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Ram 1500 Rebel: Off-road-ready looks tough – plays tough

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The Ram 1500 pickup truck offers the most comfortable ride in this segment and it continues to provide a wide range of unique and likable trim choices for the 2018 model year.

Although the Ram 1500’s structure has not changed much in recent years, its impressive driving characteristics, rugged looking exterior, and available 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system make it one of the more desirable half-ton pickup trucks available.

NEW FEATURES

For 2018, Ram has added an all-new top-of-the-line ultra-luxurious Limited Tungsten Edition. All 2018 Ram 1500 models now come standard with a backup camera. Additional 2018 upgrades include a bed-mounted light switch for models equipped with LED bed lights and the addition of an available fleet telematics module for vehicle tracking efficiency.

An optional 8.4-inch touchscreen display has been revised to provide better resolution, pinch to zoom, and the addition of Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Sirius Guardian with SOS Call, Roadside Assistance, Remote Services and Vehicle Finder is also new.

TRIMS

The 2018 Ram 1500 is available in five different body/bed configurations and eleven different trim levels. The Regular Cab has two doors and accommodates up to three passengers. Both Quad Cab and Crew Cab models feature four doors and offer seating for up to six passengers, but Crew Cab models have larger rear doors and offer almost six-inches of additional rear leg room.

ENGINES

There are three engine choices; a 3.6-liter gasoline-powered V6 engine (305 horsepower), a fuel-efficient light-duty 3.0-L diesel-powered V6 engine (240 horsepower), or a 5.7-L gasoline-powered V8 engine (395 horsepower).

A smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission is featured in all Ram 1500 models and power is distributed to either the rear wheels, or all four wheels through either a part-time or full-time two-speed transfer case.

PRICING

The basic workhorse is the Ram 1500 Tradesman. There is a fuel-efficient HFE (High Fuel Economy) Quad Cab diesel-powered model that delivers 21/29 mpg city/highway. There are many more models to choose from. Pricing for the Ram 1500 begins around $27k, but can quickly soar well over $50k for well-equipped models. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week behind the wheel of the Ram 1500 Rebel.

The Rebel is only available as a Crew Cab with the short 5’7” box. Built with off-roading in mind, the Rebel features unique exterior and interior styling cues, all-terrain tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, and an active four-corner air suspension system that can raise or lower the truck with the push of a button. The Rebel looks tough thanks to its unique black grille with RAM lettering, sporty hood, black wheel opening arches, and muscular stance.

REBEL POWER

Stepping in and out of the Rebel is aided by the air suspension system’s lowered Entry/Exit ride height mode. Additional ride height modes include Off Road, Normal, and Aero. Powering the Rebel is either a 3.6-liter V-6 or 5.7-liter V-8. My tester came equipped with the 5.7-liter V-8. The Rebel delivers a surprisingly smooth ride for being off-road ready.

My Rebel tester was fun to drive, but this big rig is challenging to park. Also, the Ram 1500 does not offer any available driver assistive technologies like adaptive cruise control, collision prevention, automatic braking, or rear cross-traffic alert.

Still, I recommend the Ram 1500 for its unique styling, impressive ride, long list of choices, and extraordinary 8.4-inch infotainment system.