The pickup truck realm has gotten weird lately, as the big three – Ford, Chevy and RAM – all offer very broad ranges that go from stripped-down work trucks to fully-loaded luxury pickups. The 2018 RAM 2500 is no exception to this trend. But unlike its competitors, the RAM 2500 doesn’t hide its truck-like attitude, even in the higher trims, making it an acquired taste.

Best Value

There are seven 2018 RAM 2500 trims to choose from, so picking the best overall is tough, as each one has its own personality of sorts. That said, a great starting point is the 2018 RAM 2500 SLT, as it skips over the spartan Tradesman model and adds a few expected creature comforts like cloth seats, a split-folding seat, 18-inch chrome wheels, keyless entry, and a five-inch touchscreen audio system with SiriusXM.

This trim also opens the door to more optional packages to dress up the RAM 2500, including the Luxury Group and Popular Equipment Group. The 6.4-liter HEMI V8 is a must-add feature, as you get 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque for just an extra $500.

  • Model: 2018 RAM 2500 SLT
  • Engine: 6.4-liter V8
  • Output: 410 hp / 429 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • MPG: N/A
  • Options: 6.4-liter V8 engine ($500), Luxury Group ($695, auto-dimming exterior mirror, seven-inch multi-view driver info display, mirror-mounted turn signals and courtesy lamps, glove box light, leather-wrapped steering wheel, overhead console with garage door opener, power-folding mirrors with heat, rear dome lamp, auto-dimming rearview mirror, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, illuminated vanity mirrors)
  • Base Price: $38,390 (including a $1,645 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $39,585

Performance

RAM 2500

The RAM 2500 is very capable at all levels, as its base 5.7-liter V8 engine delivers 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, while its upgraded 6.4-liter V8 pushes the output to 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. Topping off the range is a 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-six that pounds the pavement with up to 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque that boost its towing capacity to as high as 17,000 pounds. Buyers will also have the no-cost option of a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual.

The Power Wagon model adds a touch of ruggedness with its locking differentials and disconnecting front sway bar for off-road expeditions.

While it excels in power, the RAM 2500 still rides like a bouncy pickup from the 1990s. Its competitors have managed to smooth out most of this, leaving the RAM 2500 out of the picture to buyers who need a smooth ride.

Style

The RAM 2500 looks like a blown-up RAM 1500, and there's nothing at all wrong with that. The RAM truck has been one of the better looking in the segment for many years. While Ford and Chevy have caught up in terms of styling, the RAM continues with this rugged, yet oddly sexy, appearance.

Inside, the RAM 2500 shows a softer side, as its interior is mostly made up of gleaned parts from the 1500 model. So, even if you’re hard at work, getting into the RAM 2500’s cabin will remain a pleasant treat.

Speaking of that interior, once you get to the higher trim levels, the RAM 2500 quickly turns into a luxury truck that can also tote around a 17,000-pound trailer. It’s a great combination for those who can afford its lofty price tag.

The Best and Worst Things

The sheer number of powertrain and trim options ensures every type of buyer can find a RAM 2500 that suits their needs.

As a large pickup, there's almost no attention paid to safety tech. Plus, the bouncy ride feels way too old school for a 2018 truck.

Right For? Wrong For?

RAM 2500

Doing a lot of hauling? The RAM 2500 is the perfect piece of machinery. Plus, its higher trims make well-equipped daily drivers, too.

If you don’t plan to haul a large trailer regularly, the 2500’s ride is way too bouncy and truck-like for most. You may be better suited with a lighter-duty rig.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 RAM 2500 doesn’t hide its intentions very well. It's an unapologetic work truck that parades as a luxury pickup in its higher trims. If you’re not down with its truck-like behavior, you may want to step away.