|Positives: Powerful V8 engine puts down the power, tough looks give it real presence, refined and sporty interior is handsome, better tires improve road noise, great infotainment system, good steering and handling for an off-roader, colossal gas tank
|Negatives: Rear seats lack legroom for tall adults, mediocre braking, seat trim design is a bit chintzy, gets thirsty when driven hard.
|Bottom Line: The Ram 1500 continues its winning streak with an even better Rebel than the previous model. And even though the old and new look very similar, the 2019 Rebel is better in just about every way. It's powerful, practical, and overall a fantastic off-roader that's still great on road.
For a big truck that leans towards off-roading, the Rebel is remarkably good on road and wouldn't be off-putting as a daily driver. But when you need them off-pavement, the electronically locking rear differential, upgraded Bilstein monotube dampers, multiple skid plates, and off-road tires come to the rescue.
Ride Quality: Though the ride has firmness, the suspension is very compliant and allows for easy coverage of bad pavement without being harsh. We didn't have the optiona air springs, but the steel spring setup worked just fine.
Acceleration: The HEMI is a beast of an engine that moves this thing with authority. It'll do 0-60 in about 6.5 seconds, which is plenty quick. The 10-speed automatic transmission also shifts well.
Braking: Here's where the Rebel suffers with longer than average braking distances from the off-road tires, as well as a somewhat unresponsive pedal with poor progression.
Steering: Steering is numb and turn-in could be quicker.
Handling: This is a high-riding pickup truck that exhibits a fair amount of body roll. Its road-holding abilities aren't great, but it's what you expect from a large pickup truck that's trail-minded. The one inch lift over stock certainly adds to the higher center of gravity.
The technology in the Rebel is very good, even if you don't opt for the huge 12" touchscreen. Everything was easy to use well laid out.
Infotainment System: Our 8.4" touchscreen is an upgrade from the smaller standard 6" screen. It's vivid, responsive, and the menus work well. Most controls, including heated seats, are on screen, but you get used to it. Our tester didn't have the top trim 12" screen.
Controls: We love the rotary shifter and the steering wheel controls. Though we prefer physical controls for most functions, the on-screen buttons are great. They even show you what you've pressed with a circular graphic. Brilliant idea.
The Rebel looks more menacing than the standard 1500, and it's a great look that sets the trim level apart. The black trim, bulging hood, and Rebel graphics let others know this thing means business.
Front: The Rebel gets its own grille that separates it from the rest of the 1500 herd. The top grille bar is like a handsome unibrow that goes across the fascia. The bold hood bulge and vents, as well as the prominent silver skid plate make the Rebel look truly mean and ready for the rough stuff.
Rear: You can't (or shouldn't) do too much with a pickup truck tail, but the Rebel is great with its black lettering and twin round pipes. Only the taillights are complex, but they're not over the top.
Profile: In Quad Cab trim, it's well-proportioned. The black trim on the lower half looks great and matches the wheels well.
Cabin: If you don't like red trim around the instruments and pretty much everywhere else, you won't like this. We actually think it looks good with the contrast. The overall look of the cabin is very good with sporty aesthetics. We could, however, do without the tire track design on the vinyl seats.
We actually didn't know our Rebel had vinyl seats until we read the Monroney sticker. The interior is well-appointed, and everything's within easy reach. But when you get the smaller cab, rear passengers suffer.
Front Seats: Big, wide, and comfortable, the seats are very good for long haul driving, and there's a lot of headroom and legroom. The cloth/vinyl seat trim is grippy and feels pretty good.
Rear Seats: Our Quad Cab is a bit tight for taller adults in back, but there's still a good amount of room for average sized adults and kids.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): It's rock solid inside, and there are no errant noises. You do get to hear the growl of the big HEMI engine.
Visibility: The truck is tall, so getting around parking lots can be a challenge. The cameras and sensors are a must.
Climate: The climate system is easy to use and powerful. We never had an issue getting the heat fired up.
The Rebel did well in crash tests from the IIHS, and the level of safety tech is excellent for a pickup truck, too.
IIHS Rating: No awards were won, but it nailed all the crash tests with a score of "good". Accident avoidance tech garnered a "superior", while headlights and LATCH were merely "marginal".
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: Our tester camw with a backup camera, Ready Alert Braking that helps reduce stopping distances by applying additional brake pressure, as well as Rain Brake Support.
Optional Tech: None.
The Ram 1500 Rebel is brilliant in terms of storage capability. It's actually one of the best we've seen with solid storage capacity, even with the shortened cab.
Storage Space: Inside, there's ample room for small and medium-sized gear with the big center armrest and cubbies.
Cargo Room: Cargo volume is 61.5 cubic feet.
The HEMI V8 is not for the fuel misers out there. It's a big engine with plenty of power. That being said, it did better than we thought it would under aggressive driving conditions.
Observed: 13.8 mpg.
Distance Driven: 135 miles
Our test truck had the stock 6-speaker system, which is pretty good for a base audio system. We didn't get the better Beats audio upgrade, but the system we had worked just fine with good clarity and bass.