Given the fact that Ram already offers a very capable off-road pickup in the Power Wagon, and that they had just announced an update to the very popular 1500 EcoDiesel that extended its fuel economy lead even further over the competition, no one at the Detroit Auto Show would have blamed the truck maker for not making any more headlines.
Ram had other plans.
Instead of letting the new EcoDiesel get all the coverage, Ram debuted a whole new model entirely in the Rebel, a truck clearly designed to go after that segment of the market Ford and Toyota have been enjoying with their F-150 Raptor and Tundra TRD Pro pickups, respectively.
And the truck certainly looks the part. Much like the just-revealed 2017 Raptor, the Rebel has loud, bold name plates on the grille and tailgate. The Rebel also has a front end that differs quite a bit from the rest of its Ram brethren thanks to a new grille and front bumper design with a powder-coated surface. The bumper incorporates a skid plate, front tow hooks and LED fog lamps. Like the new EcoDiesel HFE, the Rebel comes standard with a trifold tonneau cover.
The truck also features an aluminum hood for weight savings and Power Wagon-inspired wheel-arch moldings. The truck will be available in granite, silver, red, white or black, in both monotone and two-tone finishes.
Unfortunately, most of the advantages to the new Rebel are aesthetic. The truck might appeal to those in the market for an F-150 Raptor, but once they take a look under the hood and between the tires, they’ll find that Ram has not equipped the Rebel to go head-to-head in any sort of off-road challenge with the Raptor.
The Rebel is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 pushing only 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The upside here is definitely the 25 miles per gallon highway. If you want a bit more umph though, Ram is offering the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 as an option on the Rebel, upping things to 396 hp and 410 lb.-ft. of torque. Even then, the Rebel is still a bit outside the Raptor’s league whose last-generation 6.2L V8 offered 411 hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque. The kicker is that the 2017 Raptor’s new turbo V6 is said to do even better.
Apart from the Hemi, the Rebel rides an inch higher off the ground than other Ram models, and gets Bilstein front and rear shocks. The Rebel will come riding on 33-inch Toyo Open Country all-terrain tires mounted around 17-inch silver and black aluminum wheels.
And that’s about it in terms of actual difference in terms of muscle and capability between the Rebel and a 1500.
That being said, whenever Ram announces the price for the Rebel, expect it to come in well under the Raptor, giving those who want a pickup with a distinctive look a pretty good option.
The Rebel will go on sale in the second half of this year.