2022 Ram 1500 Rebel Review - Li’l Red Imperial Express
2022 Ram 1500 Rebel G/T Crew Cab 4x4
Step back in time with me to the Seventies, and imagine being in a boardroom in Highland Park, Michigan. The marketers and advertising copywriters of Chrysler were, at the time, reacting to the personal luxury vehicle trend with the Cordoba. Ricardo Montalbán had worked everyone up into a rich Corinthian lather, all but assuring buyers that good times and sexytime were simply a signature away at the local Chrysler dealer.
In another room, the Dodge truck folks were trying to compete with crosstown rivals. Adding accessories and other fripperies to the D-series pickup created what was known as the “Adult Toys” lineup - including the black/gold Warlock model, as well as the smokestack-equipped Li’l Red Express. These factory customs acknowledged that people were buying trucks not just for work - and anticipated in part the explosion of the truck market that was to come.
But Khan himself could have never foreseen something like the 2022 Ram 1500 Rebel - a four-wheel drive, five-passenger truck that rides better than the nicest Chryslers and Imperials while handling truck duties better than any Dodge of the disco era.
For a moment, let’s consider the G/T nomenclature. I’ve ranted in the past about the dreadful misuse of the Grand Touring term, originally meant for high-speed, fuss-free traversing of broad stretches of roadway. Not for a sporty trim of a big truck. Ram’s G/T trim takes some visual cues from the Hellcat-powered TRX - notably metal pedal covers, a console-mounted shifter, and paddle shifters - and adds G/T logos to the bucket seats. Of these features, perhaps the one most appreciated will be the console shifter. While I rather like the out-of-the-way shift selector knob on the dashboard of most Ram trucks - it frees up console space for whatever one might need console space - I know that many truck buyers have preferred a console shifter over the years.
Front or rear, the interior of the Ram 1500 Rebel is a great place to spend some time. I’ve road-tripped in a Ram in the recent past with my family - I heard absolutely no complaints about the accommodations. The leather/vinyl seating here feels hardy enough for a work truck and yet plush enough to impress. With the optional power-adjustable pedals, I’ve no problem finding a comfortable driving position. And the portrait-oriented 12-inch central screen is one of the best, most intuitive user interfaces in any vehicle anywhere. UConnect is a genuine joy to use.
Even when not fitted with the optional air suspension found here, the coil-sprung rear suspension on the Ram makes the ride control superior to leaf-sprung trucks. The airbags, however, make everything even more plush - and allow for variability in ride height for different driving conditions. Jack it up for off-road, lower it for aero on-road or for ease of entry.
Take a gander at the Fast Facts panel atop your screen for a moment. Notice something funky with those prices? Yeah, whoever specified this truck for the media fleet had a lot of fun clicking checkboxes. That’s very nearly twenty thousand American dollars in options atop a basic 4WD crew cab truck. The options seen here include:
- $1,095 for the heads-up display and rear-view mirror camera
- $595 for heated rear seats, wireless phone charging, and a power tailgate release
- $2,995 for the G/T package with a cold-air intake, more power adjustments on the seats, ventilated front seats (perfect for wafting farts to the kids in the back) power adjustable pedals, and the console shifter
- $3,200 for the Rebel Level 2 (2 Rebel 2 Furious) which includes Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, power-folding mirrors, and a remote starter
- $550 for the tri-fold tonneau
- $1,805 for the lovely air suspension
- $2,095 for UConnect 5 on the 12-inch center display
- $2,795 for the eTorque stop-start Hemi engine.
There may be some fat to be trimmed there should you choose a Ram 1500 of your own, but the $75k gets you a genuinely great truck that can ease you down the road in comfort whether loaded or unladen. As equipped with the eTorque mild-hybrid Hemi and a 3.92 rear axle ratio, this Ram 1500 is rated to tow 11,200lbs or a payload of 1800lbs.
And it doesn’t look bad, either. Certainly, Ram is expecting that buyers will see the resemblance between the Rebel and the big-money TRX. I don’t love the upside-down horseshoe look to the upper grille - but when done in this matte black, paired with matching bumpers front and rear - it’s subtle enough to look great.
I don’t need a truck in my life. There are many times when having a truck in my driveway would make suburban life just a bit easier, however. I’d like to think that if there comes a time when I do sign a massive note on a pickup I’d be rational about my genuine needs and not compare spec-for-spec down to the milligram of payload capacity. But some truck buyers love to measure their, ahem, specs - and while others might eke those extra pounds and pounds/feet out on paper, the 2022 Ram 1500 is quite simply the nicest full-size half-ton to live with daily.
[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]
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