2022 Ram 1500 Rebel Review – Li’l Red Imperial Express

November 15, 2022 2:43 PM
Quick Facts

2022 Ram 1500 Rebel G/T Crew Cab 4×4


5.7-liter V8 (395 hp at 5,600 rpm, 410 lb-ft at 3,950 rpm)


Eight-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive

Fuel economy, MPG

18 city / 22 highway / 19 combined (EPA Rating)

Fuel consumption, l/100km

13.4 city / 10.5 highway / 12.1 combined. (NRCan rating)

Base price

$55,690 US / $70,190 CAN

As tested

$75,560 US / $82,805 CAN

Prices include a $1,795 destination fee in the United States and $1,895 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and cannot be directly compared due to cross-border equipment differences.

Step back in time to the 1970s with me and imagine yourself in a boardroom in Highland Park, Michigan. Chrysler’s marketers and advertising copywriters responded to the trend of personal luxury vehicles with the Cordoba at the time. Ricardo Montalbán had rubbed everyone into a rich Corinthian lather, all but assuring buyers that good times and sexy time were just a signature away at the local Chrysler dealership.

In another room, the Dodge truck folks were trying to compete with rivals from all over the city. Adding accessories and other gadgets to the D-series pickup created what was known as the “Adult Toys” range – including the black/gold Warlock model, as well as the chimney-equipped Li’l Red Express. These factory customs recognized that people didn’t buy trucks just for work—and partially anticipated the explosion of the truck market to come.

But Khan himself could never have envisioned anything like the 2022 Ram 1500 Rebel – a four-wheel drive, five-passenger truck that drives better than the finest Chryslers and Imperials, while handling trucking duties better than any disco-era Dodge.

Let’s take a look at the G/T nomenclature. I’ve ranted in the past about the terrible misuse of the Grand Touring term, originally intended for crossing wide stretches of roadway quickly and smoothly. Not for a sporty version of a large truck. Ram’s G/T trim takes some visual cues from the Hellcat-powered TRX—specifically, metal pedal caps, a console-mounted shifter and paddle shifters—and adds G/T logos to the bucket seats. Of these features, the console shifter is perhaps the most appreciated. While I prefer the remote shift selector button on the dash of most Ram trucks – it frees up console space for whatever console space you need – I know that many truck buyers over the years have preferred a console shifter.

Front or back, the interior of the Ram 1500 Rebel is a great place to spend some time. Having tripped in an Aries with my family in the recent past – I have heard absolutely no complaints about the accommodations. The leather/vinyl seats here feel sturdy enough for a work truck yet soft enough to impress. With the optional electrically adjustable pedals I find a comfortable sitting position without any problems. And the portrait 12-inch center screen is one of the best, most intuitive user interfaces in any vehicle anywhere. UConnect is a real pleasure to use.

Even if not equipped with the optional air suspension found here, the coil-sprung rear suspension on the Ram makes ride control superior to leaf-sprung trucks. The airbags, however, make things even more luxurious – allowing for variation in ride height for different driving conditions. Jack it up for off-road, lower it for aerodynamic on-road or easy entry.

Take a look at the Fast Facts panel at the top of your screen. Do you notice anything strange with those prices? Yes, whoever specified this truck for the media fleet had a lot of fun clicking checkboxes. That’s nearly $20,000 worth of options on top of a basic 4WD crew cab truck. The options seen here include:

  • $1,095 for the heads-up display and rear-view mirror camera
  • $595 for heated rear seats, wireless phone charging and a power tailgate release
  • $2,995 for the G/T package with a cold air intake, more power adjustments on the seats, ventilated front seats (perfect for blowing farts at the kids in the back), power adjustable pedals, and the console switch
  • $3,200 for the Rebel Level 2 (2 Rebel 2 Furious) includes Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, power folding mirrors and a remote starter
  • $550 for the triple tonneau
  • $1,805 for the nice air suspension
  • $2,095 for UConnect 5 on the 12-inch center display
  • $2,795 for the eTorque stop-start Hemi motor.

Some fat can be trimmed there if you choose a Ram 1500 for yourself, but for $75,000 you get a really great truck that will take you comfortably down the road, loaded or unloaded. Equipped with the eTorque mild-hybrid Hemi and a 3.92 rear axle ratio, this Ram 1500 can tow 11,200 pounds or a payload of 1,800 pounds.

And it doesn’t look bad either. Sure, Ram expects buyers to see the resemblance between the Rebel and the big money TRX. I don’t like the inverted horseshoe look of the upper grille – but when done in this matte black, paired with matching front and rear bumpers – it’s subtle enough to look great.

I don’t need a truck in my life. However, there are many times when having a truck in my driveway would make suburban life a little easier. I’d like to think that if the time comes when I sign a huge note on a pickup truck, I’d be rational about my real needs and not compare spec-for-spec down to the milligram of payload. But some truck buyers like to measure their, ahem, specs – and while others may put those extra pounds and pounds/feet on paper, the 2022 Ram 1500 is simply the nicest full-size half-ton to live with on a daily basis.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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