For much of the last year, Ram has made its mark on the full-size truck segment with its new EcoDiesel model, stealing some of the thunder from Ford’s new aluminum-bodied F-150. Now it’s looking to make some headlines at the other end of the spectrum: off-road capability.
The new Ram Rebel stormed the North American International Auto Show this week thumbing its nose at those who question the truck’s ability to handle the road less, or never, taken.
“Offering an off-road-style package on the Ram 1500 has been on our to-do list for some time but the right combination didn’t present itself until now,” said Bob Hegbloom, president and CEO — Ram Truck Brand, FCA US LLC, in a statement.
“The Rebel drops right into a core segment of the truck market with unique design cues and can-do attitude backed by Ram Truck engineering.”
While the EcoDiesel has captured a lot of attention, the maker’s been rolling out a series of specialty trucks, including Tradesman, Express, SLT, Big Horn/Lone Star, Outdoorsman, Sport, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited. Rebel goes on sale early in the second half of 2015.
The Rebel certainly looks the part of tough mudder with a blacked-out grille and a power-coated off-road front bumper. It also features powder-coated billet skid plate, new front tow hooks and new LED fog lamps. The black bezel bi-functional projector headlamps with LED marker lights lie beneath an aluminum, twin-snorkel sport hood.
The blacked-out front continues down the side of the Rebel, where black Power Wagon wheel-arch moldings, flat-black badge, mirrors and lower body panels create a distinctive trail-ready presence, according to Ram. The new trim features a two-tone paint scheme with black as a constant on the lower body, front to rear.
The tailgate makes sure that whomever is driving behind the Rebel is certain what company makes the truck as “RAM” is stamped into the tailgate in huge, black-painted letters. The rear bumper is also treated with durable black powder coating with flared cutouts around dual chrome-tipped exhausts. Tail lamps incorporate black bezels to match forward lighting.
The Ram 1500 Rebel will be available in five colors, including: Granite Crystal Metallic, Bright Silver Metallic, Flame Red, Bright White and Brilliant Black. Both monotone and two-tone paint options are offered.
All of this “in your face” styline sits on new 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 33-inch tires to maximize the capability of the boost with 1-inch raised ride height for improved off-road approach, departure and breakover angles. Plus the truck gets a new stability program to match the off-road modifications.
Bilstein front and rear shocks with unique tuning and a new steering calibration matched to the Rebel’s increased ride height ensure off-road competence complemented by a softer rear stabilizer bar.
The inside of the Rebel is designed to look just as rough-and-tumble as the outside, including High-durability technical grain vinyl seats are finished in Radar Red and Black with Sedoso fabric inserts embossed with the Toyo tire tread pattern, matching the Rebel’s actual footprint.
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However, those light gray-stitched seats are also heated so the interior isn’t just hard-core Spartan. In addition to an impressive interior treatment featuring an all-black instrument panel, door armrests and center console armrest with radar red and light gray stitching, the center stack and console are painted to look cast iron. That center console features a bin that incorporates a cell phone/tablet holder.
Rebel is available exclusively as a crew cab model with 5-ft. 7-inch bed length and the RamBox is optional. Rebel owners get a couple of choices when it comes to powertrains.
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The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with variable-valve timing (VVT) puts out 305 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. of torque and 25 miles per gallon or the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT producing 395 hp and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.
Hemi-powered Ram 1500 Rebel trucks are available in 4×2 or 4×4 powertrains with 3.92 or 3.21 gear ratios. When equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, Rebel is available in 4×4 only with a 3.92 gear ratio, allowing the engine to leverage its power and torque.
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Both the 3.6-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engines are available with a rear anti-spin differential, which turns both rear wheels in tandem when increased torque is applied – helpful in off-road driving conditions. The design automatically unlocks the differential for normal on-road driving, allowing the wheels to spin independently for improved drivability.