This week, we’re driving the Ram 1500 full size pickup, formerly known to Chrysler and truck owners as the Dodge Ram pickup. For whatever reason, when Chrysler decided to drop the Dodge moniker from its Ram pickup marketing, it did so by hiring the strong voice of Sam Elliott for its commercials and then concentrated on “Ram Tough” ideology to brand the Ram name into consumer consciousness.
Which brings us to the American pickup market, where Ram, Chevy/GMC, Ford, Nissan and Toyota all battle for consumer dollars. Frankly, it’s the biggest and perhaps most profitable market in the country as more full size pickup trucks are sold yearly in comparison to other distinct classes of automobile, be it compact, mid-size or full-size. This fact comes via the evolution of the former “work duty” or “farm truck” pickup, which featured very few comfort features. Today, the modern pickup offers both work duty mechanicals and then tops it all off with creature comforts that mimic today’s high dollar luxury cars.
Clearly, there’s nothing quite like an American-built, full-size pickup.
Our tester Ram Rebel came with a 5.7 liter Hemi V8 that delivers 15 city and 21 highway EPA fuel mileage. The Hemi connects to a highway friendly heavy duty eight-speed automatic transmission and then transfers the power through a 3.92 rear end gear ratio. The result is a pickup that will light the tires up if you’re not careful yet still deliver outstanding fuel mileage if driven in a normal manner.
Every 2015 Ram Rebel 1500 Crew Cab 4×4 comes equipped with special off-road equipment that assures you won’t bottom out while normal off-roading on the weekend takes place. Ram Rebel is an utterly good looking truck with fully functional 4×4 mechanicals. One of the neatest things about our Rebel was its ability to lower itself by about five inches automatically from its normal driving height thanks to an air suspension kit that comes as part of an option mentioned later. The standard 17-inch aluminum wheels on 33-inch Toyo off-road tires and HD suspension components also help in Rebel’s final off-road motif.
As for other engines, the Rebel base 3.6 V6 delivers 305 horses and 269 torque and delivers 17 city and 25 highway fuel mileage attached to an eight-speed automatic. If you’re more into economy than full bore performance, better drive the V6 first for a good comparison.
However, if some serious “work truck” performance is in your future, the 395-horse 5.7 Hemi offers 410 lb. ft. of torque and can tow some pretty heavy cargo. The choice is yours as to engines, but rest assured your Ram Rebel will be ready to perform. Notable is the lack of the popular Ram Diesel option in the Rebel model, which somewhat puzzles this scribe. The diesel is available in the other Ram models.
As for pricing, an entry level rear drive Ram 1500 Tradesman starts at $25,660 while the 4×4 Tradesman begins at $30,130. Our Rebel 4×4 Crew Cab carried a base price of $44,720 although options pushed the price up to $52,375.
Some of these options included $1,150 for the Hemi V8; $500 for the heavy duty Hemi eight-speed tranny; $1,005 for a Uconnect 8.4 stereo/navigation system that includes the aforementioned “4-Corner Air Suspension” setup; an enhanced front suspension and transmission skid plate upgrade for just $150; a Ram Box cargo management system for $1,250; a spray in bedliner for $475; and a trailer brake controller for towing at $230. I feel all are “money well spent” and your Ram dealer is ready to explain them all.
One thing for sure is you won’t mistake a Ram for any other pickup on the road. This new Rebel 4×4 comes with a unique RAM bold lettering, black grille, Rebel instrument cluster, aluminum machined wheels with black pockets and Rebel specific door trim and premium cloth seats with embossed tread pattern in black and red finish. The only other Ram to carry the bold grille lettering is the top line Ram Limited, where $50,675 is the base for the 2WD while $54,180 gets you started for the 4×4. Overall, there are 13 different Rams to choose from in either a leftover or a new 2016.
Important numbers for the 4×4 Crew Cab with the 5.7 foot box include a wheelbase of 140.7 inches, 5,122 lb. curb weight, 26-gallon fuel tank (32-gallon tank $75 extra), maximum 9,600 lb. tow capacity, and class leader 10.3 inch ground clearance.
The new Ram Rebel 4×4 is one awesome truck that’s awaiting your visit. Granted, it’s not cheap by any means, but once you’re on the road enjoying the features, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it’s a very special pickup.
2015 Ram 1500
Entry Price: $25,660
Price as tested: $52,375
Rebel diesel unavailable
Backup camera extra
Hemi automatic costs more
(Greg Zyla and his son Tim write a weekly review for BestRide.com, More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications).