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Long-Term Report 3: 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4

Posted in Features on September 5, 2017
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Since the last long-term report, we’ve used our 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year-winning Ram 1500 Rebel for a variety of off-roading. We’ve pointed it onto a sandy beach and some two-track trails in South Carolina, down muddy farm roads in Illinois, and on some deep-sand forest roads in Florida. This is in addition to a significant amount of on-road driving including a trip that took us across the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. And that nine-state trip was towing a 6x12-foot cargo trailer with a gross weight of 3,600 pounds, a cargo bed full of gear, and an interior packed with stuff. You’ll notice that the average mpg of the Rebel is lower in this report because 12 of the 20 tanks of fuel used during this timeframe reflect towing and hauling.

Continuing along the lines of the last report, the Ram 1500 Rebel has been completely trouble free and has been incredibly reliable, capable, and comfortable. It hasn’t given us one iota of trouble, has demonstrated outstanding towing and hauling characteristics, and at the end of our long nine-state trip we hadn’t wearied of the ride and seating.

At the time of this writing, we’ve spent 10 months with the Rebel, but interestingly, we’re still learning some new, cool things about the truck. One small but neat tidbit is we found that the contents of the weathertight, lockable RamBox cargo bins are accessible when we’re in the truck’s bed. We found this while in the cargo bed strapping down a heavy item for transport when we realized that we needed another ratchet strap, which was in one of the RamBoxes. Because of the way the RamBox doors are designed, we could simply reach into the RamBox and grab a strap without climbing out of the bed. This was way better than climbing out of the bed, procuring a strap, and climbing back in the bed, as we would have been forced to do if the straps were stored inside the truck. It’s the little things like this that make the RamBox Cargo Management System so incredibly useful.

Cargo bed lighting includes a cab-mounted light and a pair of LED lights, which do a good job of throwing light where it needs to be.

One of the things we want to focus on in this report is the Rebel’s lighting. Lighting, both exterior and interior, is very important in any vehicle, but especially a pickup truck that is asked to do a number of jobs—jobs that are often not during daylight hours. The Rebel does not disappoint in this area. For forward-facing exterior light the truck utilizes bi-function projector headlamps supplemented with LED fog lamps. The projector headlamps put out decent bright light in a good pattern on the low-beam setting and the high-beam setting really ups the game on dark rural roads with good long-range light. When using the low-beam setting we leave the fog lights on all the time. They produce bright white light in a wide beam pattern that lights up the edge of the road and trail. There are two lights inside each RamBox and they’re located at each end so contents are illuminated well at night. No fumbling around in the dark to find tools or gear. As a bonus, there is a yellow cancel switch for the lights in each RamBox, so if you want or need to leave the RamBox doors open when the lights aren’t needed you can switch them off to eliminate electrical current draw. Bed lighting is comprised of a standard cab-mounted light supplemented by a pair of LED cargo bed lights (part of the Luxury Group). The LEDs are on each cargo bed wall near the tailgate, and the LED array is aimed forward to illuminate the cargo bed and its contents. Our truck also has the optional exterior mirrors with courtesy lamps, which light the area to each side of the front doors of the truck. Inside, lighting is standard, with two lights in the overhead console, one under each end of the dashboard lighting each footwell, and one overhead light in the back seat area of our Crew Cab. We love how the truck shines like a beacon with light when we unlock the doors at night with the remote keyless entry. Everything important lights up, even the cargo bed lights, so we can simply place gear into the illuminated bed.

At the time of this writing our Rebel has over 16,000 miles on the odometer and its time with Four Wheeler is drawing to a close. With only a few weeks left for testing we’ll continue to tow, haul, and wheel the truck in an effort to gauge dependability, and functionality, among other things. Stay tuned for the fourth and final report.

During the last few weeks we’ve had the Rebel on some South Carolina two-tracks (shown) as well as on the beach, in addition to muddy farm roads in Illinois and deep-sand roads in Florida. Through it all, the Rebel has been reliable and capable.

Options as tested
Luxury Group–LED Bed Lighting, Power Heated Mirrors with Power Fold Away, Auto-Dimming Exterior Mirror, Exterior Mirrors with Courtesy Lamps, Sun Visors with Illuminated Vanity Mirrors, Overhead Console with Garage Door Opener ($695); Protection Group–Transfer Case Skid Plate, Front Suspension Skid Plate ($225); 8-Speed Automatic 8HP70 Transmission; 17-in Aluminum Spare Wheel ($500); 5.7L V-8 Hemi MDS VVT Engine ($1,250); 32-gal fuel tank ($355); Uconnect 8.4 NAV- GPS Navigation, Sirius XM Traffic/5-yr Traffic Subscription, Sirius XM Travel Link/5-yr Travel Link Subscription ($700); RamBox Cargo Management System–4 Adjustable Cargo Tie-Down Hooks, Bed Cargo Divider/Extender ($1,295); Trailer Brake Control ($280); Spray-In Bedliner ($495)

Report: 3 of 4
Previous Reports: Jul. ’17, Oct. ’17
Base Price: $47,095
Price as Tested: $54,210
Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time electronically-controlled, two-speed

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 16,246
Miles since last report: 5,426
Average mpg (this report): 12.8 (mostly towing)
Test best tank (mpg): 17.7 (highway @ 70 mph)
Test worst tank (mpg): 9.9 (towing a 6x12 cargo trailer with 1,200 pounds of cargo into a headwind)

Maintenance
This period: None
Problem areas: None

What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Great exterior lighting, outstanding towing manners, and auto-leveling air suspension
Not: Huge Ram lettering on the tailgate

Logbook Quotes
“After a 12-hour day of driving, the comfortable cab of the Rebel is still somewhere I want to be.”
“Love the exterior lighting on this truck!”
“Whoever designed the RamBox is a genius.”

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