2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty
The current Ram Heavy Duty has been around since 2010 with an update in 2013 and smaller updates scattered throughout the years. Not much changes for 2018, save for one aspect: the Ram 3500’s 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel is getting a healthy bump in torque for class-leading numbers. Turbo boost limits were raised, fuel flow was increased, and a retuning of the ECU adds 30 pound-feet of torque for a total of 930 pound-feet. This surpasses both General Motors and Ford’s maximum torque ratings of 910 and 925 pound-feet, respectively.
This veritable arms race between the Big Three has been ongoing for several decades, but the Torque Wars have really heated up in the last decade. Diesels are popular and the biggest numbers win – both in power figures and towing capability. Ram isn’t short on either. The 2018 Ram 3500 also boasts a new fifth-wheel hitch assembly from Ram Engineering that offers 30,000 pounds of towing. Ram says its the hitch is strongest hitch in the industry. Customer can add the hitch for $1,395, either with a built-to-order truck or as a dealer add-on. The Ram’s gooseneck hitch rating remains unchanged at 31,210 pounds, while its receiver hitch can pull 20,000 pounds. Compare that to Ram 3500’s numbers from 2011. It could only pull 15,540 pounds with a gooseneck and 12,000 pounds at the receiver. Yep – the truck’s towing capabilities have nearly doubled in eight years. But towing and torque aren’t everything, so let’s have a deep look at the 2018 Ram Heavy Duty.
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Holy Torque! The 2018 Ram 3500 Now Makes 930 Pound-Feet!
The Cummins-powered Ram 3500 will make a whopping 930 pound-feet of torque for the 2018 model year. That puts Ram in the lead of the unofficial Torque Wars raging between the Big Three. Ford and its Power Stroke turbodiesel previously held the lead with 925 pound-feet of torque and the GM twins aren’t far behind with the new-for-2017 Duramax and its 910 pound-feet. Ram also announced its new fifth-wheel hitch designed and built in-house. The beefy hitch, combined with the Cummins’ extra grunt, pushes the 3500’s max fifth-wheel tow rating to 30,000 pounds – another segment-leading figure. Ram’s gooseneck and conventional tow ratings remain unchanged at 31,210 and 20,000 pounds, respectively.
Ram says its engineers worked along side Cummins to enable the torque increase. Minimal changes were actually needed, and consist of a higher-flow fuel delivery system and giving the variable geometry turbo a higher boost limit. A retuning of the ECU is also highly likely. What Ram (or Ford or GM) doesn’t mention: any vehicle with a Gross Combined Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or more requires the driver have a commercial driver’s license to legally operate on any public road. Hope you’re ready for a written skills evaluation, driving test, and drug testing, depending on your state’s laws.
The 2018 Ram Heavy Duty will begin arriving at dealerships this month. Customers can buy the new fifth-wheel hitch as a dealer add-on for $1,395. But beyond the extra power and new hitch, the Ram Heavy Duty doesn’t change for 2018. Ram is expected to debut the next-generation HD in 2020, which follows the new Ram 1500 in 2019. Stay tuned for our full review of the 2018 Ram Heavy Duty coming soon.
Next-Generation Ram 1500 Debuting At The 2018 Detroit Auto Show
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed the next-generation Ram 1500 is on-schedule for its debut and production in January 2018. The unveiling festivities will take place at the Detroit Auto Show between January 14 and 16, while production begins that same month at the Ram’s new Sterling Heights assembly plant. And despite its early production, the new Ram will be a 2019 model. The next-generation Ram 2500 and 3500 are expected to debut the following year with similar design and engineering updates.
The 2019 Ram – codenamed DT – is expected to be lighter thanks to an expanded use of aluminum, though its cargo bed will remain steel for durability. Spy shots of a longer Crew Cab version suggest a Mega Cab option for the 1500, as well, setting the Ram apart in its highly competitive segment. A rumored split-tailgate design is also a possibility. Ram’s prior patent drawings detail a tailgate that acts like the Honda Ridgeline’s, but with a vertical split in the middle allowing for added versatility. A new rear bench seat with “Stow-n-Go”-like folding abilities might offer a completely flat load floor, too, as reported by Allpar. Drivetrain options will include a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with direct fuel injection and horsepower levels hovering between 310 and 320. An all-new turbocharged inline six-cylinder is expected for 2020, which might replace the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Rumors of an improved (and EPA-certified) EcoDiesel V-6 with a higher tow rating and a turbocharged four-cylinder have also been rumbling around the Internet. None of this has been confirmed, of course, as Ram has a tight hold on its upcoming pickup. Thankfully, the nitty-gritty details are coming in January.
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Next-Generation Ram 1500 Gets Mega Cab Option, Spy Photos Show
Spy photos of the 2019 Ram 1500 give a clear indication the Mega Cab option is returning to the half-ton pickup – a feature not seen since its single-year run in 2008. But as pickups become evermore luxurious, Ram is undoubtedly pushing the envelope. As such, we can expect the next-generation truck to offer outstanding levels of luxury – and rear-seat legroom. The crop of spy photos also give a glimpse at the Ram’s all-new dashboard and front grille.
The photos, courtesy of Truck Trend, show the 2019 Ram 1500 in heavy camouflage. However, hints of the grille can be seen. It appears only horizontal bars are present, suggesting the iconic crosshair grille may be gone. It’s also possible Ram is using different grille designs to denote trim levels, just as currently does. Inside, the Ram wears a new dashboard. The design isn’t groundbreaking, but is more modern than the current dash. The Uconnect screen does appear larger than the current 8.4-inch unit. Thankfully, volume and tuning knobs return. Also visible is a conventional, three-knob HVAC controller, a bank of auxiliary switches, and a trailer brake controller. The rotary shift knob returns, too, as does a large TFT screen between analog dials in the gauge cluster. A smaller-diameter, leather-wrapped steering wheel caps off the new cabin.
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2017 Ram Limited Tungsten Edition
Ram is jumping aboard the metal trim train with Ford and Nissan. But rather than platinum, Ram is going tungsten with the Limited Tungsten Edition. Offered on the 2018 Ram 1500 and HD pickups, this new trim marks the highest available on a Ram. The new Tungsten Edition includes all the luxuries found in the Limited trim, but includes “Natura Plus” leather seats colored in Frost and Indigo, unique exterior trim, and the first-ever suede headliner in a pickup.
Ram’s target customer is an even more affluent truck buyer, one with a discerning taste, yet who still needs the utility offered by a pickup. Ram boss, Mike Manley, says, “The new Tungsten Edition is an example of how Ram directly responds to customer input by offering the industry’s most luxurious pickup. Premium truck buyers will recognize the attention to detail, surrounded by quality materials.” And Ram sure knows how to sell premium pickups. More than 40 percent of Ram 3500s are optioned in one of the three premium trims, which include Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited. The Limited Tungsten Edition is available on the Ram 1500 Crew Cab and both Crew Cab and Mega Cab on HD trucks. The HDs are also offered with short- and long-beds, 2WD and 4WD, single- and dual-rear wheels, and gas and turbodiesel engines, making the Tungsten Edition widely applicable to various needs. Pricing for the 2018 Ram 1500 Limited Tungsten Edition starts at $55,120, which is roughly $2,200 more than the standard Limited trim.
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2017 Ram Power Wagon – Driven
The Ram Power Wagon has been a modern fixture in the heavy duty truck segment since its rebirth in 2005. Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Power Wagon owes its beginnings to the fight against the Axis powers in WWII. See, the U.S. Government needed an all-terrain weapons carrier that was large enough to carry heavy supplies, yet small enough to traverse tight jungle trails and the winding roads of Europe. Today, the Power Wagon’s legacy lives on, though only in the civilian sector. It’s based on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty and comes backed with loads of hard-core hardware for pounding terrain into submission. Now for the 2017 Model year, Ram has given the Power Wagon a fresh look and some welcomed interior enhancements.
These changes reflect the times. Vehicles with outlandish graphics, black wheels, and sinister faces are popular with the car-buying public, so automakers are responding accordingly. Ram has seen impressive sales with its Rebel – an off-road appearance package that brings the Ram 1500 into the spotlight for extroverts who like a loud vehicle. Well, Ram has taken the Rebel’s features to the 2017 Power Wagon. The nostril-style grille, the powered-coated bumpers, black wheels, smoked headlights, and ostentatious badging are all present. Even the front seats are similar to the Ram 1500 Rebels. The cloth inserts feature a tire tread pattern that matches the OEM rubber. In the Power Wagon’s case, it’s Goodyear’s Wrangler DuraTrac tire.
Ram decided these changes were reason enough to hold a press launch event near Las Vegas, Nevada and was kind enough to fly me out. The bright lights of The Strip quickly fade into desolate desert not far from town, with sheer cliffs, slick rock ledges, and millions of acres of sand and sagebrush. The Valley of Fire State Park and its hidden trails outside Logandale, Nevada proved the perfect spot for testing the Power Wagon’s chops.
Continue for the full driven review of Ram’s 2017 Power Wagon.
What Make a Ram Power Wagon?
This week we spent time behind the wheel of Ram’s slightly refreshed 2017 Power Wagon. The headlining changes include the Rebel-like front grille, black bumpers, new wheels and tires, side graphics, and the massive R-A-M logo on the tailgate. The interior also sports some new features, including tire tread patterns on the cloth seats and the Power Wagon logo along the side bolsters. But that’s about it. The mechanicals haven’t changed for 2017 – and that’s just fine.
The Power Wagon is based on Ram’s 2500 Heavy Duty pickup and uses most of the same underpinnings. Power comes from the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that makes 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The venerable six-speed automatic manages the power, sending it to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions. When the road turns to dirt, the manually operated transfer case borrows power from the rear, sending it forward to the solid front axle. Yep, the Power Wagon is old school to the point of solid axles at both ends. But even the standard Ram 2500 can be had with those mechanical bits.
There’s long list of parts unique to this pickup. Some can’t even be had anywhere else in the industry, not counting the Jeep Wrangler, of course. So let’s dive in and see what the Power Wagon is all about.
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We’re Driving the 2017 Ram Power Wagon! What Do You Want To Know?
Come Wednesday afternoon, I should be looking at nothing but blue sky through the windshield of a Ram 2500 Power Wagon as I scale up rock walls in 4WD Low Range with both differentials locked and the front sway bar disconnected. Yep, I’m at a media event for the slightly refreshed 2017 Ram Power Wagon. Though Ram has me put me up in some swanky hotel along the Las Vegas strip, it’s the inhospitable Nevada deserts that are the real attraction.
The Ram Power Wagon isn’t exactly a new truck, per se. Rather, it now wears the updated grille borrowed from the Ram 1500 Rebel – that blacked out, macho face with the R-A-M logo spelled out in ultra bold lettering. It’s as if the truck as a perpetual five O’clock shadow, Chuck Norris style.
It’s the grille, graphics package, wheels, and Rebel-like interior that constitute the major changes for 2017. That doesn’t really matter though, as the truck’s bones are what it’s all about. The Power Wagon’s key features are its 12,000-pound Warn winch, electronically disconnecting front sway bar, electronic locking front and rear differentials, Articulink front suspension components, manual-shifting transfer case, and aggressive Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires.
And being based of the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty, it gets the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Power Wagon can even haul 1,510 pounds of cargo in the bed or tow 10,030 pounds of its trailer hitch, despite its off-road tuned suspension. Needless to say, this truck isn’t afraid of work or dirt.
So, that leads me here: what do you want to know about it? Leave your questions below and I’ll make sure to answer while spending the day with the truck. Also, be on the lookout on TopSpeed.com’s Facebook page for Live streams and photos.
Duel of the Dinos: Ford F-150 Raptor vs Ram TRX Concept
The Ford F-150 Raptor has been the high-speed off-road champ since its introduction in 2010. That all might change should Ram green-light the TRX Concept it debuted at the 2016 Texas State Fair. This beast is Hellcat-powered, boasts 37-inch tires, and a suspension system that rivals the Raptor’s underpinnings.
Both trucks have upgraded engines above their average counterparts. The Raptor boasts a high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, while the Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept sports a detuned version of the famed Hellcat V-8. Don’t let the “detuned” term fool you – this engine still makes 575 horsepower.
Both trucks also wear unique bodywork that differs from their mundane counterparts. Unique front fascias, hoods and bumpers are found on both trucks, as well as wider fenders that cover each trucks’ expanded track. Both also feature knobby tires mounted on beadlock wheels (an option of the Raptor).
Nevertheless, there’s still plenty that separate these two prehistoric beasts. Let’s have a look.
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Ram Just Debuted A Hellcat-Powered Raptor Killer!
The Paris Motor Show might be happening, but half a world away, the 2016 Texas State Fair is the epicenter for truck debuts today. Impressive stuff is debuting from the Big Three, but nothing competes with Ram’s new concept truck – the Ram Rebel TRX. It’s a Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 with 37-inch tires, a fully custom suspension with 13 inches of wheel travel, a six-inch wider track, and a one-off interior that showcases just what Ram engineers and designers want to build.
First off, the engine. Okay, so it might be a Hellcat Hemi V-8 displacing the familiar 6.2 liters, but it’s been tuned for high-speed off-road truck duty. That means dropping the horsepower and torque figures to keep from snapping axles or exploding the transfer case. The supercharged V-8 makes a still-respectable 575 horsepower. Torque figures aren’t release, but expect a drop from the 650 pound-feet in the standard-tune Hellcat. Nevertheless, the Rebel TRX Concept is the most powerful Ram ever built – even more powerful than the 500-horsepower, Viper-powered Ram SRT10.
There’s so much more to this truck, though, so keep on reading for the full run-down.
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2016 American Expedition Vehicles Prospector XL
American Expedition Vehicles is well known in the aftermarket industry for its popular Jeep accessories, up-fits, Hemi swaps, and pickup conversions. But now the Michigan-based company has released its biggest product yet – the AEV Prospector XL. It’s based on the Ram Heavy Duty pickup and this turn-key package puts the Ram on 40-inch tires with a three-inch lift with beefed up gearing and capped with a stamped steel front bumper, massive fender flares, and all the accessories your wallet will handle. In short, it’s the diesel-powered Power Wagon the DOT won’t let Ram build.
It was back it 2013 that AEV expanded its product line with a host of upgrades for the Ram Heavy Duty pickup. Soon after, AEV began offering in-house, turn-key conversions of these trucks called the Prospector. Fitted with big tires, a suspension lift, a high-rise air intake, and the stamped-steel front bumper, the Prospector proved itself fully capable of off-roading with the hardiest of Jeeps. But folks still wanted more.
The Prospector XL takes the basic idea of the Prospector, and includes huge fender flares that open up the wheel wells, allowing for 40-inch tires while only needing a three-inch suspension lift. That translates into a low(ish) center of gravity and huge tractor-like tires for scaling obstacles, all while maintaining a comfortable driving experience in a truck capable of heading cross-country.
Let’s jump into all the modifications AEV is including on its Prospector XL package.
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Off-Road Shootout – Ram Rebel VS Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: Video
The pickup truck segment is red-hot these days, especially in the off-road niche. Two of the biggest players come from Toyota and Ram. These trucks are upfitted with special equipment and features not found on lesser-level trucks. But which one is better suited for the dirt? Well, the guys over at Off-Road.com pitted the contenders together to find out.
Up first, the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro comes motivated with the venerable 5.7-liter iForce V-8 backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. By checking the TRD Pro option box, the Tundra then gets a fantastic-sounding dual exhaust system, TRD-branded coil-over shocks with remote reservoirs, and an extra two inches of ground clearance. What’s more, the TRD Pro brings a unique front grille, bespoke interior trimmings, and a cool TRD Pro stamping on the cargo bed.
Also powered by a 5.7-liter V-8 is the Ram Rebel. But the Ram’s Hemi is no high-tech DOHC engine. Nope, it’s a good ole-fashioned cam-in-block, pushrod V-8, though it does have cylinder deactivation. It pumps out an impressive 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, out-classing the Tundra’s 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. Controlling the Hemi’s power is an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Both trucks come with part-time 4WD systems with electronic engagement and low range gearing. Neither truck, however, offers a selectable locking rear differential, though limited-slip diffs in both offer more traction than a conventional open differential.
Setting the Ram apart is its air suspension system. It gives the driver the option of a standard and off-road ride height. When in its highest position, the Ram matches the Tundra TRD Pro’s ground clearance. And thanks to the air suspension’s self-leveling feature, the Ram offers a flatter ride when hooked to a tongue-heavy trailer. The Toyota just goes nose up.
These trucks are awesome and all, but both command premium price tags. The Tundra TRD Pro edges out the Ram, carrying an as-tested price around $46,000. At round $53,000, the Ram Rebel is more expensive, but as this video review points out, it offers more features commonly favored among modern truck buyers.
So which is better in the dirt? Well, I can’t spoil the review, so check it out above.