Here is something that isn’t news: the march towards electrification across the automotive landscape is in full swing and that includes pickup trucks. Here’s something that is: Ram, the last of the Big Three automakers to unveil its EV truck roadmap of the future, recently did just that at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Across Detroit, Ford has been selling as many copies of its F-150 Lighting truck as it can build and General Motors is poised to unleash the Chevrolet Silverado EV in the spring, but there wasn’t much information coming out of the Ram camp where details on its own EV program remained scant- until now. The Ram Revolution Concept as it is officially known “honours our innovative legacy” and “sets a bold new standard for the future of electric trucks”, so says the brand. After a splashy introduction, it became clear that the highlights of this truck will include cool features like a third row of seating , (something we have not seen in a pickup previously) a customizable cargo carrying system out back and the Ram Track Rail System which will allow the truck’s interior to be customizable with a dizzying array of possibilities. Innovative stuff indeed, but as the Revolution Concept inches its way towards production, we’ll have to make do with the familiar line-up of gas powered trucks in the company’s stable.
This is not a bad thing, folks. Although the pickup segment enjoys some of the fiercest customer loyalty in the business, it has been widely (perhaps grudgingly, if you’re a Ford of Chevy fan) accepted that the Ram lineup of trucks deserves to wear the crown of Best in Class. We’ll go into greater detail explaining why we think that is the case but given the Ram brands imminent transition into the electric space, we began to think of this road test of the 2022 Rebel G/T model as a swan song of sorts. Change is already afoot within the halls Stellantis with its launching of a new lineup inline six engines dubbed ‘Hurricane’ which will eventually replace the beloved Hemi V8 like the one found under the hood of our tester- and following that, battery packs will in turn replace pistons and connecting rods.
Before we turn the page on the current era of Ram trucks, we thought it would be fun to flog one just one more time; you know, because science. Perhaps along the way we’d get our fill of nostalgia, too.
We should explain what you can expect when the G/T Package option box is checked. Building on the already substantial cool factor offered by the Rebel trim level, the highlights of the bits that come with the G/T include a cold-air performance intake and exhaust, paddle shifters and a console-mounted gear lever. That about sums up the hardware; on the software side you get the addition of the Performance Pages app that resides within the excellent Uconnect infotainment system, allowing you to track all sorts of nerdy data points like acceleration times which we never got tired of playing with. Within the vast array of models and trims that Ram offers for the 1500, you would be correct by classifying our Rebel G/T trimmed tester as being a sort of Goldilocks of the lineup; it is not one of the more basic and sparsely equipped versions, nor is it one of the very fancy top tier models that feature goodies like genuine wood trim. Previously, the only genuine wood trim you’d find in a pickup was in the load of lumber being hauled out back.
All this talk of luxury appointments and the latest tech doodads make for a seamless segue as a means to discuss the Ram’s interior. Any truck on sale these days is going to have some Wow Factor to bring to the table, but the Ram’s cockpit, regardless of trim, is likely at the top of that list. We used to have a hard time applying adjectives like sumptuous and lavish to truck interiors, but no one would argue that these days trucks are just about as swanky as some luxury cars, if not more so. Despite our Rebel GT residing in the middle of available trims for Ram 1500 models, we didn’t feel shortchanged whatsoever and the better question we’d ask is what kit this truck didn’t have. The whole shebang is governed by a huge tablet style infotainment screen that serves its occupants faithfully and intuitively, but to our relief there are some hard buttons and knobs as well. We also noted that despite Ram churning out hundreds of thousands of these trucks each year, fit and finish remains impressive. Folks who buy trucks for work spend a lot of time in them, and the Ram makes that a very pleasant proposition. We were also impressed by the refinement and quiet, so much so that the Ram felt like a library compared to the need-to-raise-your-voice-to-chat sound levels brought forth by the Acura Integra we drove the week prior.
That luxury car experience is not isolated to the interior either. This is a truck that is meant to tow, carry heavy stuff in the back and generally roll up its sleeves and get dirty and yet gliding placidly down the highway, you sometimes need to remind yourself of that fact. Ram was the first mainstream pickup to offer coil spring suspension at all four corners, and they have dialed in this setup perfectly.
Another nod to the high-end motoring experience comes from an unlikely source, namely a technology Ram calls eTorque. It works by installing a Motor Generator Unit (MGU) onto the engine’s accessory drives and serves two main purposes: one, to help smooth out off the line acceleration/deceleration when coming to a complete stop, and two, it lends the Ram with the smoothest and most unobtrusive start/stop behaviour this side of a Mercedes Benz S-Class. It costs $1,195 and should net a marginal uptick in fuel economy, but we would check the box just for the way the engine fires back up almost imperceptibly and call that money very well spent instead of dealing with the wet dog shudder we’ve come to expect in the Ram’s competitors.
We could not conclude this Road Test without calling out the Cold Air Intake/Exhaust system that comes standard with the G/T package. It lends the Ram a very memorable soundtrack, whether you’re firing it up from your cozy living room remotely on a frigid morning or when you lay into the throttle to pass a left lane dawdler, it simply sounds exquisite. It’s a factory setup which means its just belligerent enough without getting on your nerves, droning endlessly on long journeys.
Scanning our notes for complaints after returning the Ram back to Stellantis HQ yielded a somewhat fruitless search. Sure, the Uconnect information system would suffer the occasional glitch and hiccup here and there. And yes, we noted that the truck’s sensor for the automatic lighting would sometimes think it was nighttime, diming the infotainment screen and gauges when we were driving along in dazzling sunlight. Some of us felt the interior was too one-note in its all-black colour palette. For those keeping score, none of these serve to meaningfully derail any plans to put a Ram in your own driveway.
And purchase a Ram is just what many Canadians will do as it continues to post favourable sales numbers year over year here in the Great White North. Its inherent excellence has propelled it to one of the primary breadwinners of the entire Stallantis portfolio the point where it represents a tidy 45% of the brand’s entire sales volume domestically.
Many of us have grown up around trucks and remember when they used to wear their work credentials on their sleeves in the form of column shifters, anemic powertrains and an AM/FM radio with a speaker or two. While gliding the along highway on a blustery winter morning with the heated steering wheel and seats ablaze while our favourite tunes thumped out of the excellent sound system, we had to take a moment to think about just how far the humble pickup truck has come. We can see why so many are smitten by pickups, even if they don’t make much sense as grocery getters and errand runners. If you were entertaining a pickup and aren’t ready to go electric just yet, look no further than the Ram 1500 Rebel G/T; we promise that you’ll have a really good time driving it.
2022 Ram 1500 Rebel G/T - Specifications
- Price as tested: $82,000 (est.)
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger truck
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/four-wheel drive
- Engine: 5.7 litre V8, OHV, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 395 @ 5,600 rpm
- Torque (lb-ft.): 410 @ 3,950 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 2,440 kg (5,379 lbs)
- Observed Fuel consumption: 16.6L/100km (14 mpg)