The Pickup Truck No One Needs But Everyone Wants

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The Pickup Truck No One Needs But Everyone Wants

There’s a particular genre of auto enthusiast that absolutely despises the luxury pickup truck. They’re going to tell you that trucks are for work, that no one actually needs a pickup adorned with segment-shattering luxury features. And sure, maybe no one actually needs a top-trim pickup truck — but boy, do people want them. And I’ve got a feeling the 2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten is going to be one of those trucks that keeps flying off dealer lots.

Full disclosure: Ram invited me to Austin for three nights to test drive the revamped 1500 pickup truck models debuting for the 2025 model year.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

Let’s Talk Tungsten

The Ram 1500’s new top-of-the-line luxury trim takes its name from Tungsten, one of the most robust elements on the periodic table. Its strength makes it an exceptional material to use for cutting, drilling, and sawing in the machine shop, but it’s also been used as ballast in race cars, a base for jewelers, and an electrical component. If you’re going to name a pickup truck after a metal whose uses are as cool as its name, you won’t find much better than “tungsten.”

The “Tungsten” name was obviously chosen to connote the kind of do-all attitude consumers want from their pickup trucks. During the press event, Ram representatives shared a lot of sweeping definitions of what tungsten means to the production team, but I’d much rather focus on what it means, concretely, for buyers.

Tungsten has dethroned the Limited trim as the top offering on Ram’s pickup trucks — but the Limited still exists. That should give you some perspective on just how far Ram has taken this trim; it’s totally redefining what luxury means for Ram, to the extent that the brand felt like it needed a whole new trim line to account for it.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

What Makes The 2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten So Swanky?

The Tungsten trim is unlike anything we’ve seen on a pickup truck before. The biggest visual thing to note is that this truck does not have a steel bumper; instead, it’s outfitted with the kind of fascia you’d see on an SUV. Ram engineers told us that the goal with the fascia is largely to distinguish the Tungsten from other trims as a hyper-luxury truck; it’s more of a show pony than a workhorse. Paired with a taller grille and Ram’s shiny new logo, the Tungsten makes for one gorgeous truck to look at.

Inside, though, things get even better. The heated and ventilated front passenger seats are wrapped in quilted Natura Plus leather and feature both 24-way power adjustments and an easily accessible massage function. The headliner, A- and B-pillars, and visors are wrapped in suede. There’s a 23-speaker Klipsch Reference Premiere audio system. You’ve got not one but two wireless chargers.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

And that’s not even mentioning all the little details. To further draw on the Tungsten name, Ram decorated the interior with the same kind of diamond knurling pattern you’d see on machine tools. That’s paired with crystal-effect touches on the shifter cap and in the center console, where a Tungsten badge proudly displays the VIN number of the truck.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

How About The Hurricane?

The Tungsten trim isn’t the only new feature on the block; this Ram has also been outfitted with a new-to-ram engine called the Hurricane.

The Hurricane made its production debut with the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, and the high-output version is standard for the Ram Tungsten. The 3.0-liter straight-six engine features twin-turbochargers and produces 540 horsepower and 521 lb-ft of torque. It helps power the Tungsten to a maximum towing capacity of 11,580 pounds and a maximum payload of 2,300 pounds.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten: The Good

For as much as I respect pickup trucks and their buyers, I don’t hesitate to criticize these behemoths when the time is right. Sometimes, those critiques are basic: I’m short, and I just can’t reach the damn pedals. Sometimes, they’re harsher: I absolutely would not pay upwards of $70,000 for a so-called “luxury” truck that has a sloppy fit and finish.

Ram knows there are folks like me out there in the world — ones who are willing to look past brand-name loyalty to really tear into a pickup. But the 1500 Tungsten is pretty damn immune to my criticisms.

From a purely ergonomic point of view, this truck looks and feels good. I can raise the pedal height so that I don’t have to squish the truck seat right up to the steering wheel. When you open the door, an automatic running board pops out for your convenience, so I didn’t have to rappel myself out of the front seat. Inside, everything just felt nice to the touch. You expect these tactile pleasures from a luxury vehicle, of course, but some truck makers can skim over them, even on their highest trims. Not so with the Tungsten.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

I was also impressed by the tech. Higher-level Ram 1500 trims are outfitted with a 14.5-inch Uconnect 5 infotainment system; if you’ve used previous Uconnect systems and were unimpressed, don’t worry — the old issues have been ironed out. Now, the infotainment system is responsive and easy to use. I also didn’t feel like the size of the screen was too big, which tends to be something that bothers me in other vehicles; I’m attributing that to Ram’s impressive integration. It didn’t just feel like they’d glued an iPad to the dashboard; it felt as if it truly belonged in the truck.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

The sound system was exceptional. The massage seats were great, and the 24-way power actually helped me feel comfortable and secure in an otherwise very large vehicle. The 10.5-inch passenger screen worked like a charm, and while I’ll admit to being short at 5’3″, the rear seats were plenty spacious. Ram’s hands-free driving assist, a Level 2+ automated driving technology worked like a charm and even seemed to be designed to contravene all the easy hacks that especially creative drivers have found in other vehicles. (I was an especially big fan of the seat shakers that reminded you to pay attention to the damn road.)

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

And, as expected, the Hurricane HO engine provides the kind of smooth and responsive power you’d want from the powerplant pushing your truck to its absolute limit. If you loved the noise of the Hemi, you’ll probably be disappointed to find the Hurricane is a little more subdued on the sonic front — but plant your foot on the accelerator, and I think your qualms will fall by the wayside.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten: The Bad

There’s very little to critique about the Ram 1500 Tungsten. At $89,150 (including destination), it is massively expensive. Its fascia, which replaces steel bumpers, will likely keep it from any heavy off-roading. Its big ol’ 22-inch tires offer a fairly rough highway ride compared to the smaller tires on lower 2025 Ram trims.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

But these are contextual concerns — or, issues that you’ll really only find when you start trying to compare the Tungsten to other truck trims. Is it more expensive than a Chevy Silverado 1500 High Country or a Ford F-150 Platinum Plus? Yep; and the Tungsten is also more powerful, and better equipped. Do the luxury features on the Tungsten make you a little more hesitant to get really wild on a trail? Sure; but you probably didn’t buy the Tungsten to satisfy your off-road bug. If that was your priority, you’d have opted for the Rebel.

At the end of the day, the Ram 1500 Tungsten is scratching an itch that some people didn’t even know they had — an itch that plenty of other people will never feel in their life. It’s reaching for a niche no automaker has tried to accommodate, at least not to this extent, and it does a damn good job servicing it.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

Can The Ram 1500 Tungsten Still Do Truck Stuff?

Any time an automaker releases a truck that includes a feature or two that might be deemed a convenience rather than a necessity, there’s a group of auto enthusiasts that immediately protest: Trucks are for doing truck stuff. Things like screens, power seats, and sunroofs are wholly unnecessary, because the whole point of a pickup is that it is a workhorse vehicle. If you want a luxury vehicle, go buy a swanky sedan or SUV.

I hate to break it to y’all, but trucks aren’t just workhorses anymore, and they haven’t been for a long time. The Ram 1500 Tungsten is a response to a market hungry for big, tough vehicles that can tow a boat as capably as it can comfortably deliver you to your destination. So what if that destination is the school drop-off line, the grocery store, or the commute to a desk job? The Tungsten exists because people will buy it — the same way the Ram 1500 Tradesman exists for the folks who still need to do work.

Can the Ram 1500 Tungsten still do all that “truck stuff?” Yes. It can tow 11,580 pounds. You can stow up to 2,300 pounds in the bed. You’ll be able to take it on your rutted rural dirt roads with ease, and even sneak off the trail once in a while. The Tungsten is going to treat you just fine if you need it to do a little work; it’s just also going to massage your butt and serenade with an impressive number of speakers you while you do it.

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock