The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is among the most popular trucks in the company’s line up so it’s no wonder that — when the opportunity arose — the truck team decided to bring that beefy, sporty look to its half-ton offering. The result is the Ram 1500 Rebel, an outdoor darling that should satisfy the buyer that doesn’t need the heft of the 2500, but doesn’t want to sacrifice the in-your-face styling.
First unveiled a year ago at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, the vehicle is now in dealer showrooms and available. There are not many things to specify beyond, “I want that truck”, since it is already very well equipped. It is available only as a crew cab with a 5’7″ bed.
There are two engines available: the 3.5L Pentastar V6 with variable valve timing (305hp/269 lb.-ft. of torque and 25 mpg) or the 5.7L Hemi with fuel saving cylinder turn off 395hp and 395 lb.-ft. of torque.) Before you ask, this is not a version of the 1500 available with the diesel engine that can be an option for other Ram 1500 editions.The Hemi can be mated with 4×2 or 4×4 powertrain with gear ratios of 3.21 or 3.92 respectively. The Pentastar is available only in the 4×4 only with a 3.92 gear ratio. The transmission for all three is the TorqueFlight eight speed transmission which is a class exclusive. There is an available rear anti-spin differential which turns both rear wheels in tandem when increased torque is applied. For normal on-road driving, the differential unlocks automatically for better performance.
For off-road capability, the Rebel has a factory-installed 1.0″ suspension lift and 33″ Toyo Open Country AT all-terrain tires (new for Ram Trucks). The combination of the suspension and tires give the truck 10.3″ of ground clearance, which Ram says is a class best. Approach, departure and breakover angles are maximized for off-roading and are the truck also features a new stability program calibration.
That said, this would be an outstanding truck for any sportsman and many will acknowledge that they love the off-road styling although they never use many of the features.
Bilstein front and rear shocks with special tuning and new steering calibration are matched to the new ride height. A softer rear stabilizer bar has been spec-ed to improve dynamics.
The vehicle design makes a bold interior statement. Seating is covered in high-durability tech grain vinyl finished with distictive radar red and black. Inserts, in a Sedoso fabric, feature the tread pattern (footprint) of the special tires and are just the right accent.
Front seats are heated as is the steering wheel, and the badging throughout assures that no one will mistake the Rebel as anything else. Anodized vent rings, door accents and other elements are standouts. The newly-enhanced center console bin has a cell phone/tablet holder.
The Rebel includes an optional backup camera (I think it should be mandatory and it will be for 2017), a factory installed tonneau cover is available, and RamBox lockable storage can also be specified.
Configurations are limited to crew cab versions in the 4 x 4 and 4 x 2 with a choice of two power plants. The 4 x 2 comes only with the 5.7L HEMI V8 with an MSRP of $42,790. The 4 x 4 (which is what this truck is all about) is available with a choice of the 3.6L Pentastar V6 or the 5.7L HEMI V8, with MSRP of $44,720 and $47,370 respectively.
I recently had a chance to drive the Rebel for a week in the 5.7L 4×4 version and it was both a terrific performer and a delight to drive. I took it off-road back in October and can highly recommend it for that, as well. It is the perfect alternative for the truck buyer who has lusted after a Power Wagon, but just can’t rationalize it and doesn’t need the extras.