2015 4x4 Challenge: Ram Rebel Vs. Toyota Tundra TRD Pro


As new-truck buyers continue to be drawn to the half-ton pickup truck segment, there can be no doubt that truckmakers will offer more specialized versions for them to choose from. Ram is probably the best at this right now, offering 11 trim levels of the 1500, each with its own distinct personality. One of our favorite personalities, no matter which brand, is the off-road package — as long as it's supported with the proper mechanicals.

A few years ago we compared several of the best 4x4 packages on the market against one another in our Ultimate 4x4 Shootout, pitting the Ford SVT Raptor against the Ram Power Wagon, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Baja and the Nissan Frontier PRO-4X. The results of that contest weren't close, with the Raptor walking away from the others. For our 2015 4x4 Challenge, we've taken a different approach.

Things have changed since our 2012 test: Ford's Raptor has taken a year off and will return with an all-aluminum 2017 version next year; the Power Wagon has upgraded to a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with multiple new trim levels; and Toyota has created an all-new, more aggressive TRD Pro trim level for its Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner. In addition, Ram has added a rugged and athletic Rebel that not only sports a new grille and tailgate treatment, it also includes quite a few other high-adventure-oriented features.

Given that the new Raptor is still a ways off and that the Power Wagon is a heavy-duty pickup, we took the two newest 4x4 half-ton entries — the Ram Rebel and the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro — and matched them in a head-to-head competition focused on their off-road prowess. The truth is, although they might look like they're taking different strategies, these two trucks have quite a bit in common. Both trucks weigh within 40 pounds of each other, both have upgraded suspensions, aluminum wheels and aggressive tires, sporty interiors, dual exhausts, part-time 4x4 systems (with the exact same 2.64:1 low-range ratio) and powerful V-8 engines.

Here's what our challengers have:


2015 Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4


The 2015 Ram Rebel 1500 (only offered in crew-cab short-bed configurations) had a base price of $45,915 (price includes a destination fee). However, our Flame Red 4x4 test truck came with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 (a $1,150 upgrade from the base 3.6-liter V-6 only available on 4x2 models) rated at 395 horsepower and 410 pounds-feet of torque; it had the standard four-corner adjustable air suspension. Additionally, the Rebel was fitted with 3.92:1 axle gears, an eight-speed automatic transmission ($500), unique interior and exterior grille work, badges and materials, dual exhausts and 33-inch E-rated (stronger) tires. Our truck also came with these options: the RamBox ($1,295); the upgraded Uconnect multimedia system with a large screen and navigation ($1,005); a backup camera with the Park Assist Group ($595); the Luxury Group ($560) that includes heated and lighted side mirrors, auto dimming, vanity mirrors and an overhead console with a programmable garage door opener; a spray-in bedliner ($475); an integrated trailer brake controller ($230); a rear limited-slip differential ($325); the Rebel instrument cluster ($175); extra skid plating ($150); and a 32-gallon fuel tank ($75). All totaled, our test Ram listed for $52,450 and has an EPA-rated city/highway/combined fuel economy of 15/21/17 mpg.


For a larger version of the 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel Monroney, click on the picture above.


2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro 4x4


Our Inferno Red Toyota Tundra TRD Pro test truck had a base price of $45,045 (including a destination charge) and had relatively few options. All TRD Pros use the DOHC 32-valve all-aluminum 5.7-liter V-8 rated at 381 hp and 401 pounds-feet of torque. The engine was mated to a six-speed transmission and had 4.30:1 axle gears. The heart of the TRD Pro is underneath the truck; it comes standard with longer front coil springs that give the front end 2 inches of lift. The rear springs are unique as well and provide just more than 1 inch of additional lift to the rear; both front and rear springs are tamed with high-performance remote-reservoir Bilstein racing shocks specifically designed to absorb hard impacts to keep the wheels settled and calm even over the worst terrain. The Tundra TRD Pro has unique black-out exterior badging on the grille, the side of the truck and the tailgate, and a stamped TRD Pro logo in the bed; it also has true dual exhausts. The only optional pieces on our test Tundra were the drop-in bedliner ($365), adjustable tie-down hooks ($45) for the bedrails and the upgraded 285/70R17E BFG All-Terrain T/A KO tires and aluminum wheels ($3,290). All totaled, including a destination fee, out test pickup had a price of $48,700 and has an EPA-rated city/highway/combined fuel economy of 13/17/15 mpg.


For a larger version of the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Monroney, click on the picture above. Note that the Monroney does not reflect the costs of the bedliner and upgraded tires our test truck came with.

We tested these trucks for several days on various California rock trails, hill climbs, and river washes at the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area in Gorman. We then went to one of the largest sand dune areas in the country, Dumont Dunes in the Mojave Desert, pushing each truck (and our photographers) to their heat-stroke limits. Finally, we made our way to higher elevations at Big Bear Lake, in the San Bernardino National Forest, east of Los Angeles; the lake sits at 7,000 feet. We took both trucks on a meandering mountain trail mostly made of decomposed granite that wound through rain-soaked backcountry valleys and mountain peaks. Let's see how they performed.

2015_4X4_WYG_Final (2)

For a larger version of the chart, click on the picture above.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears


Overview | Fuel Economy | Test Measurements | Going Slow | Going Fast | What the Judges Said | Results






@Big Al

You tend to act as if you are more intelligent than others, but upon opening your mouth you prove otherwise. 

Are you intentionally doing this?  Do you really like to down other people's intelligence because you lack some of your own therefore it makes you feel smarter if you think others are less intelligent?

You know the reason why I have to change my name.  It is the same reason why you cannot say my first name because PUTC does not let anyone say it in their post. 

You know, Autism was I was thinking that you had.  That and dyslexia with a side of bipolar

I figured this since you have a hard time accepting real data and only cherry pick data that fits your way of thinking while ignoring the rest.  Everyone here knows that you do it and I can even show proof. 

You also have a hard time admitting when you are wrong and will go on a long leave of absence when I call you out for being wrong.  Remember or turbo argument where you said I was wrong and I wasn't.  I called you out on it and you still have yet to fess up to it.  Although I understand, your condition does not allow you to admit when you are wrong.

This is why I think you should really spend time outside of life you exist in.  The ore more important things to get your jollies off to than small underpowered trucks that only have a benefit of FE.

When you are always incorrect, you make false statements or do things such as:

1.  You think know more than anyone else.

2.  You think you know more about the US market then people in the US.

3. The only trucks that matter to everyone are small diesel trucks.

4. Again, you think you know more than other people.

5.  You bash other people's intelligence in order to make yourself feel smart(when you clearly re not). 

6. You cherry pick the data that only coincides with your argument and purposely ignore everything else because it proves you wrong. 

7.  You like to bash anything that is American and try to say everything else is better. 

8.  You hate the aluminum F150 and will bash it every chance you get.

9.  And again, you think you know more than anyone else and that everyone is subpar to your intellect. 

What the hell is wrong with you man???

BAFO, I can guarantee that there are more people on this site that would rather see you leave than me because of you conceded "smarter than thou" America sucks attitude so save me your diatribe.  If everyone took a vote tomorrow on who they would want to kick off this blog then I would bet my left nut that you would be on the top of that list(aside from the Ram---d crew).

There is nothing funny about autism and please don't use it to try and bash people.

@America Bails Out Chrysler 

Lol, then tell him to quit acting austistic. What next, are you going to tell me to not use the word retard? How about dislexia or fat? Can I use those since that was me growing up? Geez, put your big boy pants on guy. My lord you politically correct people that get butt hurt about everything are going to be ruin of this country.

There's a difference between being PC and showing some class. You've failed miserably at the latter. You're taking a legitimate medical condition that people can't help and using it to make fun of someone you don't like. "put your big boy pants on' because it takes huge nuts to hurl insults at people from behind a computer screen. lmfao. Grow the f up, e-warrior.

Ram sees future growth in commercial vehicles


“You’re always going to have a traditional cross-hair, whether it’s a majority or depending on the different trims,” he said. “We’re going to look at opportunities depending on the product … that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to just deviate 100 percent from the cross-hair.”

The 2018 Ram HD MAJOR UPDATE will be my next truck!




@America Bails Out Chrysler

And you failed to put your big boy pants on and think it is your business to tell people what to do. Welln it is not your business to tell people what you think they should or should not say. I didn't make fun of an autistic person now did I? Please show me were I made fun of an autistic person. I did call BAFO austistic just like anyone else would call someone stupid, ignorant, or retard, but nowhere did I make fun of an austistic person. So grow a pair and deal with it. You act like you never called someone fat or used some other derogatory word in your life so wiz in someone else's sand box and don't tell me what to do in mine.

"Things have changed since our 2012 test: Ford's Raptor has taken a year off and will return with an all-aluminum 2017 version next year; the Power Wagon has upgraded to a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with multiple new trim levels."

Sounds like a rematch is immanent between the Power Wagon(The grand father to all 4x4 trucks) and the Raptor.

Using this above test case the Power Wagon would have performed very well.

"Things have changed since our 2012 test: Ford's Raptor has taken a year off and will return with an all-aluminum 2017 version next year; the Power Wagon has upgraded to a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with multiple new trim levels."

Sounds like a rematch is immanent between the Power Wagon(The grand father to all 4x4 trucks) and the Raptor.

Using this above test case the Power Wagon would have performed very well.

I think the Rebel is misunderstood. It's got fancy front shocks. It's got 285/70 tires. That's really about it. Otherwise, no lockers, no lift, no lower range transfer case gearing, no disconnecting sway bar, nothing. It's NOT a totally different animal than, say, a Ford FX4 or a Chevy Z71.

Posted by: WXman | Oct 19, 2015 1:18:33 PM

WXman, the limited slip with traction control won the contest in certain traction tests on this site. (Rear axle no 4x4) The Rebel's crawl ratio is lower than the TRD. The Rebel's air suspension does lift the Rebel off road and lowers on road. (MPG) The Ford FX4 or the Z71 does not have a sway bar disconnect either. Not even in the same class. Skid plates, tires, lift and higher gear ratio. :-(

@Big Al - you are contradicting yourself when you said "So, you buy an off road package to disassemble your vehicle to off road???"

You have modified your truck and have mentioned suspension mods a few times.

Any serious off-roader modifies their vehicle. Even Wrangler Rubicon's see extensive mods and they tend to be the factory benchmark for off-road vehicles.

There is a distinct difference between buying an off road option, then having the vehicle be disassembled to go off road.

I have my "off road package" on and I don't need to touch anything other than the 4 hi/lo control to go off road.

The FX-4 package is an appearance package. Yes you do have some extra goodies for traction and control, but that should be standard on any 4x4.

So, keep on keeping on with your passive aggressive trowling.


Yeah he is a big hypocrite and he knows it. If people did need to mod their 4x4 over there then companies like ARB would not be around. Nor would the aftermarket off road modification market would be as big as it is over there. He just said what he said because he hates the new F150 and he and he wants to able to say that his midsize trucks are better. I believe he has a "sour grapes" syndrome. Since he can't have these full size trucks, then he bashes them just so he can feel better about not being able to own one. Why he thinks his words hold any weight or value here is beyond me.

Cummins, aka all the other phord phan names you go under,
It appears you and Lois don't really have a clue.

ARB wouldn't exist if the manufacturers can provide a decent off road vehicle.

The FX4, even the aluminium F-150 FX4 is more an appearance package as I stated. If it wasn't more attention would be spent in producing a better off road vehicle.

Much of what comes in the FX4 should be standard on any 4x4 like I mentioned.

Yes, I have enhanced my ute to off road. Why not?

But buying an appearance package like Ford offers in the FX4 I wouldn't waste my money on.

It might suit the non off roader who think it looks cool to drive a 4x4 with the air dam dragging near the road surface.

You wanna be's should listen to those of us who really off road.

I can see how the US pickup is made cheaper, the aluminium F-150 highlights this.

Sell a 4x4, that isn't a 4x4 for off roading.

Maybe Ford should just sell AWD aluminium pickups. This will suit you CUV type operators.

@Big Al, BAFO, Fat Al, or whatever you like to call yourself. It appears that you and Robert don't have a clue.

ARB exists because they make an off road product that the manufacturers did not offer in their off road vehicles.

Most of your off road trucks over there like your BT-50 are just appearance packages and need to be modified to be a true off road vehicle.

When it comes to the FX4 and a regular 4x4 in a Ford, the FX4 has different shovks, more skid plate protection, a locking differential and different tires. Where some moron gets that they are the same is beyond me.

Yes, you needed to enhance your ute in order to make it an off roader.

If you would have bought an FX4 the most likely you would not have to.

It more than suits the need of 99% of Australians when it comes to off roading. Not those wannabe off road utes with a stiff suspension and an open different or only LSD.

Take the global ranger for instance. It had to be completely modified shared almost zero parts with the production truck in order race off road. Not only that, but it also needed a V8 gas engine to compete instead of that slow as molasses 3.2L diesel.

I can see why you guys only cherry pick your data. You need all the help you can get to try and make your little trucks seem better that the full size trucks here.

At least our 4x4 production truck can race off road whike keeping over 95% of it stock AND without needing to swap out the engine or modify it.

Maybe Aussie's should just stick to building those cute little cars with beds that they somehow call trucks since they need to completelymodify their trucks to give them any chance off road.

How about a wrangler with built diffs 38s and full supension by fox pushed by a healthy 6.4 hemi fits down the tightest trails covers the desert with a smooth capable confidence also has zero issues in mud,rock or snow.best part is I have a full 5yr 100000 mile warranty hope this helps guys.bottom line is no truck can avoid two issues it simply will not fit down the trails I can. Also it cannot get any where near the flex i can.if you want to seriously leave the pavement you have to leave the truck at him.

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