By on August 14, 2015

2015_Ram_Rebel_(2_of_18)

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4×4

5.7-liter, variable valve timing, multi-displacement system Hemi V-8 (395 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 410 pounds-feet @ 3,950 rpm)

8-speed 8HP70 automatic

15 city/21 highway/17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

15.1 mpg, 60 percent highway/30 percent off-road/10 percent at a lousy, never-ending stoplight (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Rebel Package; Dual rear exhaust with bright tips; Luxury group, $560 (Heated mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors); Protection group, $150 (Transfer case and front suspension skid plating); Monotone paint; Rear Camera and Park Assist, $595 (Backup camera, ParkSense rear park assistant); ZF 8-speed automatic, $500; Anti-spin differential rear axle, $325; 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, $1,150; Rebel instrument cluster, $175; Four corner air suspension; Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen w/nav, $1,005; RamBox cargo management system, $1,295; Trailer brake control, $230; Spray-in bedliner, $475.

Base Price (Ram 1500 Rebel 4×4):
$45,195*
As Tested Price:
$52,375*

* All prices include $1,195 destination fee.

Any debate about Jeep inevitably ends on a common, agreeable topic for all parties involved:

“Jeep really needs to make a pickup already.”

The idea that stuffed shirts at Auburn Hills, who make more in a day than we do in a year, have somehow missed the point is entirely possible (remember the center-mounted exhausts in the Grand Cherokee SRT8, effectively prohibiting any sort of towing?) but highly unlikely.

In fact: Jeep now has a pickup. It’s called the Ram Rebel.

Obligatory disclosure: I have no skin in the pickup game. None. My father owned exactly one of the following: A white Ford F-150, a black Chevrolet Silverado and a green Dodge Ram (when they were called as such). They were all new when he bought them, of 1990s-era vintage and equally pampered. No, we were not a wealthy family, and no, I still couldn’t back up a trailer with a gun pointed to my head.

To be even clearer: The only pickup I fondly remember is a dingy 1996 Toyota Pickup (pre-Tacoma years) that my brother took to college. It was five in speeds and six in cylinders; gutless and indestructible. It couldn’t run up a hill and run the A/C at the same time, but it felt like it could run over anything.

Put simply, in the domestic pickup war for dominance, I am Switzerland.

Now that you know where my allegiances fall, let’s get on to the important stuff.

2015_Ram_Rebel_(3_of_18)

Powertrain
The nuance and variation in pickup powertrain and configuration options is dizzying and, in some places, probably an accredited college course for matriculating majors. I shall do my best.

Our Ram Rebel came equipped with the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. The 395 horsepower mill bests any option from Ford (for now), but falls short of the 6.2-liter V-8 offered by GM by 25 ponies — if the tale of the tape is the sort of thing matters to you.

2015_Ram_Rebel_(16_of_18)Ram’s 5.7-liter V-8 is getting a little long in the tooth and isn’t my favorite all-around application in the Ram 1500 anyway — the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 takes that crown. But in the Ram Rebel, the V-8 is saved by the smartly cautious and clever 8-speed ZF slushbox. The eager mill keeps the Rebel in check on highway driving, keeping revs low and mileage high. Off road, the 8-speed decently held gears depending on yaw and steering angle, and I seldom used the steering-wheel-mounted gear selection buttons to adjust the ZF’s gear selection. (The gearbox’s Achilles heel is freeway passing; mash the pedal to the right between 55 mph and 80 mph and wait for a second before the revs and speed react accordingly. Eh.)

The motor is decisively torquey and moderately responsive, but certainly not nervous. On a couple ascents, I adjusted the throttle position ever so slightly forward to encourage the mighty motor to climb, but I wouldn’t consider it to be deficient or lagging. After all, I would expect a 13-year-old truck engine to be about as spry and useful as three bad knees.

(Strangely, I would have imagined Ram could have pulled out its 6.4-liter Hemi V8 for the Ford Raptor-esque Rebel. Perhaps that gets a little too close for comfort with the Power Wagon?)

In back, the power is transmitted through a standard 3.92 rear axle or an optional 3.21 rear axle, both available with an anti-spin rear differential if you’re so inclined to add it to your 4×4. Our tester was fitted with the former, optioned with anti-spin, and could climb and sprint like a champion. (Predictably, our mileage with the higher ratio wasn’t great.)

Our Rebel’s rated towing capacity is 9,600 pounds and its payload capacity is 1,211, according to the manufacturer. We opted to find the nearest mountain to climb instead.

2015_Ram_Rebel_(1_of_18)

Exterior
Choose your own adventure!

Do you think Ram’s new design language is awesome? (Skip to Paragraph 1)

Do you think Ram’s new direction isn’t awesome? (Skip to Paragraph 2)

Paragraph 1: Head to toe, the Ram Rebel is the most polarizing truck on the market. Undeniable.

Paragraph 2: If the Rebel’s front end has evolved into a snout, then the rear end is most certainly an ass.2015_Ram_Rebel_(7_of_18)

When Ram took the wraps off the Rebel earlier this year, it was clear that the truckmaker couldn’t
outrun its Dodge days fast enough. The rear end, which sports a “Ram” brand visible from space, doesn’t pass the breakfast test for me. The front end boasts a Ram logo that is big enough to be an intention and not a brand (i.e. “I’m going to RAM you with my RAM truck now!”) is saved by the amount of black plastic hiding its sharp lines. If you get past both braggadocios ends, then Ram makes a case as a sensible alternative to Ford’s Art Deco movement and GM’s wallpaper paste movement.

(The hood-mounted nostrils are more my speed, and I wish Ram had left it at that.)

Between the head’s fangs and the tail’s, um, pipes, is the heart of the Ram. Thankfully, chunky 285/70R17 Toyo Open Country A/T tires aren’t hidden by the Ram’s black wells; deep gray wheels pull the rubbers from the wells. There is a little more cladding than I’d like, but it gives the Rebel a sense of purpose and a dare to drivers: Use me.

I really do like Ram’s overall style; I just wish it were subtler that their current approach — which is understated like a five-finger ring.

2015_Ram_Rebel_(12_of_18)

Interior
You could find more comfortable chairs than the ones found in the Ram (or any other full-size FCA car for that matter), but they’d probably have the word “La-Z-Boy” written on them somewhere. The overstuffed-oversized thrones are deeply comfortable and I’m highly suspicious that they’ll last any longer than a couple years.

2015_Ram_Rebel_(10_of_18)The high-contrast red on black interior is a visual cue to the Rebel’s unique position within Ram’s lineup — just incase you missed the giant “Rebel” emblazoned on the glove box and instrument panel. There were nice touches everywhere, like the embroidered Ram on the sides of the driver and passenger seat, and the embossed tread pattern on the seat backs, but in all, the Ram Rebel is a nice place to be — even on rocky roads.

The controls and gear selector knob all have a feel of being usable and accessible, even with work gloves on, and I can appreciate its tactile feeling. Ram may have to catch up to GM in terms of ergonomics and accessibility, but we’re talking about a 7-year-old design compared to a 2-year-old design — there will be generational differences.

You want gripes? I have a few. The Rebel’s unique instrument cluster isn’t very easy to read, and its 12-volt power plug is buried in the small storage opening.

But I love the gripped phone holders, which are placed in the small storage opening underneath the infotainment. That’s a 30-cent solution to a million-dollar problem. Engineering at its finest.

2015_Ram_Rebel_(13_of_18)Infotainment
Ram’s 8.4-inch Uconnect screen (yeah, that Uconnect) was stuffed into the dash of our tester and performed adequately. For my money, General Motors still has the least fussy, easiest-to-understand system (yes Mark, I know) but Ram’s Uconnect isn’t bad.

It could use a few more pixels and a better Bluetooth interface, but I wouldn’t kick Uconnect out of bed.

I’m also petitioning for better navigation-to-instrument cluster integration, but I’m assuming that’s already on the horizon.

Drive
Unexpectedly, the Ram Rebel was stiffer than I was expecting. Its interstate manners were sorted, but the Bilstein dampers aren’t doing it any favors there. The road ride is stiff (but not as painful as a Power Wagon) and the Rebel pines for extra-road activity.

Off road — though, admittedly not the most technical course in the world — the Rebel shines. The extra inch of ground clearance the Rebel gains over the Ram helps to increase its approach angle by some 2.5 degrees (22.9 vs. 25.3), and it can climb moderately steep inclines. (I’d figure that we shimmied up a 30-degree incline without scraping anything.)

2015_Ram_Rebel_(4_of_18)The Rebel is equipped with an adjustable air suspension that raises or lowers the truck four inches from top to bottom. We spent more time in Aero mode — which is below Normal and Off Road heights, but above Entry/Exit height — because “aerodynamic truck” feels like an oxymoron. That’s just who I am, people.

Around the bumpy stuff, the Rebel is communicative and expressive. It’s timbre and buck expressed the uncertainty of its footing below the bed, but remained relatively quiet inside. On highways, the chunky tires drone. On the trail, the chunky tires grip and plant. It’s a wonderful toy.

Which is why, after days behind the wheel, I realized what kind of truck Ram made with the Rebel. It isn’t a logical competitor to the Raptor. In fact, it’s not even close.

In reality, the Rebel feels like the next step up when a Wrangler Rubicon just isn’t big enough. And despite the massive Ram badge on the back, I know exactly what the Rebel is: It’s a Jeep.

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103 Comments on “2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Review – Identity Crisis...”


  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Should have been the Ram Honcho or Renegade, then.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The “RAM” isn’t big enough, can we shape the body silhouette of the truck to say R-A-M somehow?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    There is nothing about this vehicle that I like looking at.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      First question to the dealer: How much to swap out the grille and tailgate for the regular versions?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        In theory they should pay you because someone buying a lesser trim will want that grille and tailgate.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        The grille is hard to help, if you don’t like the *shape*.

        But those “RAM” logos will come off with a heat gun and a few minutes, I’m sure.

        Which I’d do if I had one.

        (If the grilles are anything like my SuperDuty, you’ll be able to reaplce them for about $100, aftermarket.

        Even the stock ones are just plastic; replacements are cheap.

        Which is why my XLT has a “Harley-Davidson trim” grill; because I wanted behind-grill lights and the base grill is useless for that.)

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      The Ram has gone from the BEST to WORST looking truck on the market instantly, with the new front and rear styling. Crap…

      I know the Rebel is the most extreme trim, but my understanding is that the whole lineup will be adopting elements of this design…and that makes me sad.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        The current SLT trim on the 1500 is gorgeous to me; stately and restrained period, not just for today’s bizarro mutants.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I was fine with the styling. There were some elements I really liked, and some I had no feelings on. Now, just yuck. The lower trims look fine, but it will only be a matter of time.

        As an aside, I almost leased a truck today. Deals are good and it’s the most vehicle you can get for the money. I’m still thinking about doing it before month end.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      I couldnt agree more.
      It is so ugly. The RAM itself is otherwise decent.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      It’s sad that Dod..er, Ram, took the best looking truck out there and managed to make it about the ugliest one. And they charge you for it. The giant RAM on the back makes me chuckle for some reason.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I couldn’t drive this because I’d be too doubled over with laughter approaching it to open the door.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Why don’t you think the seats will last any longer than a couple of years?

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Coramche

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    I really hate the new grille. I can’t look at a Rebel in this bright silver or white paint without seeing a Stormtrooper helmet.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I believe I would actually buy and drive one of these IF I could get the optional AT-AT body kit and Chrysler Imperial death march horn blast.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        Agreed….if it actually looked as cool as a Stormtrooper helmet, it would be reason enough for me to get one. Otherwise, it looks OK for what its intent is as a beefed up truck.

        That said, having car guys review trucks is typically an unfair exercise because they are always comparing a truck to a car. Save for Jack’s review of the Raptor years ago, that was entertaining. This review just kinda comes off as a car guy who doesn’t understand why people buy trucks like this. Like the Raptor, I have no doubt that the Dodge/Ram faithful will buy this in droves despite what the interwebz experts say.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I can’t get used to the hash marks on the FCA speedometers and tachs – they’re hard on the eyes. The industrial designer pulled a Jedi mind trick on the ergonomics committee.

    But this is a nice truck overall… for $52 grand – gulp.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Off topic but I know Cameron had to get a license, new job, and all but can we get a Cameron piece at some point?

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think it is priced too close to the Power Wagon.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Are the bumpers steel under the plastic, so they can be used for bumping?

    Does it come with a single cab?

    Does it come with an 8 foot bed?

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      And, can you get it without the touchscreen “infotainment” feature, instead with an AM/FM radio, preferably with a CD player?

      What the heck is a “Rambox cargo management system” that costs $1300? That’s a lot of bungee cords and rope. (That’s how I manage cargo.)

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I assume the Rambox (or is it RRAAMMMMMbox)are those bed side tool box / fishing pole holder things. Either way this Rebel appears to be a made up trim level that is just another way of getting maximum cash for a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “… this Rebel appears to be a made up trim level that is just another way of getting maximum cash for a truck.”

          ?

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            Comment from Hummer below nails what I’m saying:

            “Basically an appearance package, because the amount of off-roading it can do compared to the $24k regular 4×4, is minutiae.”

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          ” Either way this Rebel appears to be a made up trim level that is just another way of getting maximum cash for a truck.”

          So, what were you expecting? XLT, LTZ, Z71, Lariat, Platinum, Limited, High Country, Denali, T(u)RD-PRO etc are all “made up trim level[s] that [are] just another way of getting maximum cash for a truck”. Rebel includes things that are not standard on lesser trucks such as an extra inch of ground clerance, adjustable air suspension, and (clearly) styling “upgrades” (depending on your definition of upgrade).

          If your contention is that Ram only offers the Rebel with the intention of making a higher profit over a regular 4X4 1500, well, no $h¡Г, Sherlock. Thats pretty much why every truck offers trims aside from the basic vinyl-seat-and-rubber-floor specials.

        • 0 avatar
          turf3

          I see it, does the Ram Box still retain min. 48″ between the wheel wells? It seems like an expensive way to get tool boxes, but I haven’t priced the normal ones. Does anyone still offer the tool boxes that are set into the box sides below the floor of the bed, with little doors that open from the outside of the bed?

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        CD player?

        Look, do you *hate* yourself?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Why do you like to bump into things so much? I never wanted to bump into anything even with the old-style bumpers, because it would result in a ding or scratch.

      So far it only comes in this configuration (crew cab, short box).

      “Rambox” refers to the closed storage compartments integrated into the sides of the bed, which you can see in any of the side views.

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        It’s not like I want to play bumper cars. But there is this annoying thing called reality.

        Once upon a time, vehicle manufacturers were required to design bumpers so that impacts up to 5 mph did not cause severe expensive damage (although light trucks were exempt from this, yet they had large heavy gauge steel bumpers). Now, with most cars and a lot of trucks, if you bump into something, or someone else bumps you lightly, the plastic parts break and it costs $1000+ to fix. And you have to fix it, because the little snap-fit connectors break off and the whole thing wants to drag on the ground, or it splits down the middle, etc. If you have a small ding or scratch on a chromed steel bumper, no need to fix.

        Besides that, sometimes you need to do other things with a truck. For example, when I was a young man, if you needed to knock over a fence post or dead tree, you could just ease up to it and push it over with the truck. Yeah, you might scratch the bumper. Who cares? Now, you will probably ruin the whole bumper/plastic cover doohickey.

        What if you’ve got a dead car in your sloping driveway? Why not just put a piece of plywood between the car bumper and the bumper of your pickup, and push it gently out of the way? I have done this many times.

        I live in a snowy and icy area. If I hit a patch of ice at slow speed and gently slide into one of those 8″ timber bollards, should I have to pay $1000+ for this? What if I get gently rear-ended under slippery conditions?

        A key characteristic of good design is fault tolerance. A design that rewards a momentary lapse of perfect judgement in parking at very slow speeds with a $1000+ repair bill is not fault tolerant, and therefore is a BAD DESIGN.

        After all, this thing is a pickup truck. They spend all their time making trucks conform to some millennial city dweller’s idea of what “looks butchy and rugged”, but the actual trucks are less and less rugged.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          +1 turf3

          I can’t find an argument in favor of plastic bumpers.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          “Once upon a time, vehicle manufacturers were required to design bumpers so that impacts up to 5 mph did not cause severe expensive damage ”

          Actually, they were required to “take angle impacts at 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h) with no damage to the car’s lights, safety equipment, and engine. “, per Wikipedia’s writeup on the ’70s-era change.

          The requirement was that a 5mph impact leave the car *safely operable*, not minimize *cost* of fixing your bumper afterwards.

          People complain like mad about how cars are super-heavy now.

          Guess how much heavier they’d be with 1/8” steel bumpers?

          All so you can, er, push cars out of your really long, in-sloping driveway, and hit bollards cheaply? Naw.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The “no damage” requirement, aka Phase II, was implemented for the 1980 model year.

            http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/problems/studies/Bumper/Index.html

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          “What if I get gently rear-ended under slippery conditions? ”

          Ewww!

          Better than RA-UHMED, I guess. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      turf3,
      You made me look at their website. The Tradesman with 8′ bed is still a darn pretty truck even with the plastic muzzle.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Are the bumpers steel under the plastic, so they can be used for bumping?”

      The front bumper on the Rebel trim is for sure steel- not plastic. FCA made a big deal out of it when the Rebel was launched. I think the rear bumper is steel too.

      So you’re good there.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        The “bumper” is in fact steel—-made by the same company that manufacturers the Silverado, Sierra, and F150 bumpers located in a small town in Michigan.

        Ram Sport models use a plastic fascia covering a steel bumper underneath.

        And yes even the new models are designed for a 5MPH impact—the thousands of hours in lab testing proves that.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Rebel? hmmmmmm, how much does the roof top confederate flag option cost…….

  • avatar
    hubcap

    “…the Rebel feels like the next step up when a Wrangler Rubicon just isn’t big enough…”

    I don’t know for sure but I’ll wager that a Rebel, stock to stock, has no where near the off-road chops of a Rubicon. Not even close. That being said, I like the Rebel but don’t know if I’d choose it over a Tundra CrewMax TRD-Pro.

    Oh, almost forgot. Why can’t you have a moon roof with Ram Box and if you choose a moon roof why must you also have the upgraded stereo?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    This is just an answer to GMs Z71 RPO, and Fords offroad, apparently the outdoorsman wasn’t enough.

    Basically an appearance package, because the amount of off-roading it can do compared to the $24k regular 4×4, is minutiae.

    For $38k-40k one can buy a 4 door 6.4L Powerwagon.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      This is a much better truck for regular day to day use, than either the Raptor or the Power Wagon, both of which gets around 10mpg and slam into the AC ducts of every parking structure in California.

      Imagine 2 Americas; one where people drive sedans, the other where they drive pickups. For some reason, all the sedan people decided they “need” an inch of extra ground clearance and awd. While all the pickup buyers kind of had a similar epiphany, and realized they need “fx4”, “z71” or some kind of upgraded “offroad” capability. To claw their way up those Beverly Hills or whatever.

      Initially, the sedan tribe “needed” body on Frame Landcruisers, while the pickupers needed Power Wagons. But that kind of got a bit old, so instead they compromised and got Subarus and Rebels.

      Anyway, just as Outbacks beats Rubicons for the kind of “offroading” most people actually do, the new Rebel is a much more pragmatic choice for someone who “goes fishing” some times, than a Power Wagon. Doesn’t mean sedans/wagons and regular pickups aren’t as often as not the best value of all…

  • avatar
    skloon

    The RAM Catfish ?

  • avatar
    thegamper

    It is just hideous and screams ……something……maybe something like “I HAVE POOR TASTE AND BAD JUDGMENT” …or …. “UPSCALE PIKER?”

    I shouldn’t be surprised that people will probably willingly pay over $50k for this.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    1996 was not “pre-Tacoma years”. That would be 1994 and older. Tacoma debuted in 1995, all North American compact (now midsize) Toyota pickups were Tacomas after that.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    They should’ve called it “DUDE!”

    The 1st thing I’d do is put the handlebar-mustache grill on Craigslist Free Stuff or take a sawzall to it.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Didn’t some company have a The Dude option package in the 70s? Hell, it might have been Dodge.

      • 0 avatar
        anti121hero

        It actually was dodge. Offered on trucks and vans too if I remember right. Its been a while bit there used to be some interesting truck packages back then, the GMC gentleman jim, dodge dude/warlock/Lil red express/ ford nite, Volkswagen sportruck. Anyrhing to tack on to a truck to raise the msrp. Not much has changed.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I’ve never heard of a GMC Gentleman Jim, but I have seen a GMC Beau James.

          Also, I think the Jeep J trucks had an option package with Levi’s denim seats.

        • 0 avatar

          Don’t forget Macho PowerWagon

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            It starred on Simon and Simon.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            Here’s one that looks just like mine. I even had the KC Highlighters on it, until I forgot about them and chopped them off one night going through a drive through to grab some food. Terrible truck, stuff went wrong with it endlessly. It had the best seats I’ve ever sat on.

            http://assets.blog.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2014/09/1977-Dodge-W150-Macho-Powerwagon-13.jpg

  • avatar
    matador

    How much is the Truck Nutz rear towing hitch add-on?

    If the badging gets any larger, they’ll have to throw a trailer in to carry it.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    They shouldn’t be calling this a 4×4. It’s an on-demand part-time AWD system, even on LOCK.

    I’m glad they’ve apparently improved the steering. My buddy has an early 2015 Ram 1500 and it has the worst steering I’ve ever encountered: lifeless and slow.

    It’s much prettier than this thing though.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Either you are one spoiled sob, or there are some pretty remarkable production variances between ram trucks. As full size trucks go, I’d have to say the ones I have driven, have well above average steering feel. They’re not air cooled Porsches nor NSX’, but not bad for pickups….

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Maybe there is something wrong with his. I see that Car and Driver merely called the steering “numb”, but rated the “fitfully communicative” steering on the Tundra even lower.

        I’ve driven dozens of trucks, and it’s the least communicative steering I’ve experienced. Worse than the cube vans I’ve driven. Even the slow and sloppy steering from the early-eighties pickups at least provide some feedback. I’m talking ones I’ve driven within the last couple years, not when they were new. But now that I think about it, I’ll take back my “worst steering” description and just say least communicative. The severe bump-steer due to the hack lift job on a particular GM square body was worse, and so was the worn-out 3/4-ton square body Suburban with twelve inches of steering slack. Still worst for a new vehicle, for sure.

        I drove a 2005 diesel F-250 with a worn-out front end that same week and even with the clunking and 4 inches of slack, it was preferable. I took a mildly-lifted 2006 diesel Ram 2500, on 315/70R17 tires, to the local on-ramps the day after driving the new 1500 and it felt like a Miata in comparison. In terms of steering feel only, of course. Those big Duratrac sidewalls on that 2500 like to get wobbly if you even approach neutral handling. The 2015, on 20″ wheels, handles great. It’s probably the best handling truck I’ve driven, and is impressive from the passenger seat. The suspension is very composed, and pinned to a solid structure. It’s just not enjoyable to steer.

        It’s a really nice truck in a lot of other ways too, but overall it’s ruined for me by design decisions regarding the operation of the electronics. In addition to the steering, the on-demand transfer case is clunky and slow to react, and the nannies can’t be fully disabled. That truck is not intended for real off-road use and isn’t any fun in the snow. I’d be surprised if this Rebel version is significantly different.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Rebel uses a different electronic setting than the “Auto” transfer case which disconnects the front axle. I fully expect the Wrangler to adopt this in the next generation.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Good to hear. Hopefully the control module is transferable to other versions.

      • 0 avatar
        cak446

        SC5door,

        Do you have any links you can provide that show the electronic programming for the BW 44-44 transfer case on the Rebel, is different then the programming used on the other Ram models with the same transfer case? I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to find a solution before winter, to the pathetic on demand 4wd system that my 2014 Ram 1500 Sport currently has.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    This is just me but I’ve never really liked the look of the Rams since the 1994 redesign that brought what is – to me – a cartoonish pseudo-macho look. And the only version I can merely tolerate these days is the base work version with the black grill. But it’s clear I’m in the minority. This Rebel trim is likely to catch on with its intended market.

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      The 1994 redesign was pulled off so well. It is a classic for sure. A well-cared-for example still looks sharp and brings a smile to my face, especially if it’s a Cummins.

  • avatar

    As someone who dislikes boring grey interiors, I’m thrilled to see whorehouse red seats making a comeback.

  • avatar
    kkop

    “Predictably, our mileage with the higher ratio wasn’t great”

    I have the same setup in my Ram, and get between 20 and 21 mpg in mixed driving. Pretty damn good for a full-size truck with a 5.7l V-8 engine IMO.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hey, Aaron – – –

    What are ‘ya smokin’, man?

    This is NOT the Jeep pickup substitute, because it ain’t no Jeep!
    When Jeep fans cry and wail for a pickup, they mean a Wrangler-based vehicle:
    1) Seven-slot grill;
    2) Round headlights;
    3) Manual Transmission;
    4) Current Rubicon drive systems and hardware;
    5) Upright aerodynamically oblivious design*;
    6) ….and, most important: it says “Jeep” right on the front!

    For the love o’ Pete, the current Wrangler Unlimited is 90% of the way there, so it should not take a huge brainstorm to make a pickup out of it.

    ———-
    * We take the Enzo Ferrari philosophy: “Designers who worry about aerodynamics don’t know how to build engines…”
    ———-

    ===========================

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Why does this remind me of the European-made MAN truck? Is it because of the obnoxious RAM logo on the grille? The lettering looks similar, maybe that’s why.

    It’s bad enough that the (Dodge) Ram lost its Dodge heritage. Now it’s losing its signature, distinctive crosshair grille, even though it’s restricted to one model (for now anyways)?

  • avatar
    Steve65

    Holy cow. Every time I think it can’t get any worse, it gets worse. It would appear that truck stylists have entered some sort of competition, trying to pick which can scream the insecurities of their buyers more loudly into the world. What ever happened to trucks that just looked, you know, functional? My truck is a box in front of a box, with another box behind it. And yet it is still instantly and unmistakablly a Ford. (89 F-350 longbed crewcab)

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Looks like they took cues from the AEV Ram concept, but herped and derped it with acres of black plastic.

    I don’t want to see this thing 2 years later when the once black plastic turns greyish blue and crusty.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      If I would ever think about buying one of these, the black fender flares and other crappy looking plastic would have to get painted asap. This looks a lot worse than the old ~2000 era GM trucks with their bad looking fender flares, and I had mine painted about 2 weeks after I bought it.

  • avatar
    shaker

    If there is a radar-cruise option, they should add a “Prius-Mode”, which will (upon detecting an eco-weenie slowing your progress) flip the “RAM” logo around to a mirror-image version, and adjust the following distance to frame said logo in the offender’s rear-view mirror.

    Yes, too much time on my hands…

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    I can’t help but think the Rebel grill looks like a mustache! Still prefer the crosshairs to this.
    I think the interior is very good looking with the red accents; however, my kids and I went to the Dodge dealer last night which had several lower spec trucks with bland interiors. Seems that unless the dodge is well spec’d the interiors are not great.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    The name needs something before “RAM”. Who would buy a car named after a sheep–one of the dumbest animals on four legs?

    I KNOW! They should call it…wait for it…the DODGE Ram!

  • avatar
    css28

    You may “figure” that you shimmied up a 30 degree (57.7%) grade but I have my doubts.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Having driven both the 3.6 and the 5.7 engines with the same 8 speed, I don’t know how the author, or anyone could prefer the 3.6, which is barely adequate to pull an empty truck around. If you can afford to buy one of these, you should be able to afford to feed it, so I don’t see the appeal of the 3.6 at all. My friend had a 3.6 Ram for 2 weeks while his 5.7 Ram was being fixed after a wreck, and with 4 people, a 100 pound dog, and some stuff in the back, it was struggling up hills, kicking down constantly when the cruise was on to keep speed. He was very happy to get his truck back.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I like the nose on this, the stormtrooper helmet gels with the skidplate looking bumper, it works. I fully support the giant RAM letters, as well as any other alphabetized branding. The Limited edition pig nose on the other hand is ugly as hell, but I do hope that Ram puts a wide range of varying noses on their vehicles to choose from, as well as keeping the crossbars grill available for anyone who wants it.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Ugh, what in hell is that aftermarket-red trim doing in there in 2015? Just more evidence of the type of customer FCA is after these days.

    No need to paint it with fingernail polish in five years after the BHPH, we did it straight from factory! Don’t worry about the stitching alignment, it’s already crooked too.

    Utterly tasteless. As well as the giant lettering, conflicting interior materials, and variety of fonts on the exterior. Cohesion is a thing, FCA. And oh good Chrysler adjustable air suspension. Deflated rear Imperials ahoy!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The grille! Ugggg. And that silly knob shifter that many will mistake for adjusting something else like fan speeds or god only knows what else. Just too much in your face ugly black for my liking and I agree the 5.7 is getting really long in the tooth!

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