2018 Ram 2500 Review
Pros & Cons
- 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
Which 2500 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
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.