So what exactly are American buyers looking for in a truck? In a word: EVERYTHING. We want performance and style. We need spacious cabs and towing capacity. Did we mention top-notch off-road chops?
The folks at RAM seem hellbent on trying to deliver… all of it.
And truth be told, they’re doing a pretty fine job. The RAM 1500 was crowned Motor Trend’s 2019 Truck Of The Year. The Rebel trim, the trail-capable 1500 variant, can justifiably stake a large portion of the claim to this accolade. Depending on how much truck you’re looking for, the 2019 RAM 1500 Rebel (and the upcoming new RAM Power Wagon) checks more boxes on drivers’ wish lists than we might have thought possible a decade ago.
The Rebel is here for a second go-round, fully redesigned and ready to make some more noise in a segment that constantly evolves and expands, as our obsession with trail-oriented performance grows ever larger. The new RAM Power Wagon won’t be here until some time next year. We’re waiting until Detroit’s North American International Auto Show for anything to be made official, but the Rebel’s big brother, whose proud roots trace back to a service vehicle in World War II, has a new generation on the way as well. And from everything we know thus far, it will likely be the most capable truck of its size.
2019 RAM 1500 Rebel – Bigger, Better, Stronger
The 2019 RAM 1500 Rebel marks the start of the model’s second generation, and it sees more customization options for buyers than ever before. The formerly crew-cab-only pickup can now be had as a quad-cab four-door. Formerly riding on the air-spring suspension that was standard on the previous Rebel, steel coil springs are now on the menu. And while the past generation’s rear-wheel and four-wheel drive setups remain, the all-wheel-drive configuration has gone the way of the dodo.
Perhaps the most exciting change for the next-gen 2019 RAM 1500 Rebel is the new slate of engine options. A 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 making 305 horsepower is the base power source. Owners can also step up and opt for the burly 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, banging out 395 horsepower and an impressive 410 lb-ft of torque. And new to the Rebel for 2019, base engines come standard with Fiat Chrysler’s eTorque 48-volt hybrid system. Drivers with Hemis can add the eTorque setup, too, and gain a boost between 90-130 lb-ft of torque when activated. Whatever the setup, the transmission pairing is always a critically-acclaimed eight-speed, controlled by a dashboard rotary dial.
A New Look
The 2019 Rebel clearly stands out from other 1500s, physically. Its vented and domed hood, blackened flares and trim lend the Rebel a look of aggression and seriousness. The unique seats are a red and black cloth/vinyl match-up featuring an unmistakable Goodyear tread pattern. This year’s model sits on 18-inch wheels (up from last years 17s), and switched from Toyos to Wrangler DuraTrac (hence, the pattern on the seats), the first 1500 to ride on 33-inch (LT285/70R-17) all-terrain tires. This switch has made the new Rebel substantially quieter on-road, speaking to the well-rounded needs of the modern pickup owner.
Along with the new tires, upgraded Bilstein monotube dampers help set the 2019 RAM 1500 Rebel apart from the pack. After that, there is a one-inch suspension lift, a hill-descent control feature, an electronic locking rear diff, and skid plates up front and for the fuel tank, all available as part of the Off-Road Package that can be had for a modest price increase. The Rebel 12 package brings top-notch finishing touches to the interior, like leather upholstery and a big-ass 12-inch UConnect infotainment touchscreen that you could follow a hockey puck on. (The standard screen is a puny 5 inches, guys.)
The Price is Right
The 2019 Rebel’s base price is just a shade over $29,000 bone stock. And with too many variants to name, it obviously ushers in a slew of price points. A nicely appointed crew cab with the V-6 engine will fetch $45,790. Add the Hemi V-8, the eTorque hybrid system, a panoramic sunroof, a nice tech package, a power tonneau cover, a larger fuel tank, and upgraded suspension—the price can glide well above 60 thousand. Not cheap, by any means, but customizable beyond belief. Buyers can sleep soundly knowing they got the exact truck they had their hearts set on.
New RAM Power Wagon – Even More RAM Capability
Capable? You’re damn right it is. The Rebel is ready—both on and off the pavement, but do you need just a little more truck? Something a bit heavier and beefier, with enough guts to tow the house? Yes? Then you might want to hold out for a few months. The deets aren’t set in stone yet, but we have a feeling that the new RAM Power Wagon might be just the thing you’re after.
(Spy photos from Car and Driver.)
While much is still unknown, leaked photos of the unreleased RAM Power Wagon have hit the internet, and the rumor mill is completely abuzz with speculation. Power Wagon has been the name in the three-quarter ton truck segment, and most don’t expect that to change. With the official announcement expected in Detroit this coming January, history would suggest that the new version of the Power Wagon will be available by the 4th quarter of 2019. So late, in fact, that most sources seem to assume that it will be billed as a 2020 model.
Burly and Beloved
The RAM Power Wagon, based on the RAM Heavy Duty 4×4 Crew Cab, has been the most off-road ready truck of its size. It features front and rear solid axles, a disconnecting front sway bar, and a suspension configuration affording better wheel travel than other RAM Heavy Duty Models. There’s even a 12,000-lb WARN Winch built right into the bumper. So far, none of these features are expected to change. The beloved 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 is expected to remain as well. Whispers of an upgrade to an eight speed automatic transmission have been murmured, and a possible Cummins diesel offering has coal rollers crossing their fingers.
Spy Photographs suggest that the new RAM Power Wagon will stick with a column-mounted shifter, foregoing the change to a rotary dial that we’ve seen in the new 2019 1500 models. New anti-vibration tech has been a hit with the 1500s as well, making the pavement performance smoother and quieter. Experts seem to think that the very same technology will be put to use in RAM’s HD big boys, including the Power Wagon. The badging on these behemoths has always been larger than life, and there is no indication that there will be any changes to the proud display on the grille, tailgate, or even the vertical side decals.
To Be Determined…
There’s still a lot we don’t know about the new RAM Power Wagon. And that most certainly includes the cost. But without an earth-shattering powertrain upgrades in the pipeline, most seem to think that any price increase will be mild. The MSRP for the current 2018 model begins at $54,540. This keeps it in line with the almighty Ford Raptor, and is competitive against rival large trucks like the Nissan Titan and the Chevy Silverado 2500. As with many of the details, we’re going to have to wait just a few weeks longer to find out. (Sit tight with us, we’ll have the full rundown ASAP.)
A New King In the Segment?
The Raptor may still be the king of performance pickups, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some legitimate challengers to the throne out there. The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is a quality, off-road-ready machine. The 2019 Chevy Silverado release is expected to include a Trail Boss version to compete in this white-hot segment. And with second generations attesting to their success, the 2019 RAM 1500 Rebel and the new RAM Power Wagon are absolutely here for the party. They haven’t reached perfection just yet. And even if they never do, the bar will likely be moved by a fervent public that demands more from their pickups on practically a weekly basis. Which is fine with us, because never before have real trucks like these been, to put it simply, so damned good.