No Country For Old Rams

In a major midcycle makeover, the ’25 Ram 1500 eschews V-8 Hemi power in favor of robust Hurricane 3.0L Straight-Six Turbo power, signaling the next evolution in propulsion as Stellantis begins the light-duty pickup’s walk toward electrification.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

March 8, 2024

5 Min Read
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Stellantis brings Hurricane I-6 turbo power and premium Tungsten trim (shown) to ’25 Ram 1500 lineup.

AUSTIN, TX – Someday down the road, when electric vehicles are the norm and charging stations are as ubiquitous as today’s petrol pumps, we’ll see fewer and fewer internal-combustion-powered pickups on the highways.

But to get from here to there, it’ll take rational, deliberate vehicles such as the ’25 Ram 1500, which knocks two cylinders off its count, adds two turbos, improves fuel efficiency and loses nothing in the transition.

Building on the fifth-generation truck introduced in 2018 as a ’19 model riding on Stellantis’ STLA large, body-on-frame vehicle architecture, the latest evolution of the light-duty Ram claims class-leading power, efficiency and luxury, says Matt Huber, head of Ram Product.

Under the hood, the big truck loses its Hemi V-8 power in favor of two flavors of 3.0L twin-turbo inline 6-cyl. power first introduced in the Jeep Grand Wagoneer where the High Output version (pictured, below) earned a 2022 Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems trophy. Alan Falkowski, director, Propulsion Component Product Release Center, says packaging the Straight-Six Turbo engines in the pickups was relatively easy thanks to the work already done to fit in the engines in the STLA chassis for the Grand Wagoneer.HO Hurricane I-6.jpg

We start our drive day here behind the wheel of a relatively spartan Tradesman Crew Cab model (base price, $40,275) powered by a 420-hp, 469-lb.-ft. (636-Nm) Standard Output I-6 and later transition to the all-new flagship trim level, Tungsten, powered by the 540-hp, 521-lb.-ft. (706-Nm) High Output I-6 (base price $87,155).

Sandwiched in between: Serious off-roading in the Ram Rebel (base price $64,195) followed by a short run pulling a 7,300-lb. (3,311-kg) Airstream travel trailer in a Laramie model (base price $60,030).

Both engines outdo the outgoing 5.7L Hemi V-8 that produced 395 hp and 410 lb.-ft. (556 Nm) of torque. Ram still offers the 305-hp, 271-lb.-ft. (367-Nm) 3.6L Pentastar V-6 with a 48V eTorque mild-hybrid assist as the base engine in Tradesman, Big Horn and Lone Star models.

We should get this out of the way up front: If you’re looking for a V-8 engine rumble or badass Hemi exhaust note, forget about it. Ram engineers could’ve faked it, but instead they let the inherent smoothness of the inline six speak for itself. Quiet, steady, no drama – but more than enough power and torque to make a believer out of even the most avid V-8 fan.

In both engines, it’s really a kick to feel the powertrain almost instantly respond when mashing the accelerator, with only the 8-speed transmission’s quick downshift delaying power to pavement. Obviously, the higher-output version provides an extra level of punch, but we found the standard I-6 a more civilized option with smoother tip-in and overall steadier driving performance without giving up too much power to its fire-breathing sibling.

Yes, we’ve tested these engines in the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, the introduction vehicle for these powertrains. But the Ram pickup is lighter than the big three-row SUV, and the HO is uprated by 30 hp and 21 lb.-ft. (28 Nm) compared with the SUV engine, so the HO feels even stronger in the truck application.

Official EPA fuel economy figures aren’t yet published, but the Hurricane I-6 in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer list 17-19 mpg (13.8-12.4 L/100 km) combined. Our observed mileage ranged from 16.5-19.5 mpg (14.2-12.0 L/100 km) in mixed driving across both engines, so we expect the EPA figures for the trucks will mirror the numbers for the Jeep SUVs. Either way, that’s up from 17 mpg combined in the ’24 Ram fitted with the 5.7L Hemi.

UX, Architecture Upgrades Abound

Inside, Ram adds a bright new vertical screen measuring 14.5 ins. (36.8 cm) in high-trim models, with 12.0-in. (30.5-cm) and 8.4-in. (21.3-cm) units available down the trim walk. A 10.25-in. (26-cm) passenger-side screen is also available.

All are supported by Uconnect 5 and a new architecture behind the screens called Atlantis, which the company says quintuples operating speeds, producing blink-of-an-eye touchscreen responses. Driver information arrives via a 12.3-in. (31.2-cm) digital cluster providing all manner of menus.

Perhaps most impressive, for premium truck buyers who double as audiophiles, is the available 1,228-watt, 23-speaker Klipsch audio system. For those who appreciate high-quality sound the Klipsch system may be the pinnacle of automotive audio. We can attest that it produces enough concert-level decibels to set off an Apple Watch “Loud Environment” alert. You have been warned.Klipsch audio.jpg

Also available is Hands-Free Driving Assist, a Level 2+ system that allows hands-free travel on mapped interstates. When the route heads off the freeway, Active Driving Assist provides comfortable hands-on, eyes-on lane keeping and full-range speed control. The system merely requires a light touch on the capacitive steering wheel to continue functioning, rather than steering input as a hands-on measure.

Top-Shelf Tungsten Trim

Look out, Ford F-150 Platinum and GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate, here comes the Ram Tungsten, designed to out-metal the competition from Detroit at every turn. Our tester, a Crew Cab 4x4 featuring the aforementioned High-Output I-6, Klipsch audio, 22-in. wheels, RamBox storage and every available option, tipped the price scales at $90,535 (plus $1,995 destination and handling).

Comfort abounds, channeled through a massaging, 24-way power driver seat, and accented by touch-inducing suede pillars and headliner. When Huber says the truck offers “more luxury than a premium European sedan,” it’s not an overstatement.

Ram planners are offering a truck for every buyer, with more on the way. A high-performance RHO sport model arrives in the third quarter this year, followed by the Ram REV battery-electric truck by the end of 2024. Early 2025 sees the arrival of the Ramcharger, an extended-range plug-in hybrid.

Ram posted a quarter of a million sales of light-duty pickups in 2023 and with the wide range of ICE options and myriad trim levels available in the ’25 Ram, look for those numbers to climb in the coming year. A majority of buyers will opt for the Big Horn trim, and they’d be advised to choose the optional Standard Output I-6 starting at about $45,000 to get more than enough engine to satisfy hauling, towing and general duties.

“I think we have something for everyone across the lineup,” says Brant Combs, Ram 1500 brand manager.Tungsten interior.jpg


About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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