RAM has two off-road truck offerings in its lineup: the Rebel and Power Wagon. While the huge three-quarter-ton Power Wagon towers over the half-ton Rebel they have a lot of similarities. To top it off both are priced somewhat in the same ballpark. The Power Wagon starts at $53,250 while the Rebel starts at $44,490.
Both are 4×4 trucks that are built to be durable, with hill descent control, skid plates, rear lockers, big front tow hooks, 33-inch AT tires wrapped on 17-inch wheels and four-corner coil suspension with Bilstein off-road-tuned shocks perfect for the offroad adventure.
They both are offered with big V8 Hemi power, though with very different motors. Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a heavy-duty truck and Ram 1500 Rebel is a light-duty truck with different engines, exterior, interior, off-road features, and towing capabilities.
Engine and Towing Capability Comparison
The Rebel provides four engine options that include a base V6, a big V8, and more. It comes with the standard 305-horsepower 3.6L V6, or you can choose the 260-horsepower 3.0L turbodiesel, a 395-horsepower 5.7L V8, or the 395-horsepower 5.7L V8 with eTorque. The final engine option is a mild hybrid setup that could deliver strong power and could get an EPA-estimated 19 mpg combined.
The 2020 Ram 1500 Rebel also comes in a wide range of configurations as a two-wheel or four-wheel drive. You also have the option for short or long beds and crew or quad cabs. It is the more off-road focused trim among the lot and the very first one available with a diesel engine. Paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission it offers 8 percent more torque and 14 percent more horsepower than the previous generation of the EcoDiesel and all that makes it ideal for towing with a maximum tow capacity of 12,560 pounds.
And what’s more exciting is when you take the Rebel off-road. You won’t need a heavy foot on the accelerator any more for a light touch could deliver plenty of low-end torque that is enough to overcome obstacles in climbing over uneven terrain, as it allows high acceleration in low gears. It also has thermal control for superb durability and efficiency.
Its Thermal Management System optimizes fluid temperatures for optimal efficiency and durability.
The Power Wagon is a much larger truck than the Rebel in every way, and that also equates to more capacity. It has the capacity of carrying a 3,987-pound load, which is more than twice the capacity of the Rebel. The Power Wagon also has an impressive 19,780 pounds towing capacity, which is at least 7,030 pounds over that of the Rebel’s. It also comes standard with large, high-quality adjustable tow mirrors that makes towing easy. However, that makes the already-huge truck a bit wide when off road.
The heavy-duty Ram 2500 Power Wagon only comes with one engine option which is a larger 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine. The 6.4L engine yields best-in-class 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. But sadly, there are no diesel options for the Power Wagon unlike the Rebel.
The taller springs and chunky 33-inch-tall Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires of the Power Wagon add about two inches more ground clearance totalling 14.2 inches. It also sits tall and proud on its black 17-inch wheels, being able to drive through 30.0 inches of water.
More importantly the Power Wagon has electronic-locking front and rear Tru-Lok differentials, and it engages an electronically disconnecting front sway bar that gives way for 26 inches of wheel travel keeping the truck from tipping over when having to go over large rocks.
Within Power Wagon's front and rear live axles an electronically locking differential can be found with 4.10:1 gears. Lock the differentials and there isn't much terrain this truck isn’t able to handle. Moreover, a two-speed, four-wheel-drive transfer case with a steep 2.64:1 low-range setting makes it easily claw its way up steep grades with just a little wheel spin.
To secure better durability the Power Wagon's rear axle is strengthened up with thicker axles and a larger 11.5-inch ring gear. Ram also added an extra joint to the front suspension located at the upper axle mount called Articulink. The Power Wagon has 26.0 inches of front wheel articulation and that together with the fact that it has the only electronically disconnecting front anti-roll bar in the class makes it stand out among its competition. The Power Wagon also has a standard 12,000-pound Warn winch behind its front bumper making it a serious piece of equipment. The new Ram 2500 Power Wagon is also the only truck in its class with factory-installed winch, which is a new synthetic line that won’t fray and is rated up to 5,443 kg. These qualities of the Power Wagon added up greatly improve the Power Wagon’s off-road capabilities.
The Ram 1500 comes Best-in-Class aerodynamics as an efficiency model through engineering. Its elevated hood improves air deflection from the wiper area, as its sculpted roof design directs the air to the rear spoiler. The truck gets a .357 drag coefficient combined with its active aerodynamic features. The model also has an Active Air Dam. An active front air dam exclusive in the class automatically extends downward 2.5 inches to help reduce drag as the truck approaches 48 KM per hour. It comes standard on the Ram 1500 Rebel and Ram 1500 models that are not equipped with the available Active-Level Four Corner Air Suspension also exclusive in the class.
The Power Wagon's exterior on the other hand is more rounded than it has ever been before, but it retains its attitude through its black-grilled treatment, old-school retro graphics dating back to the W150 model of the late 1970s and its muscular fender flares. The retro graphics came as of the optional Macho appearance package back in the day, and they've been a significant part of the Power Wagon's cool factor since Ram has reintroduced the scheme in 2017.
The Power Wagon also comes standard with skidplates and powder-coated bumpers. Its body panel protection is light, however, for a vehicle with this level of off-road capability. Its 149.3-inch wheelbase falls short and might as well be a mile long. The rocker panels are also hazardously exposed despite the vehicle's 22-degree breakover angle.
But overall, the Ram 1500 Rebel and Ram 2500 Power Wagon look quite similar. Both trucks have projector headlamps with black bezels, black accents with the RAM logo on both their grille and their tailgate. Both trucks are also only available as four-door crew cabs, but since the Ram 1500 Rebel is a light-duty truck, it is a little bit on the small side compared to the heavy-duty Ram 2500 Power Wagon.
The heavy duty Power Wagon now shares much of its interior design with Ram 1500 and that only means its cabin is now about as nice as you'll find in a pickup. It features a massive 12.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, a surround-view camera system, a heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats. The Power Wagon maintains quietness, too. There's only little wind noise that could make its way inside and a slight hum coming from its edgy all-terrain tires. The 12.0 Uconnect Touchscreen comes with Navigation, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and split screen capability (meaning you can operate two different applications at the same time). The Power Wagon also comes standard with a plush black leather interior and a single-pane sunroof. It comes standard with an Alpine audio system with the option to upgrade to a 750-watt Harman Kardon Audio System with 16 speakers and an 8-inch subwoofer. The available 360° Surround View Camera comes in especially handy when mapping the best path to take on unfamiliar terrain. The Power Wagon has smooth black leather interior
The Rebel on the other hand has a 12-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar, full length reconfigurable center console and comes in standard vinyl/cloth bucket seats with tire-tread mesh inserts. The Premium cloth is in black and ruby red. The Laser-engrained machine-finished dark ruby red accents throughout the interior gives the cabin a distinctive appearance with a rugged feel.
It also has a 60/40 rear split-bench seat and 115-volt outlet and three USB ports. Its key features include Heated Steering Wheel, 8.4″ Touchscreen Display, single disc remote CD Player, Media Hub-2 USB, Full Funct/Chg Only, integrated Center Stack Radio, power adjustable pedals, Parksense Ft/Rr Park Assist w/Stop and Remote Start System.
The centre console arrangement makes way for a lot of usable space. It’s huge and is able to store anything from bags, drinks, equipment and cameras with ease. The sliding tray in the middle can hold cups and it even has phone holders. It’s a well-thought design of a versatile storage area.
There are also two spots to hold a smartphone with space for a charging cord as well right upfront. You can secure your phone in place as it allows you to plug into one of four USB ports. With four ports at the back it comes with a total of eight ports, four of which are USB-C.
Safety and Security
The Ram 1500 Rebel has Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go using sensors to detect objects in its path. If the road ahead is clear then the set speed is kept. And when slower traffic is detected, the system automatically adjusts to pre-selected distance with the use of throttle control and also limited braking. The feature will also bring the vehicle to a full stop when necessary. All you have to do is press the resume button or tap the accelerator pedal and Speed Control will re-engage as traffic begins to move.
In addition, Ram 1500 Rebel also has Electronic Stability Control (ESC) built to help prevent loss of control by insufficient traction when towing. ESC retains control of the brakes and the engine power in the truck to help regain directional control. Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM) is another advanced technology to help keep the vehicle centered, especially during towing. It calculates potential for wheel lift during tight turns and then automatically lessens engine power and applies the brakes. Lastly, the Rebel also has Hill Start Assist for when the vehicle is stopped in gear on a steep grade. This allows the system to automatically maintain brake pressure for a bit as you make the switch from braking to accelerating.
The Power Wagon on the other hand also has its own set of safety and security features. It has an available Class Exclusive Adaptive Forward Lighting System with crisp LED lighting. The lights turn up to 15 degrees to help with nighttime visibility. Its Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking aids in warning the driver when an accident is imminent. The feature automatically applies the brakes to come to a complete halt in case the driver has no action, even when a trailer is attached.
The vehicle also has a feature called Adaptive Cruise Control that helps in maintaining a proper distance from vehicles in the lane ahead, as set by the driver. When traffic is slower the 2020 Ram 2500 also automatically adjusts its speed all the way down to 0 mph irregardless if the trailer is attached. And with dual wide-band radar sensors found in the taillamps the available Blind Spot Monitoring feature scans the blind spot zones behind the truck to help ensure safe maneuvering as it automatically senses and accounts for the length of the trailer. Lastly, Power Wagon buyers also have the option to get the PARKSENSE Front and Rear Park Assist which are sensors built within the front bumper and rear lower valance to take the guesswork out of parking and ease the maneuver in tight spaces. A graphic display reflected on the instrument cluster guides the driver of the proximity of nearby objects.
Overall, the Rebel and the Power Wagon both have much to offer for off-roading enthusiasts, but the Rebel will always be the better choice if you want the off-road capability without sacrificing comfortable everyday driving. But if you seriously want a big boy that can tow big loads with all the off-road accessories you could ever want then go for the heavy duty Power Wagon.