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Entry price: $44,740

Price as tested: $71,305

Likes: Rebel looks, diesel fuel mileage, interior, off road ready.

Dislikes: Rebel line can get expensive due to pricey options.

This week, we’re driving the 2020 RAM 1500 pickup, delivered in Rebel Crew Cab 4x4 trim and packing a powerful 3.0-liter V6 Turbo EcoDiesel under the hood. 

These new RAM 1500 models appeared last year as part of the all-new series featuring a muscular front-end upgrade, suspension tweaks and more interior amenities. The RAM Classic models are also still available, starting at $28,200 in single cab, V6 design.  

There are seven RAM models to choose from for 2020, including the entry level rear drive Tradesman that starts at $32,145 while the 4x4 Tradesman begins at $35,645. Next in the pecking order are Big Horn and Lone Star (both starting at $39,490), Laramie ($43,590), Rebel ($44,740), Laramie Longhorn ($51,640) and Limited ($53,915). For 4x4 models, add approximately $3,000 to $3,500 more depending on trim. 

Our Rebel 4x4 Crew Cab carries a base price of $47,990 although options pushed the price way up. The most expensive option is the V6 Turbo EcoDiesel engine that adds $4,995 more to the bottom line. This workhorse diesel was previously unavailable in the Rebel trim and is now a Generation 3 version that delivers 260 horsepower and best-in-class 480 lb. ft. of torque. It couples to a heavy duty eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic with 3.92 gears, good for both acceleration and excellent fuel economy. EPA estimates are 21 city and 29 highway for 4x4 and 22 city and 32 highway for two-wheel-drive diesels.

And it’s the EPA fuel economy that is perhaps the most impressive “number” of all for RAM owners. Notably, this diesel drive train combination is built for the long run as most diesel owners usually put 250,000 miles or more on their RAM pickups. This allows the higher MPG fuel savings to immediately start offsetting the higher diesel price making for a great return on investment. 

Our Rebel also came with an optional 33-gallon fuel tank for $445 more that replaces the standard 26-gallon unit, assuring longer runs between refueling.

The Crew Cabs available in these new RAM pickups offer more rear legroom and larger rear doors. However, even though the lower price trims offer Quad Cabs with smaller rear doors, they do offer both the larger 6.4-foot box and smaller 5.7 box while sporty Rebel Crew Cabs only come in the 5.7-foot design. 

As for safety, all of the expected items are in place, be it standard or optional, making these big bruiser RAM models the ultimate, safety enhanced, people transporter. 

Every 2020 RAM Rebel Crew Cab 4x4 comes equipped with heavy duty off-road underpinnings that protects and assists while working hard at the quarry, going off-road camping or taking the kids to a ballgame. All the expected skid and protection plates come standard and the 18-inch aluminum wheels on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler raised white letter tires help in Rebel’s final muscular presentation. Also notable is the Rebel’s different front end grille design than the six other siblings.

Important numbers for the 4x4 Crew Cab include a wheelbase of 144.6 inches, 5,785-pound curb weight, 12,560-pound tow capacity and an 8.7-inch ground clearance. 

The optional bed/box multi-function tailgate features deserve extra praise, so make sure you check it out when you visit your RAM dealer.

RAM Rebel 4x4 is one awesome truck. It’s not cheap with the EcoDiesel engine, but once you’re on the road enjoying all the features I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it’s a very special pickup. 

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.


Auto Bits

Ultimate pickup status symbol a 1949 rebuild

The ultimate pickup status symbol has arrived, and it’s a 71-year-old Dodge Power Wagon, America’s first mainstream four-wheel-drive pickup and brother to the Dodge military trucks that carried men and weapons in every theater of World War II.

Legacy Classic Trucks has a hand-built classic — for $350,000. 

Legacy specializes in “resto-mods” of classic four-wheel-drive trucks. The vehicles are rebuilt with modern engines and some conveniences. Power Wagon No. 108 is a reworked 1949 model with a twin-turbo Cummins diesel engine and a raft of features unimagined when the pickup was new.

Nearly 7 feet tall and with a 144-inch wheelbase, the 108th Power Wagon conversion began with a 1949 chassis and rides on 40-inch Toyo tires — from a plant in Georgia. Every part is made in the U.S.

The Power Wagons can cruise at 80 mph on the highway and tow an 8,000-pound trailer. Top speed is 100 mph, though it’s hard to imagine many people have the nerve to hit triple figures in a 3½-ton vehicle with its roots in the 1940s.

Each Legacy Power Wagon truck is hand-built to order by a staff of about 12 in a 10,000 square-foot facility in Driggs, Idaho. 

Mark Phelan/Detroit Free Press


Did You Know

The longest distance ever covered in the 24 hours of Le Mans was 5,410.713 km (397 laps) by the Audi R15+ TDI in 2010 for Germany.