With its principal rivals being the heavy-duty Chevy Silverado and Ford Super Duty, the 2018 Ram 2500/3500 HD’s qualifications land it mid-pack, providing more towing and payload ability than the Silverado, while not yet up to the top numbers posted by Ford’s big trucks. However, only the Ram HD still offers the option of a manual transmission.
You'll Like The 2018 Ram 2500 If...
Along with its impressive towing, payload and passenger capabilities, the 2018 Ram HD pickup line offers some of the most luxurious and comfortable cabins ever put in a truck. Of course, there are models for those who need their truck to take a beating, too.
You May Not Like The 2018 Ram 2500 If...
If best-in-class resale and reliability ratings are a concern, you may have a hard time leaving the Ford or Chevy camp for Ram. If you’re seeking a diesel truck but don’t need the size or price of a heavy-duty pickup, a Ford F-150 or Nissan Titan XD makes a better option.
Changes to the 2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 HD pickups include the addition of a new luxury Limited Tungsten trim, updated 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, standard rearview monitor, remote exterior switch for LED bed lights and a new Fleet Telematics Module for tracking efficiency.
You might expect something with "Heavy Duty" in the name to be utilitarian, but the 2018 Ram HD pickups are surprisingly polished. If that's not enough, the higher-end Laramie and Limited models are downright luxurious, with leather-lined and climate-controlled seats, a heated steering wheel and high-quality interior materials. The long and deep center console is massive enough to swallow a larger laptop or multiple tablets; it can even hold a set of hanging files. Additional storage behind the reclining rear seats is one of the perks to be had with the Mega Cab. Crew Cab models feature convenient under-floor storage compartments.
When it comes to making a statement, it doesn’t get any louder than the exterior found on the 2018 Ram 2500/3500 HD trucks. Sharing family styling cues with the half-ton Ram 1500, the HD trucks appear more massive and muscular, with exaggerated grilles and a dual-rear-wheel-axle option. Cab choices include the 4-door Mega Cab offering copious rear-seat room. Depending on cab style, buyers can opt for a 6-foot 4-inch or 8-foot bed. The Ram HD Crew Cab with an 8-foot bed stretches nearly 22 feet in length, something to consider if your parking options are limited.
When it comes to ability, Ram’s heavy-duty 2018 2500/3500 HD pickup trucks have more than enough muscle to back up their bold and rugged appearance. Models equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 can tow up to 13,900 pounds and when equipped with the larger 6.4-liter V8, a class-leading 16,320 pounds. Opt for the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel in the 3500 and a 5th-wheel-equipped model can pull an astounding 31,210 pounds, a figure certified by using SAE J2807 testing criteria (if you’re a truck person, you’ll understand). The Ram 2500 HD’s unique 5-link, coil-spring rear suspension delivers an impressively smooth and controlled ride, while the various cabs, particularly on the Laramie and Limited trims, are simply some of the nicest, most comfortable and well-appointed in the industry. Ram 3500 HD models employ a Hotchkis leaf-spring rear suspension that can be augmented with supplemental airbags.
The 2018 Ram 2500 Tradesman, with a regular cab and standard bed, starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $34,000; add about $1,100 if you want the 3500 model. You have to move up to the SLT trim to get the 2500 Mega Cab for about $44,150. However, keep clicking options and you'll find yourself well past $75,000 for a fully loaded Limited. That's pretty spendy, but it's in line with competitive models from Chevy, GMC and Ford, which also span the low-$30,000-to-$70,000-and-above range. Whatever you decide, check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price tool to see what others in your area are paying for their heavy-duty Ram pickups. The downside is that the Ram HD trucks don't have the resale strength of their Ford, Chevy and GMC competition.
The base fleet-manager Tradesman form for the 2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 HD comes pretty sparsely equipped. There's a 40/20/40-split front bench seat with rear storage, air conditioning, vinyl flooring, cruise control, a driver-information center, automatic on/off headlights, a tilt steering wheel, even manual windows and door locks. The 6-speaker audio system features a USB port for digital music players, and all but the base audio system feature Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. Safety features include six airbags and a full complement of electronic-stability aids.
We'll forgo the multiple bed-and-cab pairings available on the 2018 Ram HD, otherwise we'll be here all day. Instead, note that the Ram HD lineup offers tech-savvy options such as touch-screen navigation, conversational voice recognition, a 10-speaker premium sound system, backup sonar proximity sensors, power-adjustable pedals, heated 2nd-row seats, a power sunroof plus power-folding and heated trailer-tow mirrors. If you upgrade to the SLT, Big Horn, Laramie, Limited and Power Wagon models, an integrated trailer brake is also standard equipment.
The Uconnect system in the Ram 2500/3500 HD gets even better this year, with improved resolution from the 8.4-inch touch screen and the addition of 4G LTE, pinch-to-zoom and available Sirius Guardian. The Uconnect system also offers an excellent voice-recognition system complementing a user-friendly interface.
IMPRESSIVE POWER AND TOWING CAPABILITY
If you have a lofty towing or payload number in mind, there’s a Ram HD truck and engine combo to match. Both Hemi-powered gasoline engines put up impressive stats, but only the diesel-powered Ram HD can handle a 15-ton trailer.
Under the Hood
Standard on the 2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 is a gasoline-powered 5.7-liter Hemi V8, with an upgrade to a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 available. These strong engines are good, but serious haulers and towers should pick one of the Cummins turbodiesel engines. Two versions of the Cummins inline-6 are available in both the 2500 and 3500, one with 660 lb-ft of torque (manual transmission), and another with 800 lb-ft of torque (automatic transmission). An even higher-output version exclusive to the 3500 puts out an incredible 900 lb-ft of torque. Gasoline-powered Ram HD models get only a 6-speed automatic, while the diesel buyers can choose between that or a segment-exclusive 6-speed manual transmission. Diesel models also feature exhaust braking for added stopping power. Two-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive is your choice.
5.7-liter V8 (Ram 2500)
383 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
400 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.4-liter V8 (Ram 2500, 3500)
410 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
370 horsepower @ 4,600 rpm (Mega Cab only)
429 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.7-liter turbocharged diesel inline-6 (Ram 2500, 3500)
350 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm (manual)
660 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm (manual)
370 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm (automatic)
800 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm (automatic)
385 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm (Ram 3500 only)
900 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm (Ram 3500 only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Those with jobs requiring big power and big capability are well acquainted with the 2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 HD pickup truck. With its principal rivals being the Chevy Silverado HD and Ford Super Duty, the Ram HD’s qualifications land it mid-pack, providing more towing and payload ability than the Silverado, while not yet up to the top numbers posted by Ford’s biggest trucks. All three offer similar horsepower and torque ratings on their most powerful diesel engines, but the Ram is the only on that still offers the option of a manual transmission. Further separating the Ram HD from the competition is its multi-link rear suspension (2500) and powerful Hemi gas engine options.