Ram 1500 Rebel is Four Wheeler’s 2019 Pickup Truck Of The Year!Posted in Features on January 9, 2019
It’s official! Four Wheeler’s 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year winner is the Ram 1500 Rebel.
Four Wheeler, in publication since 1962, has been hosting Pickup Truck of the Year for 30 years, and the annual event is an invitation-only competition that is only open to all-new or significantly revised pickup trucks for the upcoming model year. For 2019, the field of vehicles included the Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss, GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, Ram 1500 Rebel, and Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
“By adding remote-reservoir rear shocks, an electronic-locking rear differential, and more to the all-new Rebel, it’s clear that Ram has capitalized and expanded on the proven formula that helped the previous-generation Rebel win the Four Wheeler 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year award,” says Four Wheeler Editor Ken Brubaker. “Right off the showroom floor, the Rebel comes with the equipment truck owners want, especially those who use the truck to work or explore off-road. The Rebel’s improved approach angle and 33-inch tires add to the truck’s impressive resume and help make it a player in the dirt, mud, sand, and snow. Combined with the truck’s impressive on-road capabilities and visually stunning aesthetics, it’s clear that the Rebel is a truck that has all the bases covered.”
The road to winning Four Wheeler’s prestigious 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year award was actually more of a rutted, rocky, snow-clogged two-track. Since Four Wheeler is the leading 4x4 authority, the majority of testing was done off-road in a variety of challenging terrains. Four Wheeler combined this extreme testing with track and on-road testing. The weeklong test covered approximately 1,000 miles.
The competition began in the Los Angeles area with ramp travel index (RTI) testing to gauge each vehicle’s suspension articulation. Following RTI testing, the trucks were driven to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, for track testing. Sophisticated electronic equipment was used to record each vehicle’s 0-60 and quarter-mile acceleration times, as well as 60-0 braking distance. Following track testing, the vehicles were driven to the Southern California desert on paved roads. As was standard throughout the test, experienced judges rotated between vehicles on a regular basis, which provided equal testing time. Judges included staff from various brands within MOTORTREND GROUP, including Four Wheeler, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, and Jp Magazine. The multi-hour drive to the desert allowed judges to gather important information on each vehicle’s on-road manners in stop-and-go and open-highway driving. It also provided fuel efficiency data for this type of driving.
The next three days were spent primarily off-road. Each vehicle was driven by each judge in a variety of off-road conditions, including sand, rocky trails, loose-surface trails, and snow. The test also included a loose-dirt hillclimb and water crossings. This testing provided the judges with a wealth of information, including each vehicle’s off-road visibility from the driver seat, four-wheel-drive system selection and performance, tire performance and durability, engine power and cooling, transmission function and cooling, suspension tuning and performance, traction control system function, and much more. Night driving was also integrated into the competition to gauge each vehicle’s lighting equipment.
The final day of testing included a long highway test section returning to the Los Angeles area, during which additional important highway data was gathered, including fuel economy, interior comfort, and on-road handling.
Off-road, the Rebel scored high marks with the 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year judges due to its surefooted abilities. The new steel suspension with performance-tuned remote-reservoir rear shocks and performance-tuned front shocks absorbed miles of rough trail without shock fade, returning a smooth ride for passengers. When the trail became challenging, engaging the 4WD system and rear electric locker was quick and easy thanks to the fantastic switch design and placement. And when the boulders grew large, judges appreciated the standard front suspension, transfer case, and fuel tank skidplating, as well as the Rebel’s 48.7:1 low-range crawl ratio.
Judges gave high marks to the Rebel’s 5.7 Hemi V-8, and the engine worked seamlessly with the eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver as little or as much power as needed. During track testing, the Rebel powered through the quarter-mile in 15.5 seconds and accelerated 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds. When it came time to rein in the 5,147-pound truck, the four-wheel disc brakes helped bring everything to a stop from 60 mph in 135 feet.
Prior to Pickup Truck of the Year testing, each judge was issued an official judging book, which included areas for the judges to grade vehicle criteria and log comments. With testing completed, the vehicle criteria data provided by the judges was combined with performance and other data to create a score for each vehicle. The scoring was weighted, prioritizing off-road performance. The five weighted categories included 30 percent Trail Performance, 20 percent Empirical (RTI, acceleration, braking, price, and so on), 20 percent On Pavement (handling, ride quality, steering feel, and so on), 15 percent Interior (instrumentation, ingress and egress, seat comfort, storage, and so on), and 10 percent Exterior (appearance, stance, body protection, and so on). When the calculations were complete, the Ram 1500 Rebel scored a decisive win and the title of 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year.
Stay tuned to fourwheeler.com for in-depth coverage of the 2019 Pickup Truck of the Year competition!