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The 2025 RAM 1500 Isn’t A Game Changer, But It Sure Is Close…

So is the 2025 RAM 1500’s new engine a Hurricane? Or more of a “Tempest in a teapot?” Let’s dive in and talk about why I’ll shed some tears over the passing of the 5.7L HEMI, but not as many as I had thought…

First, the 540 HP version of the engine and how it drives: It feels just like the pre-refresh RAM 1500 with a quieter engine and better acceleration. How fast? Try 4.7 seconds 0-60 for a fully-loaded 4WD Tungsten trim. As you’d expect, there’s a hint of turbo lag, but after 1-2/10ths of a second you get hit by 521 lb-ft of torque, the most in the segment outside of a Raptor R’s supercharged V8. There’s so much power and it’s so easily accessible that I’d recommend the full-time 4WD system if you’re not interested in burn outs. (Check out the video below for the full review.)

Speaking of that 4WD system. In a somewhat surprising move, RAM give all high-output 3.0L turbo models the transfer case from the RAM TRX and Durango SRT/Hellcat. The Borg Warner t-case delivers full-time active torque split 4WD which is notably different from the non-Raptor 4WD systems in the Ford, or anything offered in the GMC and Chevy. It allows 2WD operation for fuel efficiency, a complete lock of the transfer case for off-roading, and full-time AWD for improved traction on snow, ice, gravel roads while towing, etc.

How does the regular 3.0L do? That was pretty impressive as well. Power drops from 540 HP to 420 and torque from 521 to 469, but without testing equipment most folks won’t notice too much difference. That’s because the power delivery is still very linear and the torque is still a solid bump over the outgoing 5.7L V8. That’s why all 3.0L engines get a stronger 8HP75 transmission sourced from ZF.

The sound? It’s shockingly “BMW” to be honest. From the exhaust note to the induction sounds under the hood I would argue that if you’re blindfolded you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a BMW M540i and a RAM 1500. It sounds “better” than Ford’s turbo V6s, but let’s be honest, there’s no replacing the V8 sound track…

So it’s all sunshine and roses? Not quite. The main deficiency with the 3.0L turbo is the reason Ford still offers a 5.0L V8 in the F-150: engine braking. There isn’t much. For a lot of folks this won’t be an issue. If however you live in a mountainous area (like Colorado or California), then you might want to snag one of the last 5.7L V8s before they are gone. The RAM offers no less engine braking than Ford’s 2.7L or 3.5L turbo engines, but it doesn’t offer any more either.

The other detail is the fuel. The outgoing 5.7L V8 preferred drinking mid-grade gasoline, the new 3.0L turbo has more expensive tastes and would like 91 octane. RAM confirmed that BOTH tunes of the 3.0L engine will “operate safely on regular unleaded” but they admitted that power output figures would drop on 87 octane. How much? That depends on the weather, but if it’s a hot day outside in Phoenix and you put 87 in your Tungsten RAM you could see as much as a 10% drop in engine output. This is because the engine will tweak the valvetrain, timing and fuel injection to compensate and that results in less fuel burning which means less power.

As much as I’ll miss the 5.7L V8, I suspect I’ll shed more tears over the reality that we’ll never see a 6.4L HEMI in a RAM 1500. That said, the 3.0L hurricane is simply a better engine than either V8 in almost every way that matters. It has more power and more torque for easier towing, it delivers fantastic acceleration performance and it’s lighter and more efficient than the 5.7L. We don’t have official numbers yet, but we averaged a respectable 22.6 MPG after a day of driving mixed driving. While we wait for the numbers to come out, I suspect that the base 3.6L V6 will still be the most efficient engine choice.

What do you think? Are you intrigued by the most powerful non-Raptor engine in this segment? Before you ask, no, a R1T and a Cybertruck are not in this segment. But… A 580 HP Lightning is, although I’m not entirely clear we could even include a 1/2-ton EV in the same conversation for most buyers. What do you think about that?

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