2018 Ram 3500 Diesel Works Hard…and Pampers Passengers

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Let’s be clear: One does not buy a Ram 3500 for casual weekend play. It’s absolutely huge, especially with the crew cab and eight-foot bed. Click boxes for four-wheel-drive and the Cummins diesel to really get your chores on. But, if you’re going to haul heavy loads, you might as well do it in Lear Jet comfort. You might as well drive the Ram 3500 Limited.

Styling is one generation behind the latest Ram 1500, but still looks suave with its chrome RAM grille, semi-style fenders, projector beams, and 20” wheels. Step bars, power-folding mirrors, LED bed lighting, and integrated trailer hitch/wiring add convenience. You’ll wish for a power-deployed step under the grille when you check the oil or close the hood (because it’s a long way up there). Check the can-sized exhaust outlet.

It may present as a big bad smoking cargo maestro, but the truck’s interior conveys the atmosphere of traveling by royal coach. From the moment you climb in to smell the sweet aroma of leather, and gaze at wood on the steering wheel and cowboy stitching on the console/doors, your expectations rise. Leather-wrapped grab handles, saddle bags on the back of the heated/cooled front seats, and heated rear seats confirm it. Connect your iThings via 4G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USBs, and with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Chrysler’s infotainment system is baby-simple for commanding navigation, climate control, and audio. Touch simple icons for modes at the bottom of the screen, caress redundant buttons and knobs below, or command it by voice – whatever brings you joy. Alpine audio, rain-sensing wipers, and power moonroof do their parts too. Get ice cold no matter the outside temperature with automatic climate control.

A 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 385 horsepower is impressive enough, but it also whomps out 900 lb.-ft. of torque – enough to tow up to 16,990 lbs. or put 4,460 lbs. in the long bed. That’s a half-step from a full commercial truck. Want to pull a backhoe? No worries. Three family sedans? Load ‘em up. That mini yacht you’ve been coveting? Yep, can probably pull that too.

Driving the truck unloaded reminds drivers why they should not buy this beast to haul a light load of mulch or pull a pop-up camper.   It has solid axles front and rear plus an in-dash brake controller and pre-cut plugs in the bed for gooseneck trailers. It’s serious. But, even with the air suspension that keeps a level ride height, expect some harsh knocks over rough roads.

During a four-hour Interstate run to pick up a couple of kittens (seriously), I braced for impact at every bridge. On smoother roads, I just shoved my foot into the diesel’s throttle to enjoy the way-down torque and deep breathing turbo. Run whatever (legal) speed you want; slowpokes either get out of the way or get blown out of the way.

You definitely should not buy the Ram 3500 for household duties, but if you have seriously heavy loads to move and want to do it in absolute comfort, this is your truck. The Cummins diesel engine enjoys working hard and the Limited-grade interior pampers passengers. But, sit down before reading the price. Base Ram 3500s start at $34,045, but our truck came to, ahem, $80,800. This is definitely one for business owners and not the help. Competitors include the Chevy Silverado High Country HD, GMC Sierra Denali HD, and Ford F-350 Platinum.


Storm Forward!

Send questions and comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.


2018 Ram 3500
5 passengers, 4WD Pickup

Powertrain: 6.7-liter I6 Diesel, 385hp/900 lb.-ft.                                                                                                                                                      

Suspension f/r: Solid axles

Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy

Brakes f/r: disc/disc                  

Must-have features: Style, Capability

Towing Capacity: 16,990 lbs.               

Payload Capacity: 4,460 lbs.

Assembly: Mexico

Base/as-tested price: $34,045/$80,800

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