By Derek Price
It’s a good time to be an off-road truck buyer.
Well, if you can ignore the prices, it is. Pandemic-era supply constraints continue to keep transaction prices of pickups at high levels.
For those who can afford them, though, it’s never been a better time to be shopping for off-road trucks thanks to the plethora of choices hitting the market in the last three years.
This week I’m driving a fresh attempt at slicing and dicing the pickup market: the 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel.
Much like its more famous, longstanding brother, the Power Wagon, this is a three-quarter-ton pickup designed with serious off-road capability in mind. It has a unique suspension, skid plates, aggressive 33-inch tires and a locking rear differential.
It also doesn’t come with running boards, which makes getting in and out an adventure.
The obvious question about this truck, of course, is why wouldn’t you just buy a Power Wagon?
Aside from its slightly lower price, the Rebel offers several key advantages.
You can get it with a diesel engine, for starters. The Rebel is available with either a 6.4-liter gasoline V8 — the only engine offered in the Power Wagon — or with a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel that makes 850 pound-feet of torque.
That’s closely related to another advantage: the Rebel can tow a lot more, up to 16,870 pounds, versus around 10,000 on the Power Wagon. The diesel engine plus stiffer springs translate into more pulling capability.
It also offers a distinctive look, similar to the 1500 Rebel that’s been a sales hit for Ram in recent years. Black trim on the fenders, grille and lower body give it a purposeful style.
Driving the 2500 Rebel doesn’t offer any surprises. This is a massive truck with gigantic off-road tires and stiff springs, making it one of the least comfortable pickups in Ram’s spectacularly quiet, supple lineup. This Rebel is designed for capability over cushiness.
Still, I found it quieter and more friendly to drive in city traffic than the Ford F-250 Tremor.
Like all the latest Ram trucks, the 2500 Rebel has a beautifully designed cabin, including ample soft-touch materials and a 12-inch touchscreen with one of the best infotainment systems available anywhere.
It’s only available in one layout, a four-door crew cab with a six-foot, four-inch bed.
Pricing starts at $67,045, plus a hefty $1,895 destination charge.
If you want the diesel, it costs an extra $9,695.
At A Glance
What was tested? 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel ($67,045). Options: Bed utility group ($845), safety group ($2,140), Level 2 equipment group ($7,110). Price as tested (including $1,895 destination charge): $79,035
Wheelbase: 149 in.
Length: 238.8 in.
Width: 83.5 in.
Height: 80.2 in.
Engine: 6.4-liter HEMI V8 (410 hp, 429 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: Not rated
Why buy it?
This new flavor of heavy-duty, off-road truck offers some advantages over the Power Wagon, including more towing capability and an optional diesel engine.