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First Drive: The 2025 Ram 1500 Sticks the Six

2025 ram 1500 rebel
First Drive: The 2025 Ram 1500 Sticks The SixStellantis

American truck buyers are a broad-based but inevitably finicky bunch. They demand the traditional trappings of a workhorse vehicle, but want that ability wrapped in a sumptuous package. When Ram announced it was ditching V-8 engines for their half-tons starting for 2025, fans immediately called out the violation of this long-standing understanding. Having just experienced the inline-six-powered truck, those frustrated fans are plain wrong.

The 2025 Ram 1500 brings the first major refresh of the DT Generation model that arrived in 2019. Ram’s design team went to work on the aging offering, designing new fascias and upgraded lighting elements for 2025. There are now eight unique grille designs tied to the 1500, which are leaned forward for a tougher and more imposing feel. The Ram logo at the center of the grille is also now much larger, and mounted closer to the hood line than in previous generations. Step up to higher trim models and there's an adaptive LED front lighting system, which includes up to 15 degrees of directional beam control tied to steering inputs. Unlike its stablemates, the new range-topping Tungsten model also features a body colored fascia in place of a traditional steel bumper, bringing some high-end SUV design to the brute. Many will prefer the more traditional split bumper look, but there is a genuinely premium air to the Tungsten when placed alongside the lesser Rams.

2025 ram 1500 rebel
Stellantis

With no V-8s for the 2025 model year, Ram 1500 buyers will now have three unique six-cylinder powertrains to choose from. The Tradesman, Big Horn, and Lone Star trim levels all come standard with the brand’s long-in-tooth, naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 and 48v mild hybrid system, which provide the same 305 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque as its predecessor. Rebel and Laramie customers will receive the brand’s new turbocharged 3.0-liter Hurricane inline-six in Standard Output trim. The Hurricane features a closed deck, all-aluminum design with a forged steel crankshaft and cast aluminum pistons, and happens to share the same bore and stroke as BMW M’s glorious S58. The two turbos goose output to 420 hp and 468 lb-ft in its basic spec, thanks largely to their 22 psi of boost. The more luxurious Limited, Limited Longhorn and Tungsten models receive the High Output variant of the Hurricane, which sees output jump to 540 hp and 521 lb-ft thanks to 28 psi of pressure. For those keeping score at home, that’s 90 more horsepower than Ford’s F-150 Raptor provides with its 3.5-liter V-6. It is worth noting that while the Standard Output Hurricane is an optional upgrade for the lower trims, the High Output motor is exclusive to the big-money models. Every 2025 Ram 1500 features a license-built version of ZF's eight-speed automatic transmission.

2025 ram 1500 rebel
Stellantis

The chassis itself remains largely unchanged, with a double-wishbone front suspension paired with a multi-link solid rear axle. An optional four-wheel air suspension system smooths out the Ram’s ride without sacrificing its trucking requirements. Ride comfort with the air shocks remains one of the truck’s best qualities, and the civility is worthwhile. The lineup features a maximum payload capacity of 2300 lbs, which is in line with the outgoing model. Maximum towing capacity is rated at 11,580 lbs, which is down from the 12,750 lbs rating from 2024. Both an open differential and a limited-slip differential are available depending on the trim level, while the off-road-focused Rebel gets an e-locker as standard. There are three rear axle ratios to choose from, including 3.21, 3.92, and 3.55.

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My first taste of the 2025 Ram 1500 came by way of a Hurricane-equipped Lone Star model, a fitting intro given the backdrop of Austin, Texas. I hail from family that has been Ram truck customers in various forms since 2011, so I’ve spent enough time in a Hemi-powered DT Generation product to understand how much character that engine brought to the table. The 5.7-liter was an ever-present companion, quick to announce its Mopar roots. It wasn’t the most potent or advanced V-8 in a half-ton, but that deep rumble (and lame fuel economy) always felt right for the Dodge spin-off. I’ll happily admit I wasn’t so sure about the brand’s decision to let the V-8 go entirely. Even Ford still offers a V-8 in the F-150, though its trucks have had a V-6 standard since 2011.

2025 ram 1500 rebel
Stellantis