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  • Willis Kuelthau
    Automotive Editor - March 6, 2018

    2018 RAM 2500 OVERVIEW

    Offered in a dizzying array of trims, the 2018 Ram 2500 does its best to keep up with the modern competition. Updated technology and styling help, but the 2500 still has mighty opponents in the Ford and GM lines.

    What's New for 2018

    The 2018 Ram 2500 brings new technology and a few cosmetic updates. There’s a new ultra-luxury version called the Limited Tungsten, and all models get updated vehicle telemetry trackers. The 8.4-inch display gets upgrades in resolution, plus 4G LTE connectivity and more smartphone compatibility. All models now come standard with a rearview camera. The Sport trim gets some styling tweaks, and all models add an exterior switch for the LED lighting in the bed.

    Choosing Your RAM 2500

    The Ram 2500 lineup offers an immense amount of customizability, starting under the hood. The base engine is a 5.7-liter V8 with 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. This engine can be recalibrated to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) at a cost of $11,000, but power remains the same. For $500, buyers can upgrade to a 6.4-liter V8 producing 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. These are the only available gas engines, and both are available only with a six-speed automatic transmission.

    The third engine is a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel producing 385 hp and a huge 900 lb-ft of torque. On the lowest three trims the price is $9,200, and above that it drops to $8,700. The diesel comes with a six-speed manual transmission, but the automatic is available as a no-cost option. With the right options, the Cummins is rated to nearly 18,000 pounds of towing capacity. The EPA doesn’t require mileage ratings for trucks this size, but expect it to be poor.

    There are four cab/bed options: a regular cab with an eight foot bed, a crew cab with either a six foot four inch or an eight foot bed, and an extra-large “Mega Cab” with a six foot four inch bed. Cab options and pricing depend on trim. All models are available with four-wheel drive, but the cost ranges from $2800 to $3200 depending on trim. There are seven trim options available: Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn, Power Wagon, and Limited.

    6-foot-4-inch Bed8-foot Bed
    Regular CabN/AX
    Crew CabXX
    Mega CabXN/A


    The Tradesman is the workhorse of the series, but it’s also the cheapest option at $33,940 after destination fees. It rolls on 17-inch steel wheels (18-inchers are an option), and includes a rearview camera and not much else. There's no dashboard display other than a radio, and upgrades like premium speakers aren't available. It's a utilitarian option, but it does come with the full complement of engine options. The Mega Cab is not available, but all other cab configurations are.

    Available packages include Towing Prep for $445, Chrome accents for $895 (including the larger rims), and a $735 Remote Entry package, which includes heated mirrors along with keyless entry. Ram's UConnect system with a five-inch touchscreen is available as a stand-alone option for $795.


    Starting at $38,140, the SLT is the first consumer-oriented trim in the 2500 lineup. It adds Ram's UConnect system in a five-inch touchscreen display that includes a year’s subscription to satellite radio. 18-inch chrome rims are also standard. The SLT does add some other practical upgrades, like keyless entry and a trailer brake controller (on four-wheel drive models).

    A Luxury Group package adds a seven-inch display, upgraded mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a garage door opener for $695. A “Popular Equipment” package adds a 40/20/40 bench, a power outlet, fog lamps, and a 10-way adjustable driver’s seat. An 8.4-inch display is available as an option for $745, and premium speakers for $295. A parking assist system is an option for either $295 (rear only) or $395 (front and rear), and remote start is an option on automatic transmissions for $245.

    The $1,995 Big Horn package continues to add luxury, coming standard with 18-inch aluminum wheels and fog lamps. The crew cab is standard (Mega Cab is still available as an upgrade), and there's a leather-wrapped steering wheel on the interior. Remote start is standard as well. But going with the Big Horn also impacts the price of other options packages while granting access to others.

    The Luxury package now costs $1,045. For $2,045, Sport Appearance package adds a host of cosmetic upgrades, upgraded mirrors, heated seats and steering wheel, LED interior lighting, the parking assist system, and a USB port. If you only want the heated seats and wheel, they’re available as a package for $405. For $2,995, there’s a Harvest Edition that adds even more cosmetic upgrades plus a garage opener and an 8.4-inch display with navigation. Sport bucket seats ($395), an Alpine sound system ($445), and the larger display ($745, or $1,245 with navigation) are all stand-alone options. There’s also a power sunroof for $1,095.


    Starting at $49,140, the Laramie trim begins to compete with true luxury vehicles. It comes standard with heated and ventilated leather-trimmed seats and dual-zone automatic temperature control. There are chrome accents and upgraded mirrors on the exterior, along with LED taillights. The 6.4-liter engine is standard, as are the crew cab and the 8.4-inch UConnect display.

    The only new package is a Convenience Package, which adds automatic headlights and wipers for $395. Navigation is an option for $795, and all the options from the Big Horn trim are still available.

    Power Wagon

    The Power Wagon is Ram's zombie-apocalypse vehicle, and it’s equipped to handle any terrain you can throw at it. Beefed up shocks, stabilizers, and axles are all standard, and of course it's four-wheel drive. The suspension is lifted two inches, which increases ground clearance. There are still some creature comforts, with cloth bucket seats and a five-inch display. The Power Wagon starts at $53,690 and comes only with the 6.4-liter engine.

    The only new package is a Leather and Luxury package, which adds upgraded mirrors, heated seats and steering wheel, a USB port, and a garage opener for $4,995 in addition to the eponymous leather upholstery. The 8.4-inch display is available as an option, but the crew cab is the only one available on this trim.


    The Laramie Longhorn trim ($55,890) adds mostly cosmetic upgrades. It includes an ornamental grille and bumper accents, along with goodies like LED bed lighting. It still comes standard with heated, full-leather seats, the 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation, the 6.4-liter V8, and the crew cab. There are also some neat features like memory settings for the seats and mirrors, or an available cargo-view camera.

    The only new package is the Longhorn Southfork package for $1,125, which adds more tinsel like tailgate lettering, leather-wrapped grab handles, luxury mats, and a suede headliner.

    Add the $3,275 Limited Package to your Longhorn for the ultimate Ram 2500 – it rolls on big 20-inch aluminum wheels and comes with as many chrome accents as possible. Push-button start is standard, as is the 6.4-liter engine, the crew cab body, and tailgate lettering. The windshield wipers are rain-sensing, and there's automatic high-beam control. This is Ram's most luxurious offering – if it was optional on lesser trucks, it's going to be standard here.

    The big-name package is the new Limited Tungsten for $1,395, which adds even fancier rims, projector headlights, body-color handles and running boards, upgraded tires and mirrors, and “tungsten” chrome accents. If you just want the chrome bumpers, they’re also available as a package for $295.

    CarsDirect Tip

    The Ram 2500 can be a ranching workhorse or a luxury cruiser (or both), depending on how you pick your options. The SLT is easily the most balanced choice, here, particularly if you're liberal with the optional extras. If you're planning to spend a lot of time in the mud, the Power Wagon is worth the upgrade – it hasn't met a piece of trail it can't handle.

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