The Rebel continues the RAM brand’s movement into the off-road side of the truck market, offering up both a combination of rugged visuals and big boned hardware underneath to back them up. It’s a truck they aim to impress with at the curb and satisfy with out on the trail.
For now the Rebel comes only as a crew-cab with a 5′-7” bed. Stepping it up are a 1-inch lift in ride height and special 17-inch wheels with 33-inch Toyo off-road tires. Around them are black plastic fender flares, and while ours didn’t have it optioned, you can also get a blacked-out lower graphic treatment that ties it all together.
The face is really where this truck looks different, with its unique black grille, large RAM block lettering, and blacked out projector-beam headlights. There’s LED daytime running lights and fog lights, along with a unique powder-coated bumper and separate skid plate element. It’s all topped off with a raised twin-snorkel hood.
Ours had the optional RAM box bed which I have to admit I was pretty impressed with. The locking bins are water tight, but have plugs to drain them. They swallow up 10-gallon bottles as I found out while grocery shopping.
Additionally, when you get the RAM box, you dont give up capability. I also brought home a palette of flooring from my local home center during my week with it, a palette that still fit inbetween the boxes with room to spare.
The interior as well receives a lot of goods to make it special, starting with special cloth seats that have an embossed tread pattern in them to match the Toyo off-road tires. Red accent trim can be found on the sides and backs of the seats too, something that brightens it up a lot.
On those seats, on the center console and across the dash you will find accent stitching in both red and white that ties it all together. Another major add is the red anodized finish surrounds on the dash trim and instrument cluster.
The front seats are both power adjustable and heated. I found them to be very comfortable and have good adjustment range. The steering wheel is also heated and tilts, but doesn’t have a telescoping adjustment.
The rear seat can fold in a 60/40 split to allow for a flat cargo deck by way of a fold out shelf which is pretty handy if you’re packing boxes or other square items. And beyond that, there are also storage compartments under the floor that are pretty deep, for additional hidden storage.
And that gets me to the versatility of this interior. Not only does the console offer up a bi-level storage area under the arm rest with a full battery of media connections for devices, but also a deep area up front. There’s sizable side pockets too, and up front are two, count them, two glove boxes. The interior earns 5 of 5 stars.
Technologies here were the top of the option list with the UConnect 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. Its menus are very easy to use and learn, the touchscreen responsive and easy to see.
Hard controls are provided both on the center stack and on the steering wheel for most used functions, making it one of the easiest to live with in the business. The audio quality is adequate, but connectivity still lags behind without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Technologies earn 4 of 5 stars.
Motivating the RAM Rebel 4×4 is a standard 3.6 liter V6, but optioned in ours was the 5.7 liter HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. Here it comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a part-time four-wheel drive system.
The EPA rates the truck at 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined. In fairness, wy week did include hauling with it, an 1,800 pound palette of flooring material which was some 400 pounds over its payload limit. I’m a typical guy, I haul first and check the manual later. In any case I give the powertrain 4 of 5 stars.
And hauling is something this truck is truly outfitted to do off the pavement. Its core hardware starts with a specially tuned version of RAM’s air suspension with a 1-inch add in ride height. Bilstein dampers front and rear and a softer rear anti-roll bar add additional ride improvements and articulation in the rough.
The air suspension is automatic for the most part, but you can manually adjust it to raise up to off-road height for more challenging situations. The front suspension and alignments specs were modified for the Rebel to optimize it for these situations.
The suspension I’ll add also lowers at highway speed automatically for better stability and fuel economy on the highway where admittedly most drivers will spend their time.
I like the truck’s balance of ride comfort and composure both out on the trails as well as on the highway. It doesn’t beat you to death in the rough, yet its stable enough on the road to haul a load and be at speed. I give the chassis 5 of 5 stars.
Another area where I was very impressed with the RAM 1500 Rebel was its build quality. First off, it felt like a quality item in its drive. Second, the finishes and materials inside and out were class leading as was the fit of body panels and interior trims. This gave it a quality feel score at 5 of 5 stars.
Safety is the one area where the RAM pickup isn’t class leading however. The IIHS just tested it this month in their full battery of tests where its crash and structural performance was marginal at best, poor in some areas compared with it its rivals.
When it comes to value, the RAM 1500 Rebel is on the higher price side of the half-ton truck class, though it offers a lot of capability in its price. We give it a 4 of 5 star value score, which brings the total test drive score to 4.5 of 5 stars.