Finally, Ram builds its own diesel-powered, off-road truck
Not wanting to let Chevy and Ford steal all the heavy-duty truck love this week, Ram announced a new model for its three-quarter-ton Ram 2500 HD truck at the State Fair of Texas. Meet the 2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel, a ‘tweener off-road-focused truck that gives buyers access to a few key options in the Ram portfolio.
The Rebel HD’s biggest selling point is that it grants buyers access to the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel straight-six as an option, which in standard output form (the variant available here) produces 370 horsepower and a whopping 850 lb-ft of torque. The standard mill is Ram’s workhorse 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, which is good for 410-hp and 429 lb-ft of torque (and the only engine you can get in the even more capable Ram 2500 Power Wagon.) Opt for the Cummins, and you’ll net a six-speed automatic in place of the six-four’s ZF eight-speed.
Loads of off-road tech comes standard on the Rebel HD, including a five-link coil suspension at all four corners, plenty of underbody skid plating, a limited-slip rear diff with electronic locking capability, and 33-inch off-road tires. Off-road equipment-wise, it differs from the Power Wagon in a few important ways: You can’t get a front locker on the Rebel HD, nor can you get the electronic front sway bar disconnect, even though the two brutes share the same 9.25-inch axle up front and 11.5-inch axle out back.
Choice is everything with the Rebel HD; Opt for the Cummins, and you’ll have to do without the 12,000-lb winch in the front bumper, something the gasser will get. If you’re towing or hauling often but occasionally need to venture off the beaten path, a rear air suspension system is optional. Properly equipped with the Cummins, the Rebel HD can tow up to 16,870 lbs—the Power Wagon, by contrast, can only tow up to 10,440 lbs.
The 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel HD will be available exclusively as a crew-cab model with the 6-foot, four-inch box, and will start with an MSRP of $68,940 including destination. Interested in getting your hands on this Power Wagon-lite? Ram says they’ll be available starting in the fourth quarter of this year.
This is the first time the Rebel badge has been affixed to the heavy-duty truck, although a Ram 1500 Rebel has been around since 2015. On the half-ton, the Rebel badge has always meant a mild off-road upgrade—locking rear diff, some body armor, off-road tuned suspension, knobby tires—and it’s the same story for the HD.
There are other ways to get a Cummins in a serious off-roading Ram: American Expedition Vehicles makes a beast called the Prospector, which is based on the Ram 2500/3500. It features new suspension, massive 37-inch tires, new bumpers front and rear, more body armor, and a host of other add-ons, but the packages costs minimum $15,987, plus the cost of your donor truck.
The biggest deal with the Rebel HD is that you can finally get a factory-backed off-roader with the Cummins, which a lot of folks will probably want for hauling big campers and off-road toys deep into the deserts of Moab and other places. Expect this to be a popular configuration.
I wish they could tone down the over styled nose on these things. Otherwise it’s a good truck. Still scared on Dodge/RAM quality though.