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Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a Winchester Ram dealer.

When Everybody Else Conforms, Rebel With the Ram 1500 Rebel

Being a rebel is so rock ‘n’ roll, and if you think about it, so is off-roading. Sharing the mutual theme of defying expectations and breaking boundaries should place the Ram 1500 Rebel in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, where going against the grain is celebrated. For now, however, you will just have to look for the newest Ram 1500 Rebel at your local Ram dealer, a place where you can find legends of the road.

This off-roading rockstar is no newbie, rolling onto the scene some years back and becoming a favorite rather quickly. It received some competition within the Ram realm when the TRX barged into the line-up, but in my humble opinion, the Rebel is still a dream machine that may just nudge out the TRX. The 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel line-up confronts prospective buyers with a real Sophie’s choice, forcing them to decide if they want to hit the road in the electrifying Rebel Havoc Edition or shoot for the stars with the stellar Rebel Lunar Edition. Making such a decision has its rewards, though, allowing you to experience the thrill of hitting the trails like a Rebel.

Of course, there is always the option to stick with the original Rebel and forgo any special editions. This won’t leave you wanting, because the Rebel itself is where most of the radical features live. But then again, turning heads in the Havoc or the Lunar doesn’t sound half bad, either. Don’t worry; you don’t have to decide just yet.

A person is shown loading cargo into a red 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel.

The Performance Perks of Being a Rebel

The 2023 Ram 1500 comes standard with a Pentastar V6 engine. The V6 is a mild hybrid that uses eTorque technology for enhanced power and efficiency. The eTorque system is a bit of a secret weapon, working in the shadows to increase torque at take-off and provide improved fuel efficiency for what would normally be a bit of a gas guzzler. With a little bit of regenerative braking magic and an extra battery pack, the eTorque system can seamlessly operate the Ram’s eco-friendly Stop/Start technology while delivering near-instant torque for quicker take-offs.

The V6 is a tough act to follow––unless it is being followed by a HEMI V8. For a few extra G’s, adrenaline junkies can sway along to the not-so-soft rumblings of a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 complete with, you guessed it, eTorque. Where the V6 sees 273 lb-ft of torque and 305 horses, the V8 drops 410 lb-ft of torque and 395 hp. The eTorque system works its mystical magic by providing 130 lb-ft of supplemental launch torque in the V8 and 90 lb-ft in the V6, which is the previously mentioned take-off boost. Both the V6 and V8 are paired with a smooth and velvety eight-speed transmission.

To handle the power and inevitable demand on the Ram, the front and rear of the vehicle are equipped with performance-tuned shocks to absorb impacts from heavy hauling or intense trailblazing. As an added bonus, the Ram 1500 Rebel is modified with a lifted suspension and increased ride height, further cementing its destiny as the off-road legend it was designed to be. It is even fitted with meaty tires that feature cavernous tread for those gripping moments.

For a greater advantage, Rebel riders can choose to upgrade the suspension further with the Four Corner Air Suspension option. Select from five ride heights via a convenient little toggle in the cab. Drop it low for improved maneuverability and a bump in efficiency, or pop it up to tackle those monster obstacles. Air Suspension technology is neat because it doesn’t restrict you the way traditional suspension does. With Air Suspension, the truck adjusts to you, giving you what you need for improved ride comfort and performance.

The 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel 4×4 comes standard with Selec-Speed Control, which used to only be available on the TRX. When in use, Selec-Speed Control maintains a constant driving speed by manipulating the vehicle’s braking and torque output, allowing the driver to focus on the obstacles ahead. This is another great off-road feature, ideal for navigating tough terrain without having to split your attention.

It Wouldn’t Be a Truck Without a Little Towing

What is a truck that can’t tow? Well, that would be a car, and even though cars have a place, that place is not necessarily off-road. Whatever your reasons are for considering a truck, towing and hauling capacity matters. Maybe you want to tow a trailer for work or throw on a couple of quads for some weekend fun. Whatever the reason is, you need to have the capacity to do so.

This is where another tough choice has to be made for the prospective Ram Rebel owner––do you want to ride a 4×2 or a 4×4? This decision is made a bit easier if you consider your needs and intended use for your Ram. Although both options will be able to adequately handle towing, hauling, and off-roading, each has a specialty that makes it shine.

The 4×2 version can potentially tow more than its 4×4 counterpart. That means if you intend on using your Ram more for towing and hauling, the 4×2 will make more sense by providing increased capacities. The 4×2 option can tow up to 11,310 lbs, while the 4×4 comes in a little lower at 11,210 lbs. If you opt for the base V6 engine, then those numbers will be lower at 7,410 lbs for 4×2 and 7,190 lbs for 4×4.

On the flip side, a 4×4 truck is designed to better handle off-roading and even unfavorable on-the-road conditions. Even though the 4×4 option can’t quite keep up with its 4×2 sibling when it comes to towing and payload capacities, the 4×4 is the way to go for any serious off-roading plans. The 4×4 also gets slightly worse gas mileage, but I think the trade-off is fair for improved performance on the trails.

Add the Trailer-Tow Group package for some extra goodies that elevate the towing experience. Included in the package are a Trailer Brake-Controller, Trailer Light Check, Trailer Reverse Steering Control, and Trailer Tire Pressure Monitoring System. The most exciting feature in this bunch is Trailer Reverse Steering Control. It’s a pretty cool idea that involves a little automation.

A knob located near the main controls on the dash allows you to control the truck when you are reversing with a trailer. Simply turn the knob in the direction you want to go, and the truck will figure out whatever countersteering is needed to place the trailer where you want. Putting faith in your truck to steer itself may have seemed a little scary in the past, but self-driving cars aren’t too abnormal these days. As long as the truck doesn’t take over music controls, I think we’re good.

A red 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel is shown from the rear at an angle.

Will You Wreak Havoc or Go for a Lunar Take-off?

Okay, we are finally at the point where we discuss the two special editions that might just make your heart race. The Havoc rolls up dressed to the nines in Baja Yellow while the more subdued Lunar stuns in Ceramic Gray. Both options sport unique Rebel graphics and badging, along with a black grille and bumper for a very dramatic contrast.

Inside, drivers will find a cockpit straight out of a James Bond movie. Digitized performance pages put you hands-on with your vehicle’s stats, allowing you to customize what you see and control. The Havoc and Lunar will also treat occupants to a whole mess of luxuries since both editions offer Ram’s Level 2 Equipment Group. This includes extras like a Harman Kardon Premium Sound System with 19 speakers, Power and Heated Side Mirrors, Heated Seats, a Heated Steering Wheel, and so much more. These limited editions can get quite pricey, but their exclusivity and plain awesomeness might just be worth it to the few who can get their hands on one.

Don’t Fret, You Too Can Be a Rebel

With how limited the Havoc and Lunar Editions are, there is a strong chance that everyone who wants one won’t get one. But there is no need to fret because the 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel is still awesome, with or without the show-stopping Havoc overlay or mystically marvelous Lunar look. The Rebel is a truck that will let you make memories and have adventures. Whichever options you choose, you are in for a Rebel for a time.