2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12: A Year of Many Ups and Few Downs
2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 Crew Cab long-term report 4 of 4.
If we had to sum up our year with the Ram 1500 Rebel 12 in one word, it would be "incredible." We couldn't have been more impressed with the Ram 1500 Rebel 12. It is the perfect mix of luxury, tech, comfort, capability, and reliability. In fact, other than scheduled service, the Ram had no issues during its stay (although there were a few minor recalls that the dealer took care of during scheduled maintenance).
Overall the Rebel proved itself an exceptional family hauler that was ready for a weekend of warrioring whenever the spirit moved us. It was impressively quiet around town, and one would never guess this truck came with aggressive tires and a commensurate amount of off-highway capability. The responsive 5.7L Hemi V-8 forever had gobs of torque on tap, and the eight-speed automatic was fantastic at selecting gears, if a little too soft-shifting for our tastes. We loved the tremendous amount of interior space, interior storage cubbies, and overall amenities, plus the Ram Boxes made the truck just that much more flexible (ever go to the grocery store with the entire family and realize there was no room for the grocery bags inside the cab?).
The biggest compliment about the Rebel 12 may have come from our significant other, who stated this was her favorite test vehicle we'd ever brought home. We think it's the incredible ride that won her over, or maybe the fact that a toddler in a front-facing seat in the back wasn't close enough to kick the rear of the front seats.
The Rebel is not a typical sticker and badge package and offers real performance out of the box, in part because of the really well-tuned Bilstein monotube shocks, complete with piggyback reservoirs on the rears. We intentionally ordered our Rebel 12 with the steel springs because we think the suspension works better for aggressive off-road driving and gives a more compliant highway ride. In addition to the Bilsteins the Rebel has useable tow hooks, full skidplating, aggressive 33-inch Goodyear Duratrac tires, hill descent control and an electronic rear locker. As long as we stayed aware of its size and low rockers, we were able to take it just about anywhere we ever wanted to go.
Now, if off-roading isn't your main use and you are more focused on towing and hauling, the height-adjustable and load-leveling air suspension makes a lot of sense. Despite not having the load-leveling suspension, we found our Rebel was competent and composed with a trailer in tow. The integrated trailer brake controller worked flawlessly, as did tow/haul mode, and the 3.92 final drive gearing provided plenty of twist to the ground. We also opted for the larger 33-gallon fuel tank, which allowed us a range that outlasted our Big Gulps.
While the exterior design is handsome and modern, and the platform solid and capable, the interior is the real star of the show. With the Rebel 12 packages comes supple leather thrones and the gorgeous 12-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, along with SiriusXM with 360L. We found the materials and fit and finish to be noteworthy, and that the interior, despite its luxurious leanings, wore well during our test. Other notable interior features included active noise cancellation, a panoramic sunroof, and in-floor storage. The only thing about the interior that is controversial is the shifter knob, but we got used to it and appreciated the cavernous center console space that is open because of the shifter location.
If there were any negatives during our year with the Rebel 12, it was an HVAC system that was slow to cool the interior on days above 100 degrees and an "auto" setting that left us wondering what it was doing at times. We also turned off our over-aggressive rear brake assist that would slam on the brakes when backing into parking spaces or our driveway, startling passengers and onlookers alike. Lastly, the sole 12-volt outlet sits on top of the dash, making it inconvenient for running fridges or accessories beyond a radio or radar detector. Ram really needs to consider adding an additional one at the back of the center console or even in the Ram Box.
With those arguably minor shortcomings aside, our Rebel 12 stood out as one of the most impressive pickups we've ever tested, solidifying it as out 2019 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year winner. With a year of seat time behind us, we can without reservation recommend the Ram 1500 if you are in the market for a new pickup. Short of a Raptor or upcoming TRX, the Rebel has the most comprehensive off-road package in the half-ton space, and when you combine that with the all the technology and steadfast reliability, you have a truck that is ready to win over any half-ton buyers willing to give it a look.
REPORT: 4 OF 4
Base price: $47,990
Price as tested: $62,035
Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time, electronically controlled, two-speed
OPTIONS AS TESTED:
Billet Silver Metallic paint ($200), Bed Utility Group ($450), Rebel 12A ($2,495), Level 2 Equipment Group ($3,000), 5.7L Hemi V-8 with MDS and VVT ($1,395), Panoramic Sunroof ($1,495), Deployable Bed Step ($195), Rear Wheelhouse Liners ($195), 33-gallon Fuel Tank ($495), Blind Spot with Cross-Path Protection ($595), Ram Box Cargo Management System ($995), Trailer Brake Controller ($295), Spray-in Bedliner ($595), Destination Charge ($1,695)
Miles to date: 13,830
Miles since last report: 3,765
Average mpg (this report): 13.25
Test best tank (mpg): 17.83
Test worst tank (mpg): 11.20
This period: Scheduled maintenance
Problem areas: None
WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT:
Hot: Build quality, Reliability, Capability, Comfort, and Tech
Not: Not much
"The dealer notified me of a couple of recalls we weren't aware of. They tightened the windshield wiper arm, updated the radio software, and inspected the driver's floormat, none of it a big deal."
"Several times I thought I lost my wallet only to find it hiding in some dark recess of the massive center console bin."
"My wife is now a self-professed Ram fan. This coming from a woman who likes her sport sedans."
"It's worth noting that the occasional hard restarts of the 12-inch system early on seem to have been solved by the latest software update."
"One thing about the big panoramic sunroof and sliding rear window is that you can make some really questionable hauling decisions when you have things that are too long for the short bed."