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Ram’s New Tradesman – You’ll Quickly Forget…You Coulda Had a V-8

Car Reviews

Ram’s New Tradesman – You’ll Quickly Forget…You Coulda Had a V-8

Ram’s New Tradesman

You’ll Quickly Forget…You Coulda Had a V-8

Within five minutes of hitting the start button I knew finding a new simile would present a challenge. It is so quiet and smooth, the proverbial baby’s butt, well-aged Glenmorangie or James Earl Jones’ voice lacks sufficience.

The main driver is the 2025 Ram’s new engine, a 3-liter inline-six twin turbo dubbed Hurricane, the same name used on a 1952 Jeep, one year after “Hemi” debuted. And Ram certainly got plenty of brand recognition out of Hemi.

I’d previously driven the modern Hurricanes and found them deliciously silky and delivered all the right muted noises when leaned on. But those were in six-digit vehicles where more subtlety and decorum than Congress are expected, while this was in a base-model 4WD pickup truck not blessed with the same noise-reduction materials or a multi-kilowatt sound system capable of covering an engine exploding.

Yet here I was, the tachometer the best indication the engine’s running or changed another gear up in its brisk climb to 80 mph, where finally a hint of wind noise emerged from the big towing mirrors. Whether its layout or this being the standard-output rather than the high-strung version, I never heard the turbos here and a truck this long mitigates exhaust noise, so you have to be outside to enjoy the purr. If there is a more refined entry-level pickup I’ve not been in it.

But does it replace the Hemi? At the risk of wrath from the Mopar faithful, yup.

Both the 420 horsepower (up 25) and 469 lb-ft of torque (up 59) come earlier in the rev band for the Hurricane, meaning the Hemi only generates more grunt just off idle—and where handily made up for with transmission tuning. It’s still just as capable of spinning a tire(s) with slightly too aggressive right-foot action, or pulling around five tons of trailer. Yes, the maximum trailer and cargo ratings may be down a few pounds, easily attributed to the truck coming with “more stuff,” and Ram has long focused the 1500 on comfortable ride and handling rather than throwing tantrums at spec wars: It’s not like companies are going to stop making 3/4-ton pickups but they long ago stopped making full-size sedans with six belts.

2025 Ram 1500 Rebel

A 4WD like this is rated 17/24/19 combined by the EPA, bettering the Hemi eTorque hybrid’s 17/22/19 and that engine cost more. Even a brief drive shows the Hurricane trounces the Hemi on fuel economy, but the delta will diminish the more power you use because horsepower ain’t free. It remains to be seen if service costs change but there’s certainly plenty of room around it to tinker, and like many modern engines, it doesn’t have a disptick.

To upgrade from the standard V-6 is $2695 or thereabouts. My sample was a Tradesman Crew Cab with the longer 6’4” bed, where the extra seven inches makes a Hurricane (and a few other bits) standard and adds $3,140. Of course the high-output 540hp version will be pricier yet, but you can’t get it in a Tradesman, nor need it.

There are other changes to the 2025 Ram 1500. All get minor revisions to styling and LED headlamps, active safety standards like blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control and active lane management, and more wireless abilities, while upper trims offer things like active drive assist and autonomous parking. All trims offer new push-button trailer steering for hitching, backing a trailer and keeping it centered and straight, with just one step.

The standard touchscreen continues with Ram’s Uconnect5 system, which did almost everything I wanted when I wanted it, while operating controls are mastered in a minute or two. My quibbles are two: First, the dual-power-element towing mirrors are great for seeing what’s behind and around, but they almost fill the front window height compromising the starboard-beam view at cross streets. Second, any of the “alert” sounds for various safety systems have only low/med/high volume choices rather than infinitely variable, and even “low” was too loud in this cabin for most of them. Nothing like getting the passengers asleep only to wake them up using a signal in traffic.

This sample was built with towing in mind, options limited to the trailer tow group, bed utility group, 3.92:1 axle, tonneau cover, and some Delmonico red paint to draw your eye from the basic black and steel bits, for a total in the $55,500 range—expensive but not ridiculous as some six-digit half-tons and $70-80k midsizes. This truck should easily handle your concrete pump during the week and boat or camper on the weekend, and the refined cabin will make both more comfortable.

Mr. Whale's been breaking parts for 45 years and writing about it for 30. An award-winning writer, he's served as Technical Editor on several major magazines, been published in more than 40 outlets, and served as driving instructor and motoring book judge. He's a member of the Motor Press Guild, Texas Auto Writers Association, and if you say "It's OK, I'm a racer" to him he'll run to the nearest large body of water.

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