, we feel confident in saying that the Ram’s exterior has aged well. The Limited Tungsten Edition is certainly at the top of the lineup for 2018, with a distinct appearance that’s defined by the sport hood, satin-painted wheels, unique badging and a chrome-cladded grille emblazoned with the word Ram.
Farmers will jump for joy at the Harvest Edition that’s available in traditional farm-equipment colors: New Holland Blue and Case IH Red. This edition is also chrome-covered and has a unique mesh-style grille, all-terrain tires and an extra inch on the ride height.
Regarding exterior features, mirrors boast a broad range and those looking to tow have the option of the upgraded mirrors in the Trailer Tow Mirror and Brake Control Group package. Additionally, the optional usable Ram Box bins in the rear fenders do provide extra storage, but you’ll have to compromise with a reduced box width. A front sunroof is also available.
Once again, the Ram 1500 lacks some of the most modern safety features available in 2018. Last year, the Ram received a 4-star rating from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This was concluded from a set of tests to evaluate front and side crashworthiness, headlight reach, the strength of the roof and how easy it was to install a child seat.
However, we’ve found that installing a child seat is relatively hassle-free as it doesn’t require the vehicle’s front seats to be moved forward. Additionally, front and rear parking sensors come as standard on most trim packages, but there is a lack of driver assistance technologies that tend to be increasingly common in competitors. This might be a concern to some, but it’s not as if the Ram doesn’t perform well.