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  • Anthony Sophinos
    Automotive Editor - May 15, 2018

    2018 RAM 3500 OVERVIEW

    Normal full-size trucks are plenty capable machines, but sometimes, a light-duty truck is just too light-duty to get the job done. In the extremities of hauling and towing, something better, faster, and stronger is needed. This is where the 3500-series trucks come in, and Ram – no, don't call it a Dodge – is more than happy to oblige. With an astounding six trim levels, three engines, and four transmissions, there's a 2018 Ram 3500 rig to suit the needs of even the most demanding truck buyer.

    What's New for 2018

    There's a new Limited Tungsten option group for Limited-spec trucks, the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system now has better resolution, rearview cameras are now standard across the board, and there's a new fleet telematics module for better vehicle tracking.

    Choosing Your RAM 3500

    Call in sick or play hooky from work – it'll take the day to determine what trim, options, and configurations to purchase.

    Predictably, there's nothing weak-chested about any of the three engine options. But for those wanting the whole nine yards, the only way to go is with the Cummins 6.7-liter inline-six turbodiesel. There are three different versions of this workhorse, and the one that ends up under the hood is determined by transmission choice. The least potent powertrain is paired with the six-speed manual – the only way to get a stick-shift in any full-size truck from any manufacturer – and makes 350 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed 68RFE automatic gearbox brings with it 370 hp and an impressive 800 lb-ft of torque. Topping it all off is the Aisin-built AS69RC six-speed automatic that boasts 385 hp and a whopping 930 lb-ft of torque.

    Pairing the turbodiesel with the Aisin transmission is the only way to unlock the 31,210-pound tow rating (best-in-class, per Ram) and equally impressive 6,580-pound payload rating. This kind of grunt doesn't come cheap, though. Depending on trim, it takes $11,395 to be able to lay claim to those bragging rights.

    The other two engines available are of the gas variety, and, as such, can't lay claim to such stump-pulling torque and tow ratings. The larger of the two is a 6.4-liter V8, and is rated at 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. If payload capacity is paramount, the 6.4 is the way to go – its 7,390-pound payload rating is the best within the 3500-series lineup. The 6.4 will also pull a maximum 16,370 pounds. It's standard on all but the low-end Tradesman, SLT, and Big Horn trims, where it's a $500 option.

    The least-capable engine is the 5.7-liter V8, which anyone familiar with Ram's family tree will recognize as FCA's ubiquitous Hemi. In this application, it makes 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Towing and payload ratings are 13,910 and 4,080 pounds, respectively. It's regulated to base engine duty on the Tradesman, SLT, and Big Horn.

    Three cab styles and two bed lengths are available. The Regular Cab is the traditional two-door pickup, and can be had only with the longer eight-foot bed length. The Crew Cab uses smaller front-hinged rear doors to give off the impression that it's a tidy-sized four-door pickup. Don't fall for it – the 169-inch wheelbase (when paired with the eight-foot bed) speaks to how big this thing is. It can be equipped with either the eight-foot box or the smaller 6'4" box.

    If the crew is too cramped in the Crew, the aptly-named Mega Cab is available. With four full-size doors, cabin space is generous, with a healthy 43 inches of rear legroom. The sheer length of it means that it's only available with the 6'4" box.

    Probably the most distinctive option of the Ram 3500-series trucks is the available dual rear wheels. They're available for every trim level and cab/bed combination except the Crew cab with the 6'4" box, and cost $1,295. Four-wheel drive is also available for all trims and cab styles, and costs an additional $2,800.

    Options available throughout all trims include a 4.10 rear axle ($145), a fifth-wheel hitch rated for either 20,000 or 30,000 pounds ($1,075 or $1,375, respectively), and an auto-level rear suspension ($1,595). LED bed lighting is $165 and clearance lights are $95. A third brake light with integrated cargo camera is $345 and is available on all trims but the Tradesman. A roadside emergency kit is $195, and a Tow Prep Group is $445. The latter brings all the necessary holes and hardware for attaching a fifth-wheel. Two-tone paint is available on most trim levels for $495, as is a $1,095 sunroof.

    All starting prices listed below represent the cheapest potential combination of bed, cab, and drivetrain.


    The lowest-spec 3500-series truck starts at $35,290 (all prices include the $1,645 destination charge). The sparse list of standard features includes air conditioning, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 40/20/40-split vinyl bench seat, a six-speaker radio, and a 3.5-inch driver information display.

    The regular radio can be ditched in favor of a small non-touchscreen Uconnect radio with Bluetooth and voice command ($195), or a 5.0-inch touchscreen Uconnect system with Bluetooth, voice command, GPS input, compass, outside temperature gauge, and SiriusXM radio ($795).

    A Chrome Appearance Group package ($895) includes chrome bumpers, grille, and 18-inch wheels. A Power and Remote Entry Group ($615) adds power locks, windows, mirrors, and keyless entry. A Popular Equipment Group ($545) comes with cloth seats, carpet floor covering, floor mats, and SiriusXM radio. Anyone planning on towing should spring for the Max Tow Group, which costs $3,500 and includes an auto-level rear suspension, a 30,000-pound fifth-wheel hitch, a trailer brake control, DRLs, and a 4.10 rear axle.


    The next step up is the $39,490, 5.7-liter-powered Ram 3500 SLT. Additional standard features include power locks, windows, and mirrors, an overhead console, a 5.0-inch Uconnect infotainment touchscreen, and cloth upholstery. It also has body-color door handles, chrome bumpers and grille, interior brightwork, and 18-inch chrome wheels.

    Packages include the Popular Equipment Group ($1,195) that includes fog lights, a power driver's seat, a premium bench seat, and a 115-volt power outlet. The Luxury Group ($695) comes with a seven-inch driver information display, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a glove box lamp, power trailer tow mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted controls, visors with vanity mirrors, and a rear dome light if applicable.

    Big Horn

    The $45,985 5.7-liter-powered Big Horn begins to move away from the realm of work-spec to closer to well-equipped territory. To drive this point home, every trim from here on out is unavailable with the Regular Cab. Standard features over the SLT includes the contents of the Popular Equipment Group, as well as a limited-slip differential and polished aluminum wheels.

    The Luxury Group returns for $1,045, and adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel to its feature bundle. A Sport Appearance Group ($2,095) brings a host of body-color exterior trim as well as a distinct bench seat, heated seats and wheel, mirrors with heat/power/memory functions, parking sensors, and Sport-specific interior trim.

    The Harvest Edition ($2,995) includes the contents of the Luxury Group, the excellent Uconnect 8.4-inch infotainment unit, and a third brake light with integrated cargo camera, as well as a smattering of chrome and body-color exterior trim bits. The Heated Seats and Wheel Group ($405) includes exactly what the name suggests.

    Bucket seats are $395, the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system is either $745 without navigation or $1,245 with it, and a nine-speaker Alpine stereo is $445. Other notable options include $295 parking sensors, a $195 alarm, and $145 power-adjustable pedals.


    The first Ram 3500 to creep over the 50-grand mark is the Laramie, which starts at $50,490. It also happens to be the first trim level where the 6.4-liter V8 is standard. Other standard features include LED taillights, an alarm, parking sensors, chrome folding and heated mirrors, a leather-trimmed bench seat, a six-way power passenger seat, the 8.4-inch Uconnect system, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and steering wheel, woodgrain trim, the Alpine sound system, and the seven-inch driver display cluster.

    The Sport Appearance Group is again available, and is now $1,895. A $395 Convenience Group bundles rain-sensitive wipers and automatic high beams. Leather bucket seats are $545, the Uconnect with navigation is priced at $745, keyless entry and ignition is $195, and remote start is $245.

    Laramie Longhorn

    Starting at $57,240, the 6.4-liter-V8-powered Laramie Longhorn represents the second-highest tier in the 3500 hierarchy. Notable features included as standard are a unique chrome grille, real wood trim, LED bed lighting, premium heated leather bucket seats, heated second-row seats, memory seats/mirrors/pedals/radio, navigation, two-tone paint, and chrome sill guards and running boards.

    The $395 Convenience Group returns, and a $1,125 Longhorn Southfork Package is now available. It includes "Longhorn" tailgate lettering, leather-wrapped assist handles, suede headliner, luxury floor mats, and a special walnut-veneer center-stack trim. Monotone paint is $225. The RamBox cargo storage system is a $1,295 upcharge.


    At a starting price of $60,640, the Limited is the most highfalutin Ram available. It comes standard with 20-inch wheels, a "Ram" lettered tailgate, keyless entry and ignition, RamBox cargo system (6'4" beds only), automatic headlights, and rain-sensitive wipers.

    The $275 Chrome Bumper Group adds chrome bumpers fore and aft. The $1,395 Limited Tungsten Edition adds special 20-inch wheels, smoked headlights, a unique grille, body-color door handles, a tailgate badge, running boards, black taillights, and a suede headliner.

    CarsDirect Tip

    At $11,395, the Cummins turbo-diesel is excellent but mighty pricey. We'd stick with the 6.4-liter V8 unless serious towing is a frequent occurrence.

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