THE RAM 1500 Rebel 4x4 ute is coming to Australia in 2018.
RAM Trucks Australia will give potential buyers a sneak peek at the 2017 National 4x4 Outdoors Show, Fishing & Boating Expo, at the Melbourne Showgrounds in Ascot Vale, August 18-20.
RAM Trucks Australia is pinning the 1500 Rebel’s potential market appeal on the fact it is a more ‘compact’ dual-cab ute, in comparison to its larger 2500 and 3500 stablemates (with a 1.7m tray length, the RAM 1500 Rebel is 5817mm long and 2018mm wide), with IFS front/live axle rear, and that it will be powered by a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 petrol engine.
This donk produces a lofty 291kW and 555Nm and, in North American markets, is backed by the choice of a six- or eight-speed auto gearbox matched with numerous final drive ratio options. There’s no word from RAM Trucks Australia on which gearbox option it will go for, but we do know the HEMI-powered Rebel has a towing capacity of between 3624kg and 4599kg, depending on the auto/final drive ratio option ticked.
The appeal of the burly HEMI V8 aside, what we’d really like to see in the Oz-bound RAM 1500 Rebel is the sweet 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 that is already available in the North American market. Combine this 179kW/569Nm oiler (backed by a ZF TorqueFlite eight-speed auto) and its vastly superior fuel economy, with a dual-cab ute that is only marginally wider and larger than a VW Amarok or Ford Ranger, and you’d have a brilliant off-road tourer.
The Rebel 1500 offers buyers the choice of two tray lengths in North America (1.7m or 1.9m), with corresponding overall lengths of 5817mm or 6043mm if you opt for the longer tray.
There is no word from RAM Trucks Australia at this point as to whether Australian buyers will have the choice of both tray lengths, but considering these vehicles are imported to Australia in LHD format – with the conversion done locally by American Special Vehicles (a combined venture of Ateco Automotive and Walkinshaw Automotive Group) on a purpose-built Melbourne-based production line – this may be a buyer option.
RAM Trucks Australia was asked about its plans for other engine options besides the HEMI V8 but declined to comment at this point, citing early 2018 as the announcement date for final engine options and model variants that may lob Down Under.
For us, even allowing for how much we love that HEMI V8, the diesel V6 would seem a no-brainer for the local market. What the company did say is it expects the Rebel 1500, with HEMI V8, to be cheaper than the 2500/3500 models available now.
This combination of smaller size, big V8 and unique styling cues (the Rebel features a blacked-out grill and other design tweaks) sees RAM Trucks Australia confident the Rebel 1500 will be popular with the dual-cab-ute-loving Aussie market.
“That new grille, the powerhouse that is the HEMI V8 and a range of changes to the trim and equipment make it clear that this RAM is charging after a very different customer group than the 2500 and the 3500,” said Alex Stewart, General Manager of RAM in Australia. “The RAM 1500 Rebel has captured the hearts of American truck buyers, winning awards and new owners alike, and we believe it will do the same here in Australia.”
To check out the RAM Rebel 1500 in the metal, head to stand EP250 in Hall 1 at the Melbourne Showgrounds during the National 4x4 Outdoors Show, Fishing & Boating Expo.