By on February 6, 2019

New truck season is, without a doubt, the most wonderful time of the year. However, it must be recognized that not every gearhead feels the need to be on the bleeding edge of product development, choosing instead to hoover up deals on last year’s rigs. With the Detroit Three busy bludgeoning each other in the pickup truck game, there are bargains for the taking on their outgoing models.

Case in point? This burly Ram 2500 Tradesman, priced just $300 more than a Ranger XLT 4×4.

Yes, that’s an apples-to-codfish comparison, but you see my point. Much like the phenomenon faced by parents of how children’s clothes – which is made with tiny amounts of material – costs roughly the same as adult apparel, a three-quarter ton pickup can be had for roughly the same cheddar as a mid-sizer. True, the Ram’s cabin is sparsely equipped compared to the Ranger, but you’re here to do work, aren’t you?

Air conditioning is standard equipment, as are tilt steering and cruise control. A backup camera is expected these days, but the inclusion of an auto-dimming rearview mirror is a surprise – thank economies of scale for that one, along with the pair of USB ports. There is also a raft of airbags protecting occupants as they rest themselves on a vinyl bench seat. Hey, at least you won’t stick to it, thanks to the cooling effects of A/C. The floor is of the hose-it-out variety, too.

Under the hood and behind the noble gunsight grille is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 making just under 400 horsepower. The much more appropriate 6.4-liter Hemi V8 is just a $500 decision away, marking a rare occasion in the Ace of Base series where we recommend carefully splashing out the extra bucks. Those who do will net themselves more power and more torque.

Outside, only Flame Red and Bright White are no-cost paint options, with everything else costing at least a hundred bucks. This means buyers have the choice of looking like a contractor or a member of the fire brigade. Painted steel wheels look rough-n-ready and are wrapped in LT-rated tires of a 245/75 section. The rear pumpkin houses 3.73 gears, ready to accept towing duties flung at it thanks to the standard hitch and seven-pin wiring harness. Bring yer measuring tape, as this brute casts a shadow 231 inches long. Its box is a useful 98.3 inches in length.

Sure, the new 2019s are here with their snazzy styling and standard 6.4L, but this 2018 displays a sticker price of just $33,045 (less the raft of discounts dealers are sure to offer once the new trucks wend their way onto the lot).

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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34 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Ram 2500 Tradesman Regular Cab 4×2 Longbox...”


  • avatar
    jh26036

    I would have no problem paying the upcharge for the 4WD, LSD, 4.10 gears. and 6.4L. $450 for yellow? Yes.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Ram’s extensive color palette is one of the best things about their trucks. A dealer near my work had a fairly loaded stick shift Cummins model in neon green a while back. It sold within a few days.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    In all honesty I would rather have the Ranger XLT 4×4 for $300 less

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    At the “per pound” price, this is a great value. But if it matters to you, the “big 3” tend to build their regular cabs in Mexico, while the larger cabs are US made.

  • avatar

    A coworker has this exact truck but 4wd. 5.7 red everything. It really does look great and is a lot of bang for your buck. If you really need a work truck it’s awesome. He uses it to landscape and plow on the side and seems to like it a lot. It replaced a half ton reg cab long bed GMC. With 3 kids it’s a not for me but if I didn’t something like this would be high on my list.

  • avatar
    ajla

    In the current Ram HD the 5.7L seems to punch slightly above its weight while the 6.4L punches slightly below its weight. So unless you’re max hauling I’m not sure it is a big deal. Although, it is possible that the slight lethargy of the 6.4L will aid longevity.

    Hopefully the upcoming 8-speed will help. Right now I like the Ford 6.2L more.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    2WD pickup trucks get stuck on wet grass, yes, even in 2019. A recent rental in 2 inches of snow was terrifying.

    • 0 avatar
      NECarGuy

      That can be remedied with a good set of tires, a bit of weight in the bed and the ability to drive.

      I routinely drive a 04 F-150 STX 2WD during the cold and wet Nebraska winters.

      • 0 avatar
        Masterofalltimespaceanddimension, sort of

        I daily drive an old Nissan Frontier 2WD, 4 cyl, 5 speed manual with an open rear end. The only adjustment that I have to make for driving in Wisconsin winters to be very sparing with my use of the brake and loud pedals. I am positive that this makes me far more manly than those who pilot lifted bro-dozers! In all seriousness, knowing about vehicle dynamics, and not driving like a knuckehead are key. We had a big snowstorm last week, and I drove by more than a few 4×4’s in the ditch next to I-94.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        Wow NECarGuy, we have similar trucks. My daily driver is an ’04 F-150 Heritage, Reg cab, long bed, 6cyl, 5-speed, 2WD work truck. I have good tires and have no problem in snow. If I have to drive in snow I throw about 300lbs of sand bags in the bed over the wheels.
        Actually it’s snowing as I write this here in Utah. I already blew 6″ this morning from my driveway and we have an additional 2″-3″ and still coming down.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      I got caught in a snowstorm in the mountains of Pennsylvania on a work trip. My F-150 2×4 with LSD was an animal on US 219. After awhile it was just me and a few Jeeps. It acted like there was no snow at all. One of the reasons I love the old girl.

      My 1970 Chevy 3/4 ton with open rear was like you said….wet grass and I would get the tractor to tow it out.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Yeah, you know how to drive. 219 north of Ebensburg until you hid Bradford is ultimate cowpath. Or at least it was. I’ll admit it’s been twenty years since I made the Johnstown-Buffalo run.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      Proper winter tires make a world of difference. 2wd trucks are surprisingly capable if you have dedicated winter rubber mounted and a little weight in the bed. Oh, and add a driver who has some concept of how to drive in winter conditions.

      4wd with winter tires is ideal, but I’ve been in situations where I had a 2wd vehicle with snow tires and did better than 4wd drivers with all seasons.

  • avatar
    jatz

    *sigh*

    Once such pretty trucks, Rams now remind me of someone swiveling a tail-dragger side to side in order to see what’s in front of him.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I’m told that you’re not a manly-man pilot until you forsake Cessna’s miraculous “Land-O-Matic” gear for the thrill of flying the airplane all the way to the chocks.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Why are 2018 model vehicles getting so much coverage in February of 2019? How bad were sales last year?

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Man I love base W/T.It must be the steelies.I actually built a Colorado W/T 4×4 on Chevy’s website when they first came out. I’m not sure why the Ranger gets so much love. I’d take a NA V6 any day over an Ecoboost.
    On 87 octane, no one is going to get EPA rated MPG.Not too mention reliability on a boosted engine. More frequent spark plugs, bypass valves etc.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Motor Trend just wrote a comparison test with scathing remarks about the Tacoma and Ranger. I didn’t know they could be so negative(objective?). Ironically, they liked the Ranger’s engine, which shows how useful buff-books are for learning about products. They blasted the Toyota for being too cramped, which I find surprising. I haven’t taken a new Tacoma on the road, so I don’t know how bad the transmission and engine pairing has been executed, but I have driven one in a parking lot without noticing a lack of room, and I’m 6’2″ and over 230 lbs. The previous Tacoma was the first small truck I’ve ever been comfortable in, and I’ve driven many miles in them.

      Motor Trend concluded that the Colorado was the segment leader, with the Ridgeline a good option if you don’t need low range 4WD. I’d probably have a Ridgeline by now if I hadn’t seen what VCM does to engines.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Pretty close to what I’d enjoy owning for myself: everything you need, nothing you don’t and a blank canvas for me to build my own vision of a ‘sweet @ss truck’ in the vein of what was commonplace late ‘70’s thru about mid ‘90’s. First off, a 2500 HAS to be a 4×4. Id probably spring for the 392 because moah powahh. I’ll pay for the paint job to be Blue Streak since that’s about my favorite color. Then the mods start: Uncork that exhaust and run duals in front of the rear wheels. Scrap that wimpy front/rear bumpers for something tubular, black with room for a winch and a pair of auxiliary lights. 4-6” of lift should clear 40-in inch RWL BFG’s wrapped around 17×10 Ansen style slot mags. Black nerf bars, a black double tube rollbar with 4 round KC lights on top. Classic, old school style customized truck that’s functional yet sharp. Save the family cabs, blingy useless oversized wheels/rubber band tires and electronic trinkets for the wannabes and suburban man-bun cowboys.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Man, if I was looking for a replacement truck this would be the bomb. A 5.7 with limited slip and hose-out floor hits the spot. The RCLB works for me with a hobby farm and no kids. I’m swinging by the dealer just to scope it out.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I renew my futile cry to stop referring to trucks by the “ton”. It completely obscures the actual capabilities of a truck, since it hasn’t corresponded to any actual weight for literally *decades*. Not payload capacity, towing capacity, GVW, or anything else.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    Having owned several trucks of various cab configurations, a couple of them regular cab variants, it is really tough to justify a regular cab pickup these days. So much more useful to have some space behind the front seat.

    My ideal config is probably an old fashioned extended cab truck, not a crew, with an 8′ bed. A third door that opens on one side is fine.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    “Much more appropriate”? 410ft-lb are inadequate these days? What are you moving, aircraft carriers?

    Crank windows but mandatory slushbox? I understand – sort of – how that happened, but still… that ain’t right.

    Much more appropriate is the Cummins diesel option, in part because it’s available with a proper gearbox.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I love these things, it’d have to be a 4WD for me, gotta get that solid front axle and manual floor-mounted transfer case, 5.7L is fine. The “3” VIN is a shame.


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