2025 Ram 1500 First Drive: No More Hemi

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Can Ram’s Hurricane I-6 replace a beloved V-8?

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The year was 2003, and America's full-size pickup wars were raging. Dodge had just released its new third-generation Ram 1500 half-ton pickup with an impressive new engine under the hood: the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Bolstered by an unforgettable ad campaign, "Hemi" quickly became a household word. The popular engine carried on relatively unchanged for 11 years across three generations of trucks before the 2024 model year was announced as its final hurrah.

With a pair of 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged I-6 engines replacing the Hemi V-8 and an all-new battery electric Ram REV and range-extended Ramcharger on the horizon, 2025 will be a pivotal year for the Ram brand. While there's still more to be seen, it has become clear that the company's combustion-powered 2025 Ram 1500 is more an evolution of the truck we know and love rather than the revolution coming on its heels.

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Built on Solid Bones​

Ram introduced an all-new half-ton pickup in 2019. This new model shared little more than its interior window switches, bed floor stamping, and a handful of fasteners with the outgoing fourth-generation truck, which graced lots from 2008 to 2018. That fifth-generation Ram 1500 received a new high-strength steel frame, an expanded cabin with more interior space, improved exterior styling and aerodynamics, a luxurious and quiet interior, and modern electronics, among everything else. It was then no surprise when Ram announced that the Hemi-less pickup coming for 2025 would remain relatively unchanged.

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Engines aside, for 2025 the Ram 1500 also receives a minor exterior update with larger grilles, refreshed bumpers, and updated head- and taillamps. Incandescent lighting is also binned, as all trucks now sport LED headlamps as standard. The new range-topping Tungsten becomes Ram's first trim to swap to a fully integrated front fascia and do away with the separate steel bumper altogether.

Like the outgoing model, the 2025 Ram 1500 can be had in Quad or crew-cab configurations with a 6-foot, 4-inch or 5-foot, 7-inch bed and two- or four-wheel drive. The smaller Quad cab is available only on Tradesman and Big Horn trims. Axle ratios remain the same with 3.21, 3.55, and 3.92 available, as well as open, limited-slip, and electronic locking differentials. Double control-arm front and five-link solid axle rear suspension setups facilitate the smooth ride Rams have been known for since ditching leaf springs in 2009. The multifunction tailgate and class-exclusive RamBox bedside storage cubbies remain on the menu, while a new power lift and lower tailgate function has been added.

More Power, Fewer Cylinders​

The big story for the new 2025 Ram 1500 pickup is the pair of 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six engines, which—as mentioned—will serve as replacements for the Hemi V-8. Ram refers to them as "SST" (Straight-Six Turbo) engines. Available in regular- and high-output versions, these new powerplants produce 420 hp with 469 lb-ft of torque or 540 hp and 521 lb-ft. The outgoing 5.7-liter Hemi eTorque V-8 made just 395 hp and 410 lb-ft.

These new Ram SST engines are impressive pieces of hardware. Introduced via the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer with lower output ratings, the Hurricane family of engines from which the SSTs spring is built on a robust foundation that starts with a closed deck aluminum block with cross-bolted main bearing caps, a forged steel crankshaft, and forged steel connecting rods. A pair of twin-scroll turbochargers are mounted to the cylinder-head-integrated exhaust manifold, with each unit being fed by three cylinders, which results in quicker-than-average spool-up.

While similar in appearance, there are a few mechanical differences between the standard and high-output engines. Internally, the standard engine uses cast aluminum DLC-coated pistons, but the high-output swaps to forged aluminum slugs. With the top spec engine, maximum boost pressure increases from 22 psi to 28 psi, while compression ratio falls from 10.4:1 to 9.5:1. The ignition coils and fuel injectors are also unique, along with slight changes in the valvetrain. Additionally, the high-output version features larger exhaust piping from the turbochargers. Ram recommends 91-octane fuel for the standard output engine, but requires it to get the most out of the high-output.

For those more comfortable with familiar things, the 305-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar eTorque V-6 carries over as standard equipment for the Tradesman and Big Horn models. The standard-output SST 3.0-liter is optional for the Tradesman and Big Horn as well as standard on Rebel and Laramie trims. Limited Longhorn, Limited, and Tungsten models are exclusively powered by the high-output SST.

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We Promise, You Won't Miss the Hemi​

The standard-output SST engine's extra 25 horsepower and 59 lb-ft over the old 5.7-liter V-8 are real bumps that can be felt from the driver's seat. With a 135 hp and 111 lb-ft advantage, the high-output 3.0-liter is more powerful than any naturally aspirated V-8 or boosted V-6 fit in any mainstream factory pickup to this point.

Big power is always fun, but the real story is how smoothly and quietly Ram's new SST engines deliver their grunt. Rolling into the throttle from a stop, there is near zero perceptible lag from the turbocharged engines. The TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission has been a staple in the Ram lineup for years and continues to provide incredibly smooth and predictable shifting, keeping the engine in the heart of its powerband as it rows through the cogs. The high-output I-6 only comes paired with 3.92:1 axle gears, giving the truck pep both off the line and passing at speed. It's worth paying close attention to the speedometer, as the limiter can sneak up quickly. We also appreciate that Ram chose to forgo augmented engine sounds in the cabin, satisfied with just the relative silence the trucks are known for along with a touch of turbo whistle.

When we last tested the 2023 Grand Wagoneer L fitted with the 510-hp version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged six, it managed to get to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds and ran through the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds. Seeing that a crew-cab four-wheel-drive Ram truck is nearly 900 pounds lighter than a Grand Wagoneer L and the truck's engine is more powerful, a low-four-second 0-60 time isn't out of the question. That's a blistering pace for a full-size pickup (the 702-hp TRXonlyran a 3.9-second 0-60).

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Rebel Returns, RHO Coming​

There's no need to be concerned about Ram's off-road capability. Yes, the demise of the TRX is indeed true, but Ram's other off-roader soldiers on. The 2025 Ram Rebel doesn't deviate from its popular formula. It rides on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, and it has a 1-inch lifted suspension, Bilstein monotube dampers, and a rear electronic locking differential. The truck can also be optioned with four-corner air suspension, Ram's new 14.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen, a head-up display, trailer auto-hitch assist, and much more. On the outside, the Rebel receives a new larger grille styled to less resemble facial hair, along with a revised high-clearance steel bumper and new headlamps.

There were no surprises when hitting the trails. We found the 2025 Ram Rebel to perform just as well in the rough stuff as prior models. The biggest improvement was in torque delivery from the SST engine. With peak torque output coming on lower and remaining for longer than the Hemi V-8, we were able to crawl up and over obstacles with more control than before. We still wish the Goodyear tires were a touch larger, but they get the job done, gripping and clearing the loosest dirt and sloppiest of mud just fine.

It's too bad, then, the Rebel cannot be ordered with the high-output SST. That said, Ram has promised the RHO model is coming later this year; it's the presumed (lower-output) successor to the TRX, sporting a nearly identical long-travel suspension system and the high-output 3.0-liter.

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Towing Gets Easier, Kinda​

Ram's half-ton pickup has always been a competent tow vehicle, and the addition of more power has only made the truck better. However, Ram didn't stop there. A new push-button trailer steering knob aids the driver in both reversing the truck to a trailer hitch and reversing with a trailer attached. We were able to test the latter, which functions much like Ford's pioneering Pro Trailer Backup Assist. With a trailer attached, the function is activated by pressing the button in the center of the trailer steering knob, found below the Uconnect screen. Unlike Ford's Pro Trailer Backup Assist, however, there is no additional setup required. With the truck in reverse, we were able to manipulate the brake and throttle normally while guiding the steering with the knob. Watching the screen, you can see a graphic with guide lines showing the direction and angle of the trailer. Because we have a lot of experience reversing trailers, the learning curve was steep but not insurmountable. The most useful function was the ability to automatically center the trailer and hold it in a straight line while reversing. This feature will surely save much embarrassment at boat launch ramps.

Trailering tech doesn't stop at reversing. Optional on all trims is an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer tire pressure monitoring, trailer light check system, integrated trailer health monitor, trailer 360-degree view, towing specific navigation, a digital rearview mirror with tow mode, and the most functional trailering mirrors we've ever tested. Self-leveling four-corner air suspension is also available on all but the Tradesman.

While Ram hasn't broken out all the towing configurations just yet, it has said the truck will feature a maximum tow rating of 11,580 pounds and max payload of 2,300 pound

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Ram Goes High Tech, Again​

When the fifth-generation Ram 1500 debuted in 2019, it brought with it an all-new electrical system and a host of innovative technologies. Chief among these was a massive, vertically oriented 12.0-inch Uconnect screen. In the years since, the competition has not only caught up to Ram but also surpassed it. Along with the new engines, Ram has again updated the truck's electronics to the company's newest, fastest, and most secure Atlantis electrical architecture. In addition to faster processing speeds and higher-definition graphics for the Uconnect system and associated screens, the advanced processing power and encryption were needed to enable Ram's new Active Drive Assist and Hands-Free Drive Assist functions (hands-free is included for three years then requires a subscription to maintain).

Ram's hands-free driving system works much like all the rest. When you're on a pre-mapped road, the system will alert you that it's able to be used. Once enabled, the truck will fully take over driving duties, including changing lanes to pass slower traffic and slowing predictively for curves. If the driver intervenes, the system can automatically resume control after verifying the driver is paying attention. Most of our driving was on backcountry two-lane roads where the system wasn't available. However, on a short section of interstate, we found using Hands-Free Drive Assist to be simple and effective, much like GM's Super Cruise and Ford's Blue Cruise.

Additionally, Ram has improved the 12.0-inch Uconnect setup with a higher-resolution screen and now offers a larger 14.5-inch unit, as well. The big trade-off with the 14.5-inch screen, which is available on the Rebel and higher, is that it takes the place of some of the physical buttons, and we appreciate having those on the 12.0-inch system. Nonetheless, we love the vertical orientation and split-screen multifunction abilities. Uconnect 5 remains one of the more intuitive infotainment systems on the market, and the user interface is top-notch.

Speaking of screens, Ram has also added an available 10.0-inch full-color head-up display. While we love a good head-up display, we found the fonts to be on the smaller side, making it a bit difficult to quickly see speeds and directions. GM's larger 15.0-inch display in its pickups has no such issue. Also new for 2025 is a class-exclusive 10.3-inch front screen visible only to the passenger, who cna use it to manage the truck's navigation system, play entertainment through a provided HDMI port, or toggle through exterior camera views. It's a nice gimmick but we haven't found it to be a must-have when using it in various Jeep models.

On the audio front, Tungsten-trimmed trucks have an ultra-premium and best-in-class 1,228-watt Klipsch Reference Premier audio system. This is the first automotive application from Klipsch and the only P4 audio system available in a pickup. The 23-speaker system includes a 12-inch subwoofer and a pair of 1-inch titanium-dome tweeters along with speakers in every conceivable location, including the back of the driver's and front passenger's seats. This system is fantastic, providing outstanding sound quality with perfect high-range, more bass than is necessary, and impeccable clarity even at deafening levels. Although we still prefer the McIntosh MX1375 Reference entertainment system found in the Grand Wagoneer, this might be the best audio system in a pickup to date.

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Pricing and Availability​

Given the added features and improvements and the ever-increasing cost of new trucks, we expected a significant price jump for the 2025 Ram 1500. However, pricing for the Tradesman and Big Horn remains similar. The base price of an entry-level Tradesman has increased from $40,565 to $42,270, but the volume-selling Big Horn's sticker actually went down by $105 to $46,825.

The outlook is a bit less rosy as you climb the trim ladder, notably into the models with the new SST engines as standard. The Rebel costs $4,600 more, now starting at $66,190; the Laramie is $5,510 pricier at $62,025; and the Limited trim climbs $9,100 to $77,150. The Limited Longhorn sees the biggest increase, jumping by $13,460 over 2024 prices to $77,150. The new range-topping check-every-box Tungsten model opens at $89,150.

Rams says these trucks will roll onto dealer lots in the spring, with the forthcoming RHO, Ramcharger, and REV coming in the fall.

2025 Ram 1500 Specifications
Base Price$40,565 (Tradesman) - $89,150 (Tungsten)
LayoutFront-engine, RWD/4WD, 5/6-pass, 4-door truck
Engines3.6L/305-hp/271-lb-ft DOHC V-6; 3.0L/420-540-hp/469-521-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC I-6
Transmission8-speed auto
Curb Weight4,800-5,500 lb (est)
Wheelbase140.6-153.5 in
L x W x H228.4-241.3 x 81.2 x 77.5-79.5 in
0-60 MPH4.0-7.5 sec (MT est)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECONN/A
EPA RANGE, COMBN/A
On SaleSpring 2024

Article written by Jason Gonderman of Motortrend.com

 

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testerdahl

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What do you guys think of the no engine oil dipstick change? It's been blowing up online. I asked Ram about it and got the answer it is for customer convenience.

I can share a link to the interview. I just don't want my first post to seem spammy by dropping it right away. If the admins approve, I'll post it.
 

G-Ride990

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What do you guys think of the no engine oil dipstick change? It's been blowing up online. I asked Ram about it and got the answer it is for customer convenience.

I can share a link to the interview. I just don't want my first post to seem spammy by dropping it right away. If the admins approve, I'll post it.
Post it!

No dipstick is BS! I am guessing they are just trying to get the drivetrain to last long enough to get through the warranty.
 

Jim S

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I have a 2013 4.7 1500 and a 2021 Laramie Sport 5.7. I will probably buy a 2024 1500 w/hemi and never buy another Ram. ******* Europeans think is all about HP, when it's really about that sound. I damn sure don't want something that sounds like a pissed off gnat with flatulence!
Thank God I'm so old that I will probably expire before my current Ram does.
 

Jpage978

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Don't know if been said yet, but think they should of offered the Hemi as an option, do like they got rid of halogen on all trims, all auto makers should do it
 

Jrod

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Just learning about this now... I'm at 132k on my 16 sport which I bought new. It's my fourth RAM. Aside previously owned Neon, Neon SRT4, Renegade, two Wranglers, Challenger RT + Shaker, and currently a Grand Cherokee Altitude. I've always been hooked on the brand.

Knock on wood, there's nothing wrong with my truck. I was just on the dealer site seeing what's new and saw NO MORE HEMI's.... What a **** show... I have religiously stayed away from turbos MY WHOLE LIFE. They lag, fuel literally sucks when they kick in (have fun towing), and they are notorious for going bad. Then comes the bill to repair or replace those overpriced whiners... FFS.. No thanks

This is actually the last RAM I will own.. It's still sinking in.. The goal is/was to get 250k out of her. After which my brand days will be over, if not already... Time to start broadening my options..
 
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