It’s fitting we’re standing next to a lava red 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel in Cinder Hills just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, seeing how a volcanic eruption created this whole area almost a thousand years ago. We tap a boot against one of the Rebel’s 33-inch Toyo Open Country tires, letting ash fall back onto the black hills, before climbing back into the Rebel’s cab and cranking over its 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.
The Ram 1500 Rebel, while available exclusively as a crew cab model with a 5-foot, 7-inch bed, can be had with either a 3.6-liter V-6 or a 5.7-liter V-8. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that doesn’t benefit from hill-descent control, which means we have to use the two buttons on the steering wheel to keep the truck in first gear as we ease down the black hills toward a gravel-covered grade.
As the ground climbs, loose gravel gets tossed around by the Toyo tires, which are digging the rear end into the ground as they try to put down 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The V-8-equipped Rebels come standard with rear-wheel drive, but thankfully this one has the optional four-wheel drive. We put the transfer case in four-high and gently reapply the throttle, easing toward the dormant volcano in the distance.
The Ram 1500 Rebel’s air suspension, coupled to Bilstein dampers, soaks up ruts as we watch the GPS’s altimeter click toward 8,000 feet. Pointed straight up toward the sky, we crane our neck to peer over the Rebel’s bulged hood, hoping to get a glimpse of flat land. As we tip over the summit’s crest, we see white-capped mountain peaks and dense green forests. We put the transfer case in four-low for our descent, entering nearby woods just as a heavy blanket of snow comes down. The pure white snow gives way to thick brown mud as we charge down the trail, the big Toyos clearing slop from their tread blocks as we go.
2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Specifications
|Engine:||3.6L DOHC 24-valve V-6/305 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 269 lb-ft @ 4,175 rpm; 5.7L OHV 16-valve V-8/395 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm|
|Layout:||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 4WD truck|
|EPA Mileage:||17/25 mpg (V-6), 15/22 mpg (V-8) city/hwy|
|Suspension F/R:||Control arms, air springs/multilink, air springs|
|Brakes F/R:||Vented disc/disc|
|Tires F/R:||285/70R-17 Toyo Open Country|
|L x W x H:||229.0 x 79.4 x 75.3-79.1 in|
|Cargo Room:||50.3 cu ft|
|Towing Capacity:||10,150 lb|