Sept 24, 2020
By Glen Konorowski
Editor’s Note: Our Cars on Board column has been taking you for a spin in cars and trucks that we feel are suited to the needs of boaters. That could be getting to your boat, towing it, hauling gear – that sort of thing.
Unfortunately COVID has generally prevented our pros from getting test vehicles. Persistent and brave, Glen Konorowski has managed to arrange safe testing in a limited way. This is the first of our re-initiated series.
There was a time when you could never expect to get good fuel economy with a full-sized pickup. But with the advancements in technology you can have a big pickup with capable towing ability that still delivers decent mileage when you are not towing. Welcome to the Dodge Ram 1500 Rebel Quad Cab Four-Wheel-Drive.
If you have ever looked at pickups you know they come in a lot of variations. The Rebel is the new blacked out style of the Dodge Ram series. My test truck was the 1500 model with the four doors and 4X4. What makes this Ram a little different is that it optioned out with the all-new 3L V6 Turbo diesel engine.
As most of us know diesels have been around a long time and for the most part, they engines that have been more suited to big trucks than pickups but this new generation of diesels from Dodge is much more refined than those of the past. First off, they are quite unlike previous diesels; for the most part you won’t know it is a diesel riding inside – they don’t have the traditional “clickety-clack” sound of the older generations of engines. Secondly, they don’t puff smoke out the back like the older models. They behave like a smooth gas engine and generally operate like their Hemi engine counterparts from Dodge.
The V6 Turbo in this truck is rated at 260hp@3600rpm and a stump pulling 480lb.ft. torque @1600rpm. What this means is that the power comes on low, so when towing your boat, you have an easy time of pulling up the ramp or out of the drive in a timely fashion. This Dodge Ram Rebel is also equipped with Hill Descent that allows for panic free driving while going down those long hills with your boat in tow. Also, standard is Hill Assist locking the brakes until the driver accelerates, a feature I did like. An optional feature is the E-Lock differential, which gives you the option of limited-slip differential in the rear axle for better traction. As well the Rebel had the optional “shift on the fly” transfer case.
The interior of the Rebel I tested was top notch, as there was plenty of room for five people. The seats were comfortable both front and rear and the fronts were easy to adjust to find a comfortable position for long trips, a real plus I might add. In the back-seat area, there was plenty of room and more comfortable seating. Our test truck had the optional leather seats plus heated fronts. The instrument panel was precise with easy to read gauges.
One new and exclusive feature of the truck was the very-handy-for-gear split opening tailgate. You can choose to open it conventionally in the flat drop position or open the gate side to side in two sections. A few of my neighbors and my daughter commented how convenient this feature is as you can place items at the back of the bed without having to slide items over the drop-down gate. I used the side the side opening gate to load some heavy sails, and I have to admit it was easy to load and unload. This option is well worth looking into.
Two standard features worth noting on our test Dodge Rebel were the Electronic Stability control and the Electronic Roll Mitigation. Fortunately, I never had to experience any of these features when towing the boat trailer for a friend. A plus – the Rebel models come with standard 7-pin wiring harness for better wiring for you boat trailer.
If I were in the market for a full-sized truck the Dodge Rebel would be in the top trucks that I would consider. The dual opening tailgate is a great option that I loved. This very well equipped Dodge Rebel Quad Cab 4X4 is comparably priced with the competition, at $79,800 (our test vehicle). If you like the blacked-out look long equipment list it’s well worth a look.
Glen Konorowski is a life long automotive enthusiast and automotive journalist for 35-years. He also claims to be former Commodore of the Monty Carlo Yacht Club!