Wednesday, February 8, 2023
First Reviews 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel First Drive Review: Heavy Duty Lifestyle

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel First Drive Review: Heavy Duty Lifestyle

For all the right reasons, the new 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel is a complete winner


  • Base pricing for the Ram 2500 Rebel is $75,700 in Canada.

  • The Rebel sits between the Big Horn and Power Wagon versions.

  • Frankly, the new Ram 2500 Rebel is the one version to get.


The term lifestyle has been carelessly thrown around for over a decade. Whenever an automaker launched a new vehicle, they’d attach the trendy term in the hopes that consumers would also want to be “trendy’ and buy their vehicles. Despite being overplayed, slapping the lifestyle label on the new 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel is an obvious move.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

I was chatting with a buddy of mine the day after I returned from driving the HD Rebel and was telling about his father’s 1979 Chevy Silverado K30 4×4 and how impossibly rough it rode on even the smoothest surface. This was after I’d recounted my on- and off-road adventure with the new 2500 HD Rebel and how unreasonably civilized the full-size truck behaved no matter the conditions. Clearly, serious work trucks have not only evolved, but they’ve also changed.


Rebel truck lifestyle

Trucks, in fact, have transformed from tools of the trade into all-encompassing vehicles. Truth is, there’s nothing a full-size truck cannot do. Be it a Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, or Ram 1500, they are capable of handling people, loads, cargo, trailers, and off-road trails, even if they generally do little more than drop the kids off at school and pick up groceries. Trucks have become a lifestyle choice and automakers have capitalized on the trend by introducing various trims. This trim strategy has now migrated to Ram’s heavy-duty trucks and it’s going to work.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Short of possibly wanting some high-end leather and wood indoors, and street-biased tires and chrome on the outside, the new 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel is the one version to get. Visually, it borrows from the 1500 Rebel and the 2500 Power Wagon with two-tone paint schemes, specific badging, and a sports performance hood from Mopar. The 20-inch wheels seen in the pictures and video are standard while 18-inch wheels will be optional. Either way, they are wrapped in 33-inch off-road tires (should be 35s…).


On- and off-road Rebel

The previous paragraph does not properly convey how attractive, read macho, the new 2500 HD Rebel looks. And speaking of tough-guy things, the Rebel bridges the gap between on- and off-road abilities. It features a unique off-road suspension, skid plates, a rear limited-slip differential, and a rear electronic locker. The suspension, which consists of Bilstein dampers, impressively handles all terrains, be they made by the hand of man or nature.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The on-road portion of the drive revealed a massive truck, on chonky Goodyear Duratrac Wrangler tires, that can comfortably be pushed harder than most drivers would ever dare. Let’s not pretend that the ride is cosseting – this truck is still designed to carry up to 3,140 lbs in the bed and tow 16,870 lbs – but a very long road trip would not send passengers to the chiropractor for adjustments.

The Ram 2500 HD’s secret is a five-link coil spring rear suspension configuration that not only keeps comfort levels and load-carrying capacities high, but provides extra articulation, and more than 13 inches of ground clearance. We took our gaggle of HD Rebels off-roading through some seriously challenging terrain and the short of it is that I’m here currently typing my life away and the trucks were all returned to base unscathed.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

As well, Ram offers an optional rear air suspension system that helps in every conceivable way and which was fitted to all tested units. It enhances ride quality, capabilities, and heck, it’ll even lower the rear bed to make loading and unloading that much easier.


Premium cabin

As always, Stellantis creates and puts together some of the finest interiors and that remains the case with the new 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel. As standard, the truck includes an 8.4-inch Uconnect display and a full battery of features. For a few bucks, your Big Rebel can be equipped with the latest 12-inch frameless digital gauge cluster, a 12-inch touchscreen display, and all of the latest active safety equipment.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Only offered in a crew cab configuration with a six-foot, four-inch box, passengers are treated to loads of room. As always, the rear bench flips up to reveal some valuable storage. Speaking of benches, the HD Rebel can be delivered with one of three different seating options including a cloth-covered front-row bench. Fancy truck buyers can opt for full Natura Plus leather front bucket seats. The Bristol leather bench, as found in our testers, was comfortable and supportive throughout our day of driving.


Power Wagon vs. Rebel

For the most part, these two versions of the 2500 HD are similar. Out of the box, both are powered by the 6.4-litre HEMI V8 engine. Its 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque mean that power is never an issue. With its 8-speed automatic transmission, the Ram surges forward with ease all the while making some fabulous noises.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Included with the PW, optional on the Rebel, a 12,000-LB WARN winch is what enables the Rebel to be optionally fitted with the incredible 370 horsepower and 850 lb.-ft. of torque 6.7-litre Cummins turbo-diesel inline-6-cylinder engine. Due to the latter’s extra cooling requirements, it cannot be installed up front at the factory. The Cummins’ extra torque is addictive, and I can’t be more in love with the 6-speed automatic transmission’s column shifter.

The other differences come down to the Ram Articulink suspension, which features a front disconnecting stabilizer bar, and Tru-Lok front and rear differentials which are included with the Power Wagon. The Rebel does without the front axle upgrades but this does not mean it cannot tackle harsh terrains.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Finally, there’s only about $3,000 that separates the two so the question comes down to hardcore off-roading or the possibility of selecting the Cummins. I’ve broken a Power Wagon off-roading in the past but have never managed to kill a Cummins, so I know which trim I’d select.


Rebel yell

Only seeing the new 2023 HD Rebel parked in front of our even hotel was enough to convince me that this is the best Ram 2500 version. Priced from $75,950, a righteously configured Rebel with the Cummins (almost $10k on its own) and a few goodies will easily set you back $100,000 but frankly, you’ll never want for anything else.

With the possible exception of not fitting in underground mall parking garages, the new 2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel will fit your lifestyle.

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Ram 2500 HD Rebel | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Trending Now

Mazda Promises the MX-5 Miata Will Outlive Us All

Today is a brighter day for us all. The MX-5 Miata was born in 1990 and will never die. For most, the Mazda MX-5,...

Nissan Brings Max-Out Digital Concept to Life

The virtual concept is now a steel one. Still not in production The EV Roadster is meant to bring attention to Nissan's future...

State Farm won’t Insure 15 Hyundai and Kia Models due to High Theft Rates

Many of the automaker’s models made between 2015 and 2021 don’t have an engine immobilizer. A TikTok challenge is at the origin of...

Ford Is Apparently Working on a More Powerful F-150 Lightning

The truck’s silhouette was shown alongside high-performance electric concepts. This suggests it could have an output of over 1,000 horsepower. A production version...

Bugatti Chiron Profilée Auctions for 9,7 Million Euro, Becomes Most Valuable New Car Ever

This is a one-of-one special edition of the Chiron which is the last Bugatti powered by a W16 engine ever. The €9,792,500 winning...
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.