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Show off in the 2016 RAM Rebel

Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ

The 2016 RAM Rebel is an ideal truck for anyone living in a community with unpaved roads. Its tires are 33 inches tall and therefore this truck can make any drive feel extremely smooth.0


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 19th, 2015



Canada is the second largest country in the world, so it's not surprising that Canadians prefer big vehicles. The most popular type of vehicle on our roads is the pickup truck.

The Ford F-150 is the most common pickup truck, but competition from GMC, Chevrolet and RAM is catching up. The most ideal truck in my opinion is the F-150 Raptor. This off-road ready mega-truck has the looks and the capability to back it up, and won the title of my favourite truck for many years; but that has all changed now.

I have a new favourite pickup truck, and it comes from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). It's called the Rebel and it is the meanest, most capable version of RAM's 1500 series trucks.

This is not a truck that tries to showoff; the body is mostly plain, just like most other RAM 1500 pickups; however, the nose is very different from its siblings. I wouldn't call it pretty, but it has the sort of appeal a bulldog has: it's unique, has character and it doesn't care if most people won't like it.

Open the door and you're greeted by a fairly well appointed interior. The fit and finish is impressive and the design touches, such as its red accents, are extremely appealing. You get to sit on comfy seats and no matter what size you are, you'll find that it has plenty of space.

Though, the interior is not perfect.

First complaint is with the gear selector knob that all RAM 1500's seem to have. RAM nicked the idea from Jaguar Land Rover, and while this style of selector knob is fine in a luxury vehicle, it is not ideal for what is supposed to be a work truck. This knob is also quite small and hard to grip.

My only other complaint for the interior is the lack of automatic climate control; for a vehicle of this type and price point I think that should be standard.

My tester did have one option that is truly worth having and that is the HEMI V8. While you can specify a Rebel with a 3.6-litre V6 engine, my tester had the 5.7-litre V8, which is good for 395 horsepower and 410 pound per foot of torque.

All Rebels come with an eightspeed automatic gearbox, which features a manual-shifting mode through some tiny steering wheel mounted buttons. As you'd expect, power can be sent to all-wheels with high and low gearing, but for driving in the city on warm days, I just left it in rear-wheel drive mode.

Driving the Ram Rebel, you are immediately aware of its size and also of its tires, which stand 33 inches tall. Because of its tire's massive sidewall, the ride quality is good. In fact, driving the Rebel on unpaved, gravel roads was just as comfortable as a luxury sedan is on the highway. So, if you live in an area where paved roads don't exist, you'll love the Rebel.

I know what some of you might be thinking at this point, a vehicle like this must guzzle fuel like its going out of fashion.

First of all, if you're worried about fuel costs, you shouldn't be looking at any pickup truck. Secondly, the RAM Rebel is not nearly as bad as you might think. Thanks to cylinder deactivation on the HEMI V8 and active aerodynamics, which lowers the truck to an optimum ride height to cut the air as neatly as possible, I managed to average 15.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

That active ride height mentioned above also has other benefits. Hit a button on the key fob twice and it lowers the truck for your entry.

In addition, when you're off-roading, you can raise the whole vehicle up above its normal setting, so you can clear taller rocks and shrubs without damaging your vehicle.

The engineers responsible for this truck also thought about practical additions to the vehicle, such as storage space. The lockable storage compartments on the side of the truck bed would be useful for most buyers. As for hauling items, its truck bed can hold up to 1,530 pounds and with the V8, it can pull another 10,130 pounds.

The base model with the V6 motor is available from $45,895. My well-equipped tester, with the V8 motor, was around $62,000. It's not cheap to buy, but given its abilities and appeal, it is worth every penny.
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