2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Review

Testing Ramís new 1500 Rebel off-road truck on and off of the highway

Oct. 16, 2015 By Josh Burns, Photos by Josh Burns & Jay McNally, Video by Jay McNally
2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Front

The truck market is in pretty good shape right now. Gas prices are down, there are plenty of new models to entice buyers (with even more on the horizon), and some segments are even seeing a year-over-year improvement in sales. This positive climate gives manufacturers the luxury to expand their offerings to cater to specific buyers, and the off-road crowd has certainly benefitted from this. The good news for Ram fans is that they are now in on the party too with the addition of the 1500 Rebel, a truck that blends improved off-road performance with unique, bold styling.

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Front Right

In terms of extreme off-road trucks, Ram did previously dip its toes in the water with its Ram Runner package, though it never really jumped into the lake, so to speak. The Ram Runner featured suspension upgrades developed in conjunction with KORE Off-Road Engineering to compete with Fordís Raptor, but while it offered impressive off-road performance it wasnít truly a showroom floor truck you could just walk into a dealer and drive out that day. It wasnít exactly inexpensive either.

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The 1500 Rebel is a different story. First introduced earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show, the Ram Rebel is an off-road trim available on Ram 1500 now and into 2016, and unlike the Ram Runner you could actually find one at a dealership.

What Makes the Rebel Yell?

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Tires and Wheels

When it comes to the Rebel, Ram had a few things in mind with building this truck. One of the most important was to create a truck that stands out, and to that weíd say mission accomplished, because in our short time with the truck we definitely caught some heads turning as we drove around the city. The Rebelís bold styling starts with its blacked-out grille that proudly features an all-caps RAM badge in its center. The black theme continues through the powder-coated off-road front bumper, which is accented with a billet silver skid plate that is also powder coated for added protection. Black tow hooks are also found up front for off-road recovery.

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Suspension

Black-and-silver 17-inch aluminum wheels tie in with the color scheme of the front end, while Ram equips the Rebel with 33-inch Toyo AT II tires for improved performance in the dirt without sacrificing on-road comfort. One thing that canít be missed on the Rebel is the huge R-A-M lettering on the tailgate, which is another signature design cue of the truck (though weíre disappointed the tailgate is not damped).

Inside the truck, the Rebelís styling is sporty without feeling cheap. Both the front bucket seats and the backseat feature Radar Red and black vinyl material with Sedoso fabric that is embossed with the actual Toyo tread pattern on the truckís tires. More Radar Red upholstery is found on the headrests, while a ďLight Diesel GrayĒ Rebel nameplate is found on the upper seat bolsters. Our Rebel features the upgraded 8.4-inch Unconnect touchscreen that features GPS navigation, SiriusXM radio and more (a 5-inch screen is standard).

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Skid Plate

Under the hood, our test Rebel is equipped with Ramís 5.7-liter HEMI V8, which produces 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The beefy V8 provides plenty of power and performance for truck-related work tasks like towing and hauling, while Ramís Fuel Saver Technology will help aid with fuel consumption by deactivating half of the cylinders during cruising or under light loads. We like the addition of the optional eight-speed automatic transmission as well, as it helps keep the truck in the ideal power range. The HEMI may be rated at 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, but we experienced a lower 13.5 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Our combined rating was actually slightly better than the 17 mpg advertised at 17.5 mpg. The Rebel comes standard with a 26-gallon fuel tank, but our truck is upgraded to the larger 32-gallon tank (which is a very reasonable $75).

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Action

One crucial difference between the Rebel package compared to traditional off-road trims (Fordís FX4, Chevyís Z71, Toyotaís TRD Off-Road, Nissanís Pro-4X) is that the Rebel features standard air suspension that provides an additional 1 inch of lift in Off-Road Mode. That, paired with the larger 33-inch Toyo tires, provides the Rebel with 10.3 inches of ground clearance. The 1500 Rebel features a 25.3 degree approach angle and a departure angle of 23 degrees, and aside from the front skid plate our Rebel is fitted with the optional transfer case skid plate and front suspension skid plate, which we think are smart upgrades if you truly plan to take this truck off-road.

Specially tuned monotube Bilstein shocks sit on all four corners of the truck. The Bilsteins provide a slightly stiffer on-road ride than a standard 1500, but we certainly appreciate that added stiffness once we got in the dirt. While we didnít exactly pound the Ram through the trails looking to find the threshold where the front skid plate met the ground, we didnít exactly take it easy either. We were pleased with the additional clearance gained by the upgraded suspension, and the Bilsteins certainly did their part to soak up the bumps on the trail. Of course, thereís also no air damn on this truck to aid in fuel economy like other manufacturers will do, and thatís a good thing because it would get demolished quickly on the Rebel.

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Seat

When a truck is lifted for improved off-road performance and trail clearance, it can often come at the expense of on-road handling. Weíre happy to report the Rebel still offers the same smooth, predictable steering we enjoy in the standard 1500. The air suspension system doesnít just aid for off-roading, too, as it can lower for on-road driving into Aero Mode to provide ideal fuel economy. Inside the truck, weíre big fans of the large center console storage and layout of the Ram, the center stack design with U-Connect touchscreen, and the Rebelís red anodized accents throughout give the interior a unique look that isnít tacky. The unique tire tread design cues on the bucket seats donít take away from the comfort factor, and the steering wheel controls are simple to use, whether it be controlling paired phone functions or the trip and fuel economy gauge on the LCD screen on the instrumentation panel. About our only gripe with the interior is the twist-knob shifter; sure, it saves space by removing the lever, but itís too close to the radio knobs in our opinion.

Final Thoughts

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Cornering

The Rebel is a well-rounded truck that caters to those who want something that stands out in a crowd but can also get off the highway and not feel out of place. Comparing it to other off-road packages in the half-ton segment, such as Chevyís Silverado Z71, Fordís FX4, Nissan Pro-4X or Toyota Tundraís TRD Off-Road, Ram has the edge in terms of off-road capability with its Rebel, mainly thanks to its additional ground clearance and additional suspension travel. Stepping the Rebel up in comparison to specialty off-road trucks such as Toyotaís TRD Pro Tundra, Fordís Raptor, or even Ramís own Power Wagon, the Rebel isnít quite on par. Thatís where hard-core off-roaders might be a little underwhelmed with the off-road performance if theyíre expecting the Rebel to be on the extreme end of the spectrum.

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Interior

Starting price for the Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4 is $44,925, though our test truck is priced quite a bit higher at $52,450 thanks to a host of options. The good news is since the Rebel is really a trim level, the truck features can be customized to an individualís liking, whether it be selecting the V6 or V8 engine, larger Uconnect touchscreen, or adding or removing the Ram Box storage. There are five different single color options to choose from as well as four two-tone options.

Ramís 1500 Rebel is nice all-around truck, and even though its off-road performance isnít on the extreme end, we do have to commend Ram for creating an ďoff-roadĒ truck that actually increases ground clearance and performance with larger tires and additional lift. The Rebel may be a ďlook at meĒ purchase for some, and for others a weekend family getaway truck. Itís a capable truck ideal for someone who wants a truck with added flair that can also tackle the trails on the weekend.

2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Tailgate

Specifications
2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4x4
Engine: 5.7L HEMI V8
Horsepower: 395 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 410 lb.-ft. @ 3,950 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic
Curb Weight: 5,387 lbs.
Height: 78.5 in.
Overall Width: 79.4 in.
Length: 229 in.
Wheelbase: 140.7 in.
Ground Clearance: 9.3 in., 10.3 in. (Off-Road Mode)
Approach Angle: 25.3 degrees
Departure Angle: 23 degrees
Breakover Angle: 18.8 degrees
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 6,800 lbs.
Towing Capacity: 4,290 lbs. min, 10,080 lbs. max
Payload Capacity: 1,413 lbs.
Fuel Tank: 32 gal. (26 gal. standard)
Seating Capacity: 5
Axle Ratio: 3.92
MPG Rating: 15 city, 21 hwy
Aver. MPG (tested): 17.5 (combined)
Price (as tested): $52,450


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