2018 Ram 3500 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
- Available load-leveling air suspension
- Diesel engine delivers lower power with manual transmission
- Manual-shift control is in a clumsy spot on column shifter
- Six-cylinder diesel not as quick as V8-powered competitors
Which 3500 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
If you're looking to step up to the big leagues for towing and hauling, only a heavy-duty pickup truck will do. And as these trucks go, the 2018 Ram 3500 is one of the most capable you'll find. Like the Ram 2500, this heavy-duty powerhouse offers far greater capability than the full-size, light-duty Ram 1500. With the 3500, you're looking at a maximum towing capacity of more than 31,000 pounds and a max payload capacity of 7,390 pounds.
The 2018 Ram 3500 isn't the only heavy-duty truck on the market, of course. Both Chevrolet and Ford offer similarly stout rigs with more capability than you'll probably ever need. Among this group, the Ram stands out for its high-quality cabin and comfortable ride. The 3500's ride isn't quite as plush as that of its siblings — the rear coil springs that make those pickups so easy-riding have been replaced by typical leaf springs — but you can still equip it with an air suspension to smooth out some ruts and keep the truck level while towing.
2018 Ram 3500 models
Like many heavy-duty pickups, the 2018 Ram 3500 is available in multiple configurations. There are three cab styles, two bed lengths, three engines, two transmissions, and six trim levels: Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited. At one end of the spectrum is the Tradesman, a minimal-frills workhorse; at the other is the Limited, which widens the boundaries of big-truck luxury.
Cab styles include a two-door regular cab, a four-door crew cab, and a four-door jumbo crew cab called Mega Cab. The regular cab comes with an 8-foot bed only, while the crew cab has either the long bed or a short bed (6 feet 4 inches). The Mega Cab rides on the same wheelbase as the long-bed crew cab long but combines an even bigger cabin with the short bed.
Most 3500s come with a 5.7-liter V8 gasoline engine (383 horsepower, 400 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. 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 six-speed automatic, those numbers are 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. There's even a heavy-duty six-speed auto that churns out 385 hp and 930 lb-ft.
The 3500 is available with either rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive.
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 crew and Mega cabs.
The Tradesman is the most basic trim and comes with 18-inch steel wheels (17 inches on models with dual rear wheels), automatic headlights, black grille and bumpers, tow hooks, a locking tailgate, a limited-slip rear differential, air conditioning, a 40/20/40-split front bench, a tilt-only steering wheel, vinyl upholstery, a driver information display, 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 cabs have manual controls and non-heated mirrors by default.
The SLT adds chrome exterior trim, chrome wheels, an integrated trailer brake controller, 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, 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 alloy wheels, chrome grille slats, foglights, a 115-volt power outlet, a power-adjustable driver's seat, premium cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and a charge-only USB port.
The Laramie builds off the Big Horn/Lone Star and adds a standard 6.4-liter V8, alloy wheels for dual rear-wheel models, 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, and a six-way power front passenger seat with power lumbar adjustment. This trim also brings heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded driver information display, a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, HD radio, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Laramie Longhorn adds to the Laramie's substantial features list by including a chrome mesh grille, color-keyed 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 and a navigation system.
The Limited trim adds monotone paint, 20-inch wheels, additional chrome exterior trim, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, keyless entry and special black leather upholstery.
This choice also brings the RamBox cargo management system, which includes bedside storage compartments, an adjustable bed divider and tie-downs.
Many upper-trim features are available on lower trim levels as options. Other option highlights include a load-leveling 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 3500 SLT Crew Cab (6.7L inline-6 turbodiesel | 6-speed automatic | 4WD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Ram 3500 has received some revisions, including this year's revised technology interface and increased torque output. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Ram 3500.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts like the 3500 models:
- ParkSense Front/Rear Park Assist System
- Alerts the driver to unseen objects front or rear. Crucial in a big truck like this with limited forward and rearward visibility.
- ParkView Rear Back Up Camera
- Displays an image directly behind the Ram 3500, either in the rearview camera or from the central touchscreen.
- Cargo Camera
- Ensures the safety of driver, passers-by and trailered load by displaying image of truck bed, including any fifth-wheel tow hitch assembly.