- Offers a tremendous level of horsepower and torque.
- Driving dynamics make it a better-than-expected daily driver.
- Excellent towing and payload capacities.
- Lack of safety features.
- Gets expensive quickly with options.
- Stiff and uncomfortable ride on rough surfaces.
Would we buy one? Yes, if we needed this kind of muscle.
Vehicle Type: Full-size, heavy-duty pickup truck.
Price Range: From $34,445 to $59,495, including destination fees but before options.
Powertrain: A 5.7-liter V8 Hemi gasoline engine with 383 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.
A 6.4-liter V8 with 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.
A 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder turbodiesel, with 350 horsepower and 660 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.
A 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder turbodiesel, with 370 horsepower and 800 lb-ft with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.
A 6.7-liter Cummins six-cylinder turbodiesel, with 385 horsepower and 930 lb-ft of torque, with a heavy-duty 6-speed automatic, with rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.
Competitors: Ford F-350, Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD, and GMC Sierra 3500HD.
Overall Score: 7/10
Safety Features: 6/10
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) do not rate the Ram 3500 in crash tests, as is the case with all heavy-duty trucks.
Standard safety features include stability control, backup camera, and trailer brake controller. Available features include a camera that helps keep an eye on cargo in the bed and front and rear parking sensors. But the lack of active driver assistance features like automatic emergency braking, or lane-keeping assist, is typical across the range of heavy-duty trucks.
With over 40 configurations of trim, body style, and bed length, there is likely a Ram 3500 to suit every need. In Ram 3500 Tradesman trim, the truck is a basic workhorse with few luxuries, while top-tier Limited trim is a full-blown luxury truck, and the price reflects that. Add to that special edition models like the Lone Star, Bighorn, Power Wagon, and there is a seemingly endless list of optional trims for the Ram.
Depending on need, a Ram 1500 or Ram 2500 might handle all of the necessary payload and towing capabilities, but both are less expensive in terms of sticker price and running costs. The Ram 3500 includes a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Tech Features: 8/10
In base Tradesman trim, tech features are minimal. Standard equipment includes an AM/FM radio, cruise control, and air conditioning. In SLT trim, the Ram 3500 gets remote keyless entry, SiriusXM satellite radio, and an infotainment display.
Higher trim level Laramie Longhorn and Ram 3500 Limited add heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, ParkSense parking monitors, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen running the company's intuitive UConnect infotainment system. It also includes Bluetooth connectivity, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. But other than that, the Ram 3500 doesn't set any new standards for in-vehicle technology.
In the heavy-duty truck segment, numbers are everything, and for 2018, the Ram 3500 wins in a couple of important categories. When equipped with the Cummins turbodiesel engine, the Ram 3500 has the best-in-class fifth-wheel towing capacity of a maximum of 35,000 pounds, as well as the highest available torque output. The Ram 3500 also has 4,000 pounds of payload when equipped with the self-leveling air suspension.
The Ram also performs surprisingly well in daily driving. Regular Cabs come only with a long bed and a split front bench seat for a maximum of three passengers. In four-door Crew Cab configuration, up to six adults fit in relative comfort, and the rear seating area can also fold flat to accommodate gear securely in the cab. Crew Cab Ram 3500s can be optioned with both the long and short beds. In Mega Cab trim, rear-seat passengers have a lot of room to stretch out, but the extra cab space limits the Ram 3500 to the short bed.
Styling & Design: 7/10
Revised for 2018, the Ram 3500 follows in the line of all Ram trucks with muscular front fenders and a hulking hood. Move up the trim levels, and the exterior design gets more chrome, trim pieces, and large badging.
Inside, the base Tradesman trim comes with vinyl seats and very plasticky trim pieces. Moving up the trim levels also classes up the interior. SLT trim gets rugged feeling cloth upholstery on the seats. The Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn has leather upholstery, and Ram 3500 Limited adds wood and metal trims that would be at home in a luxury vehicle.
Driving Experience: 7/10
In everyday driving, the Ram 3500 is well mannered and easy to operate despite its size. Driver assistance features such as parking sensors and various cameras also help. Each engine combination had more than adequate power to motivate the large vehicle when unloaded. Braking is a weak point, though, and the ride is also rough, with large road imperfections jarring passengers. Off the road, the Ram 3500's suspension is jarring, and the hulking body means the truck sinks easily in loose dirt and sand.
But the Ram 3500 makes towing effortless. With an active towing mode and exhaust brake, the truck always finds the right gear to get up steep grades and keep under control when going back down.
Fuel Efficiency: 6/10
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not estimate fuel economy for heavy-duty trucks, and Ram does not supply that information. Independent reviews found real-world mileage between 14 and 17 mpg for the Ram 3500 with the Cummins turbodiesel, which is likely the most efficient option.
The smaller gasoline V8s may also give better mileage without a trailer than the heavy diesel engines, but it will lack the long cruising range.