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2025 Ram 1500 Pickup Muscles Up

In World
February 22, 2024

Traditionalism, in the car business, is often a euphemism for corporate penury. “Our buyers are very traditionalist,” a car company will say, by way of explaining its continued deployment of some Bronze Age technology that should’ve been jettisoned decades before. Sometimes, there’s a kernel of truth in there—certain Porsche fans still mistrust the dark magic of water-cooled engines—but more often the company in question simply amortized research and development costs long ago and is thus happy to keep furnishing leaf springs or drum brakes or hit-and-miss engines to its supposedly traditionalist buyers. Ram doesn’t play that game, as evidenced by the 2025 Ram 1500 and its quiver of new engines, none of which is a V-8. That’s right: The company that sent Jon Reep to stardom with the question “That thing got a Hemi?” no longer offers Hemis in its new pickup. What it does offer is a furious twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, and we suspect that 540 horsepower will make its own argument to the pickup faithful. Out with the Hemi, long live the Hurricane.

New Hurricane Six in Two Strengths

Yes, the new 3.0-liter has a cool name, because Stellantis is not going to give an engine some bland alphanumeric moniker when it can invoke a terror-inducing natural disaster. In the Ram 1500, the Hurricane comes in two flavors, with the middle-of-the-lineup engine making 420 horsepower and 469 pound-feet of torque, improving on the 2024 truck’s 5.7-liter V-8 by 25 horsepower and 59 pound-feet. That alone is a worthy upgrade, but there’s also a high-output version that cranks out 540 horsepower and 521 pound-feet. The ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic returns, sending power to a stronger rear axle designed to cope with the Hurricanes’ mountain of torque.

2025 ram 1500

Ram

Both engines get a closed-deck block and a forged steel crankshaft, with the high-output employing forged aluminum pistons as well. There are two turbochargers, each fed by three cylinders and enjoying its own exhaust plumbing—true three-inch dual exhaust, all the way back. The standard Hurricane makes 22.4 psi of peak boost, while the high-output’s turbos huff 28.0 psi into the intake manifold. To address an obvious question here: Yes, you’ll need to run premium fuel to hit those published power numbers. Both engines will run fine on 87 octane but will generate power figures that Ram representatives defined as “less.” (Fuel economy is still to be determined, but Ram hopes for an improvement over the V-8.) To assuage worries that the wee six is overmatched for truck duty, Ram showed a video of the engine undergoing the company’s most diabolical dyno test, in which the throttle is pinned while the entire engine is tossed around violently in a motorized cradle. If you somehow get your truck on the track at Millennium Force at Cedar Point, oil starvation will be the least of your worries.

The Hurricane, in one strength or the other, is available on every trim, and there are plenty of those. As before, the Tradesman is the value-oriented work truck, and the carryover 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6 is standard. But the standard-output Hurricane is optional, as it is on the next trim level up the ladder, the Big Horn/Lonestar. From there, the off-road-oriented Rebel and the fancier Laramie are both exclusively powered by the 420-hp Hurricane, while the Limited, Limited Longhorn, and Tungsten—the new flagship model—are graced with the 540-hp version.

2025 ram 1500

Ram

That’s a lot of bandwidth in a single lineup, from a $42,000 work truck to an $89,000 luxury chariot. If you opt for a base-model truck, the 2025 model isn’t a wild departure from the 2024. Most of the body panels carry over, save for a subtle front- and rear-end restyling that brings standard LED headlights. But a Tungsten is like a different truck entirely, with its BMW M3–shaming engine, hands-free driver assist, 24-way power seats with massage, and 23-speaker Klipsch sound system. Come to think of it, the Tungsten not only makes more power than an M3 Competition, but it costs more too. Whatever the ceiling is on the half-ton truck market’s appetite for decadence, Ram thinks we haven’t found it yet.

Driving the 2025 Ram

As for the question of whether the V-8 will be missed: Yes, the 702-hp supercharged one in the TRX deserves its own national holiday. But anyone accustomed to the naturally aspirated 5.7-liter will find the standard-output Hurricane a marked upgrade and the high-output one on another level entirely. There might not be a huge difference in 60-mph times between the old 395-hp Hemi and the 420-hp six, but that wall of torque makes the Hurricane feel much stronger in around-town driving (it also shrugged off some light off-roading that included a few steep climbs). And it sounds great, as most inline-sixes do, issuing a throaty burr from those dual pipes. And for those who mourn the V-8 rumble, we’d note that the Hemi engaged its cylinder deactivation system whenever it could, and in that mode it sounded like a goat that fell down a well. The Hurricane always sounds pretty good.

2025 ram 1500

Ram

And in the Tungsten, it’s tire-smoking strong. Perhaps the high-output six won’t allow the upcoming Ram RHO off-roader to match the outgoing TRX’s 3.7-second 60-mph time, but it ought to hang a lead on the 450-hp 3.5-liter Ford F-150 Raptor, which hits 60 in 5.2 seconds. In the Tungsten, the silken six aligns nicely with the upscale gestalt of the fanciest Ram, remaining mostly hushed unless wide-open throttle is called for. Mostly, it remains a complementary player, letting the new cabin hog all the attention.

New Tungsten Interior

And on a Tungsten, there’s a lot to take in. A 14.5-inch central touchscreen is paired with a 10.3-inch passenger-side screen that allows the front seat passenger to watch a movie (or cue up functions from the main screen, like navigation) without the driver being able to see it. The seats have so many adjustments that the headrests alone are four-way adjustable. The massage function, when set to “rock climb,” is so vigorous that you might find the herringbone pattern of the leather embossed on your back an hour after a drive. (This is the first time in recent memory that a drive impression was literal.) There are dual wireless phone chargers, and that Klipsch sound system will rock your skull with a 12-inch subwoofer. Out back in the bed—this is a truck, remember?—an inverter delivers 1800 watts of power to two outlets.

Active lane management, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring with cross-path detection and adaptive emergency braking are standard across the board, and evasive steer assist is available (and standard on Tungsten). The active lane management isn’t a hands-free system, but it uses a capacitive sensor to detect the driver’s hand touching the wheel rather than a torque sensor that requires constant nudging as proof of life—finally, a use of capacitive sensors that we don’t hate! There’s also that fully hands-free highway driver assist system, and while it’s not as shrewd as GM’s Super Cruise, it should be useful on major highways. Which are also the only places that it’s enabled, as yet.

All told, the 2025 Ram falls somewhere between a mid-cycle refresh and a thorough overhaul. At the 2025 truck’s Texas debut, Ram also had two other models on display, the plug-in-hybrid Ramcharger and the electric Ram 1500 Rev. Both of those will soon be in showrooms, ready to make a truck with a gasoline inline-six look downright traditional.

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