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2019 Ram 1500 Rebel: Ready to tackle potholes and dirt tracks with ease

2019 Ram Rebel 1500 2.JPG
2019 Ram 1500 Rebel (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

The 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel wasn’t necessarily designed with the city in mind.

It was, however, designed to tackle inhospitable environments and varying road surfaces. Which kind of describes an urban environment, if you ask me.

While spending a week in the city may not have been the intended purpose of the Rebel, it handled the deep Chicago potholes like they were an off-road obstacle to be tackled, and the test vehicle felt right at home in the muddy construction site behind my apartment.

The Rebel may not be designed for the city, but it can manages. Just don’t expect it to fit in your garage.



Design

The Ram 1500 is all-new for the 2019 model year, and the various trim designs range from work-ready to downright luxurious. While the Longhorn and Limited models certainly have their charm, I’m rather a fan of the rugged good looks of the Rebel.

From the knobby off-road tires to the black grille and exterior finishes to the Ruby Red interior accents, the Rebel has a commanding presence on the road or in the parking lot.

Seriously, during the test week, I never worried about finding the test truck in a crowded lot. It stood a head above pretty much every other vehicle in the surrounding area.

The interior is a nice mix of rugged and luxury materials with cloth seat inserts surrounded by leather edges. The reverse stitching and red metallic accents throughout the cabin add a nice contrast of elegance mixed with a something a little bit sinister.



Ride & Handling

The base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar with a mild-hybrid eTorque system that delivers 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.

The test vehicle came with the mid-level 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi engine (+$1,395), which delivers 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque.

There is also a top-tier 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi with a mild hybrid eTorque system (+$,26,45) that adds up to 130 pound-feet of torque.

Though the Rebel’s size made it a bit cumbersome in tight city spaces, the engine power allowed it to be plenty quick to deal with fast-paced city traffic.

Of course, where the Rebel really shines is once it leaves the city behind. It’s a comfortable cruiser on the highway, even if it isn’t the most efficient.



Fuel economy

For the straight 5.7-liter engine, the EPA estimates that you should get 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. The combined rating is 17 mpg.

With nearly 100 percent urban, stop-and-go driving, my fuel economy didn’t hit anywhere close to this. I averaged about 12.3 mpg during the test week.

Tech & gadgets

One of the great things about the Ram Rebel is even though it has its roots in rugged territory, it’s still very civilized and has a lot of available technology.

Some of the feature highlights include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 360-degree surround-view camera, a wireless charging pad, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and a 12-inch vertical configurable touchscreen.

That doesn’t even touch on the more-than100 safety and security features.



Trim details

The 2019 Ram 1500 starts at $34,385 with the work-ready Tradesman model, and it tops out at $54,635 with the luxurious Limited model.

Rebel falls in the middle of the pack as a specialty model at $46,135.

While it is available as a Quad Cab with a 6-foot, 4-inch box or a Crew Cab with a 5-foot, 7-inch box (+$2,800), the Rebel is the only trim in the Ram 1500 lineup that is four-wheel-drive-only.

Standard features on the Rebel include LED headlights, taillights and fog lamps; 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires; tow hooks; a fully dampening, assisted tailgate; and a 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat.

It’s worth noting that the standard multimedia system on the Rebel includes Unconnect3 with a 5-inch display, which means CarPlay and Auto are not standard.

The test vehicle was the Quad Cab version and added several options for an as-tested price of $51,220.



Safety

As alluded to above, the Ram Rebel is chockfull of safety technology.

Some of the available features include trailer-sway damping control, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and ready alert braking. Items unavailable with the Rebel, but available on other models, include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and forward collision warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 1500 an overall 4-Star or 5-Star rating depending on the configuration.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 1500 top marks in every crash test category – including the front passenger side test that many pickup trucks fail. It misses getting a Top Safety Pick Award, however, because the headlights get a “Marginal” or “Poor” rating depending on trim.

Not sure what the safety ratings mean? We break it down for you here.



New for 2019

The Ram 1500 is all-new for 2019.

A few of my favorite things

Ram puts together a good-looking truck. And when you add the Rebel trappings, it manages to look rugged, elegant and sinister all at the same time – a weird combination, for sure, but it works here. I’m particularly fond of all the red interior accents.

Add the good looks to excellent engine power, and you have a dynamic combination.

What I can leave

For me personally, this truck was a bit big. It didn’t fit in my garage, and it was a tight fit in some urban spaces. Plus, I’ll admit, there were some streets I avoided during the test week because they were too narrow. But I say that knowing most people who would buy the Ram Rebel will not live in a city, or spend much time there.



This particular trim also had one of my biggest pet peeves: push button start with out passive entry. Thus, I was constantly juggling the huge key fob, digging it out of my pockets or purse and then dropping it into a key holder while driving only to lose it at the bottom of a pocket or purse again when exiting.

If I were really going to pick nits, I’d have to point out that the driving position can be a bit awkward for a petite driver. Yes, there are available adjustable pedals, so I didn’t feel like I was sitting on top of the steering wheel, but with my seat pumped up in a higher position, my left foot was left dangling.

The bottom line

There really isn’t much I don’t like about the Ram Rebel. For people who want a truck of this size, it does exactly what it should. Sure, it sticks out in an urban environment (literally), but it can cope there just fine.

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