First Drive – 2016 RAM REBEL – An Air-Ride Raptor?

2016 RAM RebelThe new RAM Rebel is the latest slayer to join the Dodge trucks lineup — this time with its radar locked onto the Ford F-150 Raptor.

The Rebel wears unique bodywork for the giant power-dome hood and special, new-shape Rebel grille up front. Most of the numerous other body features are rock-proof black plastic accents — the fender flares, badges and all brightwork is swapped for matte black. This includes the GIANT script on the tailgate. Color options include a few with a black lower body paint look across the doors and bed too, looking hot and functional-yet-macho.

Silver is the 4000-font size of the RAM name up front — and will give nightmares to those who see the giant letters in their rear-view mirrors!  Perhaps a touch of dyslexia on my part, but editing the 80 photos below made me go slightly cross-eyed and see the words as WAR somehow.

That aggressive ethos might appeal to Rebel buyers. It is certainly a truck that is hardcore right down to its unique off-road protector plates, black-lined polished alloy wheels and special high-angle off-road bumpers.

On the road for this ultra-brief drive, the RAM Rebel is actually far more chill than its exterior would suggest. Air suspension with a massive range of selectable ride heights ensured a smooth ride, while the HEMI chugged hard and with a gorgeous exhuast note out of the twin straight pipes in back.2016 RAM Rebel Silver 77 2016 RAM Rebel Silver 46 2016 RAM Rebel Silver 41

An as-tested price of $52k is competitive with the Z71 Silverado and F-150 Platinum or King Ranch, yet seems a bit steep in the grand scheme of things. The base price for the 4×2 (yes) Rebel is about $43k, but this jumps to $45k with four-paw traction. Standard spec includes the 395-horsepower HEMI V8 engine to a class-best eight-speed automatic transmission promising 22-mpg on the highway. The full standard equipment list is below and is pretty loaded. The trims comparo feature (listed below) in the RAM builder shows the Rebel as the third-to-top trimline, just below Laramie Longhorn and also-new Limited spec.

Numerous Rebel-specific features like the $170 Rebel gauge cluster design are still options — helping keep the base price of the Raptor-fighter in the low $40s. Unfortunately for our quick photoshoot, the long options list did not include HID bulbs for the black-tinted projector headlights operating lowbeams. LEDs for the amber running lights, front blinkers and brake lights are credibly premium versus 2015 truck competition, if not the next-gen 2016 Silverado and Titan XD.

Perhaps the most unique selling proposition for the RAM Rebel? The standard air suspension!  Check of a sample of the easily-adjusted ride height options via low/high settings in the animated gif here.rr

Overall, if you love the RAM brand and want to shout it from the fast-lanes, rock-trails and grain silos…. the Rebel will shout it the loudest.

Underneath all this bluster is actually a fantastic truck with a smooth ride, outstanding powertrain and compelling cabin tech.

RAM Builder


2016 RAM Rebel


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