Fleets looking for a heavy-duty off-road capable truck now have a new option to consider. Ram has brought the Rebel trim to the HD lineup with the 2500 Rebel for the 2023 model year.
The truck was designed to answer calls from fans of the HD Power Wagon who wanted more towing and a diesel option. Ram has obliged, slotting the new Rebel into the HD line-up just below the Power Wagon.
Retail pricing starts at $75,950 for the 8-cylinder 6.4-litre Hemi gas engine, and $85,400 for the I6 6.7-litre Cummins turbo diesel. The gas engine produces 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with the 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission. The diesel gives you 370 HP and 850 lb.-ft. of torque, with a six-speed automatic.
Towing capacity is the big story for this truck, as it massively outclasses the more expensive Power Wagon. With the gas engine towing payload is 3,116 kilograms (16,870 pounds) and maximum onboard cargo payload is 1,424 kilograms (3,140 pounds). Because of the heavier engine, the diesel sacrifices a bit of towing capacity, coming in at 16,270. By contrast, the Power Wagon tows 10,570 lb.
Underpinning all this power is the Ram HD five-link coil suspension. To give the truck it's off-road abilities, they've added an off-road suspension with active damping, a rear limited-slip differential and rear electronic locker, 18-inch wheels, 33-inch off-road tires and skid plates that protect the fuel tank and transfer case. A 12,000-pound winch is available on the gas version only, and is a $3,095 option.
A first drive of both the diesel and gas versions showed the diesel to be the better truck, even with the compromised towing capacity. It was more comfortable, quieter, and easier to drive on the highway, while offering the same competent handling over off-road trails.
The truck is loaded with both useful and useless tech. The optional 12-inch touchscreen infotainment display is overly big, while the 12-inch digital driver's instrument panel is overkill. It offers two dozen display options that are fully customizable, but not easy to program.
On the plus side, the truck offers available trailer turn assist tech that helps the driver turn the trailer in the correct direction. Trailer cameras let the driver keep an eye on what's going on behind and beside the complete rig, as well as inside, if the auxiliary camera is selected. A nose camera also helps with off-roading to see over steep breaks when the massive hood is up in the air.
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel is available only in a crew cab configuration with a six-foot, four-inch box. The cabin is spacious, especially for the rear passengers, and there is a jump seat up front to make it possible to carry six.
Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, full-speed forward-collision warning plus, Lane Keep Assist, blind-spot monitoring and cross path detection, automatic headlamps, digital rearview mirror with tow mode and rain-sensitive windshield wipers.
MSRP: $75,950 gas engine / $85,400 diesel
Powertrain: 8-cylinder 6.4-litre Hemi with 8-speed auto / 6-cylinder I6 Cummins turbo diesel wth 6-speed auto
Power: Gas - 410 horsepower/ 429 lb-ft of torque. Diesel - 370 HP/850 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: NA