$20,633 - $41,899

2018 Ram 1500 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.8

The 2018 Ram 1500 is quiet and delivers arguably the smoothest ride in the class. Its base V6 provides ample power, but the available V8 has better acceleration and a higher towing capacity. The available turbodiesel is also great for towing, and it has some of the best fuel economy ratings of any full size truck.

  • "The diesel's strong suit is torque (it has only 240 hp), so the strength of this powertrain shines brightest when it's towing or hauling. Combine that with the excellent steering and handling of the Ram 1500 chassis, and you've got a winner." -- Edmunds
  • "The Ram 1500 is really tough to beat for regular street driving. It rides better than most any other pickup, has a high level of refinement and features, and the base V6-which is plenty of engine for most uses-offers laudable fuel economy. And, the available diesel engine offers the best fuel economy in the class." -- Consumer Guide (2016)
  • "Why no one thought of this sooner is beyond us. The Ram 1500's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 is a master of all trades, providing 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque at just 2,000 rpm, yet still delivering a class-leading 28 mpg on the highway. Expect others to follow suit." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The Ram comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. For daily driving, this engine is perfectly fine. But if you plan to do much towing or hauling, you’ll want to upgrade to one of the other engines.

One available engine is a 5.7-liter V8 that produces 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. In addition to being more powerful, it delivers better acceleration than the V6. The other available engine is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. It puts out 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you choose, it'll be mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

With the V6 engine, the Ram 1500 gets decent fuel economy for a full size pickup truck, earning an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The V8’s numbers are worse: 15/22 mpg city/highway. The turbodiesel is the most fuel-efficient engine in the lineup, earning 21/29 mpg city/highway, according to Ram.

  • "One of the Ram's biggest strengths is its excellent engine lineup. Although the Ram misses the class-leading towing numbers by a few hundred pounds, it's still abundantly capable. Its standard engine is a strong-but-efficient V6, but there's also an optional V8 with plenty of towing power and a turbocharged diesel V6 that sets the standard for fuel economy in the class." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "For light duty applications, we think the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is perfectly acceptable. However, those needing serious pulling power should look to either the mighty Hemi V8 or the 3.0-liter diesel, which not only crushes the Hemi in EPA ratings, it actually offers more torque." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "You might think with that many gears the 8-speed would be tripping all over itself, constantly swapping gears to find the optimal ratio. But the reality is this gearbox does a great job of quickly zeroing in on the right ratio. … The 8-speed's shifts are milliseconds quick and seamless to boot." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Handling and Braking

The Ram 1500 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive is available. It handles pretty well by truck standards, providing sharp steering and remaining poised around turns. The real highlight of the Ram is its ride quality, however. It’s more cushioned than most rivals and soaks up road imperfections with ease.

The available air suspension does an even better job of smoothing out road imperfections. It also lets you adjust the truck's height; you can raise it when driving off road, and you can lower it when parked so you and your passengers don't struggle to climb in and out. The brakes provide plenty of stopping power even when pulling a trailer.

  • "Perhaps one of the most impressive elements of owning a Ram 1500 is the excellent ride quality. On the highway, it's smooth, quiet and relatively unfazed by even significant bumps. The adjustable air suspension makes the ride even better. It's a unique feature for this class that allows the truck to drop 2 inches to ease liftover and step-in heights when parked." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Thanks to an ingenious multi-link and coil spring rear suspension setup, the Ram 1500 pickup truck for 2015 delivers one of the most comfortable – dare we say car-like – rides of any full-size truck." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "It doesn't ever feel like you're going to need to push through the carpet to bring this train to a stop, even with plenty of pounds stuck on the hitch." -- Autoblog (2013)

Towing and Hauling

The Ram 1500 can’t match many of its rivals’ towing and hauling capabilities. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 10,640 pounds and haul up to 1,880 pounds. On the bright side, the Ram 1500 doesn’t struggle to pull heavy loads, and the available air suspension does a great job of keeping the bed level when hauling cargo.

  • "And while the Ram's available air-spring suspension may not deliver a notably stark contrast in ride comfort, it offers other advantages: Load leveling is always appreciated when the bed is full." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Of course, only lunatics like us will drive the 1500 EcoDiesel like a sports car. Playing the more suitable role of tow vehicle, it feels as relaxed as a slugger working with a 3-0 count. We had the opportunity to hook up 3,000 lbs. worth of boat and trailer, and can report that, while acceleration was predictably blunted, the truck otherwise seemed barely fazed, moving with a sense of steely inevitability." -- Left Lane News (2014)
  • "Properly set up – in other words, with the V8 and air suspension – the Ram really shines as a tow rig. Most of the gadgets that make it so great pulling a boat or camper across tarmac would make me nervous thrashing the truck offroad, but aside from the fact that the acceleration is damped, you can't even tell the load is there. The Pentastar-powered truck boasts solid towing capability, too." -- Jalopnik (2013)

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