2018 Ram 2500 

The heavy-duty Ram 2500 preps for its next-generation release with minor updates for 2018

When you've got heavy-duty work, a light-duty truck just isn't going to cut it. And while the truck segment as a whole has adopted a higher priority for comfort and ride quality alongside power and performance, the HD market has largely been left out of that. Except, of course, by Ram.

This truck maker has always been good at finding a healthy balance between towing power and premium interiors, even for their most rugged pickups. Even though the Ram 2500 HD hasn't seen a major upgrade in nearly 10 years (though a brand-new generation is expected soon) it still remains competitive in the most macho class of vehicles.

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Trim levels, colors, cabs, and beds

The Ram brand has garnered a reputation for a ridiculous variety of possible combinations and configurations of trims, colors, beds, cabs, and style choices. The current 2018 Ram 2500 lineup is offered in seven classic trim levels: the Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, Power Wagon, and the Ram 2500 Limited. And that's just for this year--other years, we've seen ten or more trim-level options for this heavy-duty truck.

The Ram 2500 and the Heavy-Duty series are configurable with a few different body style combinations: a Regular Cab (two-door--the coupe of trucks) with an eight-foot bed; a Crew Cab (four doors) with a six-foot-four bed or an eight-foot bed; and a Mega Cab (four full-size doors and the most interior space), available only with a six-foot-four bed.

Exterior colors for the 2018 Ram 2500 come in just about every shade you can think of: RV Match Walnut Brown, Brilliant Black, Bright White, Delmonico Red, Flame Red, Black Forest Green, Maximum Steel, Granite Crystal, Bright Silver, True Blue, Granite Crystal, Blue Streak, Case IH Red, and New Holland Blue. There are also nearly twenty "Low Volume Colors", that typically need to be special-ordered, like oranges, bright yellows, robin egg blue, and half a dozen greens.

Engine options in a heavy-duty world

The light-duty truck segment is constantly changing and flexing to answer the changing needs of today's modern drivers--they're getting bigger but lighter, smarter but cheaper, and some are shrinking to fit the "hobby truck" demand. You won't see that happening in the HD segment, though--especially with Ram. Heavy-duty is heavy-duty, and the powertrain options offered on the 2018 Ram 2500 reflect a solid commitment to drivers who need a lot of power and muscle. The lineup for 2018 will look pretty familiar:

  • 5.7L HEMI® V8 engine: 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque
  • 6.4L HEMI® V8 engine: 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque
  • 6.7L Cummins® Turbo Diesel Six-Cylinder engine: 370 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque

The 5.7-liter V8 is probably the most common option; it mixes and balances great performance with fair efficiency (hey, it is a heavy-duty truck, after all, they're not exactly known for sipping fuel) which makes it a good option for the average driver needing a good truck. The 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine, though, offers best-in-class gas horsepower and bumps up hauling power to heftier HD levels--what sets this option apart is its unexpectedly high number of spark plugs. That sounds weird, but two spark plugs per cylinder gives you more peak power and torque.

At the top of the range is the infamous and ridiculous 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine. This six-cylinder offers a class-exclusive Smart Diesel Exhaust Brake, and a best-in-class 15,000-mile oil change interval. That may not sound like a selling point until you're putting 30,000 miles on your truck every year and only need to pay for two oil changes--instead of six.Shop All Ram 2500


Towing, payload, and muscle

The battle of the best rages hotly in the heavy-duty market; best-in-class torque is being one-upped every year, best-in-class towing is wrestled among the top contenders on a seemingly seasonal basis (at the moment, the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine takes it), and automakers can't squeeze enough horsepower out of their HEMIs and Cummins. Towing and payload ratings vary based on engine, drivetrain, body style, and equipment, but here's the best-of leaderboard for the 2018 Ram 2500:

  • 5.7L V8 towing and payload: 13,890 pounds / 3,060 pounds
  • 6.4L V8 towing and payload: 16,320 pounds / 3,990 pounds
  • 6.7L Turbo Diesel towing and payload: 17,980 pounds / 3,160 pounds

For the best estimates of what individual configurations can tow, Ram's website offers a comprehensive Towing Guide that details the more than 200 possible combinations within the Ram Heavy-Duty lineup.

Part of the Ram 2500's legendary comfort while towing and driving comes from a Class-Exclusive five-link coil rear suspension--another Class-Exclusive equipment feature, a rear Auto-Level air suspension, comes at a price but offers a level of convenience that's above and beyond what a typical suspension can do.

Even with plenty of swank and swagger, though, it's easy to admit that the 2018 Ram 2500 is part of an aging generation--but, a generation that's going to be replaced soon.

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Looking forward to a new generation

Ram is keeping a tight lid on information about an all-new Ram Heavy-Duty truck lineup, made up of Ram 2500 and 3500 HD trucks. It may be released sometime in early 2019 as a 2020 MY, or immediately before the new year as a 2019 MY to match the landing of the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 that we got to see this year. The former is more likely, based on currently unsubstantiated claims.

Rumors are flying fast about transmissions, engines, styling, platforms, body work, features, technology--basically everything that you'd want to know about the all-new 2019 or 2020 Ram 2500. In such a heavily competitive segment, with HD trucks from Ford and GM constantly raising the bars, it makes sense that Ram would keep any need equipment, engineering, or engines under wraps as long as possible to make sure that the brand can stay ahead on new products and new ideas.

The all-new Ram 2500 is likely to add some of the major features that we saw in the 2019 Ram 1500: larger touchscreens, new sheet metal, some of the front-end styling, new tail lamps, a new grille design, and more. From spy shots, it's possible that the all-new Ram 2500 will be offering a panoramic sunroof, power-retractable running boards, and the model's classic "Big Rig" looks. More than likely, the all-new Ram 3500 will follow the lead of the 2500 as part of overall changes to the Ram Heavy-Duty line.


Compare Ram 2500 vs Competition:

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