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  • Pickup Truck of the Year Contender: 2018 Ram 3500

Pickup Truck of the Year Contender: 2018 Ram 3500

Mega in So Many Ways

Dec 19, 2017
Photographers: Robert Guio
There’s a saying in the automotive world: Horsepower is what gets you going, but torque is what keeps you going. That’s not totally accurate, but it’s still a great descriptor for our test’s biggest bruiser, the ’18 Ram 3500 Limited Mega Cab. Powered by a 6.7L Cummins I-6 and backed up by an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission, this Ram takes back the truck division’s claim of best-in-class available torque, beating out the Second Place Ford by 5 lb-ft. (Poor GM, meanwhile, can’t catch a break, as the Duramax L5P’s 915 lb-ft once again puts the company in last place.)
Photo 2/16   |   2018 Ram 3500 Limited Engine
With all that torque on hand, it’s completely unsurprising that the Ram was this test’s easy towing and payload champion, a position bolstered by its 1-ton platform and $1,595 self-leveling rear air suspension. Even with a test-max payload of a billion pounds (OK, 4,000), the Ram brushed off any suggestion of weight with every nudge of the accelerator pedal. And thanks to an eager exhaust brake and appropriately aggressive transmission tow/haul mode, the 3500 was able to tackle hilly terrain without issue or complaint, even when towing 12,500 pounds. Unloaded, the big, heavy Ram stepped off the line rather leisurely, but once up to speed, it hummed along with ease.
This Ram, like last year’s 2500 Off-Road tester, comes trimmed in top-of-the-line Limited spec, including high-grade leather seating, beautiful black-stained wood trim, ostentatious filigree embroidery, and every bell and whistle Ram has to offer. And our Mega Cab tester also featured limo-like legroom, with comfort compounded by segment-exclusive reclining rear seats and a commendable 7 cubic feet of covered storage in the way-back.
Photo 3/16   |   2018 Ram 3500 Limited Side
Surprisingly, the Limited also made for a decent daily commuter. A rearview camera and comprehensive front and rear parking sensors made it easier than expected to park in tight spaces. The Uconnect infotainment system remains state of the art, with good ergonomics, a logical menu layout, and user-configurable shortcuts for frequently used functions. And thankfully, climate and radio controls still feature duplicate analog inputs. The column-mounted shifter also opens up plenty of space in the console for snacks and drinks, and the nine-speaker Alpine sound system kicked out heavy metal or talk radio with equal clarity.
Perhaps predictably, where the Ram 3500 fell short was in off-road ride comfort. Although its all-terrain tires and incredible torque made ascending steep hills and traversing rocks an easy task, the stiff suspension did no favors to our kidneys on rough roads. And although it’d be silly to buy a 1-ton truck and then complain about its size, there’s no denying that the smaller Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tundra could get around tighter trails than the Mega Cab. Its pavement-crushing size also worked against it in loose dirt and sand, where the 3500 found itself bogged down more often than we liked.
Its on-road ride was no better, although that’s not surprising given it’s capable of hauling 2 tons in the bed. On large bumps and in potholes, the suspension sent shivers directly to our spinal cords, although we must admit it rode surprisingly smooth over smaller imperfections. A few of our editors also found the cabin to be distractingly loud on the highway, though this author and a few others appreciated the throbbing rumble of the Cummins I-6.
Photo 4/16   |   2018 Ram 3500 Limited Interior
Most of us didn’t care for the Limited model’s styling changes compared to other Rams, but one editor appreciated its front end: “I love the Kylo Ren front grille design.” All of us agreed, though, that in Granite Crystal Metallic, this truck is imposing. It felt a bit like the Man with No Name from those old Hollywood westerns: stern, confident, and totally in control of the situation, like the vigilante king of the road.
That was enough for most of us to appreciate the Ram 3500. With a big, swaggering personality (and a price tag to match), it’s impossible to ignore the Mega Cab’s charms.
WE LIKE: Otherworldly torque and towing capacity. Possibly the best ergonomics in the test. Black-tie badass attitude.
WE DON’T LIKE: Rough ride off-road. Polarizing front grille design. Highest-ever price tag of any PTOTY truck.
Photo 5/16   |   Ram’s ’18 3500 Mega Cab was mega in every sense of the word. It brought to the test the highest torque, payload rating, tow rating, and curb weight. It was also the longest, tallest, and most expensive. This truck is an alpha male and it lets you know it.

2018 Ram 3500

Base Price: $60,295
Price as Tested: $80,070
Trim: Limited Tungsten
EPA Fuel Econ (City/HWY/Comb): NA
Engine: 6.7L Cummins I-6
Horsepower: 370 @ 2,800 rpm
Torque: 930 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Aisin automatic
Accel 0-60 MPH: 9.78 seconds
Quarter-Mile: 17.11 seconds @ 83.87 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH: 148.10 feet
Accel 0-60 (Payload): 12.19 seconds
Quarter-Mile (Payload): 18.50 seconds @ 76.80 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH (Payload): 158.44 feet
Accel 0-60 (Towing): 21.23 seconds
Quarter-Mile (Towing): 22.98 seconds @ 73.87 mph
Weight: 8,258 pounds
Interior Decibel Level (at 60 MPH): 65
Tested Fuel Econ (Average/Best): 14.22/18.36
*4,000 pounds of payload **12,500-pound trailer weight



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