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Finally a diesel option! 2023 Ram HD Rebel arrives

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Off-roading and low-torque diesel power seem like a match made in muddy heaven, and the 2023 Ram HD Rebel puts these two together while looking good doing so.

A chief complaint of the Ram Power Wagon was the lack of a diesel option, and with the Ford F-250 Tremor being offered with a diesel, fans of the Ram brand were left wondering when they would get in on the game. How about now?

The 2023 Ram HD Rebel is going to be available with the 6.7-liter Cummins inline-6 engine — and that’s not all.

What is the 2023 Ram HD Rebel?

In very simple terms, the 2023 Ram HD Rebel is a Power Wagon “lite.” It will be a Ram HD 2500 (or 3/4-ton truck), and it won’t be offered in a Ram HD 3500 or 1-ton truck.

The HD Rebel looks like the Power Wagon, borrowing some of the same exterior styling cues. It will be differentiated by the unique “Rebel” badging and a sport performance hood from Mopar.

Under the skin, the suspension has been tuned for off-road use and also includes a rear limited-slip differential, rear electronic locker, 20-inch wheels (optional 18-inch wheels coming later), 33-inch off-road tires and skid plates that protect the fuel tank and transfer case.

Inside, there are three different seating options with either a cloth bench or bucket, a Bristol leather bench or bucket seat or a full Natura Plus leather bucket-seat setup. 

The 2023 Ram HD Rebel will also include a 360-degree camera with forward-view camera gridlines to help when navigating over front-facing obstacles as well as camera view of both sides of a trailer when towing. It also includes an available 12-inch frameless digital gauge cluster.

More good stuff

A WARN Zeon-12 winch, rated at 12,000 pounds, is also available on the 2023 Ram HD Rebel, however, it is for gas engines only — unlike the Ford Tremor, which allows for a winch with the diesel engine. In the past, Ram engineers have told us it was a fitment issue getting the Cummins diesel engine and winch to fit within the truck’s engine bay.

Ram says the winch will be installed at the factory and features a unique fairlead and fairlead retainer utilizing a synthetic line which is more maneuverable and won’t kink or fray. 

Outside of the off-road goodies, the HD Rebel has a lot of available safety features. That includes adaptive cruise control, full-speed forward-collision warning plus, Lane Keep Assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, automatic headlamps, digital rearview mirror with tow mode and rain-sensitive windshield wipers. 

Other powertrains available

Back to the powertrains, the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 will be the standard engine choice producing 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque utilizing cylinder deactivation and variable-value timing. The Cummins will be optional and produces 370 horsepower and 850 pound-feet of torque. For the diesel, it will be paired to a 6-speed automatic while the gas gets the 8-speed transmission.

Ram says maximum towing will be 16,870 pounds while payload tops out at 3,140 pounds. 

The payload number is going to be another key difference between the Ram HD Rebel and Power Wagon with the latter maxing out at 2,999 pounds and, on the Power Wagon trucks we have tested, the stated payload number is often much, much lower. 

With the Ram HD Rebel not having all the same equipment like the Power Wagon, like the electronically disconnecting front locker, the hope would be better payload for the Rebel, an important item for towing and hauling.

The truck will utilize the 5-link coil suspension found on all Ram HDs as well as available rear air suspension helping with ride and handling.

The bottom line on the 2023 Ram HD Rebel

Ram fans get part of their wishes with a diesel-powered HD truck, however, no winch option with the diesel could be a deal breaker for some.

This HD Rebel also does raise questions on how the Power Wagon fits in the lineup and its future with the brand.

Ram says the 2023 HD Rebel will be available only in Crew Cab configuration with a 6-foot, 4-inch bed. It will have a starting price of $68,940 with destination. It will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2022.

 

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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