Mountain Wheels: New Ram Rebel with powerful six-cylinder turbo engine

While the exterior appearance and off-road power have not changed, under the hood of the 2015 Ram Rebel is a new turbocharged six-cylinder engine.
Ram/Photo courtesy

As you've probably noticed, the automotive world has been on an exciting rollercoaster ride over the past few years – stratospheric horsepower numbers colliding with electric vehicle austerity measures and everything in between.

The most significant change for V8-engine legend Ram is the move away from Hemi truck engines and the new Hurricane line of aluminum-block 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engines, like the one found in the 2025 Ram 1500 Rebel I drove a few weeks ago. This engine has 420 horsepower and 650 Nm of torque.

Later this year, Ram is also promising its RHO model, which will offer an upgraded high output version of the 3.0-liter Hurricane engine with 540 horsepower and 521 pound-feet of torque. The RHO promises to be a lighter but comparably powerful version of the earlier TRX model. At maximum power, Rams will be able to tow nearly 11,600 pounds.

That means the Hemi is dead, and an EV version of the Ram is on the horizon. However, you can still get a Hemi for the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, which suddenly stopped production in the spring. You can read what you want into the future of engines, but Ram's parent company Stellantis says it wants to reduce its overall carbon footprint by 50% by 2030.

Meanwhile, our test model of the post-Hemi Rebel, which cost over $80,000 with almost every option available, suggests you won't miss your V8 in most situations. Except when starting it up, where it sounds suspiciously like it no longer has a Hemi. Very suspicious, in fact, until you get it rolling, where the sounds aren't as important.

Mechanically, the 2025 models will receive new high-torque rear axles that work with the more lively turbo engines. An electronically lockable rear axle differential is also available for off-road use.

I drove the Rebel exclusively in civilization, where highway performance is not insignificant and combined fuel economy of 16.4 mpg was the norm, and also experienced the joys of parking, which can be challenging. That was partly because the eight different front, side, rear and surround-view cameras were not automatically configured in the improved Uconnect screen, which is now 14.5 inches. The huge, forward-view-blocking dual-stage trailer mirrors and a litany of audible proximity warnings were also helpful. As with Jeep products, there is now a 10.25-inch passenger screen as well.

It's certainly not small, especially with the ultra-thick 33-inch off-road Wrangler Duratrac tires on 18-inch rims, a 1-inch lift kit and Bilstein shocks front and rear, and a standard crew cab with a 5.5-foot-long bed. Access to the cab is therefore a pain, especially on the passenger side, as there are no fixed or automatic running boards like some of its rivals. The crew cab is spacious, complete with flip-up heated rear seats and a large flat floor covered with all-weather mats, multiple USB ports and built-in speakers in the ceiling. There's also a full-cab sunroof.

Key updates for 2025 include the cabin design and oversized screen, as well as a wide selection of red metallic highlights, high-gloss trim and metal speaker grilles. Six USB ports, HDMI inputs for your front passenger and two upright phone charging slots also extend the reach of the technology. There's also one of the world's most elaborate center consoles, with sliding cupholders, a hidden 115-volt outlet and a laptop-sized compartment underneath, as well as a leather elbow pad.

The Rebel's wide range of controls for trailer braking, trailer steering and video trailer guidance, as well as its mirrors, speak to the truck's road-worthiness. You can access the various drive modes (snow, tow, off-road, sport) via a steering wheel-mounted button, and easily shift through the eight-speed transmission with another thumb controller. Gear position is displayed on a very bright and colorful 12.3-inch digital instrument screen; there's also a bright head-up display.

Out back, you can remotely open or close the very high tailgate; a spray-on bed liner and rail mounting brackets also help with loading. Ram Box storage in the bed is another option.