2018 Ram 1500

2018 Ram 1500 Regular Cab Review

The 2018 Ram 1500 is a great choice for a do-it-all truck.
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Though the 2018 Ram 1500 is one of the oldest designs on sale in the segment, it's easy to make the case that the Ram is still our favorite light-duty pickup. One of the primary reasons is the Ram's smooth ride, which is best in class. It comes about from the Ram's class-exclusive coil-spring rear suspension and available self-leveling air suspension.

But that's not all we like. Another Ram strength is its excellent engine lineup. Although the Ram comes in below the class-leading towing numbers by a few hundred pounds, it's still abundantly capable. Its standard engine is a strong but efficient V6, and there's also an optional V8 with plenty of towing power and a turbocharged diesel V6 that returns excellent fuel economy in the class.

Once you've picked an engine, several variants are available for the Ram, from the bare-bones Tradesman to the top-of-the-line Limited and even the off-road-ready Rebel. The Ram also boasts a modern interior, an easy-to-use infotainment system, and lots of opportunity for even more customization.

Of course, competing trucks aren't exactly slouches. But even as the old guy of the group, the Ram is still standing strong.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Ram 1500 (including the Ram 1500 Diesel) as one of Edmunds' Best Trucks for this year.

what's new

The 2018 Ram 1500 will be available in a top-level Limited Tungsten edition and a mid-tier Harvest edition. Rebel models can be ordered with leather interior, while a rearview camera is standard on all models. Ram has also updated the 8.4-inch infotainment system with new functionality this year. The 2018 1500 also has a new HFE trim level and expanded availability of the 3.0-liter diesel engine.

we recommend

Thanks to buyer demand, trucks can be everything from economical to luxurious. Getting one that best suits your wants and needs is paramount, and the 2018 Ram 1500 gives you a broad range of options. We'd have to go with the Rebel, thanks to its off-road performance and street comfort. Just make sure to throw in the Protection and Luxury packages

trim levels & features

The 2018 Ram 1500 is a full-size pickup available in multiple body styles and bed lengths and with three engine options. The regular cab (two doors) can seat three and is available with either a standard bed (6 feet 4 inches) or an extended bed (8 feet). The Quad Cab (four doors) can seat six and comes only with the standard bed. The crew cab (also four doors, but bigger rear doors) increases rear-seat legroom and is available with either a short bed (5 feet 7 inches) or the standard bed.

There are 11 standard trim levels: Tradesman, HFE EcoDiesel, Express, Big Horn/Lone Star, Sport, Night,, Lone Star Silver, Laramie, Rebel, Laramie Longhorn and Limited. A variety of special-edition models exist, one of which is the Harvest.

Most trims come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 (305 hp, 269 lb-ft), while Rebel, Laramie Longhorn and Limited variants come standard with a 5.7-liter V8 (395 hp, 410 lb-ft). For fans of diesel torque, a 3.0-liter diesel V6 (240 hp, 420 lb-ft) will also be available on all but Express, Night and Rebel trims (delayed availability). Of course, the V8 is optional on all Ram 1500s, save for the HFE trim. And all three engines are paired with an eight-speed transmission and can be had in either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

The Tradesman is the workhorse of the lineup, with minimal luxury accoutrements and amenities. Just about all of its exterior parts that aren't metal are black, but it does come with a Class IV hitch receiver, a spray-in bedliner and cruise control. Like the Tradesman, the Express is also a worker's truck, but it deletes the hitch and bedliner (they are offered as options) and adds body-colored exterior trim, carpeting and 20-inch wheels. Both have the most flexibility with bed and cab configurations and come standard with the V6.

The HFE EcoDiesel is a work truck that's outfitted with the 3.0-liter diesel engine and is intended to be the fuel economy standout of the lineup. It's available only in a Quad Cab configuration and comes with few features and fewer options.

But trucks just aren't about working, so the Big Horn (called Lone Star in Texas) adds more features such as a 110-volt power outlet, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system dubbed Uconnect Access. Upgraded cloth seating with a power-adjustable driver's seat and leather-wrapped steering wheel round things out.

Sport and Night models are similar and bring a street-truck flair to the lineup with 20-inch wheels, bucket seats, projector headlights, LED interior lighting and adjustable pedals. While Sport models have body-colored exterior pieces, Night models are in black, with black wheels to match. Regular-cab, rear-wheel-drive Sport models are referred to as the R/T and come with 22-inch wheels, a sport hood and a blacked-out grille with R/T badging.

New-for-2018 Harvest trims are available in two unique colors and have additional ground clearance, all-terrain tires, black tubular side steps, skid plates and tow hooks, and a unique chrome grille as well as chrome bumpers and exterior trim.

The Laramie is similar to the Big Horn but also has auto-dimming mirrors, wood trim, heated and ventilated leather front seats with driver-seat memory settings, and a 10-speaker audio system.

The Laramie Longhorn (crew-cab V8 only) is the perfect blend of luxury and work truck. Added features include keyless entry and ignition, remote start, front and rear parking sensors, wood interior trim, upgraded leather upholstery and a navigation system.

At the top of the range, the Limited is only available with the V8 and adds monotone paint schemes, side-step bars, automatic windshield wipers, automatic high beams, a self-leveling air suspension and even fancier stitched leather upholstery.

The Ram is also available in an off-road-oriented variant called the Rebel. On the outside, you'll find features similar to those on the Sport R/T, but the Rebel has 17-inch wheels and all-terrain tires, black fender flares, Bilstein shock absorbers, tow hooks, LED foglights and keyless entry. The Rebel's interior is similar to that of the Sport, though with a few more features.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our drive of the Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab (turbo 3.0L V6 diesel | 8-speed automatic | 4WD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2014, the current Ram 1500 has received some revisions, primarily around a new infotainment system and updates to trims and packages. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Ram 1500.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0


4.5 / 5.0

Acceleration3.5 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering5.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0


4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort5.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.5 / 5.0


4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use5.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0


edmunds rating
The diesel's strong suit is torque (it has only 240 hp), so the strength of this powertrain shines brightest when it's towing or hauling. Combine that with the excellent steering and handling of the Ram 1500 chassis, and you've got a winner.


edmunds rating
The Ram 1500 diesel won't win many drag races. It takes 9 seconds to get to 60 mph. But that's not the point. Its immense torque (420 lb-ft) gives it a huge advantage when towing, hauling or climbing grades.


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Our test truck stopped from 60 mph in 135 feet, similar to other trucks with all-season tires. The pedal feels reassuring, but it isn't overly abrupt — a good trait when towing or hauling.


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The steering has a nice, direct feel and linearity. There's a crisp and predictable response with good feedback, even with a heavy load. The Ram 1500 goes arrow-straight down the highway, too. The top of the pickup class.


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Body roll is reined in nicely. Good cornering stability, even when the trailer is wagging in the wind. Credit the coil-spring rear suspension's lateral link for that.


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Shifting is nearly imperceptible with the eight-speed automatic. The rpm jumps are small, and the diesel has more than enough torque to bridge the gaps. About as good as it gets for trucks.


The EcoDiesel's smooth torque delivery and long range are pluses when you want to get away from it all. Its standard coil-spring suspension provides good articulation, so the wheels can always get power through its locking differentials.


edmunds rating
Optional air springs take the edge off the ride when the truck's unladen, but even the standard coil springs beat the competition. The cabin is admirably quiet compared to other pickups, and the rear half of the crew cab is every bit as pleasant as the front.

Seat comfort

edmunds rating
The seats are supportive and well-shaped; we never tired of them, even after extended periods. That statement applies equally to the crew cab's rear seats.

Ride comfort

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The standard rear coil springs (versus the typical leaf) on the Ram 1500 allow for the substitution of air springs all around. Our truck had this groundbreaking option, which makes for a plush ride over broken ground.

Noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Road and wind noise levels are admirably restrained. The diesel does emit a bit of signature noise when accelerating, but it quiets down when cruising at steady speeds.

Climate control

The Ram 1500 is available with dual-zone automatic climate control. And it is easy to use, with the temperature information requiring just a glance at the screen.


edmunds rating
Excellent ergonomics and front cabin airiness. The capable Uconnect infotainment system practically explains itself. The crew cab provides excellent rear seat space, more than enough for full-grown adults to settle in for long trips.

Ease of use

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The air-conditioning and touchscreen radio controls are as good as any, and the driving position is comfy. The steering wheel buttons are small, but they call up an amazing array of data.

Getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The front seat access is good, partially thanks to handy grab handles on the front roof pillars. The wide-opening rear doors offer similar handles. The only issue is the 4x4 cab height, but all competing trucks share this basic trait.


edmunds rating
The front cabin is open, and the styling makes the dash feel airy, not monolithic. The crew cab's rear seat offers no-compromise full-size accommodations. Everyone onboard is a winner.


edmunds rating
Visibility out the front and to the sides is quite good. The large mirrors help. The crew cab's longer rear windows aid blind-spot visibility. The optional backup camera on our truck is well worth the cost.


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Exterior gaps and paint quality are good. Inside, solid materials and design choices give off a premium vibe. The quietness suggests there's no scrimping in unseen places.


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The EcoDiesel's approximate 9,000-pound tow rating isn't tops but is still quite stout. And it burns far less fuel, towing or not. The range is unmatched. In the cabin, there are generously sized storage pockets in all four doors. The rear seat bottoms fold up to reveal a flat surface.


Ram's standard audio system doesn't support much in terms of smartphone connectivity, but opt for the 8.4-inch system and you get complete integration with Android or Apple smartphones.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.