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Ram is busy cooking something new up for the 1500 and this somewhat confusing mule has given us some clues as to what we can expect from the brand’s off-road model. 

It appears to be testing components for the next-generation of the 1500 Rebel, or at least some type of off-road package. That is assumed thanks to the 275/70/R18 Goodyear tires on this truck along with the interesting suspension setup, which has airbags in the front and steel springs in the rear. The current Rebel uses Toyo rubber, but it’s possible Ram is looking to move to Goodyears.

READ MORE: Ram Diesel Owners Suing FCA, Cummins Over Inflated Fuel Economy

The Ram 1500 Rebel has been criticized for its low payload rating, in some configurations coming in at less than 1,000 pounds, so this could explain the lack of airbags in the rear. When coupled with weight savings that are expected to arrive with the all-new chassis, this suspension setup could help the truck carry more weight.

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It’s also worth noting that the engineers from FCA were not pleased to see the spy photographer who got these shots, usually indicating that something big is being hidden in plain sight. Don’t let the Limited grille and Laramie interior fool you, this mule is all about testing new parts.

READ MORE: Here’s Our Best Look Yet at the New 2019 Ram 1500

Under the hood, the cameraman claims to have heard a diesel engine, interesting considering FCA’s current situation dealing with lawsuits from the US government over emissions. It’s possible that this could be a next-generation of the engine that FCA plans to sell, though as of right now, Ram cannot sell its EcoDiesel models, leaving the future of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel cloudy at best.

Currently, the Rebel can be had with either a 3.6-liter V6 or the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, both powered by gasoline.

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In general, we expect the new Ram to lose plenty of weight and to come packing a new gasoline V8 making over 400 horsepower. A more intense off-road model, based on the 2016 TRX Concept, is also said to be in the works, and hopefully, Ram takes it a little further than the Rebel and makes a true Ford Raptor competitor.

We expect the 2019 Ram 1500 at the next Detroit Auto Show in January, with the Rebel or otherwise named off-road model likely showing up a year later.

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