Ram 2500 Rebel / Photo by Steve Rossi

Truck Review: Ram 2500 Rebel Is A High-End Luxury Hauler

EAST HADDAM, CT – I admit it. When it comes to the Ram 2500 Rebel Crew Cab 4×4, I’m old school because I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of a $92,890 workaday warrior. This is not just a pickup you might want, but rather one that you should really need so it can help earn its keep. That is, unless you’re simply a well-heeled, zealous enthusiast.

Ram is certainly not alone when it comes to selling expensive, and highly optioned (profitable), pickup trucks. Chevrolet, for example, is the leading luxury brand over at General Motors because it sells more $75,000+ pickups and sport utilities than Cadillac retails in total. So when it comes to the automotive industry, there’s a new world order. But back to the crosstown rival.

What’s surprising is that modern, heavy-duty pickups are more nimble and maneuverable than you might imagine, particularly around the two-lane twisty roads of Connecticut. Though like the Ram, they’re still stiffly sprung to provide utmost hauling capability as needed. 

The 2500 Rebel makes up for it by coddling you in supple Natura Plus leather, heated/cooled seating and by providing effective sound deadening which adds to the comfort and serenity of its expansive cabin. The knobby, 33-inch all-terrain tires do counteract some of that refinement as they howl down the road. As does the diesel engine, though the clatter has been well mitigated these days.

The good news is that 6.7-liter (409-cubic-inch) inline six-cylinder Cummins Turbo Diesel delivers a whopping 850 lb.-ft. torque and can tow 20,000 lbs. max. With a full 31-gallon tank, operating range is on the order of 575 miles (unloaded) with a six-speed automatic transmission. The bad news is that it’s a $9,695 option. But as indicated above, if you really need it, you gotta have it. 

And if you require even more oomph, there’s always the higher-output 3500 with 1,075 lb.-ft. torque and up to 34,650 lb. towing capacity. Oh, my!

Ram calls the 2500 “Big, Bold & Aggressive.” I agree about its proportions. But to me, it purveys an image that’s gone from what was a sympathetic, 18-wheeler inspired style to what is now an in-your-face expression of aggression. And then there’s that bodacious power bulge on the hood, which shouts “Get out of my way!”

The Rebel version provides enhanced off-road capability without sacrificing hauling capability. An electronic locking and limited slip differential with skid plates add to its outback intentions, along with a uniquely calibrated, five-link coil suspension and performance-tuned shocks. Plus, obligatory badging/trim and the purposely specified tires, on 20-inch wheels, as mentioned above. 

It’s a combination of performance and payload that was previously only available on the aftermarket. It now comes factory direct in response to demand via passionate devotees, and/or those whose heavy-duty livelihood depends on off-road excursion.

My Ram 2500 was also fitted with a RamBox® Cargo Management and Bed Utility Groups which included locking side storage bins, a deployable (and quite handy, since the truck rides so high) Bed Step, adjustable tie-downs, a Cargo Divider and LED lighting. 

Moving on inside, creature comforts abound. Upon entry, you’re greeted by a well-appointed Cabin Control Center with a 12-inch digital gauge cluster and a 12-inch center touchscreen with full supplementary control. Uconnect® offers everything from Navigation and Voice Command to App interface. My Rebel also included a 17-speaker Harman Kardon® Premium Sound system. Power adjustable pedals further ensure welcome accommodation for all. But why isn’t the steering column telescopically adjustable?

In addition to front and rear side curtain air bags, Park Assist, Blind Spot and Cross-Path Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Adaptive Steering systems are included. As is Trailer Reverse Guidance and a Cargo View camera.

Be aware that there are two necessities that come part and parcel with Ram 2500 ownership. Electronically folding door mirrors (which mine had) since you’ll never get into a parking space or be able to approach an ATM or Drive-Thru without them. The mirrors are so large that they block the view out the side and to the front of the truck at things like stop signs. 

And watch out for those rural mailboxes along the side of a country road. Meanwhile, side step plates or foot rails/running boards (which mine didn’t have) are a must because you’ll need to awkwardly hoist yourself up into it without them. Which was quite a stretch, and I’m 6’ 4”! 

So welcome to the New World Order of commercial grade performance, luxury accommodation and off-road enjoyment. According to Ram… 

(Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of Ram.)

About Steven Rossi

Steve Rossi is an automotive engineer-turned-marketing communicator. With some 25 years in the industry, including three tours of duty in Detroit, he serves as senior columnist for "Antique Automobile" magazine. His work has also appeared in "Collectible Automobile" and "The New York Times." He holds 21 international speed and world automotive endurance records.

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