2023 Ram 2500 Rebel First Drive Review

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

We always hear about the all-important work-life balance. Apparently, so does Ram, at least going by this 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel.

The Rebel is new for this year and—if you buy Ram’s story—is meant for the person who digs a little more off-road action with their heavy duty pickup, but not full on Power Wagon levels of it. It slots into the lower half of the lineup, but offers more towing capability than its afore-mentioned big brother, or the Ram 1500 Rebel. Oh yeah, and there’s a diesel, too.

Is this the ideal do-everything choice for heavy duty buyers? Is it an attempt to fill every conceivable niche in a truck-loving market? We spent a day in the snow a little outside of Canada’s capital to find out.

Get a Quote on a New 2023 Ram 2500

Rebellious streak

The Rebel cherry-picks bits and pieces from the Power Wagon. There’s the locking differential for the truly gnarly stuff—but only on the rear axle. Ram’s tried-and-true front live-axle, five-link coil-spring rear suspension setup is here too, but the Rebel foregoes the trick detachable front roll bar. Tucked under the ample arches is a quartet of 33-inch tires, but they wrap 20-inch alloys, not 17-inch beadlock-capable items.

The Rebel isn’t defined by what it doesn’t have, though. It offers the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel as an option, something unavailable on the ‘Wagon. Outputs are 370 horsepower and a stump-pulling 850 pound-feet of torque, funnelled through a six-speed auto with a darned-tootin’ column shifter. Checking that particular box does mean no (optional) 12,000-pound Warn winch, however—not enough space with the diesel’s extra cooling—and reduced payload and towing figures. Stick to the 6.4-liter gas V8 and there’s 410 hp and 429 lb-ft, with Ram’s smooth shifting eight-speed auto and the rotary shifter.

Available only as a crew cab with the 76-inch bed, the Rebel further differentiates itself from the family with a unique Mopar hood. To these eyes, it’s a handsome rig, and similar enough to a 1500 that it doesn’t seem completely gargantuan—a feeling that’s reinforced behind the wheel.

Drives smooth, small(er)

As someone with little experience wheeling modern HD trucks around, I was initially apprehensive about piloting the 2500 Rebel around narrow country roads, especially ones with slush framing both sides. My concerns faded away after no more than a few minutes. Yes, you’re always aware of the righteous width of this big rig, the far front corner especially seeming a Messi-length kick away. Yet the elevated ride height, sizeable glasshouse, and big powered tow mirrors make it surprisingly easy to place on the road. More than that, the rear air suspension gives the Rebel a ride that is downright pleasant. Both my drive partner and I figure this rides far closer to a 1500 than anything else.

While the Cummins was on-site, I was only able to spend time with the Hemi. Power delivery is smooth and predictable, two important factors for an HD application. Ram sees a roughly even split between the engines with 2500 sales, and expects the Rebel to perform similarly. I’d be inclined to suggest the diesel solely for the mileage boost, but at almost five figures for the upgrade, I’m not so sure it’d recoup the cost at the pumps given current prices. More than that, the hit to towing (16,870 to 14,920 pounds) and payload (3,140 to 1,980 pounds) is another reason to stick with the V8.

There were no towing demonstrations to be had, but we did take the 2500 Rebel onto a fun, hour-long trail. Despite stiffer springs and the standard 2500 ride height, the Ram made short work of the admittedly modest challenge. What stood out was how much it could accomplish without even needing to engage 4Lo or the rear lockers. The 2500 clambered up hills, over rocks, and through streams without ever feeling anything less than completely in control. Under body skid plates keep the transfer case and fuel tank protected, which becomes extra important during the water crossings. While the Wrangler 392 lead vehicle can tip-toe over ice as the relative lightweight, the Rebels tear through like icebreakers. A flurry of softball-sized ice chunks could be a problem in a lesser rig; here, they just look cool.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Review: An Off-Road Beast—and a Hero

Healthy dose of useful tech

As more and more folks are adopting pickups as their family vehicles, the tech suite needs to reflect that. The latest Ram HD cabin does just that, with an available 12.0-inch touchscreen running the excellent Uconnect 5 system. Stellantis’ latest is quick to respond and pleasantly customizable, allowing owners to tailor the main screen to precisely their needs. Multiple user profiles means every driver gets their own setup, too. The touchscreen pairs with an upgraded digital instrument cluster, a classy display that can now show off a map—useful when our cell reception disappears in the brush.

For Rebel duty, buyers can spec a front camera to see over crests. There’s a digital mirror, too, one that can display multiple angles simultaneously. The latter even includes the (optional) auxiliary camera, which owners can attach to a trailer, outside or in, to get a clear view.

The 2500’s cabin is suitably cavernous. While a front bench seat is optional, our tester has the console, which is deep enough to lose items in. Ram’s cabins are the nicest in the class, and the Rebel is more of the same with classy textures and soft leather. The only real quibbles I have with it are the transmission tunnel bulge in the passenger footwell, and ultra-narrow side steps, which become even less useful in snowy weather.

Dollars and sense

Pricing for the 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel begins at $69,225 ($77,545 CAD) including destination. Buyers can then add a variety of options and packages on top of that, including but not limited to rear air suspension, leather seating, and safety and towing packages. Throw everything you can at the Rebel’s bottom line and it can start knocking at the door of $90,000 with the Cummins.

Across town, Ford will sell you an HD Tremor, which operates somewhere between the Rebel and Power Wagon in terms of off-road-worthiness. Similarly, GMC has the Sierra AT4. Both of the cross-town rivals offer front lockers, more ground clearance, and improved angles, not to mention the option of a 3500 truck. You’ll pay more for the privilege, though.

SEE ALSO: 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor Review: Diet Dino

Final Thoughts: 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel First Drive Review

Do I think the 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel hits the marketing mark, the one-stop-shop for the buyer who needs serious towing capability and the ability to go off-road? Sort of. While it’s comparatively good value, we’re still talking a nearly 80-grand pickup ($90,000 CAD), and someone dropping that amount of coin probably has something more suited to serious off-roading (read: smaller) as well.

“Need” is such a strong word. What the Rebel addresses is want, and it does that job well by sprinkling in added in-the-brush ability without sacrificing one of the primary tenets of heavy duty trucks: sheer hauling strength. That it does this while retaining excellent road manners not far removed from a Ram 1500, at a price that isn’t far off either, makes the latest Rebel another compelling offering from Ram.


How much does the 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel cost?

The heavy duty Rebel kicks off at $69,225 ($77,545 CAD).

When can you buy the 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel?

The latest member of the Ram family began showing up on dealer lots late fourth quarter 2022.

Does the 2022 Ram 2500 Rebel have a diesel engine?

Yes, the 6.7-liter Cummis turbo diesel is optional.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.


  • Smooth on-road character
  • Best cabin in class
  • Comparative value


  • Diesel is ultra pricey
  • Too big to be a dedicated off-roader
  • So thirsty
Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

More by Kyle Patrick

Join the conversation
 1 comment