Spied! 2018 Ram 1500 Mule
Cladding Disguises Larger Size
Within the last few years, after a long period of relatively minor updates, significant redesigns to the Detroit Three’s fullsize truck models are coming at a rapid-fire pace. GM just introduced the K2XX models in 2014, with all-new models yet again due in 2019, and Ford made the F-150 all-aluminum for 2015, with the 2017 Super Duty to follow. The Ram Truck models received a significant mid-cycle refresh in 2013, and now it’s time for the trucks to get a full ground-up redesign for 2018. Here, our spy shooter nabbed what’s believed to be the next-generation Ram 1500 testing. Sharp-eyed readers will note the truck is now riding on 6-lug wheels, compared to the 5-lug wheels the Ram 1500 has traditionally used.
Our spy shooter believes the camouflage cladding around the doors and cab is hiding an even larger cab than today’s 1500 trucks, which are plenty roomy in our opinion. However, it’s a never-ending race to claim “best-in-class” so a more capacious cab in probably in the works. Although publicly, Sergio Marchionne has been skeptical of Ford’s aluminum-intensive approach to its trucks, it’s believed the next-generation Rams, especially the 1500 models, will employ more aluminum and alternative materials to lighten weight and better meet the CAFE targets, which will probably be revised downward as part of the mid-cycle review. However, there’s no escaping they’re getting tougher.
Expect the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 to carry forward, in addition to a possible plug-in hybrid variant. Although the Hemi V-8 may be on its way out in the passenger car line, it will probably live on for a few more years in the trucks. We may get a peek at the production-intent Ram at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.