Whether they spend the majority of their time at the job site, camp site, or just the shopping mall parking lot, most pickup trucks don’t stay stock for long. Buyers are usually quick to personalize their equipment for the tasks they perform most. Well if you’re looking at a Ram 1500, and plan on heading off road, FCA just made it a whole lot easier for you.
It’s no secret that Ram is on the rise in the pickup truck world. And because of that, they are able to expand the lineup somewhat, with special variations, like this 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel.
This testosterone-infused pickup may fall short of being a true purpose-built off road rig, but it’s also a lot more than just an ugly face.
The serious beef starts right up front, below that new grille that surprisingly replaces Ram’s traditional crosshair theme. There you’ll find a toughened up and blacked out bumper with skid plate, LED fog lamps, and hefty tow hooks.
There’s also a unique twin-snorkel hood, while both head and tail lights add black bezels. The black trim continues around the lower body, with Power Wagon-style arches over the new 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
The rear also upgrades to a powder-coated bumper with cutouts for the dual chrome exhaust tips; while above, there’s a new tailgate with stamped RAM lettering.
Both of the Ram 1500’s regular gas engines are available, so this is no Raptor rival. The Pentastar V6 and the Hemi V8 are fitted with an 8-speed automatic transmission. And you can even stick with 2-wheel-drive in V8s if you’re going for more of a Pre-Runner theme.
Overall towing and hauling capacities are unaffected, and you can still add features like Ram Box; though the Rebel is currently only available in Crew Cab configuration with a 5½-foot bed.
Our 4X4 tester, sported the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 395-horsepower and 410 lb-ft. of torque.
The Rebel’s higher stance comes by way of simply pumping up the air suspension by an additional inch; which not only makes you instantly look cooler, but it allows for putting more rubber on the wheels, 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T’s to be exact. But Bilstein shocks are also added front and rear, along with a less-rigid rear stabilizer bar.
The inside also sees plenty of updates, though here we found them mostly gimmicky.
Virtually every surface has been addressed, starting with the very comfortable 2-tone vinyl and fabric seats that feature an exact match of the tire’s tread pattern. There are also logos, stitching, color trim, and faux cast-iron finishes throughout.
On the functional side, useful all-weather rubber floor mats are also included. Which will help make things easier to clean if you venture as far off pavement as we did.
With the transfer case “locked and low ranged”, we took advantage of all 10.3-inches of ground clearance, and found plenty of traction no matter where we went. And once back on pavement with the air suspension at normal ride height, there’s no harsh-ride or loose steering penalties to pay.
And if you happen to get challenged to a drag race by one of your truck buddies, you’ll be well prepared; as the Rebel Hemi sprints to 60 in 7.0-seconds; and clears the ¼-mile in 15.9 at 91 miles-per-hour.
It feels plenty strong off the line, sounds loud and powerful, and shifts more quickly than you’re expecting. The only difference we could detect from a standard Ram 1500, is a bit less high speed stability at the end of the track; due to the tire’s higher side walls and off road tread pattern.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined. We averaged 16.3 miles-per-gallon of Midgrade. That equates to a poor Energy Impact Score of 19.4-barrels of oil consumption and 8.7 tons of CO2 emissions yearly.
Pricing starts a bit confusingly, with a V8 4X2 Rebel at $44,465. V6 4X4s start at $46,395. But of course you’ll want the 4-wheel-drive HEMI, which starts at $48,045.
So while the 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel does fall short of super-truck abilities, it certainly is more capable than we were expecting. Plus, everyone can admit it looks bad to the bone. And that should be enough to keep this Rebel fighting strong.
Engine: 5.7 liter Hemi V8
Torque: 410 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.9 seconds @ 91 mph
EPA: 15 mpg city/ 21 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 19.4 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 8.7 tons/yr