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2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Review

Bringing more two-track know-how to the Ram lineup.

It's fitting we're standing next to a lava red 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel in Cinder Hills just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, seeing how a volcanic eruption created this whole area almost a thousand years ago. We tap a boot against one of the Rebel's 33-inch Toyo Open Country tires, letting ash fall back onto the black hills, before climbing back into the Rebel's cab and cranking over its 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.

The 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel's air suspension system benefits from a 1-inch lift, and the truck's steering is retuned. The Rebel also has a softer rear antiroll bar and looks off-road ready thanks to big, knobby tires, front tow hooks, a front skid plate, power-coated bumpers, and wheel arches from a Power Wagon.
The Ram 1500 Rebel, while available exclusively as a crew cab model with a 5-foot, 7-inch bed, can be had with either a 3.6-liter V-6 or a 5.7-liter V-8. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that doesn't benefit from hill-descent control, which means we have to use the two buttons on the steering wheel to keep the truck in first gear as we ease down the black hills toward a gravel-covered grade.

As the ground climbs, loose gravel gets tossed around by the Toyo tires, which are digging the rear end into the ground as they try to put down 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The V-8-equipped Rebels come standard with rear-wheel drive, but thankfully this one has the optional four-wheel drive. We put the transfer case in four-high and gently reapply the throttle, easing toward the dormant volcano in the distance.

The Ram 1500 Rebel's air suspension, coupled to Bilstein dampers, soaks up ruts as we watch the GPS's altimeter click toward 8,000 feet. Pointed straight up toward the sky, we crane our neck to peer over the Rebel's bulged hood, hoping to get a glimpse of flat land. As we tip over the summit's crest, we see white-capped mountain peaks and dense green forests. We put the transfer case in four-low for our descent, entering nearby woods just as a heavy blanket of snow comes down. The pure white snow gives way to thick brown mud as we charge down the trail, the big Toyos clearing slop from their tread blocks as we go.

The 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel follows a well-known, mechanical and visual off-road recipe we've seen manufacturers use effectively time and again. While it doesn't have a winch and lockers like its big Power Wagon brother, the 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel does bring a little more two-track know-how to an already impressive lineup of Ram models.

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Specifications

  • Price: TBD
  • Engine: 3.6L DOHC 24-valve V-6/305 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 269 lb-ft @ 4,175 rpm; 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 truck
  • EPA Mileage: 17/25 mpg (V-6), 15/22 mpg (V-8) city/hwy
  • Suspension F/R: Control arms, air springs/multilink, air springs
  • Brakes F/R: Vented disc/disc
  • Tires F/R: 285/70R-17 Toyo Open Country
  • L x W x H: 229.0 x 79.4 x 75.3-79.1 in
  • Wheelbase: 140.5 in
  • Cargo Room: 50.3 cu ft
  • Towing Capacity: 10,150 lb
  • Weight: 5,365 lb