Truck Review: Ram’s 1500 Rebel G/T Was Built to Deliver More Power and Torque
The Rebel G/T 4x4 is more than capable off-road, but lacks the payload and towing capability some hunters may need from their 4x4
In 2010, Dodge spun its truck division into standalone brand Ram Trucks. Since then, Dodge has begun specializing in high-output modern muscle cars, while Ram has continued to manufacture trucks that are built for a variety of on- and off-road pursuits. Most Rams on the road today are traditional trucks, designed for work and play. The 1500 Rebel combines the best of what Dodge and Ram have to offer—power, performance, and superior drivability—at a reasonable price for a full-size truck.
While it lacks the desert-racing chops of the Ram 1500 TRX and the raw off-road muscle of the 2500 Power Wagon, the Ram Rebel is no slouch. First introduced in 2015, the Rebel trim line is designed for adrenaline junkies and gearheads who want an off-road beast that won’t completely shred their bank account. While it comes in a two-wheel drive variant, the 4×4 Rebel has more than enough capability to keep up with all but the most dedicated off-road trucks.
The four-wheel drive 2022 Rebel boasts a roomy crew cab and a 5-foot, 7-inch bed. It registers a base price just over $51,000. (The Quad Cab variant of the Rebel was discontinued for 2022.) It also sports an aggressive look with a standard one-inch factory lift, upgraded shocks and tires, and its sights fixed squarely on competitors like the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro and Chevrolet’s Silverado 1500 Trail Boss trucks. Add on the new G/T package for an extra $9,200, and this off-road beast grows some larger fangs and bares its technological chops.
Climbing into the Ram 1500 Rebel G/T for the first time, I was struck by how comfortable and approachable it was for a full-size pickup. Compared to Chevy’s Trail Boss, a dimensionally similar truck, the upgraded Rebel felt easy to drive, even if you’re used to tooling around the suburbs in a Subaru. Yes, the Rebel is big (it’s a full-size pickup after all), yet it felt very manageable for its size. If this is your first full-size truck you should find it a fairly easy transition from significantly smaller vehicles.
Inside, the Rebel has plenty of creature comforts, especially in the G/T package. The heavily bolstered front seats feel like they belong in a high-horsepower track car, and the optional 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the center of the dash allows you to better control the output of the truck and many of the interior amenities. The screen can be turned off, if it’s a distraction. The Ram has loads of cab space, although with the optional full-length sunroof, back seat head room suffers a bit. The LED headlamps also provide plenty light for nighttime drives.
On the street, the Ram rides comfortably and has a sharp turning radius. Some trucks can be difficult to parallel park or slide into an open space in a grocery store lot—I did not experience that with the Rebel. The 5.7-liter Hemi with eTorque delivers plenty of horsepower and torque when you need it, and both the MDS (cylinder deactivation technology) and automatic engine start-stop are virtually impossible to detect when activated.
At one point while slowing down for a stoplight, there was some drag in the powertrain that felt like a delay in the transmission’s downshifts. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the eTorque system, and the odd sensation left me wondering if I’d ended up with a truck with a bad transmission. But the felt drag was just the eTorque system doing its thing.
In 2019, Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis) introduced eTorque in a handful of its engine offerings, including the 5.7-liter Hemi. The eTorque mild hybrid system consists of an electric motor-generator and 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack that serve as a power booster, regenerative braking system, and an alternator to the traditional 12-volt battery. The motor-generator attaches directly to the engine’s crankshaft via the accessory belt. This setup allows the hybrid system to deliver power directly to the crankshaft when necessary and to collect and store electricity from kinetic energy generated by the crankshaft, usually during braking. Unlike an alternator, the eTorque system can “disconnect” from the drivetrain when the engine is under heavy load—during acceleration at higher RPMs—effectively boosting the engine’s horsepower and torque output. This system provides better fuel economy, faster off-the-block acceleration, and almost imperceptible start-stop functionality in stop-and-go traffic.
The Rebel stands out from other Ram 1500 pickups on the road today. In addition to its aggressive aesthetic look, it includes several impressive standard features:
- 3.92 rear axle ratio
- Electric locking rear differential
- 18-inch aluminum wheels with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires
- Class IV receiver hitch with seven-pin wiring harness and hitch area light
- Plenty of USB ports (Types A and C) and 12-volt DC power outlets
- Tons of interior storage spaces: center console, dual glove boxes, door and console pockets, and rear in-floor bins.
The nominally $2,995 G/T package features plenty of performance, convenience, and technological upgrades, but this single upgrade runs anywhere between $9,100 and $11,400, depending on your infotainment system of choice. Standard G/T Package features include:
- 5.7 Hemi eTorque engine with the 8HP75 gearbox
- Cold air intake and upgraded exhaust
- Center shifter and wheel-mounted paddle shifters
- All-leather interior
- Ventilated front seats
- Footwell, under-seat, and door accent lighting
- G/T-themed interior and bed decal
- Heated steering wheel and front seats
- uConnect 5 with 12-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto, Google Alexa, 4G LTE hotspot, and Ram Performance Pages (G/T-specific feature)
As bold as the Ram Rebel may be, the truck has been at home on American highways for several years. My test truck fit the standard pickup truck mold, a spacious crew cab with a short bed. But unlike many half-ton trucks on the market, the Rebel lacks any other cab and bed combinations. That said, the Rebel does come with four engine options: an eTorque-equipped 3.6-liter V6 (305 horsepower, 269 pound-feet of torque), two 5.7-liter Hemi V8s, one with eTorque and one without (395 horsepower, 410 pound-feet of torque), and a 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel (260 horsepower, 480 pound-feet of torque). The Rebel includes one of two eight-speed automatic transmissions; one built by ZF (8HP75) and the other built under a ZF license (850RE), giving the Ram two high quality gearboxes options.
In terms of drivability, Ram nailed it with the Rebel G/T. Older generation Rams were boxy and tough to maneuver in tight places. That’s not the case with the G/T.
- Overall, the Rebel G/T scores high in terms of drivability and overall performance. It provides a very quiet ride thanks in part to active noise cancellation technology, and despite sporting stiff off-road shocks, the truck delivers a smooth ride in most situations. The driver’s seat enjoys very good visibility with only small blind spots, although like most modern pickups, rear visibility is somewhat limited.
- All new generation Ram 1500s are easy to drive even if you’re used to smaller vehicles. For a full-size truck, it has an ample turning radius, which is important to hunters who drive in tight spaces (two-tracks, trails, etc.), and keeping the truck between the lines on-highway is much easier than with some other full-size trucks. It also has plenty of power.
- The Rebel G/T’s eTorque-equipped Hemi and ZF-built transmission put out some impressive performance and efficiency numbers, including an overall EPA rating of 19 MPG (18 city MPG, 22 highway MPG) with the MDS system in play. With the optional 33-gallon gas tank, a conservative driver with a light cargo load could push this truck over 700 miles before stopping for a refill.
- The eTorque mild hybrid system provides plenty of efficiency and performance benefits. While the system’s replacement parts likely will cost a pretty penny when the time comes, the higher repair cost could well be offset by the system’s benefits, including generally longer part life.
- Off-road, the RamAir air suspension system provides some impressive ground clearance at the touch of a button, and the electronic transfer case shifts quickly and smoothly between two and four-wheel drive. The standard hill descent control and optional electronic locking rear differential are valuable features in mountainous and rocky terrain. On long, unpaved roads, the transmission’s “manual” sport mode and steering wheel paddle shifters make drivetrain braking easy to manage and help prevent brake burnout on downhill grades.
- The Ram’s underbody skid plates provide protection for the entire drivetrain and other critical components positioned between the engine and the rear axle. While they will slightly complicate maintenance and repairs, the off-road protection they afford is impressive.
- This truck’s engine bay is massive, making many maintenance and future repairs easy if you have the mechanical skills to do so.
- All Rebels include a Class IV receiver hitch and local lighting, but the optional Trailer Brake-Controller is a nice touch for outdoorsmen. The truck boasts a 1,810-pound payload, 7,100-pound Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and 11,210-pound max towing capacity. These numbers vary on non-G/T Rebels. In practical terms, this means a Rebel G/T can transport your ATVs, small to mid-size camping trailer, or small, lightweight box trailer to hunting camp. Fishing boats are no problem either as long as you’re not pulling a sword fishing rig.
- The Ram’s lightweight, dampened tailgate and optional retractable bed step are convenient features when accessing the bed.
- This truck has a spacious cab with tons of storage locations scattered throughout, even without optional under seat storage or other aftermarket offerings. The leather seats should prove easier to clean than cloth, although the G/T-specific perforations, stitching, and embroidery will complicate the process.
- Tech-lovers and gearheads will appreciate the uConnect 5 system with the optional 12-inch touchscreen which offers plenty of features, including a backup camera with a temporary “on” option, Amazon Alexa, and G/T-specific Ram Performance Pages that provide detailed readouts of the truck’s real-time performance metrics. For the less tech-savvy, two 8.4-inch versions provide a simpler, cheaper alternative. The digital dashboard also includes compass and thermometer readouts, although the wrong steering wheel position will block them from view.
- The newest generation of crew cab Ram 1500 trucks scores quite well in IIHS crash tests with the 2021 model earning a Top Safety Pick rating.
Despite its many upgrades and features, the Ram Rebel G/T does have a few shortcomings.
- The “base” Rebel G/T isn’t cheap. Along with all the required upgrades, the G/T package pushes the Rebel’s price tag north of $59,000. Towing-friendly add-ons are available but will cost extra.
- The Ram’s optional 12-inch touchscreen left me feeling a bit overwhelmed. Since most creature comforts controls are controlled via the massive touchscreen, normally simple adjustments like changing the A/C or heat temperature, activating the seat heaters, or changing the radio station were painstaking. That combined with the switches for the sunroof and air suspension system forced me to rely on my front seat passenger for assistance. With time, I’m sure muscle memory would take over, but the truck’s cab controls felt way too distracting to be used safely.
- At speed on concrete highway surfaces, I found the truck’s ride could get very bumpy. On Interstate 25 outside of Denver, the ride got so bad at a few points that a passenger on the phone sounded as if they were on the verge of tears.
- The 4×4 Rebel G/T has a max towing capacity of 11,210 pounds and a payload limit of 1,810 pounds. For perspective, the Ram 1500 lineup maxes out at a 12,750-pound towing capacity and a 2,300-pound payload rating. General Motors and Ford’s half ton trucks have noticeably higher ratings than anything Ram has to offer, and a properly spec’d 2022 Toyota Tundra will beat out the G/T Rebel in both categories.
- Despite all the Rebel’s off-road goodies, its size enforces noteworthy off-road limitations. Its long wheelbase and wide stance prevent it from becoming a serious off-road truck, but for hunters, it should be more than adequate.
- I found the lack of physical battery voltage and oil temperature gauges disappointing.
- The Rebel’s electronic rearview mirror was a bit small.
- The G/T Rebel’s lack of options engine options were dissapointing. Even the non-eTorque Hemi is off-limits to the G/T. Also, while my test truck had wheelhouse liners, a nice off-road feature, that option only comes with the RamAir suspension, a $2,000 upgrade.
- Most of the G/T Package’s features are geared toward improved aesthetics and comfort. The Sport Performance Hood is nonfunctional. The upgraded intake and exhaust do little-to-nothing to improve actual powertrain performance.
The “base” version of the Rebel G/T provides a fair value for outdoorsmen wanting a truck that is as comfortable as it is fun to drive both on-road and off. While not a rock crawler by any means, the Hemi V8, full-time four-wheel drive transfer case, 3.92 rear axle, and 33-inch Goodyear on/off-road tires can handle rocky roads, mountain trails, and other rough terrain with ease.
If you plan to tow or haul cargo regularly, the Rebel G/T may not be worth the extra cost. Except for the Class IV receiver hitch and hitch-area lighting, almost all the important trailering features cost extra. Even with all the upgrades, the Rebel G/T is still a light-duty truck with very real towing limits. To get the most towing capability out of a Ram, you need to look at the 2500 Power Wagon.
Building the Ideal Ram Rebel G/T for Outdoorsmen
The G/T Package requires you to select your infotainment system of choice, and for most people, I would recommend going with the Uconnect 5 system with the 8.4-inch touchscreen and integrated navigation system. (Oddly, the non-navigation version of the Uconnect system seems to be listed as a speaker system option.)
I really like the full-length power sunroof, and the RamAir suspension system has significant merits. Even though my test truck did not have either, I think both the multi-function tailgate and RamBox in-bed storage system also deserve serious consideration if you need that kind of versatility in a truck bed.
Since I live at the foot of Rocky Mountain’s Front Range, mountain roads and rocky terrain dictate much of what I look for in a truck. I’d start by upgrading to the 33-gallon fuel tank, tubular side steps, Bed Utility Group, spray-in bedliner, and tri-fold tonneau cover. (Unfortunately, the rear wheelhouse liners only come with the RamAir suspension system.) I’d also take a close look at the Comfort and Convenience Group for its heated rear seats, power tailgate release, USB ports, rear 115-volt power outlet, and wireless phone charging pad. If you live in the Rockies or any cold-weather climate, consider the Cold-Weather Group.
For anyone planning to tow with their Rebel G/T, I’d recommend the tow mirrors, Trailer Surround View camera system, and either the budget-conscious trailer brake controller or the full-blown Trailer Tow Group, which includes the trailer brake controller, trailer reverse steering control, and a trailer check light.
Ram does not offer third-party upgrades through their website, so if you want an LED light bar, a winch, or other equipment, you have to look at aftermarket options. That said, only serious off roaders are likely to need the non-Mopar goodies; most hunters will be backcountry-ready with a factory Rebel G/T.
If you want to build your own Rebel G/T? visit Ram’s Build & Price webpage to get rolling. Make sure to select the 4×4 option for the Rebel on the first page and the G/T Package under the “Packages” header on the second page. Then you can outfit the Rebel for your driving applications to see if the price tag makes sense.