The 2019 Ram Rebel 1500 has undergone a significant face lift by dropping some 225 lbs, adding off-road equipment and has an improved interior. These improvements all add up to one outstanding off-road pickup that will give many buyers a conundrum between it and the Ford Raptor.
Much like the new Ram 1500, the Rebel has a lot of new features to show off. Introduced several years ago, Ram’s off-road pickup has been grabbed a lot of attention from pickup fans and rightfully so.
The Rebel is a Ram half-ton with many modifications. Like the Raptor, it isn’t just an off-road package or a fancy trim package, instead it a different pickup and should be treated as such.
On the outside, the large Ram grille announces it is coming down the road and the size is accentuated by the large 18″ wheels and 33″ Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires as well as the factory installed one-inch lift. Adding to the look is the large underbody skid plates apparent from the front and covering the vitals like transfer case, steering, oil pan and gas tank. Ram meant for it to be ready to go off the lot, so they didn’t even bother with the air dam found on other 1500 models.
The sides have a engraved body line creating a tough look followed by the rear with its large RAM letters quietly noting (sarcasm) what you are driving.
Throughout the exterior are a collection of Rebel badges that don’t overwhelm the pickup, but instead announce this isn’t a base model.
Inside the cabin, my test model featured red striping around the dash, the sides of the seats and on the door. This striping looks great in all light conditions and really helps make the pickup feel more like an off-road pickup. The interior is not only stylish, it is comfortable and I could spend days riding in the pickup.
How about storage? Yeah, good luck filling this pickup up with stuff. There are pockets and a deep center console. Unless you plan on living in the pickup, you should never fill it up.
How is the infotainment system? The best in the industry hands down. … that pretty much covers it.
On the road, the Rebel is pretty darn good combining great off-road driving control and power from the 5.7L V8 Hemi mated to an 8-speed transmission producing 395 hp and 410 lb-ft. of torque, EPA rated at 15/22 city/highway, as well as smooth on-road manners. It is quite impressive how well it does on both actually without any driver input from say a terrain select button found on other vehicles.
What about the new off-road equipment? The 2019 Rebel features new Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs, an electronically locking rear differential, optional upgraded air suspension and is available, for the first time, in a crew cab. Keep in mind, it does come standard with coil spring suspension and an off-road package available for 1500 models if you don’t want to go all in on the Rebel.
Off-road these upgrades are a lot of fun. I used the electronically locking rear differential in many different situations and while it removes some of the fun from getting sideways, the pickup feels faster and more capable than ever before. With the rear wheels locked, cornering feels more controlled and there is wheel slippage is minimized climbing over rocks. Add in the new shocks with their remote reservoirs, means you can off-road longer, the Rebel is just really impressive for $59,850 compares nicely with the Raptor which starts at $49k.
The only thing that continues to be an issue for me and Ram trucks is the lack of a good way to get in the bed. There is an optional bumper step you can add from the dealer, but there needs to be a permanent design improvement like GM’s bumper step or Ford’s tailgate bed step. Either of these would be a big benefit for a lot of pickup owners of all sizes and shapes.
In the end, when the Rebel first came out, it wasn’t seen as a Raptor fighter, yet the more it is on the market and improved, it is really hard to NOT make the comparison. If I was to pick one over the other, well … I couldn’t. Good luck if you need to make that choice. It really isn’t that easy.
2019 Ram Rebel 1500 Crew Cab