2025 Ram 1500 Review: The Hemi Is Dead, But You’re Gonna Be OK

Đăng ngày 06/03/2024 lúc: 09:03618 lượt xem
2025 Ram 1500 Review: The Hemi Is Dead, But You’re Gonna Be OK

The verdict: Die-hard fans may lament the passing of the Hemi V-8, but the 2025 Ram 1500’s new Hurricane twin-turbo straight-six-cylinder engines make up in power and smoothness what they lack in audible growl.

Versus the competition: The Ram 1500 is still the most comfortable pickup truck on the market with the nicest interior, but now it adds a significant boost in quietness and refinement versus its Ford and GM competitors.

2025 Ram 1500 Review: The Hemi Is Dead, But You’re Gonna Be OK
2025 Ram 1500 Review: The Hemi Is Dead, But You’re Gonna Be OK

The simple fact of the matter is that the V-8 engine is dying, with nearly every major automaker except GM starting to phase them out of production as tougher emissions laws and the increased global push for electrification makes them untenable. Pickup trucks are the latest body style to see them start to disappear: First, Ford switched almost everything over to twin-turbocharged V-6 engines (they still have one 5.0-liter V-8 as an option), then Toyota dumped their V-8 for a twin-turbo V-6, as well. Now, Ram has done the same. The really big story here is that the 2025 Ram 1500 is no longer offered with a Hemi V-8 engine; it’s six-cylinder engines across the board, from the base model to the new-for-’25, line-topping Tungsten trim.

Truck and Hemi fans are going to cry foul, GM is going to say, “Well, we make V-8s work,” and environmentalists are still going to lament that Rams use gasoline. But everybody can calm down — the switch to turbo sixes in the new Ram 1500 works, and it works exceptionally well.

Not Much (More) to Look At

You’re going to be hard-pressed to tell the ‘25 Ram 1500 apart from the ‘24, and I’m of two minds about that. On one hand, you could say the truck didn’t really need any styling fixing (unlike some crosstown rivals from a couple of years ago), so Ram didn’t do any. On the other, if you’re going to update your truck, do something noticeable. Ram took the first route, and I’m OK with it. The design is sleek, chunky and still retains some hints of the original ‘90s-era design that put the Ram truck back in the fight. But for ‘25, it gets some aero smoothing, available LED headlights and some updates to the grille and front bumper. If you opt for the new super-luxurious, range-topping Tungsten trim, your steel front bumper is replaced by a plastic lower covering that’s more about style than function. It’s the same story out back: There’s new taillights, but you’d never notice if you weren’t told. The overall look of the truck isn’t particularly new, but then, it really didn’t need to be.

The Important Bit: Power

Three engines are available in the ‘25 Ram 1500. It starts with the base 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that feels like it’s been around forever and has found a home under the hood of everything from Jeep Wranglers to Dodge Journeys to Chrysler 300s. It’s been in the Ram 1500 awhile, too, and it comes with the eTorque mild-hybrid system and produces a carryover 305 horsepower and 271 pounds-feet of torque. That’s pretty mild for a base engine when compared with what rivals are doing: The Chevy Silverado 1500 has a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder making 310 hp and 430 pounds-feet, while the Ford F-150’s twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 makes 325 hp and 400 pounds-feet. While this makes the base Ram pretty solidly outgunned, not to worry: This engine is only likely to be found in super-cheap fleet trucks. It’s only available as the standard engine in the base Tradesman trim level and slightly nicer Big Horn (called Lone Star in the Texas market, not even joking) variants.

The optional engine in the Tradesman and Big Horn/Lone Star (and standard in the next-nicest Laramie and off-road Rebel) is the new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter Hurricane inline-six-cylinder engine, or as Ram refers to it, the “SST” (for “straight-six turbo”). We first sampled this engine under the hood of the Jeep Wagoneer, but it’s now made its way over to the Ram brand, producing 420 hp and 469 pounds-feet of torque; it’s likely to be the engine you see in most Ram pickups, occupying the spot where the highest sales volumes occur. Finally, the top engine option in the ‘25 Ram is a more powerful, heavily modified version of that 3.0-liter Hurricane SST, referred to as the SST H/O (high output). It makes a whopping 540 hp and 521 pounds-feet of torque, and it’s only offered in the Limited Longhorn, Limited and Tungsten trims, where it’s standard. Ram recommends premium fuel for the regular SST engine and requires it for the H/O version. All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission — no 10-speed here yet, unlike what’s offered in GM and Ford trucks — and rear-wheel drive. Part-time or full-time four-wheel drive is available, depending on trim level and options.

Having driven both of the SST engines — the standard Hurricane in a well-equipped Laramie trim, then the SST H/O in a loaded Tungsten — I can say that the only thing fans are going to miss about the Hemi V-8 is the sound it made. These Hurricane engines are superior in just about every way, but their remarkable refinement is especially noticeable whether accelerating or cruising on the highway. Motoring along at 70 mph, all you hear is wind and road noise — the engine itself is just a muted hum under your feet. Power is plentiful and just a stab of the gas pedal away, although there is a bit of kickdown delay from the transmission unless you have it in Sport mode. One gets the idea that the powertrain is tuned a bit more for fuel economy (official EPA estimates weren’t yet available at publication) than snappy performance.

As for the differences between the SST and SST H/O, there really isn’t all that much in terms of how they behave. They both produce prodigious low-end torque due to the turbochargers, and it’s fairly immediate, too. Each of the two turbos feed three cylinders, so engineers were able to downsize the turbos for quicker spool-up and superior response. There’s no turbo lag here — not that most engines have had any in years thanks to modern technology and electronic controls. You do notice the extra power and torque in the SST H/O when you really get into it (it changes the Ram 1500 from merely “adequately quick” to “properly rapid”), and it makes me wonder exactly what Ram is planning for the Ram RHO sport truck trim it said to expect in the coming months. Consider: The new Ram 1500 pickup truck has a powertrain not at all dissimilar to the one in the latest BMW M3 — a twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six engine linked to an eight-speed automatic and RWD — except the Ram’s H/O engine is actually more powerful.

Ride, Handling, Towing, Off-Roading

How do the new engines affect the rest of the truck experience? Only in good ways, folks. The ride and handling of the new Ram 1500 isn’t really any different than the outgoing model; the coil-spring rear suspension helps the Ram ride better than any of its competitors, with the exception perhaps of the top Tungsten trim, which rides on 22-inch wheels and tires and transmits more bumps and pavement chop into the cabin than other models with taller-sidewall tires. Steering is nicely weighted but big-pickup-numb, and that’s generally all right. You’re not driving a sports car, and as long as it feels well controlled and comfortable, you’re doing it right in my book. One thing to note: The lane departure warning system is maddeningly sensitive and will always be going off regardless of any adjustments you make (it has sensitivity settings). The switch to deactivate it is to the top right of the dashboard touchscreen.

The Ram 1500 still tows like a champ, and the new engine’s prodigious low-end torque makes dragging a trailer a breeze (so do the Ram’s new trailer tow mirrors, I might add). I had the opportunity to tow a 7,300-pound, 26-foot Airstream trailer behind a Laramie trim level with the standard Hurricane engine, and it felt truly effortless and calm. The maximum towing capacity for the new Ram is 11,580 pounds, which is around a couple of thousand pounds less than the maximum ratings for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150, but Ram isn’t chasing max tow numbers — and that’s a good thing. Frankly, towing anything greater than 10,000 pounds isn’t something I’d want to do in anything but a heavy-duty pickup due to the increased stress and wear on a light-duty truck’s components. Can you tow a 13,000-pound trailer with a light-duty Ford or Chevy? Yes, but it’s a very specific model that can tow that much, and you’d be a lot more comfortable doing it in a Silverado HD or a Ford Super Duty. Making towing easier in the Ram is the location of the available integrated trailer brake controller at the bottom left corner of the big vertical touchscreen. Oddly, the gain adjustment is part of the touchscreen, but the manual activation slide is still a physical control.

Off-road, the Hurricane engine is just as much of a winner as the old Hemi was. The 420-hp version is the engine you get in the latest Rebel trim, which has to be one of the best off-road pickups on the market. It’s easily as comfortable off-road as the most recent Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 I tested, and on my brief off-road drive in the hills around Austin, Texas, it proved that it’s as easily adept at scaling rocks as it is flying over open fields at 45-50 mph, something you wouldn’t really do in a Ford F-150 Tremor (but definitely could in the much more expensive F-150 Raptor). The available low-end torque of the turbo engine works in the Rebel’s favor, and all of the same goodies that were in the truck before (available four-corner air suspension, various drive modes, 33-inch mud-terrain tires, easy-to-use low-range and locking rear differential) are still present in the latest Rebel. The available off-road cameras are also extremely helpful when the path suddenly drops away from you and you need to see where the Ram is pointing.

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