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2018 Ram 1500 Limited Tungsten: Real World Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Ram 1500, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Ram 1500 Review

I just drove a 2018 Ram 1500 and was impressed. No, that’s not a typo, I meant to say 2018, not 2019. The 2019 Ram pickup gets a serious makeover, and was recently shown in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show.

New Version on the Way

I’m not a vehicle product planner, so I’m not questioning Chrysler’s decision to update the Ram. However, all things being equal, the 2018 version is pretty good truck — in my opinion, better than the current Silverado and the current F-150. It all comes down to one specific area with the ram — the interior. At Autotrader, we recently put the 2018 Ram 1500 on our list of the best interiors under $50,000 list. Even though the Ram starts under $30,000, the version I was driving was a Limited with options priced over $60,000. Still, for about $45,000 (or so) it has one of the most comfortable interiors among many different types of vehicle at a variety of prices.

Award Winning

Specifically, I’m thinking of the Laramie, and that’s the truck that we had in mind with the interiors award. Well, that and the Rebel. I know, the Rebel is a bit much, with all the red accents and tire tread seats. Still, it’s appropriate for the kind of truck it is. The truck I drove was the Limited Tungsten, the top trim level in the Ram line-up, and it shows. There are small embroidered details throughout and plenty of soft-touch surfaces that are visually appealing and feel nice as well. If you’re cross-shopping, I’d put the Ram 1500 Limited and Laramie Longhorn up against the GMC Sierra Denali any day of the week and likely chose the Ram.

Opting for the Limited already gets you things like extra chrome trim, heated and ventilated leather seats and a heated leather/wood steering wheel. Tungsten adds painted wheels, lots of body colored trim (like mirrors, bumpers and running boards), sport taillights, a sport hood and other appearance items. See the 2018 Ram 1500 models for sale near you

Inside Out

I have a son who is home-schooled, so whenever we take a trip, I try to find something educational in the area we’re traveling. This time, we were in Northern California. In the Ram, I took my son to the Marshall Gold Discovery site, and kept thinking how the area hasn’t really changed that much since the Gold Rush. The Ram feels like a local in an area with plenty of dirt roads, 100-year-old bridges, snow, heat, rain, mud and a few strip malls anchored by an almost always crowded Sizzler. Yes, we ate there. Yes, it was delicious. No, it’s not fancy.

But the Ram 1500 Limited IS fancy. It’s not just the interior that makes it so appealing. The 5.7-liter V8 makes 385 horsepower, sounds good and provides plenty of power up the steep hills that are common in the foothills of El Dorado County. There’s plenty of power for passing and merging on the highway as well. One thing that few automakers consistently get right is in-car storage, specifically the areas up front where the driver can keep things like sunglasses, a wallet, and a phone. I think storage areas and touchscreen size can be make or break items, even though most people don’t think of it until after they’ve purchased the car.

In the Ram, storage space is abundant. Not only is there a large center storage box, the door panel containers are big and there’s a decent sized open area just above the gear selector. Spend three or four days with a car that doesn’t have these storage areas and I guarantee you’ll walk away with an unfavorable impression. Even the Ram Box storage compartments are useful, though they do add $1,300 to the price. It seems gimmicky, but I was surprised how many times I need a locking storage area that’s not in the bed of the truck or inside the cab. Hidden birthday gifts for a nosy nephew is one use. Abundant storage bins in a car is like feng shui — you might not know what it is or even believe it’s real, but when you don’t get it, you feel a little off.

I know the Ram many not eclipse Ford F-150 sales, and both Ford and Chevy truck buyers are likely to stay with their favorite brand, but Ram sales have been gaining on Silverado sales, so there’s clearly a growing group of truck buyers who are warming up to what Ram has to offer. And what is that? Two things: 1) A very compelling ad series dating all the way back to 2013 with the "God Made a Farmer" spot featuring Paul Harvey and various other spots depicting the Ram as uniquely American — gritty, dirty, tough (whoever thought of "Guts, Glory, Ram" is a genius), and 2) excellent truck abilities combined with a very smooth ride and a variety of plush interior accommodations.

Certainly, the 2019 Ram pickup will be an improvement over the outgoing model. But before you make that decision, check out the 2018 version first, and you might be surprised at how good it is for a truck that’s being updated.

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