2018 Ram Rebel Crew Cab 4×4
Class: Large Pickup Truck
Miles driven: 297
Fuel used: 20.8 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 14.3 mpg
Driving mix: 30% city, 70% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15/21/17 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $47,395 (not including $1395 destination charge)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Options on test vehicle: Leather seats with Rebel logo ($1545), Luxury Group ($695), Protection Group ($225), Ram 1500 Black Rebel Group ($595), 8-speed automatic transmission ($500), 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine ($1450), rear window defroster ($195), Keyless Enter ‘n Go ($300), black tubular side steps ($595), 32-gallon fuel tank ($445), 9 Alpine speakers with subwoofers ($495), UConnect navigation ($795), Ram Box ($1295), trailer brake control ($295), spray-in bedliner ($495)
Price as tested: $58,710
The great: Acceleration, roomy interior, off-road features
The good: Cargo versatility
The not so good: Fuel economy, no “normal” 4WD High setting
While the imposing Rebel certainly strikes an attractive stance, be warned that some of its “off road” features take a bit of a toll on its practicality for street use.
We covered a similar 2016 Ram Rebel in more detail previously, but this example gave us an opportunity to check out a few more features found on our 2018 version.
Although recent Ram 1500s have impressed us as especially “civilized” pickups, that really isn’t the Rebel’s mission. Perhaps the most obvious evidence is that our tester’s 4WD system carried only 2WD, 4WD Lock, and 4WD Low settings, notably lacking conventional 4WD High or full-time 4WD Auto modes, which would normally be used on snow-covered streets and is what’s found in most other 4WD Ram 1500s. As such, we noticed some “skipping” when taking sharp turns in 4WD Lock (which locks the center differential) that wouldn’t be an issue in most other Rams.
Of further help off road would be our tester’s height-adjustable suspension. Simply push buttons on the dash, and the Rebel’s standard air-adjustable suspension can lower the vehicle for easier ingress/egress and raise it a few inches for more off-road clearance. Meaty 17-inch off-road tires are also standard, and though they certainly look neat, their mass seemed to make the ride a bit bouncier over bumps (though it’s still great for a pickup), and the aggressive tread seemed to generate a bit more noise at highway speeds. Almost oddly, skid plates had to be added as a $225 option.
Our 2016 Rebel averaged a rather dismal 14.1 mpg in about 40 percent highway driving. This example racked up about 70-percent highway miles, which helped boost fuel economy all the way up to … 14.3 mpg. Neither matched even the EPA City rating (15 mpg), let alone the 17 mpg Combined rating. We’ve noticed before that Ram’s V8 seems a bit thirstier than those in other big pickups, so you pay at the pump for the Rebel’s very satisfying acceleration.
Pickups are all about cargo-carrying capability, and the Rebel offers its share. The box on our tester was fitted with adjustable tie-down rails and a bed divider, both grouped with the rear-fender Ram Boxes (something we really find handy) as a $1295 option. There’s also plenty of interior storage space, and though that’s about par for the big-pickup course, the Ram includes “extras” in the form of some small dash cubbies, upper and lower gloveboxes, and bins in the doors. But we were surprised to find that the cupholders aren’t large enough to hold 1-liter bottles, and it took some searching to discover that the large console box contained hard-to-see Aux and two USB plugs. (Both 12-volt and 115-volt AC plugs are in the lower dash.)
Although we’re generally enamored with Ram’s control interfaces for its infotainment and climate systems, we find it odd — and less than optimally convenient — that you have to go through the touch screen to adjust the climate control’s mode setting.
This is the last year for the current-generation Ram, as a redesigned model is due later this year as a 2019 model. Yet the 2018 remains one of our favorite big pickups, with the Rebel adding a nice dash of machismo.