2018 Ram 3500 Review
2018 Ram 3500 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
- 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
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 optional packages. When paired to the heavy-duty automatic transmission, the diesel engine makes 930 pound-feet of torque, up 30 lb-ft from last year.
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.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Ram 3500 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 3500 Tradesman
Avg. Large Truck
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.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
The 2018 Ram 3500 has it all: a well-trimmed cabin, a relatively smooth ride, and a Cummins turbodiesel that allows this heavy-duty pickup to tow more than 30,000 pounds. The versatile lineup offers something for everyone, from the bare-bones Tradesman to the high-end Limited fit for a Texas oil tycoon.
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.
The Ram 3500 DRW (for dual rear wheels, or dually) diesel shines in braking and handling. We were a bit let down by the overboosted steering, and keep in mind you need to order the heavy-duty automatic to get the engine's highest torque rating.
You can't expect a truck that can seemingly tow a house to drive like a crossover SUV. But the Ram is perhaps the smoothest-riding pickup in the heavy-duty segment, aided by comfy, supportive front seats. The cabin is supremely quiet as well.
The front seats are well-padded and covered with grippy cloth, and they have some lateral support for cornering. The armrests have thick padding. The rear seats are not quite as plush, and the seatback is a bit upright. The middle seat is comfortable enough for short trips.
The optional load-leveling rear air suspension is there for towing, not comfort. Although the ride isn't pillowy, it's still smoother than rivals. The rear can get bouncy over certain freeway sections, but it takes a big hit to upset this truck.
Noise & vibration
The diesel engine is impressively quiet at idle, with barely any diesel noise evident at highway speeds. The tires are virtually noiseless, even over coarse pavement, and there's minimal wind noise, even with wide side mirrors.
The Ram's interior has modern styling with user-friendly controls, including the superb Uconnect system. The cabin is open and airy and easy to see out of. It doesn't sit too high off the ground, even though it's a 3500. Ram needs to add a damped tailgate and some form of bumper step.
Ease of use
This interior is as good as it gets as far as trucks go. The touchscreen/infotainment system is easy to use; the climate control system has large knobs and buttons; and the audio system has knobs for volume and tuning. The steering wheel buttons will seem small if you're wearing gloves.
Getting in/getting out
It doesn't ride as high as you'd guess for a 3500. Perfectly placed grab handles plus the optional side steps help you get in, as do the large door openings. The rear doors open nearly 90 degrees, and there are grab handles. But it's a bit more of a hop to get into the rear than the front.
Lots of headroom for cowboy hats, plus plenty of elbow space on the huge center armrest. The rear headroom isn't super-abundant and could be tight for the long-of-torso, but everyone else will be fine. There's plenty of legroom, plus excellent toe room under the front seat.
The relatively narrow roof pillars make for easy outward viewing, plus all the side windows are nice and tall. The backup camera in the rearview mirror is tiny; thankfully, the image is displayed on the touchscreen on most trims. Rear parking sensors are optional.
The exterior gaps and 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 3500 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 door pockets are narrow but long with two bottleholders each. The 3500 has a sliding front bin, a large armrest bin with USB, an auxiliary input, a 12-volt charger and an SD card slot.
The Ram 3500 offers a pretty unstoppable combination: The diesel engine, the heavy-duty-transmission and the 4.10 axle ratio can tow up to 31,210 pounds. At the time of testing, our truck with the 3.73 axle ratio could tow up to 23,260 pounds as equipped.
The Ram 3500 with the diesel and the heavy-duty automatic transmission can haul up to 6,720 pounds (regular cab configuration).
The large, logically located virtual buttons, reasonably quick response times, and ample functionality for smartphone users make the Ram 3500's 8.4-inch touchscreen one of the best in almost any vehicle.
Which 3500 does Edmunds recommend?
With the Ram 3500's nearly limitless number of options and diversity of its buyers, it's difficult to recommend a single trim. The Tradesman is a modestly equipped work truck for those who want to keep purchasing costs low, while the top-trim Limited impresses with a luxuriously equipped cabin. If you want a nice balance between price and creature comforts, the Big Horn, which is sold as the Lone Star in Texas, is the way to go. It's not much more expensive than the SLT, and its added features are worth the extra cost.
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.
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Better worker than ford or chevrolet
2018 Ram 3500 Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab LB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
Owned for one year. Never a single problem. Competent family vehicle averaging plus 20mpg on highway without trailer. Very competent tdiesel tow vehicle. Max towed 19k and got 12 mpg at 60mph. Bought 4wd diesel Ram 3500 rollback tow truck 4 years ago +100k miles. Never a single problem with it either. Don’t see how Ram could make it better.
5 out of 5 stars
Diesel power diesel efficiency diesel mpg
2018 Ram 3500 Tradesman 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
my cummins dually with equipment gets 26mpg I can drive from Midland TX tk twin wells road in jal NM and barely come off of full I can idle my truck for 3 days straight and still have enough fuel to get back to midland. Gm and Ford dont stack up my buddy's ford and gm are ways in shop
1 out of 5 stars
Do you enjoy spending your day by the mechanic??
Unbeatable Transport, 11/29/2018
2017 Ram 3500 SLT 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
I bought two 2017 RAMS 3500 After driving for less then a year I had the truck engine going to 10 MPH on the highway numerous times I was told by the dealer PCM is not working correctly and I should Replace the crankcase breather - $330.00 Clean and desoot the EGR system - $399.95Replace the engine air filter - $73.00 Replace the fuel filter and water separator filter - $308 Perform … a manual regeneration process and perform fuel treatment - $171.95 After performing a manual regeneration we would have to do an oil change afterwards which is $139.95 Also, the serpentine belt is cracked we recommend replacing it. The cost is $220.00 I did all of the above The next week same problems. The dealer told me I have to replace EGR system $5500 I did that and then the truck started to make a loud cranking noise I was told to change Power control modular (pcm) $4100 and truck is now back by the dealer making terrible noise Truck is a little more then a year old it is one big nightmare. Don't expect any customers service from them I tried to communicate with them but they were very nasty stay away unless you have a lot of money to throw out.
1 out of 5 stars
DON'T GETTED RAMMED!
2014 Ram 3500 Laramie 4dr Mega Cab SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
Megacab diesel dually Laramie 4x4, the works. What a heap. EVERYTHING attached to that mighty Cummins motor is junk. I had $21,000 of repairs (3months of shop time) in the first year! Towed off the highway 6 times Only half of it was covered under warranty. Here's what was replaced or rebuilt: Transmission, rear end twice, AC compressor and condensor, sepentine pulleys and … brackets, ECM, water pump, front brakes complete rebuild, rear calipers, front wheel hubs, u-joint, harmonic balancer, fan clutch and fan shroud. The worst part is this truck was a replacement for another Mega Cab i owned for 17 months before it caught fire and burned to the ground in a snowstorm ( along with the brand new 5th wheel toy hauler i was pulling). I'll never buy another RAM.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Ram 3500, so we've included reviews for other years of the 3500 since its last redesign.
2018 3500 Highlights
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Max Towing Capacity||30,420 lbs.|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
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.