The Big Three engage in running battles across the automotive marketplace, but no fight is so vicious as the one for truck supremacy. The latest salvo to be fired is the release of the new 2025 Ram 1500, which includes more than just the Ram Ramcharger. Yes, the big truck Americans have grown to love is about to get a young upstart for a replacement. Strap in.
When it comes to the powertrain, let’s address the elephant in the room: the V8 is dead. The new Ram will instead rock a 3-liter turbocharged Hurricane straight-six, initially available in two states of tune. Buyers can choose from a 420-horsepower standard output model with 469 pound-feet of torque, and a 540-horsepower High Output model with 521 pound-feet of torque. Alternatively, it can also be had with the 3.6-liter Pentastar eTorque mild hybrid V6, with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.
Fans of America’s favorite cylinder layout will be heartbroken, but they needn’t be. Both engines are significantly more powerful than the current 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which offered just 395 horsepower at the crank. The old 5.7-liter Hemi may have been inefficient and may have used 16 spark plugs, but it will be missed. It was a proven thing; a well-developed engine that could be relied upon to deliver. It had a track record of racking up hundreds of thousands of miles without complaint, and excellent third-party parts support. By contrast, the Hurricane is a relative newcomer. It will need a few years to endear itself to the broader truckertariat.
Ram specifically points out that to help put down the prodigious torque of the Hurricane High Output engine, it has developed a new rear axle setup. It will be available across 2WD and 4WD variants, it can be had with an open or limited-slip differential as desired. An electronic locking differential is also available, which will come in handy for situations demanding additional traction.
Beyond gasoline power, there will also be an all-electric variant called the Ram 1500 REV. It’s due in the fourth quarter of 2024, with the Ram 1500 Ramcharger series hybrid to follow.
The 2025 Ram 1500 will also see the introduction of a new Tungsten trim that tops the range. It’s intended to offer an “ultra-premium” experience. Think suede headliners and visors, quilted leather driver and passenger seats, and plenty of brushed metal bezels in the interior. It also comes with an “ultra-premium” Klipsch Reference Premiere audio system with 23 speakers, surely a step above the regular “premium” audio systems available from other automakers.
In the third quarter of 2024, Ram will also launch something it’s calling the “RHO,” a half-ton truck powered with the 540-horsepower Hurricane engine. The high-performance trim aims to keep Ram in the running when it comes to big trucks with big power and big presence. Expect it to be a sort of spiritual successor to the TRX.
Inside, the new model intends to be more technologically advanced than its predecessor. The infotainment system will run the Uconnect 5 software on a new 14.5-inch touchscreen. In a sign Ram has listened to customer feedback about slow interfaces, its setup to respond to touches as quickly as 0.05 seconds. This will be paired with a 10.25-inch passenger screen in what Ram is calling a segment first, along with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Other modern amenities include a digital rearview mirror, the ability to use a smart phone as a key, and dual wireless charging pads to keep your gear topped off on the go. A so-called Level 2+ driving assist will be available on the new model. Unlike some current systems, it will allow hands-free driving under suitable conditions.
Fans of fancy mechanical features will appreciate the option of the power open and close tailgate. It’s set up with basic obstacle detection so ideally, it won’t just slam into things if you hit the button at the wrong time. A multi-function tailgate will also be available, along with lockable bed storage for those eager to keep their tools secure. An onboard power inverter, when equipped on Hurricane-engined models, will offer up to 1.8 kilowatts of power via two outlets in the bed.
Fundamentally, it’s an update that sees the beloved Ram 1500 moving with the times. Many a tear will be shed over the loss of the V8, but it’s harder to miss when such capable inline-sixes are available. What remains to be seen is whether Ram’s marketing department can convince die-hard fans of the bent eight to come on a ride into the future. If the trucks are still fast and comfortable and tow like the dickens, it should be able to pull that off.