PIPE CREEK, Tex. -- Rock-littered ruts of a snaky trail in the cedar-studded hills of Texas show off the sure-footed off-road manners of the brawny Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4 truck.
Packing the powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine and TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, the Ram 1500 Rebel edition with 4-door Crew Cab and 67-inch-long cargo box rolls on 33-inch (LT285/70R17E) Toyo Open Country A/T all-terrain tires capping 17-inch aluminum wheel and totes a 4-wheel-drive system with 2WD/4H/4LO modes plus an air suspension with 1.0-inch factory suspension lift, skid plates, tow hooks and other off-road-ready features to make this one tough dirt-dog pickup.
Foundation of Rebel is the full-size Ram 1500 (half-ton) truck built on a ladder-frame platform and enhanced with high-strength steel reinforcements. The standard air suspension system provides five selectable ride-height levels moving through a vertical span of four inches.
With a chin-forward face, Rebel's get-out-of-my-way prow is dominated by a massive blacked-out grille that skips Ram's iconic crosshair design in favor of a billet silver R-A-M letter badge. The grille is underscored by a black off-road front bumper inset with LED foglamps and a front-lipping billet silver skid plate housing a pair of tow hooks.
The blacked-out front-end theme extends to flanks with black Power Wagon wheel-arch moldings, flat-black mirrors and black lower body panels in forging a 2-tone paint scheme with black as a constant on the lower body, front to rear.
At the tail Rebel scores a new stamped tailgate with blacked-out R-A-M lettering. The rear bumper also gets black powder coating with flared cutouts around dual chrome-tipped exhausts. Taillamps use black bezels that match the front-end lighting, and the cargo box has a tri-fold tonneau cover embossed with the Ram logo.
Rebel paint shades include Granite Crystal Metallic, Bright Silver Metallic, Flame Red, Bright White and Brilliant Black.
Rebel's Crew Cab amounts to a spacious 4-door cabin with front buckets and a back bench broad enough to host three large-body adults.
Durable technical grain vinyl cover seats in Radar Red and Black with Sedoso fabric inserts embossed with the Toyo tire tread pattern that matches Rebel's actual tread pattern. Standard features include heated front seats with Light Diesel Gray accent stitching, Radar Red ram's head embroidery on headrests and Black with Light Diesel Gray Rebel nameplate embroidery on upper seat bolsters.
The instrument panel along with door armrests and center console armrest cover are all in Black capped with Radar Red and Light Gray accent stitching. The center stack and console are finished in Iron Gray Metallic paint. The anodized vent rings, door accent rings, door trim spears and center console trim ring tint to Radar Red. The heated steering wheel is wrapped with semi-perforated black leather with Radar Red X-stitching.
Bilstein supplies shocks front and rear with unique tuning for all Rebel issues, while a new steering calibration is matched to Rebel's increased ride height.
Active safety equipment on-board includes the standard 4-wheel ABS (anti-lock brake system) and ESC (electronic stability control) with HSA (hill start assist) and TSC (trailer sway control) mechanisms, EARS (enhanced accident response system), the ParkSense rear park assist system and TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system).
Ram 1500 Rebel offers two powertrain options -- a fuel-thrifty and flex-fuel (E85-compatible) 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and the super-powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8.
The dual-cam Pentastar V6 with aluminum block makes 305 hp at 6400 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque at 4175 rpm.
That 5.7-liter HEMI V8 bumps way up to 395 hp at 5600 rpm with 410 lb-ft of torque at 3950 rpm.
The EPA estimated fuel economy scores for Rebel rise to 25 mpg for the V6/2WD. With the HEMI V8, fuel scores tally to 15/22 mpg city/highway for 2WD and 14/20 mpg city/highway for 4WD.
Tow capacity for Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab with the HEMI V8 climbs to 10300 pounds.
The MSRP figures for 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab trucks range from $42,790 to $46,850.