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.
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.
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.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
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.