The RAM 1500 comes in crew cab, extended cab and regular cab options.
The exterior is still its gruff old self -- highlighted by the bold in-your-face RAM grille that is instantly recognizable, plus its extra-large headlamps and side mirrors.
The Limited model I tested had leather bucket seats, and was comfy and roomy inside for all passengers. Seating for up to 6 is offered in the RAM 1500, so you’re able to transport a family around in a vehicle that was once associated only with construction work. That shows how far trucks have evolved from being strictly workhorses.
In terms of the truck bed, you can choose from three different options, depending how much length you need: 67.3 inches, 76.3 inches or 98.3 inches. Side steps can be included to help you enter and exit the vehicle, which really is necessary with a vehicle this size.
Visually, there’s a lot that comes into the exterior design if you choose the Limited package. That includes: 20” polished aluminum wheels; Wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel; Body-color front fascia and rear bumper; Limited leather bucket seats; four-corner air suspension; Steering wheel mounted audio controls; Chrome body side molding; Heated and ventilated front seats; Heated second-row seats.
For those with lots of tools to carry around, RamBoxes can be built into the bed of the truck.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
My test vehicle had the top engine offered: a 5.7-liter V8 HEMI, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Being a large, heavy truck (specifically, almost 5,500 pounds), the get-up-and-go factor wasn’t high, but it’s a powerhouse once you are moving. That’s due to the power plant’s 395 horsepower. The V8 also offers 410 lb.-ft. of torque.
You can adjust the ride height, and can also move from two- to four-wheel drive as needed.
Also available in the RAM are a couple other engine options: A 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel (240 hp; 420 lb.-ft.), and a 3.6-liter V6 (305 hp; 269 lb.-ft.).
Those who will spend a lot of time towing heavy loads should consider either the V8 or the turbodiesel, due to their impressive torque numbers.
In terms of overall driver experience, the 2018 RAM is in the discussion for most comfortable full-size truck on the market, in part due to the optional air suspension, and the interior is impressively quiet. Even those without the air suspension still get an impressive ride courtesy of the standard coil-spring setup.
If you live in an area with rough winter weather, a truck like the 2018 RAM 1500 is something you’ll love to own. Barring the snowstorm of the century, you’re going to get around calmly and comfortably, while the smaller vehicles below you muddle through and hope to make it home.
My only complaint on the setup of the RAM is that the rotary shifter dial is placed on the dash in an area that’s near the other rotary control dials, which to me seems unwise. Perhaps a spot in center console would have been a better choice.
Towing capacity on the 2018 RAM tops out at 10,500. This number is impressive and close to the main competitors in the class. Maximum cargo load is 1,880 pounds, a number which lags a bit behind the other trucks in the segment.
Numbers are pretty strong here on the government safety ratings. For side crashes, the 2018 RAM got a five-star rating, and the frontal crash rating was four stars. Only low point in the testing was a three-star rating on rollovers.
Standard tech equipment includes: ParkView rear back-up camera and rain-sensitive windshield wipers.
The UConnect infotainment system, with its 8.4-inch touchscreen, is one of the best tech experiences you can get from a vehicle, and arguably the best among the top truck contenders. Voice commands work extremely well, and the system is very easy to learn and use for just about anybody -- even those without proficiency in technology.
The 2018 RAM 1500 is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capable, if you’d like to recreate your phone experience in the vehicle. Bluetooth, USB ports, AUX port, remote SD card slot are also included.
The audio system in my test vehicle was also fantastic, booming yet clear even at louder volumes.
Official MPG numbers on the RAM 1500 are 15 city/21 highway/17 combined. In my time in the vehicle, numbers were actually below that, closer to 14 mpg on average.
But to be honest, fuel mileage isn’t going to be an impressive number on pretty much any full-size pickup truck you buy, unless you go the route of choosing the RAM turbodiesel engine, which boosts mpg significantly (but offers less horsepower).
The RAM 1500 Limited Crew Cab 4x4 that i tested was on the high end of the pricing scale, starting around $54K and moving up to $63,780 with all the fixings. On the other end of things, the RAM 1500 Tradesman will cost you about $27K, and can be classified as a basic work truck. The $64K model is much more than that, of course. You get a boatload of trim lines offered along the way -- from Big Horn to Laramie to to the off-road capable Rebel.
While the 2018 RAM 1500 marks the end of the line for the current RAM design, it’s by no means going out on a low note. The brand continues up a strong fight against F-150 and Silverado due to its powerful engines, smooth ride, strong tech features and comfort for families inside. If you’re in the market for a pickup that’s going to do more than just haul gravel, the 2018 RAM is definitely worth a look.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.