2018 Ram 2500 Review
2018 Ram 2500 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- Diesel engine and automatic transmission yield monumental torque
- Cabin offers excellent fit and finish
- Ride is comfortable and quiet, especially for a large truck
- Power Wagon trim is highly capable off-road
- Diesel engine delivers lower power with manual transmission
- Manual-shift control is in a clumsy spot on gear shifter
- Rearview camera displays on mirror on lower trims
Changes for the 2018 Ram 2500 include a standard rearview camera on all models; Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hotspot for the optional 8.4-inch touchscreen; and the addition of a couple of new optional packages.
As versatile as they are, light-duty trucks are not one-size-fits-all vehicles, especially if you have serious towing and hauling needs. For that, you'll need to step up to a heavy-duty pickup such as the 2018 Ram 2500. To put it into numbers, the Ram 1500 carries a max tow and payload rating of 10,620 pounds and 1,880 pounds, respectively. The Ram 2500 comes close to doubling those figures by towing up to 17,980 pounds and carrying 3,890 pounds in the bed.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Ram 2500 Tradesman 2dr Regular Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of N/A undefined in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Not Available for 2500 Tradesman
Avg. Large Truck
The Ram 2500 is unique in the heavy-duty truck segment because of its coil-spring rear suspension that gives it a more comfortable ride than its competitors. Such a configuration also allows for an air suspension, just like the one available for the Ram 1500. Besides improved ride comfort, the air suspension levels the bed when towing and hauling to keep the headlights pointed straight ahead.
The 2018 Ram 2500 offers something for everyone, whether you're looking for a basic work truck, a luxury equipment hauler or a trail-conquering pickup. It's an excellent all-rounder that surpasses many rivals.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Ram 2500 (including the Ram 2500 Diesel) as one of Edmunds' Best Pickup Trucks for 2018.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
The 2018 Ram 2500 heavy-duty pickup is a good step up for those who like the standard Ram 1500 but require something a bit beefier. Higher payload and tow ratings make it a more versatile vehicle. It's also a more comfortable-riding truck than its main rivals.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab (turbo 6.7L inline-6 diesel | 6-speed automatic | 4WD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Ram 2500 has received some revisions, including a revised 8.4-inch touchscreen system for 2018. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Ram 2500.
The 6.7-liter Cummins diesel's strong suit is torque, so this powertrain really comes into its own when climbing, towing or hauling. And though this is one massive truck, it's a snap to maneuver thanks to reassuring steering and secure handling.
At 8.7 seconds to 60 mph, this Cummins diesel-powered Ram 2500 was slightly quicker than the lighter Ram 1500 diesel. But the 800 lb-ft of torque is what's important for towing, hauling or climbing grades.
The Ram 2500 4x4 Crew Cab is a huge truck, and its 144-foot panic-stop distance reflects that. The pedal was never abrupt, a good trait when dealing with heavy loads. Easy to modulate on dirt and gravel roads, too.
There's predictable response with good feedback. It goes arrow-straight down the highway, too. The effort is a tad high, but reassuringly so. There's zero kickback when driving on rocky Forest Service roads.
The 2500 tracks confidently through corners, belying its size. Midcorner ripples and bumps don't throw it offline because of the class-exclusive coil-spring rear suspension.
The shifting is smooth and confident through the six-speed automatic. The diesel's exhaust brake controls speed well on descents. Our one gripe: the clumsy location of the manual downshift switch on the column lever.
It has good gearing and a remarkably tight turning circle. The diesel exhaust brake combines well with low range to control the descent speed. The coil-spring rear suspension is quite flexible in frame-twist situations.
There's no getting around having a firm ride in a 2500 series truck built to tow and haul this much. But the Ram's cabin is comfy and quiet, and its coil-spring suspension really takes the edge off and makes the ride less skittish.
We never tired of the supportive and well-shaped seats even after extended periods. This sentiment applied pretty much equally to the rear seats, too.
It's a 2500 series truck, so the unladen ride feels firm. But the Ram's unique coil-spring suspension removes the usual pickup skittishness, really taking the edge off compared to the competition.
Noise & vibration
Road and wind noise is admirably restrained. The diesel does emit a bit of signature noise when accelerating, but it quiets down when cruising at steady speeds.
Expect excellent ergonomics and front cabin airiness from the 2018 Ram 2500. The capable Uconnect infotainment system is easy to use. The crew cab provides excellent backseat space, more than enough for full-grown adults to settle in for long trips.
Ease of use
The climate switchgear and touchscreen radio controls are as good as anything, and the driving position is comfy. The steering wheel buttons are oddly laid out, but they conjure up an amazing array of data.
Getting in/getting out
The access to the front seat is good with handy grab handles. The wide-opening rear doors offer similar handles. The only real issue is the cab height, but competing 2500 series trucks are just as tall.
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's a winner here. The Mega Cab is particularly accommodating thanks to expanded legroom and reclining seatbacks.
Visibility is quite good to the sides and the front, plus the mirrors are large. The sheer height of the bed makes for blind-spot issues. The backup camera is finally standard for this year, and the image is shown on the central display for models equipped with the 5- and 8.4-inch touchscreens.
The exterior gaps and the paint quality are good. Inside, solid material and design choices give off a premium vibe. The quietness suggests there's no scrimping in unseen places.
The Ram 2500 is all about towing, hauling and bed capacity. Maximum capacities are impressive, and the Ram comes with either a short bed or a long bed.
All four doors have generous pockets. Handy storage wells are hidden under the rear floor mats. The Ram gives you plenty of bins and pockets to supplement the dual gloveboxes.
The rear seat bottoms fold up, and there are foldout platforms if a flat surface is desired. The unique RamBox feature places a pair of lockable compartments over the rear fenders adjacent to the truck bed.
This is a pretty unstoppable combination. The trailer brake controller is built-in and integrated into the information screen. The optional built-in fifth-wheel and gooseneck hinge sockets are a bargain. Properly equipped, a Ram 2500 can tow up to 17,980 pounds.
Properly equipped, a Ram 2500 can haul up to 3,890 pounds in the bed.
Large, logically located virtual buttons, reasonably quick response times, and ample functionality for smartphone users make the Ram 2500's touchscreen one of the best in almost any vehicle.
Which 2500 does Edmunds recommend?
Given the Ram 2500's seemingly infinite customization options, it's difficult to recommend any one trim. The Tradesman is ideal if you want a no-frills work truck, while the Limited lets others know who the boss is at the work site. If you just want a decent all-rounder with a few amenities, go with the Lone Star, which is sold as the Big Horn in Texas. It adds a few extra features for just a bit more than the SLT. From there, you can customize it to your heart's content.
2018 Ram 2500 models
Like many heavy-duty pickups, the 2018 Ram 2500 is available in multiple configurations. There are three cab styles, two bed lengths, three engines, two transmissions and seven trim levels: Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, Limited and Power Wagon. At one end of the spectrum is the Tradesman, a minimal-frills workhorse. At the other, the Limited, widens the boundaries of big-truck luxury. The Power Wagon stands alone as the off-road-ready variant.
Cab styles include a two-door regular cab, a four-door crew cab, and a four-door jumbo crew cab called the Mega Cab. The regular cab comes with a long bed (8 feet) only, while the crew cab has either the long bed or the short bed (6 feet 4 inches). The Mega Cab rides on the same wheelbase as the long-bed crew cab but combines an even bigger cabin with the short bed.
Most 2500s come with a 5.7-liter V8 gasoline engine (383 horsepower, 400 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A modified version of this engine runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) and produces identical power figures to the gasoline version. The CNG option is only available on regular and crew-cab models with the 8-foot bed.
There are two optional engines: a 6.4-liter V8 (410 hp, 429 lb-ft of torque) paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and a turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel six-cylinder. The latter makes 350 hp and 660 lb-ft when matched to a six-speed manual transmission. When paired with a reinforced six-speed automatic, those numbers are 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque.
The Tradesman and SLT trims are available with all three cabs, while the Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited versions can only be ordered with a crew cab or a Mega Cab. The off-road Power Wagon variant (crew cab, short bed only) can be ordered in Tradesman and standard forms.
The 2500 is available with either rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive, except the Power Wagon, which is available in 4WD form only.
The Tradesman is the most basic trim. Standard feature highlights include 17-inch steel wheels, a locking tailgate, air conditioning, a 40/20/40-split front bench, a tilt-only steering wheel, a driver information display, vinyl upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an incorporated rearview camera display, and a six-speaker stereo with a USB port.
Power windows and locks, including the locking tailgate, are standard on crew-cab models, as are power-adjustable and heated mirrors. Regular-cab models have manual controls and non-heated mirrors by default.
The SLT adds chrome exterior trim, 18-inch steel wheels, an integrated trailer brake controller, power heated mirrors, a power-sliding rear window (manual on regular cabs), remote locking and unlocking, an overhead console, cloth upholstery, carpeted floors, full power accessories for all body styles, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a 5-inch touchscreen interface that displays the rearview camera image.
The Big Horn (Lone Star for shoppers in Texas) adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, chrome grille slats, foglights, remote ignition, a 115-volt power outlet, a power-adjustable driver's seat, premium cloth upholstery and an extra charge-only USB port.
The Laramie builds off the Big Horn /Lone Star and adds a standard 6.4-liter V8, more chrome trim (including the bumpers), projector headlights, LED taillights, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded driver information display, a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, HD radio, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The limited-slip differential is dropped as standard equipment but is available as an option.
The Laramie Longhorn adds to the Laramie's substantial features list by including a chrome mesh grille, accent-colored bumpers, running boards, a spray-in bedliner, LED bed lights, remote ignition, a full center console, upgraded floor mats, upgraded leather upholstery, wood interior and steering wheel trim, power-adjustable pedals with memory settings, front bucket seats, heated rear seats and a navigation system.
The Limited trim adds monotone paint, color-keyed bumpers, 20-inch wheels, additional chrome exterior trim, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, the RamBox cargo management system (includes bedside storage compartments, an adjustable bed divider and tie-downs), keyless entry and ignition, and special black leather upholstery.
Finally, there's the off-road-themed Power Wagon, which is available only in crew-cab 4WD with the short bed and the 6.4-liter V8. It has some slightly different exterior and interior styling changes, but it's the extensive mechanical upgrades that make a Power Wagon. They include unique 17-inch wheels shod with aggressive all-terrain tires, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, tow hooks, skid plates, a manual transfer case, electronically locking front and rear differentials with a 4.10 axle ratio, hill descent control, an integrated front winch, and a front anti-roll bar than can be disconnected electronically to improve wheel articulation off-road.
Interestingly, the Power Wagon isn't just a trim level. It's also an option package you can add to a crew-cab Tradesman 4x4 with a 6.4-liter Hemi engine. Here you'll get all of the Power Wagon mechanical bits, including the fender flares, but without any other bodywork styling cues or graphics. It's a stealthy working man's Power Wagon at a lower price.
Those who aren't looking for the extreme capability of the Power Wagon can select the 4x4 Off-Road package that is available on 2500 crew-cab and Mega Cab 4x4 models. This package is available with any engine and includes hill descent control, tow hooks, a transfer case skid plate, upgraded shocks, a limited-slip differential, and all-terrain tires.
Many upper trim features are available on lower trim levels as part of packages or as stand-alone options. Other option highlights include a load-leveling air suspension, tow mirrors, a cargo-view camera, fifth-wheel trailer preparation, off-road tires, a CD player and a sunroof.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
The Cummins Makes the Ram
2018 Ram 2500 SLT 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
There are only a few choices in HD trucks and none of them are bad. What the Ram brings to the table is a good platform with a fantastic engine and presented in a good value. Even the SLT has plenty of goodies. This is a work truck and a very capable, comfortable, reliable one. I know there are brand aficionados out there and that’s all good. I’d argue that the Ram is the best value in … the HD truck segment, especially with the Cummins engine.
2 out of 5 stars
Worst Vehicle I have ever owned. Never again!!!
Justin Embrey, 05/23/2018
2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (6.4L 8cyl 6A)
As most shoppers would be when I bought this truck I was very happy with the way it looked and drove when it was brand new. Soon after buying the truck i began having issue with the Electronic throttle control (Less than 5000 miles). It went to the dealership 3 times over about 3 months and still occasionally says it needs to be serviced. There has been 3 recalls on it to date one of … which the parts are not currently available to repair it. The paint chips off of the truck with the slightest sign of something rubbing up against it besides a cotton cloth. The hood and body has rust all over it in various spots from small rocks and even was chipped once by my hand hitting the tailgate. I was asked if I bought the paint protection plan for the vehicle and I asked them if they were kidding me, they clearly were not. Dodge knows they are doing less than a good job on the paint and overall dependability of these trucks. On to the next item, During the winter of 2017, the driver side window decided that it was going to break and no longer roll up or down. It went to the dealership yet again, They fixed the little tiny plastic part that had broken but ever since the window makes a grinding noise when going up or down and they said they can not find the issue. The latest issue that happened today 5/23/2018 is going down the interstate at 65 mph it decided to slam itself into 4 wheel drive and downshifted into 3rd gear. The truck jerked like I had slammed on the brakes and then would not shift past 4th gear regardless of the speed. When I stopped at the next red light the truck did not want to go as it was stuck in fourth gear and in limp mode according to the dealership. I have been a Ram owner for over 13 years and I can say that this experience has completely ruined my high regard for Dodge primarily for their lack of interest in resolving the issue. I have now started the process of making a lemon law claim on this vehicle as it has been into the dealership for repair almost 10 times in barely over a year. I will never buy another Ram truck for anything.
5 out of 5 stars
2018 Ram 2500 Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (6.4L 8cyl 6A)
I used to be a Toyota truck junkie. I was in the market for a new Tundra and decided I should do my due diligence and drive a Ford, Chevy and a RAM. I was only impressed with the RAM 1500. The dealer then suggested I test drive the Cummings 2500. I was blown away with the build quality and the power of this engine. I had always thought that Dodge made the worst trucks. I was wrong. … I went back to Ford and drove the F-250 diesel and felt the interior was made of cheap materials for the price, but the ride was nice. The same went for the Chevy 2500 I drove. The power in the engine was great, but the cab felt small and had too many buttons on the dash. The cost for both of these vehicles similarly built (i.e., leather, heated seats, back up camera, etc) was outrageous. I bought the Ram 2500 with the Laramie package, off road package, etc. and it was about $15-20K less than either of the other trucks. I'm getting 19-21 MPG after about 5000 miles on the truck. I know people are very passionate about their truck brands, but do yourself a favor before you buy your next truck and check out a RAM diesel pickup. You will have a tough time justifying the cost and quality of a Ford or Chevy after you test drive this truck.
5 out of 5 stars
Beast of a truck
2018 Ram 2500 Laramie 4dr Mega Cab 4WD SB (6.4L 8cyl 6A)
Be aware of your dealer's ethics in all aspects of your purchase. ie. Financing, your trade in, extras that you add on, the extended warranty on diesels, and lock in a good interest rate. Shop for financing before you shop for your truck. Don't let the dealer rush you into anything, they like to wait late into the day, to then rush you into signing the papers quickly. On to the … truck. The best vehicle I've ever bought. Milage is awesome. 21 to 22.5 average. Towing is unreal. I can't even tell my boat is behind me. Handling and ride is the best on any 2500 I've ever driven, mine or company vehicle. I rarely reccomend a vehicle with 5 stars, but there isn't a 6 star rating, or I'd chose it on this one.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Ram 2500, so we've included reviews for other years of the 2500 since its last redesign.
2018 2500 Highlights
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||17,570 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the 2500 models:
- ParkSense Front/Rear Park Assist System
- Alerts the driver to unseen objects front or rear. Crucial in a big truck such as this with limited forward and rearward visibility.
- ParkView Rear Back Up Camera
- Displays an image of the area immediately behind the bed. Now standard equipment, it displays the image on the touchscreen in most models.
- Cargo View Camera
- Shows an image of the truck bed, including any fifth-wheel tow hitch assembly.
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover15.5%
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