Living in a bustling metropolis can make you claustrophobic, and there are times we need to escape the urban sprawl, get outdoors, and behave like a hooligans. So this winter I swiped the keys to a 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel, cracked open the old gun safe, and plotted a course to northern Michigan for a day in the great outdoors.
Safely transporting guns, ammunition, and camera equipment can be a bit of a tricky matter, especially with a pickup. Thankfully the Ram Rebel is well prepared for such precious cargo. With 40.3 inches of legroom in the back seat and a total of 125.3 cubic feet of interior volume, there’s space aplenty for backpacks, camera cases, and caffeinated beverages in the cab. As for guns and bullets, the optional Ram Boxes mounted in the sides of the bed are a perfect spot for rifle cases and ammo cans. These easily accessible storage boxes are weather-sealed, illuminated, and most important of all, lock securely with the keyless entry remote, a very convenient factory option for any firearm enthusiast.
On the trip up north, the Rebel eats up freeway miles with the ease and refinement we’ve come to expect from the Ram 1500 lineup. Even though the Rebel sits an inch higher than a standard Ram 1500, the steering remains responsive and visibility on the road is great. Despite its size, it’s surprisingly easy to place on the road, though nosing into parking spaces is a bit more of a guessing game with the extra hood bulge in our Rebel model.
Under that hood bulge sits a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, thrusting us through Detroit traffic with the thunder of 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. All Ram 1500 Rebel models also come standard with an air suspension, which offers automatic load leveling and helps increase fuel efficiency by lowering the truck at highway speeds. More important for our purposes, the air suspension can raise the truck for additional clearance off-road at the push of a button. We’ve reached our family’s farm, and it’s time to get the 33-inch Toyo Open Country tires dirty.
With traction control off, air suspension at maximum height, and four-wheel drive engaged, I drop off the pavement and follow the two tracks leading to our makeshift shooting range. Fallen tree branches snap and leaves kick up behind the truck as the Open Country tires find their way through the brush to the tacky dirt below. Seeing as the odometer on this truck reads a mere 450 miles, I take extra care to dodge low-hanging branches that attempt to add their own pinstriping to the Rebel’s fresh red paint.
The shooting range is set back in the hills of our family property in a densely wooded valley. It’s our quiet place in the woods of northern Michigan where we can shatter the silence with the supersonic crack of gunpowder and lead. Popping open the lid to the Ram Boxes, I drop the tailgate and start filling my empty magazines with fresh brass.
The cargo divider in the bed of the 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel helps keep all our gear in place; anyone as particular as I am can appreciate having a clean workspace when out in the field. Mags topped off, targets in place, and ear protection on, we go weapons-hot. Between the dueling tree, steel barrels, and clay pigeons, we manage to stay plenty entertained throughout the afternoon, easily draining a week’s salary worth of ammunition.
Satisfied with our destruction, we clean up our spent casings and safely stow our targets, firearms, and what’s left of our ammunition. To leave our makeshift shooting gallery, we need to ascend the sandy slope we drove down to get here. The 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel doesn’t offer a locking rear differential, so I back up to get a good run-up to the hill.
I ease into the throttle, the Hemi barks to life, and the Toyos hook up, hurling the Rebel toward the hill. The air suspension soaks up the initial transition, and I quickly saw at the wheel to avoid another tree that’s looking to leave its mark on the Rebel. I keep on the throttle as the truck bounds up the hill and set my sights on a clearing in the brush. The front tires dig through to hard-packed dirt and the Rebel claws its way to the top.
Winding our way through the woods and back to pavement we come across a section of recently cleared land. The rolling hills of lush green grass look all too picturesque, so I drop the Rebel into two-wheel drive and get rebellious, churning donuts in the mud. The fact remains, there’s no better way to shake off the workweek than by spending a day in the woods slinging mud and lead, especially with a truck as capable as the 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel.
2016 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4×4 Specifications
- On Sale: Now
- Price: $45,200/$53,275 (base/as tested)
- Engine: 5.7L OHV 16-valve V-8/395 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 4WD pickup
- EPA Mileage: 15/21 mpg (city/hwy)
- L x W x H: 229.0 x 81.5 x 75.3 in
- Wheelbase: 140.5 in
- Weight: 5,387 lb
- Top Speed: N/A