2019 Ram 1500 Rebel Brings the Godness of a Pickup To the Dirt

The Rebel is the Ram 1500 pickup truck’s sort of “mini Powerwagon” offering from Ram Trucks. As the half-ton pickup’s off-road-centric model, the Rebel is the beefier-appearing option in the lineup. It’s also the most in-your-face about its capabilities, but it backs that bluster up with gusto. For 2019, the entire Ram 1500 lineup was redone with only the “Classic” models retaining the old-generation’s design.

After a week in the burly 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel model, I gave it an “A” rating over at CarNewsCafe and a more in-depth, but still exuberant review at NewAtlas. Ram is onto something with this truck.

  • Vehicle: 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel
  • Number of Seats: 5
  • XM Pref: Octane
  • Starting/Base MSRP: $45,290
  • Our Rating: A
  • City/Highway MPG: 17/22
  • Kids Like It?: Yes
  • Best For: Suburban, Rural

Because we restrict ourselves to family vehicles here at SingleDadOver40, I’m reviewing the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel model in its Crew Cab configuration. The above numbers reflect that and the Rebel’s V8 Hemi engine as well. There are other options for the truck, but I’ll hold myself to what was driven and just mention the other options as we go.

Everything about the new 2019 Ram 1500 is new, though, and the Rebel model benefits from that. The frame is now almost completely made of high-strength steels, boosting both towing and hauling capability while also lightening the truck’s weight. Aluminum is being used for the tailgate and hood, further lightening the load, and innovative changes and adoptions for the chassis have boosted ride quality and noise-vibration-harshness (NVH) in the truck. Then add in the new engines, an improved transmission, and a lot more stuff and it’s clear that this truck is a serious improvement.

Consumers will be interested in the better fuel economy thanks to improved aerodynamics. Front grille louvers to reduce air and redirect flow when the truck doesn’t need cooling (usually at unloaded, highway speeds) are now standard on the Ram 1500, as are the other aerodynamics improvements to the bodywork that lower the drag coefficient to make the truck more slippery at speed. Chassis and handling components are even more astute at keeping the ride comfortable than they were before, building on what was already the best unloaded ride in the pickup truck business.

The new engine options include two mild hybrids. The V6 base engine is now a 24-volt mild hybrid (called “eTorque”) by default, improving fuel economy some, but boosting power output considerably at the lower end of the RPM and speed bands. This improves towing and hauling. The same happens in the optional upgrade to eTorque available for the 5.7L V8 Hemi engine upgrade. All engine options are offered with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, of course, and axle ratios and new transmission tuning help improve things even more.

What’s missing this year is the diesel option, but the kids and I were more than happy with the results we had from the 2019 Ram Rebel’s standard V8 Hemi without any gimmicks. This truck is made for mud and rocks and it’s really good at getting through and over them when it’s driven right.

How Useful Is the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel As a Family Hauler?

In its Crew Cab option, the Ram Rebel offers seating for five with a back seat that is larger than any other vehicle that can be named. No sedan or crossover-SUV is going to rival the amount of lateral seat space available in a full-sized pickup truck of today. The Rebel offers easy seating for three across, be they kids or adults, and it’s amazingly roomy and comfortable at all other angles as well.

Up front, there is an equal amount of roominess for both the driver and front passenger. The Ram models generally have the better interiors of the full-sized pickups today, though that could be debated by those with differing tastes or expectations. For the off-road-centric models, however, there are none as rough-and-ready or as “let’s do this!” as is the Ram Rebel’s interior.

I was disappointed that the upholstered seats bearing the tire marks from the Rebel’s Wrangler off-road treads are now gone and replaced with a print patterns instead. But the improvements to the already best-in-the-biz Uconnect infotainment and added storage (seriously, there are 6+ drink holders available to the driver.. SIX) are a big deal. Really, there’s places to put everything you might bring along. Plus the cargo bed.

Many who might scoff at pickups are usually not familiar enough with them to realize how amazingly utilitarian and useful trucks can be and how great they generally are as SUV or sedan replacements.

Expected Reliability/Dependability and Value

This is a hard one to gauge given that the 2019 Ram 1500 is completely new this year. To rate this at iSeeCars for the 2019 model year, I had to do some guess work based on the past performance of the Ram Trucks brand the number of recalls made so far. Using those as a guide, I rated the 2019 Ram at 7 of 10 for reliability/dependability.

Value is more subjective, but not as difficult to assess here. Pickup trucks (no matter the make) have great value retention at resale, so that automatically works in the Ram’s favor. Add in that it’s pricing is commensurate with market norms and the Rebel itself is not so overpriced as to be unwieldy for most buyers and it’s a pretty obvious “yep” on the value proposition. My iSeeCars evaluation gave the 2019 Ram 1500 a 9/10 overall, but I’d mark the Rebel down by a point to 8/10 simply because it’s a bit pricier and probably won’t hold quite as much of its new price percentage at resale.

Which Version of the 2019 Ram 1500 Would We Buy?

Here we’re going to look at the entire lineup of 2019 Ram 1500 models, not just the Rebel. My personal choice is to buy the Rebel because, well, it’s what I’d want were this the half-ton brand I went with. Looking away from its beefy look and strong capability off-pavement, though, and considering it as a pickup truck for general duties instead, I’d probably downgrade to the Big Horn package with a couple of added extras instead. This saves a lot of money and improves value immensely.

As with any pickup truck buy, though, it’s more about what your plans are for the truck than it is about what model is “best” in general. I like off-roading, so the Rebel is my obvious choice. You might like towing trailers to go to the lake or helping friends and neighbors move (inevitable when you own a pickup, FYI), so the Big Horn is probably a better fit. Those who prefer luxury? Well, the Limited and Laramie Limited are also options. Note: we’ll be reviewing one of those soon enough..

Radio Setting and Kid Approvals

The radio setting that seemed to fit the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel best was Octane, with its mixture of hard-hitting rock and somewhat softer, not-quite-90s-grunge sound. I think a better bet would be to just say that the Rebel seems to really like bands like Volbeat and Seether. Which is basically what you get about half the time at SiriusXM 37.

A Note on Our Process: Reviews here are based on Aaron’s reviews found around the Web. The goal here is to forego the usual “horsepower and capability” jargon of most automotive reviews and instead focus on how well the vehicle is as a regular family hauler for a single dad. Links to full, formal reviews are included in this review in order to provide more information should you wish to have it.