2015 Ram 1500 Rebel First Drive

Scott Evans

Let's get one thing straight from the start: The Ram Rebel is not a Ford Raptor-fighter. That was the Ram Runner, and it's dead now. No, this is Ram's rebuttal to Ford's FX4 Off-Road package for the F-150, Chevrolet's Z71 Off-Road package for the Silverado, Toyota's TRD Pro package for the Tundra, and Nissan's Pro-4X package for the Titan. Set your expectations accordingly.

That established, let's talk about what makes a Rebel. The Ram people say it's a reaction to customer behavior, as a lot of truck buyers immediately install a lift kit and a new wheel and tire package. Ram figured it could offer something like that from the factory easy enough, with the added benefit of having the modifications designed to work together, covered by the warranty and serviceable at Ram dealers.

Ram's modifications are as clever as they are simple: The Ram 1500's optional air suspension is standard on the Rebel, but the default ride height is now an inch higher, what a standard Ram would call Off Road 1. It's now backed by Bilstein monotube shocks, and the alignment, steering gear, and rear anti-roll bar have all been tuned for the higher default center of gravity. A rear limited-slip differential is optional. A new front bumper incorporates tow hooks and a skidplate, with additional protection under the vehicle, and 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires increase capability and the wow factor. Fender flares, blacked-out trim, and giant badges round out the look. The interior features red accent trim, beefy rubber floormats, and the tire tread pattern embossed in the seat backs.

You've likely come to the conclusion I first did, which is that Ram didn't really do all that much. Compare it with rival packages, though, and you'll find it perfectly matched. Ram simply came up with a cooler name and tougher look than most of the competition, and what the Rebel might lack in quantity of modifications it more than compensates for in quality.'

Source: 
Motor Trends