2019 Ram Rebel: Factory Custom Pickup for Off-Roaders

Motor Matters

Buying a pickup, and then lifting and accessorizing it for off-road duty is a common practice. Ram Truck developed its new 1500 Rebel crew cab 4x4 to provide these consumers a more-efficient off-road upgrade and an eye-grabbing appearance package at a cost savings.

Base-priced at $47,495, the 2019 Ram Rebel is a “4x4 factory custom” pickup, which provides the driver a capable and bold-looking truck that’s covered by a factory warranty.

“We created it for that customer who wants to stand out in the crowd and wants something expressive,” a Ram Truck spokesman said. “He’s the kind of guy who goes in and buys a pickup, and the first thing he does is give it a lift and more-aggressive tires, and accessorizes it to make it his own.” It creates a “great value proposition,” he said, noting it would be costlier to make comparable modifications with aftermarket accessories.

When a customer lifts a truck, it counters the work engineers did in development, affecting way the pickup is set up to handle and perform in a dynamic maneuver. Ram’s solution is to create a truck that’s tuned to one system by the factory.

The Rebel gets a 1-inch suspension lift and 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires with 18-inch black-painted six-spoke wheels, which raises it another half-inch. Add the optional $1,795 Active-Level Four-Corner Air Suspension and the Rebel can roll over trail obstacles with a 10.3-inch ground clearance, which deducts the half-inch thickness of standard front suspension, transfer case, and fuel tank skid plates.

The truck rides on an off-road-biased rear suspension with off-road-calibrated front and rear heavy-duty shocks. Hill-descent control and an electronic-locking rear differential are standard. For a truck outfitted to handle rugged terrain, Rebel’s on-pavement ride quality is high.

Along with demanding trail capability, a customer buying a custom off-road pickup wants a macho big-rig appearance. Highlighting the exterior is a signature Rebel grille with a thick black bar that wraps up and around a large, center-mounted billet-silver “RAM” badge. The grille is designed with a bit more finesse than in previous years: Its most notable styling change is a thin black “mustache” trimming the sport hood’s front edge and extending over the black-accented headlamps.

The grille sits over a black powder-coated bumper that incorporates a silver skid plate, black tow hooks, and LED fog lamps. Matching the front-end theme, Rebel’s rear styling features taillamps with black bezels and a black bumper with half-moon cutouts to accommodate dual chrome exhausts. Most eye-catching is the giant blacked-out “RAM” lettering on the lift-assist tailgate. Black “REBEL” and “4X4” badging is also affixed to the tailgate.

The off-road-ready theme is carried to the sides with black “Power Wagon fender flares,” black side mirrors, and available black lower body panels. Buyers have a choice of five two-tone and six monotone colors.

Designers captured Rebel’s off-road spirit with an in-your-face interior theme. Rebel interiors come dressed in a red-and-black color combination. The black cloth-and-vinyl low-back buckets? aggressive side bolsters are upholstered in “technical-grain” vinyl. Inner seating surfaces are a fabric distinctly embossed with the truck’s tire-tread pattern. “REBEL” is embroidered in white-outline lettering on front-seat side bolsters, and heavy-duty black rubber floor mats feature a red Ram’s head logo. Red trims the center control panel, air-vents, instrument-cluster gauges, and steering wheel. Rebel badging adorns the instrument cluster and passenger-side dashboard.

Sitting in the test-truck’s driver seat provides a view over the elevated hood. It features twin-louvered snorkels and “1500 HEMI 5.7L” black badging chiseled on the rear sides of the center hood scoop. The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8’s active noise cancellation system and acoustic glass contribute to a quiet cabin, but the V-8’s deep-but-smooth exhaust note can still be heard.

Two 5.7-liter V-8s are offered — one of which features eTorque, a belt-driven torque-enhancing motor-generator system. The standard V-8 is a $1,195 option and the eTorque upgrade adds $2,645.

“It’s basically mild-hybrid technology,” said Jim Morrison, head of Ram Brand, of the eTorque system. “With the Hemi it starts with 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque, and it adds in a supplementary 130 lb.-ft. of torque. When you step on the gas you really feel the power that’s added and, at the same time, it delivers up to almost 10 percent efficiency gain.”

Both engines are partnered with an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The eTorque engine’s transmission uses computer controllers with faster data-processing capability that coordinates transmission operation with the eTorque system.

Advanced engineering helps improve the frame, which gains strength and torsional rigidity by using stronger and lighter materials. “We use high-strength steel in the cab and the box as well,” Morrison said. “We put high-strength steel where it matters — in the box and around our customers to protect them.”

The frame is stiffer, more durable, and lighter. It teams with an aluminum tailgate and hood, as well as other lightened components, to shed 225 pounds. A lighter truck contributes to better fuel economy, all-around performance and increased working capability. The Hemi-powered Rebel gets an estimated 15 miles per gallon city and 22 mpg highway, and can tow up to 11,340 pounds.

Ram’s Rebel is in its fifth year of production, and with 2019 body and frame upgrades it offers greater capability to truckers demanding standout off-road performance.

The 2019 1500 Rebel crew cab 4x4 features a signature black Rebel grille with large “RAM” lettering. It wears an elevated sport hood, and black bumpers, fender flares and outside mirrors. Black lower side body panels are an option with the two-tone paint treatment. Headlamps and taillamps feature black accents. The lifted Ram Rebel rolls on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires with 18-inch painted black six-spoke wheels. It’s fitted with an off-road-biased rear suspension with off-road-calibrated front and rear heavy-duty shocks.