Pickup trucks come in plenty of shapes and sizes. Midsize trucks are lightweight and nimble but can’t tow or haul a lot of weight. Half-ton trucks strike a compromise between efficiency and capability, while heavy-duty trucks go all out with sky-high towing and hauling stats. It used to be that if you wanted a pickup with serious off-road chops, you were mostly limited to midsize options. But recently, we’ve started to see more half-ton and even heavy-duty trucks get some rugged off-road trims, from the Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor to the Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2. Ram has offered the mighty Ram 2500 Power Wagon for years and is adding a new off-road-capable trim to its heavy-duty truck lineup for the 2023 model year: the Ram 2500 Rebel.
When you see a Ram 2500 for sale, you can expect great stats, a nice interior, and a good range of tech features. The new Rebel trim has all of that, plus some extra features specifically designed for leaving the pavement behind and exploring the great outdoors. While you might already be familiar with the Ram 1500 Rebel, the Ram 2500 Rebel is all-new for the 2023 model year. Let’s break it down and see just what this heavy-duty off-roader has to offer.
What’s Under the Hood?
The 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel comes standard with a 6.4L HEMI V8 engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It can produce 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. However, a diesel option is also available: a 6.7L Cummins I-6 that delivers 370 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque. The 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel’s maximum towing capacity is 3,116 kg, and its maximum payload capacity is 1,424 kg.
The two engine options let you prioritize based on your personal preferences. If you’re going to be carving up the open prairie and really want to be able to get some high-speed thrills, then the gas engine’s higher horsepower is calling your name. On the other hand, if you prefer crawling over mountainside boulders or have a lot of heavy equipment that you need to tow or haul to the campsite, then the diesel and its beefy torque figure might be worth the upgrade.
If you’re going to be heading out into the unpredictable wilderness, then you need to make sure your vehicle is tough and ready to handle uneven surfaces, difficult obstacles, and unexpected scenarios. That’s why the Ram 2500 Rebel comes with several features that are specifically designed for the challenging conditions of off-roading. If you’re familiar with the Ram 1500 Rebel, you probably already have a good feel for what the Ram 2500 Rebel has to offer. But remember that all of this off-road capability is stacked on top of an even more powerful truck.
The Rebel’s specialized suspension system helps with articulation and ride quality over uneven surfaces. Standard coil springs and available rear air suspension makes for an even smoother feel when the trail gets bumpy. This system is paired with Bilstein monotube shock absorbers that can handle just about any off-road conditions.
If you go for hard-core off-roading, then you may risk getting stuck, no matter how capable your vehicle is. That’s why the Ram 2500 Rebel has an available Warn Zeon-12 winch that can be used to get you to safety if you get in a sticky situation. Of course, the Rebel also has gear to help you roll right on through a wide variety of scenarios. For instance, if a wheel starts to spin out, you can engage the electronic rear locker for extra traction, and sturdy skid plates prevent obstacles from damaging vital underbody components.
When it comes to exterior styling, the Rebel borrows a lot from the Power Wagon. It features black cladding along the sides and a grille that’s blacked out rather than chrome. Its side mirrors are also black, and they’re heated so that you can clear away the frost on snowy mountain trails. But while it shares a lot with the Power Wagon, the Rebel stands out with exclusive badging and 46 cm black diamond-cut aluminum wheels.
Cargo tie-downs in the bed are standard, so you can strap down all of your gear. For extra protection from scratches and scuffs, you can opt for the available spray-in bedliner. A bed step is optional, making it easier to load and unload the bed. You can also add the RamBox cargo management system for easy organization.
When it comes to seating, the Ram 2500 Rebel gives you three different choices. The base option is cloth upholstery embossed with tire-tread accents. You can choose either a bench seat or bucket seats, and both choices are heated and power-adjustable. Instead of cloth, you can opt for either Bristol leather or Natura Plus leather.
The Uconnect infotainment system has all of the features you would expect to find on a modern vehicle: a touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a variety of built-in apps. On top of that, there are also a few touches that are helpful while off-roading in particular. An available 360-degree Surround View camera lets you stay aware of your surroundings so that you can navigate tight spaces and twisty trails. The front-facing camera makes it easier to see low-lying obstacles that are out of sight from the high driving position. With the temperature and compass display, you can even keep track of the weather and which direction you’re going. Off-road gauges display information like your GPS coordinates and pitch, roll, and steering angles.
In addition to the 12-volt auxiliary outlet and USB ports, the Rebel also features a 115-volt power outlet. This can come in handy for powering or charging any electrified camping gear. In-floor storage bins give you a way to store sensitive cargo that wouldn’t do well in the open bed or anything you want to keep out of sight from passers-by. The dual-zone climate control system features automatic temperature control, so you and your passengers can stay comfortable, even if you venture out into hot deserts or up snowy mountains.
Our Overall Impression
Between the Ram 2500 Power Wagon, Ram 1500 TRX, and Ram 1500 Rebel, Ram already offered drivers a solid range of off-road capable trucks. The 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel provides yet another option, which might seem excessive to an outsider. But off-roading enthusiasts know that having a variety of choices makes it possible to get a truck that’s exactly right for your specific needs. There are all kinds of places to go off-roading, and different environments require different equipment and accessories. On top of that, off-road drivers have different tastes, preferences, and budgets. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to make a one-size-fits-all off-road truck that satisfies everyone.
The new Ram 2500 Rebel certainly doesn’t do anything to damage Ram’s reputation for toughness. It’s a well-appointed truck with a rugged design that’s sure to make a good entrance, whether you prefer speeding through the prairie or crawling over mountains and boulders. While it might not have all of the capability of the Power Wagon, it’s a welcome addition to Ram’s lineup, filling in the spot between the Big Horn and Power Wagon nicely. We have no doubt that campers, adventurers, and thrill seekers of all stripes will have a good time behind the wheel.