The 2023 Ram HD 2500 Rebel Made Me Feel Like A Child

February 14th, 2023 at 3:27pm

2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel front three-quarters

I’ve never felt more like a child trying to get into a vehicle than like with the 2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel. And I think that’s saying something considering I’m 6’4” and have long legs. But this truck is huge.

Based on the Ram Heavy Duty, the 2500 Rebel features a unique suspension setup, Bilstein shocks, knobby off-road tires and no side step. I’ve driven big trucks like this before, but they’ve all had a side step. Without one the cabin looks comically far off the ground. In the morning when leaving for work I typically have a bag in hand with the day’s breakfast and sometimes lunch. I’ll usually just slide into a vehicle with everything in my hands and pockets. But with the 2500 Rebel I was tossing everything up into the center console before hoisting myself into the truck. There’s nothing like getting stabbed in the hip by your cell phone.

2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel wheel

It really is something of a task getting into this truck, but once you’re inside you metamorphosize into a new person. I’ll often hear people criticize buyers who get an off-road leaning vehicle, most of the time it’s a Jeep, but never take it off road. So, what’s their motivation for buying a vehicle like that? The same people who criticize will typically say it’s “knowing” you can go practically anywhere. But I think this is wrong. I think it has to do more with the “feeling” you get driving a truck like the 2500 Rebel. Not only do you feel like you can go anywhere, you feel like you can do anything. It’s like you’re riding on top of the world – peering down into nearly every vehicle around you. And I instantly started thinking if there were any stumps I knew that needed ripping out or maybe a project around the house that required a trip to the lumber yard. That wasn’t the case but the truck could’ve handled it if I wanted to.

2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel rear

But there’s always a downside to off-road-ability. And that’s ride and handling on paved roads. The 2500 Rebel comes with an exclusive five-link coil design, rear limited slip differential and rear electronic locker. I’ll admit the setup provided a surprisingly less trucky feel than I thought it would in most driving scenarios but that’s not the case at high speed. During a trip into downtown Detroit it felt like a giant person was dribbling the front end down the freeway like a basketball.

Maneuverability is also an issue with large vehicles. And this always feels like a big truck. The turning radius is not that great – several times I felt like I was in the movie Austin Powers – which can make parking quite the hassle.

2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel front three-quarters

Visibility can be another problem, but Ram tried to mitigate this by displaying a feed from cameras mounted in the side-view mirrors on the center screen. So, anytime you turn on the turn signal, you get a camera feed looking toward the back of the truck. Turn right you see down the right side. Turn left you see down the left side. It’s helpful in everyday driving, but I’ve got to imagine the real advantage is when towing.

The 2500 Rebel comes with two powertrains; a 6.4L Hemi V8 is standard and there’s an available 6.7L Cummins diesel. We drove the V8, and when you factor in the huge hood bulge, this looks and sounds like a vehicle out of the Grand Theft Auto video game. The 410 horsepower engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic.

2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel front three-quarters

The 2023 Ram Heavy Duty 2500 Rebel is on sale now and pricing starts at just under $70,000, including destination charges.

–Sean McElroy

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