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  • Pickup Truck of the Year Contender: 2018 Ram 1500 Harvest Edition

Pickup Truck of the Year Contender: 2018 Ram 1500 Harvest Edition

Simple Elegance and Rugged Performance

Dec 20, 2017
Photographers: Robert Guio
Like the 3500, Ram’s 1500 is getting a little long in the tooth. When this generation of Ram 1500 debuted as an ’09 model year, it was considered revolutionary. And now, eight years later, it still rocks a whole host of class-exclusive features. As an example, Ram is the only company using a link-coil rear suspension on its ½-ton pickup. It’s also the only one with an available four-corner air suspension and optional diesel engine. To keep the aging pickup relevant and competitive until the next-generation 1500 debuts sometime in 2018, Ram has continued to improve on the pickup that it has and usher out special editions at a cadence that hasn’t been matched.
For the ’18 model year, Ram introduced us to the Harvest Edition. While a lot of special editions are nothing more than a sticker package, the Harvest Edition adds a feature set that is not only cosmetic but also functional. When optioned for the 1500, the Harvest Edition adds a 1-inch ride-height increase, a transfer-case skidplate, front suspension skidplate, special on-/off-road tires, a spray-in bedliner, tubular side steps, mudflaps, rubber floor mats, and a fold-out rear bumper step. All of these options are designed to make using the truck in dirty, muddy, conditions (such as in a farmer’s field) easier. It’s these functional upgrades that made the Ram 1500 Harvest Edition eligible to participate in this year’s test.
Photo 2/18   |   2018 Ram 1500 Harvest Edition Side
From the onset, the Ram 1500 was a crowd-pleaser. Our tester was equipped with the company’s 5.7L Hemi V-8 engine, which was backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission and 3.92:1 axle gears. This meant the truck felt like a rocket ship. While the judging crew generally heaped nothing but praise on the Ram’s drivetrain, there was a faction that whole-heartedly disliked the rotary-transmission shift knob.
Photo 3/18   |   2018 Ram 1500 Harvest Edition Engine
Towing with the truck raised mixed feelings, as some felt that the rear suspension was too soft, allowing for excessive body roll when attached to a trailer, while others found it to be an exceptional choice for hitching a load. Everyone agreed that power was plentiful, but braking was hard to judge since the Ram 1500 was the only pickup in the test not to come equipped with an integrated trailer brake controller. This seemed like quite the oversight for a package intended for working in agriculture.
A lot of this truck’s charm was garnered from its relative simplicity. The interior was adorned with cloth seats, which were universally found to be comfortable. Part of the Harvest Edition goodies include the company’s 8.4-inch display screen running the latest version of Uconnect, now with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Overall, our judges found this system to be tops in usability. The simple fact that the Harvest Edition gets all of the top-tier technology with a basic interior also pleased many on our test.
Moving outside, the Harvest Edition gets two special, optional colors: Case IH Red and New Holland Blue. Don’t ask about a certain green; our sources say it isn’t going to happen, and it’s not Ram saying no. Since our tester was one of the first off the line, the special colors weren’t yet available; instead, we got Bright White. The simple color—paired with plenty of chrome brightwork, increased ride height, and aggressive tires—gave the truck a clean elegance that most of us appreciated.
Photo 4/18   |   2018 Ram 1500 Harvest Edition Interior
Ride quality was superb, thanks to the truck’s link-coil rear suspension, both on- and off-road. Graded dirt roads and rough two-track trails were easily tamed by the Ram, and the truck’s special tires provided plenty of traction. We had to slow down for big holes and large whoops, but it did exceptionally well for a truck designed for cornfields.
By the end of the week, the Ram 1500 Harvest Edition had affectionately earned the nickname of “Grandpa’s Truck.” Not because it felt old, rather it gave all of us that familiar, safe, and comfortable feeling we got riding shotgun in our granddad’s pickup. There’s no greater feeling a vehicle can give than that.
WE LIKE: Smooth-riding suspension, both on- and off-road. Great power from the Hemi V-8 engine. Simple and elegant styling, inside and out.
WE DON’T LIKE: Polarizing shift knob. Lack of a trailer brake controller. Dated halogen lighting package, and lack of common safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise.
Photo 5/18   |   Ram’s 1500 Harvest Edition adds functionality to the company’s already hard-working lineup. A taller ride height, more aggressive tires, and ample skidplatting anchor a package designed to increase productivity on the farm.

2018 Ram 1500

Base Price: $41,195
Price As Tested: $47,880
Trim: Harvest Edition
EPA Fuel Econ (City/HWY/Comb): 15/21/17
Engine: 5.7L Hemi V-8
Horsepower: 395 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Accel 0-60 MPH: 7.63 seconds
Quarter Mile: 16.19 seconds @ 91.40 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH: 154.64 feet
Accel 0-60 (Payload): 8.84 seconds
Quarter Mile (Payload): 16.32 seconds @ 85.47 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH (Payload): 168.68 feet
Accel 0-60 (Towing): 16.08 seconds
Quarter Mile (Towing): 20.77 seconds @ 69.63 mph
Weight: 5,655 pounds
Interior Decibel Level (at 60 MPH): 63.0
Tested Fuel Econ (Average/Best): 14.26/21.65
*1,200 pounds of payload **7,500-pound trailer weight

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