Months ago, in a much warmer time, I was thoroughly impressed by the new Ram 1500 Limited (reviewed here), a truck that I’d consider the most comfortable and luxurious pickup truck on the market today. This is the Limited’s alter-ego; the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4×4. Unlike the refined and conservative Limited, the Rebel is big, bright and in your face. It’s also more affordable and benefits from some extra off-road prowess.
The uniquely rugged styling of the Rebel is definitely polarizing; it really has its place for those who want a truck that stands out. Unique bits include a blacked-out front grille and bumper, prominent “RAM” lettering on the tailgate, and matte black protective paint from the lower body-line down. The most note worthy addition to the Rebel is the big vented hood sporting 5.7L HEMI script. Finished in Flame Red, our tester caught the eye of just about anyone interested in pickup trucks everywhere I took it.
The Rebel also gets its own set of off-road inspired 18” wheels wrapped in 275/70R18 Goodyear Duratrac tires – that’s a 33” tire for the off-roaders reading this. As a bit of a truck tire buff I can confidently tell you that these are some of the best all-terrain tires you can put on a truck; and they are winter rated, making them perfect for this mucky time of year. Our tester’s tires came with the white lettering showing, which is not a popular look today, but ties in well with the in-your-face attitude of the Rebel.
The Rebel look also carries into the interior, heavily stylized to the theme. Powered and heated front seats are finished in two-tone leather with large cloth inserts and huge Rebel logos on bolsters. The seats are very comfortable, and the look is shared with the rear bench, which also reclines in the name of rear passenger comfort. The Ram is likely the most comfortable pickup for rear passengers today. The Rebel interior also gets matching two-tone door panels, red laser-ingrained accents throughout, a unique gauge cluster and matching floor mats.
Whether you like the Rebel theme or not, the interior itself is fantastic, as it is in any 2019 Ram. It’s highly functional with tons of storage. Power outlets in USB, 12V and 110V format are handy throughout as well, and this particular truck came with the 8.4” Uconnect touchscreen, one step down from the massive 12” unit found in the Limited. While the big 12” version has a certain shock value to its appearance, I prefer the 8.4” for the dial-based climate controls.
The Rebel-specific instrument gauge cluster is a bit difficult to read due to some small fonts, but beyond that the interior is a very pleasant space to spend time and soak up the miles. Of note, the heated seats and steering wheel get hot quickly, and the optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof is a cool way to impress passengers.
As mentioned, the Rebel is powered by the same 5.7L HEMI V8 as other models, pushing 385 horsepower and 410 lb-ft. of torque at 3,950RPM. It uses the same ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic as the regular Ram. This powertrain makes for a very refined and powerful driving experience, with crisp throttle response and linear power delivery. This is how a truck should feel, and despite the 5.7L HEMI having been around for the better part of two decades now, it has been upgraded over the years to a point where it still feels fresh and delivers everything it needs to.
I happen to have this same powertrain in a 2014 Ram 1500 with a simple aftermarket exhaust, and it sounds amazing. For whatever reason though, this 1500 Rebel, despite sporting big black dual exhaust tips, sounds like nothing. I totally get having a quiet exhaust on a mainstream truck, but the Rebel is supposed to be loud. Everything else about it is loud, so this seems like the perfect place to offer a factory-installed rumbly exhaust, a missed opportunity in my opinion.
The other area where the HEMI has always underperformed a bit is with fuel consumption, and the Rebel kit only seems to make this drinking habit worse. Over a week’s worth of commuting I saw an average of 15.7L/100km – this is worse than the 14.5L/100km I got out of the Ram Limited with the same drivetrain back in the summer. The silver lining is that the thirsty HEMI is perfectly happy on regular grade gas and with the optional 124L tank it’s possible to squeak out 800km between fill ups.
While the Rebel’s drivetrain is shared with the standard Ram, it does get some upgrades to boost its off-road credibility a little bit. Aside from the aforementioned wheel and tire package, it also gets an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein shocks, fuel tank skid plate and hill descent control. Our tester had four-corner air suspension, and an off-road mode is included for maximum ground clearance. Make no mistake, the Rebel is not a Ford Raptor (reviewed here) fighter by any means, but it should tackle the muddiest of job sites without a whimper and get you through some trails.
These upgrades don’t come without some compromise through, and the more aggressive tires and off-road focused shocks do mean that the on-road, and particularly highway ride isn’t quite as luxurious as the Limited. That said, the new Ram platform even in Rebel form, remains the most refined pickup truck driving experience out there today, making it very livable on the daily grind.
One thing about pickup trucks that I enjoy is the massive options list. Unlike most other vehicles today, you can still build a truck exactly how you like it. A basic Rebel Crew Cab 4×4 with the HEMI starts at $60,795, which is right where it should be based on equipment in the Ram lineup. Our tester got the Level 2 Equipment Group ($3,040) which adds a tons of small conveniences, most notably the 8.4” touch screen, dual zone climate control, heated seats and steering wheel, park-sense sensors, power adjust pedals, rain sensing wipers, proximity key and remote start.
On top of that, the tester got the Bed Utility Group ($200) which adds LED bed lighting and four adjustable tie downs, a soft tri-fold tonneau cover ($650), the panoramic sunroof ($1,595), larger fuel tank ($445), nine-speaker sound system ($495), air suspension ($1,895), navigation ($770), blind spot and cross traffic detection ($500), trailer brake controller ($375) and a spray-in bedliner ($550). This brings the as-tested price to $70,760 before taxes and fees.
The newest Ram is a phenomenal truck, and the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4×4 is a good way to get into one, only with distinctive style and a bit of extra ruggedness. It’s not the fire breathing monster that it looks like it could be, but is a very good truck nonetheless. What’s clear is that if you’re in the market for a new truck, the Ram needs to be on your shopping list and if the Rebel styling and attitude is your fancy, then there’s no reason not to give it some serious consideration.