Home » The 2025 Ram 1500 Is So Good I Don’t Miss The Hemi V8

The 2025 Ram 1500 Is So Good I Don’t Miss The Hemi V8

2025 Ram 1500 Fd Ts
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I realize my headline is blasphemy and could get me shot in at least 12 states south of the Mason-Dixon line, but I stand by it. The 2025 Ram 1500 hoists the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that has decorated Ram 1500 engine bays for over two decades up and into the scrapyard, replacing it with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six. For Ram, the switch was done to improve emissions; when some customers hear that, they immediately cringe and think of so many examples throughout truck history when “improving emissions” resulted in a degraded driving experience. But that’s not the case this time, because this inline-six is legit.

There are lots of reasons why Ram ditched the V8 for a straight-six. The six is 90 pounds lighter, it’s got some cost-saving opportunities over a V-engine (there’s only one cylinder head, for example), it’s an inherently balanced engine layout, and it’s narrow enough to leave room for a set of turbos to fit between the frame rails. But the overarching theme, and the one that Stellantis came right out of the gate with during the media presentation in Austin earlier this week, is that this engine is all about efficiency.

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[Full Disclosure: Ram flew me to Austin, put me up in a fancy hotel, and let me drive the new 2025 Ram 1500. At the hotel, I dusted a few hors d’Oeuvres and enjoyed some redfish and brussell sprouts; the next day I crushed some barbecue at a ridiculously fancy ranch/wedding venue. It was all probably far more expensive than anything my cheap-bastard-self would have paid for. -DT]. 

The engine is the same 3.0-liter “Hurricane” straight six that we’ve seen in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, and according to Alan Falkowski, Global Chief Engineer for this family of engines, a key way it increases fuel economy and reduces emissions is through reduction in displacement. When you don’t need the turbos, you can drive along in what is essentially a 3.0-liter NA engine — nearly half the size of the old V8 (which used cylinder deactivation to try to effectively reduce displacement; of course, this then necessitated some active tuned mass dampers that were bolted to the frame — something the buttery smooth inline-six doesn’t need). When you need passing or towing power from the new Ram, you punch the throttle pedal, and the turbos hit to get that 3.0-liter up to 420 horsepower and 469 lb-ft of torque in “Standard Output” guise and up to 540 horsepower, 521 lb-ft of torque on “High Output” variants.

The New Engine

 

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It’s at this point that many truck owners are probably wondering if this means that the real-world fuel economy woes that Ford F-150 EcoBoost owners have been complaining about for years are going to make their way to Ram. ‘F-150 turbo engines seem to suck fuel pretty much as badly as V8s when they’re in boost,’ some might say. Falkowski addressed this, telling me that a major reason why EcoBoost engines perform so poorly fuel economy-wise when under boost is that they find themselves retarding spark to reduce engine knock.

“To make boosted engines efficient, you gotta suppress knock,” he told me. Among enablers that Ram uses on Hurricane engines, Falkowski tells me, are EGR, a Liquid Charge Air Cooler, and a small engine bore size.

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The bore size thing, he told me, has to do with the fact that the flame – initiated from the spark plug – is able to effectively get to the perimeter of the cylinder, yielding healthy combustion and thus reduced knock. He also talked about the cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler, which sends cooled, inert exhaust gases into the combustion chamber. I recall being taught during my engineering days that this improves fuel economy by allowing a driver to have their throttle wide open in more conditions (because so much of the intake charge is inert gas, thus allowing for a wide open throttle even at low loads), thus reducing pumping losses.

But Falkowski says it actually has to do with reducing combustion temperatures. “We’re feeding water into the engine,” he told me, reminding me that water is a byproduct of any combustion reaction, and thus exists in exhaust gases. Water, he told me, absorbs a lot of heat, allowing an engine to run a high combustion ratio without knock.

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Then there’s the liquid-cooled charge air cooler, or intercooler, which reduces air charge temperatures, also aiding in knock reduction. To understand how that works, we’ll need to take a closer look at the Ram 1500’s intake:

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Air gets sucked through the air filter and into a duct on the passenger’s side of the truck. The air then travels across the front of the engine to the driver’s side.

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Once on the driver’s side, the intake air is split:

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Air then enters the two turbocharger compressor inlets:

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The turbos are being spun up by the exhaust gases exiting the engine on the driver’s side. This exhaust spins a turbocharger turbine, which is on one side of a shaft, which has a compressor on the other side. That compressor squeezes the intake air that comes into the turbocharger axially, and sends that compressed (and thus hot) air out tangentially:

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Here you can see where the intake air is sent out of the turbos, and up and over top of the engine back towards the passenger’s side:

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Once back on the passenger’s side, the air enters plastic intake “runners” (as I’ve decided to call them), which feed a liquid-cooled charge air cooler (or intercooler):

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That’s where that compressed (and thus hot) air enters the charge-air cooler, which has cold liquid coolant flowing through it:

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After the LCAC (liquid charge air cooler), the air goes through a throttle body and into the intake manifold, and then into the engine:

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The jury is out on whether these enablers (many of which Ford utilizes, as well) will actually  give the Ram’s engine a fuel economy advantage over EcoBoosts, especially under load, or if this is all just some clever marketing, but it’s cool to see how the engine works, regardless.

The presentation showed a few slides that look at the innards of the motor; this slide discusses its aluminum closed-deck block, its forged crankshaft, and its cross-bolted main bearings:

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Here’s a look at the cylinder head:

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And here’s that liquid-cooled charge air cooler, which Stellantis says helps enable better response (less lag) over an air-to-air charge air cooler, which would require an even longer air path since the intake air would have to travel to the truck’s grille:

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So that’s the story of the 3.0-liter Hurricane: It’s all about emissions. In fact, it’s so much about emissions that the Ram’s tow rating is actually down. “This engine was really meant for efficiency,” Ram said during the presentation. “There’s more heat rejection…it’s a slight decrease [in tow rating].” The current 5.7-liter Ram’s rating is 12,750; the new Ram 1500 can tow up to 11,580 pounds.

What Else Is New?

Ram breaks up the 1500 into three different buckets: Sport Truck, Core Truck, and EV. The Core includes the Tradesman, Bighorn/Lone Star, Laramie, Limited Longhorn, Limited, and Tungsten; the Sport Trucks include the Rebel and an upcoming off-road-focused RHO (which is expected to launch in Q3 of this year with the 540 horsepower high-output Hurricane engine); and the EV includes the fully-electric REV and the range-extended plug-in hybrid Ramcharger.

This press event that I attended didn’t include much discussion of the RHO or the EVs, focusing only on the core trucks and the Rebel, but placing the most emphasis on the new “Tungsten” trim. Ram found that there’s still unmet demand at the high-end of the pickup truck market, beyond the current top-dog Limited trim, and so the Tungsten will become the most expensive standard 1500 truck at $87,000.

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It comes with lots of standard features, including massaging heated and vented 24-way power seats, a new power tailgate, LED lighting all around, a special RAM badge, special interior trim, a suede headliner, a “Klipsch” 23-speaker audio system, dual wireless chargers, a standard sunroof, standard surround-view camera, various safety systems like drowsy driver detection and traffic sign recognition, standard body-color front bumper, and more.

All new Rams have bigger grilles than before, and various interior and exterior styling changes distinguish the 2025 from the outgoing truck. There’s an  “improved” 12-inch touchscreen, a new available 14.5-inch touchscreen, an available 10.25-inch passenger touchscreen, a new driver footrest, an additional 3.55 axle ratio to join the 3.21 and 3.92, an available power tailgate, Active Driving Assist “Level 2” automated driving and “Level 2+ hands-free driving, and a new “Advanced ‘Atlantis’ electrical architecture” that promises faster touchscreen response times.

Here’s the outgoing truck in Limited guise:

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And here’s what the new top trim, Tungsten, looks like (notice that the grille badge is on the “chest” of the grille, not centered):

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Here’s a look at the 2024 Limited interior:

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And here’s the new Tungsten cabin:

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The truth is that the changes to the truck are fairly subtle to the layperson; the big thing is the new engine, a new top-dog trim, some new luxury options, and some styling tweaks here and there. This is still the same “DT” platform as before, the sole transmission is still an eight-speed automatic, and in fact, the Pentastar V6 remains as a base engine option.

What’s It Like To Drive

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I started my drive by hopping into the black Tungsten trim shown above next to the white truck, and I’m glad, because the cruise to the lunch spot (where Ram had set up an off-road course) was quite long.

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I don’t know what I can say about the comfort of this truck that’s going to be particularly profound, because the outgoing truck — with its multi-link coil suspension (or available air suspension, like this truck had) and gorgeous interior — was already a smooth-riding penthouse on wheels, but I’ll just say that the Tungsten Ram 1500 that I drove was baller. There’s really no other way to put it. I mean, look at this thing:

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The massaging seats, the big 14.5-inch touchscreen, the huge sunroof, that buttery ride — it’s a true luxury truck, and it made the long drive feel effortless. The “Hands-free Driving Assist,” which Ram calls “Level 2.5” automated driving, worked reasonably well. You just set the adaptive cruise control, and the vehicle will let you know if you’re on a road for which the truck can offer a hands-free experience.

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A green light means you can take your hands off the wheel, and I did just that. I did notice that the truck wasn’t the best at staying perfectly centered in the lane (it bounced left to right a bit), so there’s still room for improvement, but it was nice to just sit there and look ahead, without having to think too much.

 

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But just because I didn’t have to think too much, I did have to pay attention; you can see that sensor there just ahead of the steering wheel – the Ram is watching you! And if you don’t pay attention, it will know:

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The 14.5-inch screen worked great, and I have to hand it to RAM for keeping physical HVAC/volume controls to the left and right of that screen:

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Just below the screen are two wireless charging spots that hold the phones upright. Those are just ahead of a giant center console that includes a sliding cupholder/storage tray:

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I’m glad Ram has kept its dash-mounted rotary-dial shifter; modern automatic transmissions are electronically shifted anyway, so who are we kidding with the big lever-style shifters? Just move the shifter out of the way, and you can offer loads of storage like Ram did here.

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Honestly, overall, Ram does a great job with storage. Those rear seats fold up yielding a huge flat floor for bigger items; the Ram Box is huge, fitting both of my carry-on bags; there’s the aforementioned center console; there are little pouches on the backs of the bucket seats; there are storage areas in all four doors; and there’s a glovebox. But only one. And that brings me to a lowpoint: The 10.25-inch passenger-screen that’s standard on high trim level Rams is wack.

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Ram describes the point of this screen in its press release, writing:

New segment-first 10.25-inch passenger screen with three major functions: co-pilot (navigation, device management), entertainment (via HDMI) and the ability to view the exterior vehicle cameras

Let’s be real, though: The main advantage of this screen to a passenger is entertainment, but nobody is going to be plugging in via HDMI — that’s ridiculous. Without Bluetooth functionality, this is just silly, and honestly, this doesn’t seem like much of an advantage over just looking at your phone.

If I were buying a Ram, I’d buy one without this feature so I could have this second glovebox:

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Or, on lower trims, this little storage ledge:

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That passenger screen and a few fit and finish imperfections (see below) are pretty much the only complaints I have about an otherwise fantastic interior:

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As for the engine replacing the legendary Hemi, I like it. I recognize that there are going to be concerns about serviceability given that this engine is more complex than the outgoing V8, and given that it’s new, meaning parts/expertise just aren’t there yet. But there seems to be a good amount of room in the engine bay to work on the thing, and as far as outright performance, it’s so good that it has me not really missing that old Hemi.

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The Hemi sounds better, to be sure, but the straight-six doesn’t sound bad. It’s not like a wheezy, whiny four-cylinder or V6. It sounds OK; neutral, I’d say. And as far as performance goes, the new straight-six gets it done.

I love the old Hemi, yes, but I don’t miss it, because when boost hits on this inline-six, the thing moves with fury. Like, it’s an event. The Tungsten I drove comes standard with the High Output (HO) engine making 540 horsepower, so it probably goes without saying that this thing moves. Here’s a clip of the first time I punched it in that white Tungsten:

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At least in the drive mode that I was in, I found that it takes a second or so for the transmission to downshift and for the boost to build, but once that happens, WHACK! It’s like a freight train hits the truck from behind and shoves it forward with vigor.

I later hopped into a base-model “Tradesman” truck with the Standard Output, 420 horsepower version of that engine (total price was $57,000, though you can get a 4×2 Tradesman Quad-Cab for just over $42,000, or $45,000 if you want the straight-six), and I found that, too, to be more than powerful enough.

 

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Speaking of that base-model truck, how about that split bench seat? Ram continuing to offer that in 2025 is something worth applauding:

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A split bench seat and a straight six? What is this, 1985? I’m a fan,

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I also had a chance to take a few 2025 Ram Rebels off-road, and they did great. I won’t spend a ton of time talking about off-roading, because the truth is that, especially at low speeds in low range, the differences in performance between the outgoing Hemi and the new straight-six are imperceivable (dune driving, where you’re often at wide-open throttle, is where you’d be able to see the biggest difference, I bet).

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In any case, as before, the new Ram is limited by its geometry. With air suspension jacked all the way up, it’s got a respectable 10.3 inches of ground clearance, though its overall size, its 23-degree approach and departure angles, and its sub-20-degree breakover angle limit its capability.

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Still, one can have fun off-road; that 2.64 low range ratio in the transfer case, the 3.92 axle ratio, and the 4.71 first gear ratio all yield a great crawl ratio of nearly 50. That, combined with great Goodyear Wrangler 35-inch all-terrain tires and a great locking differential that activates seemingly instantly means the truck will go damn near anywhere you can get that front chin up and over. I had a great time.

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I also got to tow a ~7,000 pound airstream, but given how flat and low-speed the roads were in that part of rural Texas, and how moderate the temperatures were, I wasn’t really able to learn much about the truck’s performance other than that: On 45 mph roads, the truck gets the job done; it never felt underpowered.

The screen read 11.3 MPG over the prior 30 miles, which had all involved towing. Obviously, that figure is hardly representative given that I have no clue how the prior person in the truck had actually driven the machine, and also given how few miles were involved. Still, that doesn’t sound far off; it’ll be interesting to see what it does on the highway while yanking a trailer.

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Verdict

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The 2025 Ram 1500 is a refreshed version of the outgoing truck. Sure, there’s a new fancy trim level, some styling tweaks, and some new high-end options, plus the engine changed dramatically, but the overall experience feels familiar. The truck is still powerful and luxurious, and it still looks handsome.

Real-world fuel economy and reliability/serviceability will ultimately decide how great of a truck this is, but from my standpoint, the straight-six is a good Hemi replacement. It’s an emissions play from Stellantis, but one that yields nice power behind the wheel of a truck that can pretty much do it all. It’s a workhorse, it’s a luxury car, it’s an off-roader; it’s also not cheap.

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Gavin Babineaux
Gavin Babineaux
28 days ago

Have a 2020 5th gen Laramie rwd 3.21 gears. I towed an 07 Colorado on a flat 80 min drive with a Uhaul car hauler, my mpg dipped down to 16.6 I was shocked. I have fond respect for the hemi, but we rented a rwd Wagoneer L for a week and drove it for 3k miles and that SO Hurricane is a beast! I’m really interested in a Rebel, now. Why doesn’t anyone ask about a rwd HO truck? Seems that would be a slam dunk special edition.

Evan Shealy
Evan Shealy
1 month ago

I still want to see a dyno graph of the two hurricane engines laid over the dyno of the old hemis. My guess would be under 3000 rpm the hemi out powers the turbo engines and the 6 makes it up in the higher rpms. But that is only speculation since the only thing ever published are a couple numbers at specific rpms.

Top Dead Center
Top Dead Center
1 month ago

Good review, love the engine details! Finally a truck interior that’s luxo. I have a Sierra AT4x and this is a level up! On the straight 6 topic, had a 2003 BMW 328i and now baby Duramax 3.0 Straight 6 and I forgot how much I like the straight 6 setup and it’s smoothness – even in a diesel.

I do love buttons for stuff, all of our cars have hvac and seat buttons, I can live with stereo / nav stuff in the touchscreen thats about it, tho gotta have a volume knob. I’m probably going to be screwed in 10 years or so…

Last edited 1 month ago by Top Dead Center
Eggsalad
Eggsalad
1 month ago

If I’m reading this right, we can no longer buy a regular cab half ton pickup from RAM??

RhoadBlock
RhoadBlock
1 month ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

IIRC that’s been the case since this gen was released in 2019.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

There has never been a single cab 5th gen half ton Ram. They have continued selling the 4th gen single cab as a Ram Classic, but no more.

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