2019 Ram 1500 Rebel review with video

The basics:
Base price: $60,795 + tax
As tested: $73,305 + tax
Average fuel economy over week: 17L/100 kms (13.8 US MPG)
Competitors: Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Chevy Silverado, etc

The 1500 is the lightest Duty of Ram’s Pickup line, followed by the 2500, and then 3500, but calling this thing light duty is almost like an insult to it.  As a family vehicle, I’d say it’s anything but.

Yes, its a big truck by city standards, and this model, the Rebel, is Ram’s Off Road edition, so it comes with little extras that enhance it’s stature and presence, for better or for worse.  It comes standard with a 5.7L HEMI V8, makes 395 Horsepower and 410 pound feet of Torque, 4 wheel drive comes standard on the Rebel, it has an 8 speed automatic tranny, and also has Ram’s MDS system, which stands for multi-displacement system, and means that it shuts down cylinders in the engine when you’re not using them, in an effort to save gas, and believe me, it needs it.  Compared to other vehicles you might be looking at for your family, the fuel costs on big, v8 equipped truck like this are quite high.  Ram say to expect somewhere between 13-14L / 100Km combined city and highway, but after a week of driving we were getting closer to 17 litres/ 100 km, which is about 13.8 US Miles per gallon, though I will point out that it’s been a bit snowy here in Vancouver so we’ve had engage 4 wheel drive a couple of times, but not for long periods.  Now I think if a full sized pickup is in your future, you should expect somewhere around these numbers in terms of economy, Like I said, it’s big motor that’s moving a lot of weight.  When I owned my f-150, I think averaged about the same.

Staying with the powertrain here for a minute, I’m not a huge fan of the MDS system.  Almost like the truck has a lot of potential power, but when you actually need it, it feels hard to find.  I guess I would equate it most to a delayed throttle response, but I suppose that’s the trade off if you want some improved economy.  Speaking of improving the economy, and you knew this was coming at some point, how do you feel about the hybrid truck?  Now, let me stop you right there, because this model, the Ram Rebel, isn’t one, but I bring it up because Ram are doing something really cool in some of the other trim’s available on the 1500, It’s called E Torque.  Now again, you can’t get this option on the Rebel, which is a bit disappointing because to me, I think the rebel is the best looking Ram you can get, but if you like the idea of a little more power without adding more to your fuel bill (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t), this might be for you. Essentially E Torque is an Electric motor that’s available on some of the Ram lineup, that gives an extra boos 90-130 foot pound boost of torque at low speed.  Now, it’s important to recognize that these numbers don’t affect the trucks peak horsepower or torque numbers, but instead widen the torque band, so you have more power down low and across the band.  Like I said before, this specific Ram, the rebel, doesn’t have it, but I’m interested in it, and if you’re looking at a Ram at all, it might something you might want to test out. 

As you might have expected, even without that e torque system, the ram can tow.  And it can tow a lot.  Up to 5144 Kilograms, that’s 11340 Pounds, so if you’re the type of family that might want to drag  around a trailer or a boat, you’re not likely to have a problem here, and You can also put up to 835 Kilograms (1840 Pounds) in the bed.  The rebel comes standard with 4 wheel drive as well, which is huge factor for me.  IF your family skis, or camps, or if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow,, 4 wheel drive is serious game changer.  You also get an Electronic Locking rear differential, skid plates on the transfer case, steering system and fuel, and this blacked out detailing that really set it off, like I mentioned before, for my money the Rebel is the best looking Ram of the bunch.

Moving on to the infotainment system, it has it’s pluses and its minuses.  If you read message boards, or care about the opinion of people on the internet, you might have heard about how great the Ram’s touch screen is, and Ill be honest, its true.  The screen is very bright and clear, and it’s responsiveness and accuracey are unmatched in my experience.  The voice direction is again very accurate, and it’s connectivity to your phone doesn’t miss a beat, all really great, but there are some things about it that really rubbed me the wrong way.  the steering wheel controls are supposed to make my life easier, but in reality the system they have here just complicates things.  There’s a  button on the back side of the wheel to scroll through your station presets, but it only lets you scroll one way, not back and forth, which I found really annoying.  And there’s no actual buttons for the touch screen, which I hate.  When switching stations, tracks, or functions, It was just easiest to use the touch screen buttons, but they’re still too far away, too small, and too distracting when compared to other models who have the steering wheel controls more sorted than this.  Now, If I drove this thing for a few months, I might get used to it, but if you’re serious about buying one, you might want to try this all out.  Support for Android Auto and Apple car play are available, as is a Nav, a wifi hot spot, parking and blind spot sensors, a rear backup camera, and a really cool feature that I love, the truck has adjustable ride height.  There are 4 modes that you control from these switches in the cab…. Entry and exit, Aero, Normail, and off road.  The truck goes up and down quick, I found that it did actually make things easier when getting kids in and out of the back to lower the truck down.  Even cooler, is that you can bring the truck down to entry level by using a switch on the key.  Love that. Also on the key, remote start.  Huge plus in the winter time.

Drive wise, I love it. It’s a big truck. My nephew called it a monster truck when he saw it. Personally, I love sitting up high like this, knowing that I’m a big presence on the road. It feels safe and capable. You never worry about bad weather, or having enough room for people or gear, All that is awesome. But there’s a trade off. Try Parallel parking this thing on a street downtown, or in an underground parkade. It’s doable, but will take you some practice. And the cost of running something like this is certainly considerable, especially with gas prices the way they are. And of course, it’s not cheap either. The Rebel starts at $60,795 Canadian, but with all the bells and whistles that this one has, we’re looking at $73, 305 Canadain. So yeah, it’s an investment to say the least. It’ll certainly take of you and yours when you need it to, and if you can get used to some of those drawbacks I mentioned before, It’s probably a great truck for your family. Just be prepared to be the guy everyone calls when they need a hand moving. For Family Wheels.ca, I’m Scott.

Family Wheels report card:
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3/5 (66 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 2.5/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4/5
Family Wheels value score: 3/5

Family Wheels overall score: 38.5/50= 77%

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