Best Pickup Truck of 2016 Preview: 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel

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We will hand out our Best Pickup Truck of 2016 Award during Cars.com's Best of 2016 event Jan. 12 at the Fillmore Detroit. The awards presentation will cap two press days at the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public Jan. 16 and runs through Jan. 24. There are six contenders for Best Pickup Truck of 2016, and we will provide a small preview of each truck before the big reveal.

Our first contender, the 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel, was introduced at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. The Rebel is dramatic to look at yet difficult to describe; it's more than a new trim package — although it's made up of existing Ram parts and pieces — but it's not exactly a new type of half-ton Ram. Even so, it's probably the most adventure-oriented factory Ram in the truckmaker's portfolio because of a sophisticated, off-road-biased four-corner air suspension; big wheels and tires; extra skid plating; and a new look inside and out that could point the way to a stronger-looking, more customizable Ram future.

We've driven the Rebel on just about every type of terrain imaginable and it's never failed us, roaring up giant sand dunes, low-range crawling over boulders and even grappling with waist-deep mud bogs. Although it gets a little pricey with all the option boxes checked, the Rebel can be ordered in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, with quad or crew cabs and a V-6 or V-8.

Check back with us on Jan. 12 to see how the Ram stacks up and who the big winner is.

Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 4 to correct public show dates.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears; manufacturer images

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Comments

So, if the Rebel is a contender, will the Tundra TRD Pro be a contender too? Recall, you did choose the TRD Pro over the Rebel.

I thought the 2016 gmc sierra denali already won pickup truck of the year. What's with this?

will the 2017 ram 1500 debut at Detroit autoshow in janury 2016

Sierra won truck trend. This is for cars.com

A leaf nosed bat

Yeah, the token Dodge. Doesn't have a chance here, or anywhere else, so why bother.

A Rebel with the Hemi would be loads of fun!

@Dan, this is just another article to point out another truck of the year, Yawn.

I think cars.com should stick to cars....

Didn't this contender already lose to the Taco TRD in the previous contest conducted here? So if the Taco is also a contender in this contest (as it should be since its also a new offering) then the preview of this non winner for this contest if kind of pointless. Unless the nature of the contest has changed... So many champions... all being new and untried versions. I really wish that in every one of these contests the previous winner was given a chance repeat. That's almost unheard of since almost all of these contests only take vehicles that are new or have some kind of change to them.

They are sticking to cars. Pickup trucks are cars...

Tundra, Clint, not Tacoma.

The "RAM" is much too small on the grill--need larger letters and maybe even LED lighting in the letters.

Clint, The Ram Rebel was not a nominee last year; in fact, no Ram was.

http://www.pickuptrucks.com/awards/best-of/

The 2016 Colorado will win again the Best Pickup Truck of 2016 Award during Cars.com's Best of 2016 event Jan. 12 at the Fillmore Detroit and here is why.

I have never stated on any site that midsize pickups will outsell fullsize trucks, or for that matter come close in sales.

I really do think some of you guys really need to understand the written language. This isn't like texting SMS messages.

What I'm stating is the Colorado is offering a significantly refined pickup. Something you guys have never encountered.

This will gradually increase the sale of midsizers. Midsizers could double or even treble in numbers without to big a fallout for full size trucks.

I do hope the next Taco is refined to the point of the Colorado/Canyon. I think this is highly unlikely. The next Hilux will be.

Toyota will maintain it's market share. As I've pointed out previously in Australia our experience was Toyota maintained it's sales edge. The did a similar thing as happened to your US Taco and increased bling and made a few changes to a couple of body panels.

They also dropped the price of them significantly to remain competitive. I do expect this with you Taco.

It's a pity Toyota didn't have the balls to introduce the next Hilux into the US market.

As for your question regarding why full size pickups dominate the US market is affected by several variables.

1. Market protection of that segment of vehicles,

2. Economics, the ability to afford to operate those vehicles,

3. Infrastructure, a transportation network able to support those vehicles, and

4. Culture, a pickup culture, but don't forget that a midsizer is also a pickup and your culture will support it. Just like large BOF SUVs have become midsize/small unitary CUVs.

Your thinking and logic should understand the challenges confronting the US full size market. They are/will be huge.

The impact on the cost of a pickup will gradually force them well into the middle class. Even now with the Colorado there is a cost gap developing between it and the full size pickups.

People will buy a midsize if they consider it to offer better value. Initial purchase pricing is the most important aspect of buying a new vehicle.

As I've been pointing out look at how many pickups are sold as a car/CUV/SUV alternatives. 75%. This is the Colorado's main demographic, not the 25% who do require specific attributes in capability, ie, load, tow, etc.

In other words most pickups sold are toys. If they weren't how many Ram 1500's would sell with their low payload, in conclusion, I am putting my support behind the 2016 Colorado for the Best Pickup Truck of 2016 Award during Cars.com's Best of 2016 event.

PS

@LouBC,
You seem to concentrate on the wants of the 25% of prospective pickup customers. That is in respect to require/want/need specific attributes. What this does is create a pi$$ing competition on hp, tow, load, acceleration, etc. But you guys focus on the margin of what is actually being targeted by the manufacturers.

Yes, you do have pickups with some great attributes and capability, but most don't need or want that. That is what I'm focusing on lately. This will remove much of the unproductive banter that goes on on PUTC.

Size is significant. But, so is cost and capability. Don't confuse size with capability.

Some (not you in particular) state how cheap full size pickups are. Or how poor the midsizers are, etc. But with the Colorado this isn't the case.

A Colorado will offer a family of four more than enough payload, tow, etc. All in a package as refined as a full size.

Not just myself, but Robert Ryan have been trying to tell you guys this for the last several years, but most still look at your Taco and Frontier as a benchmark and base you assumptions on them.

As I told you previously. The Colorado would not be getting the attention it has for no reason.

It is quite a revelation to you guys what can come out of a midsize pickup. You guys don't even have the "HD" variants we get with 420ftlb diesels. That would really be an eye opener for you.

The average midsize here has around 350-380ftlb diesels and can carry up to 3 000lbs and the average tow is 3.5 tonnes or around 7 800lbs, I even have trailer sway. Again, I'll see some dumbass comments regarding a comparison between it and a 12 000lb tow on a F-150. But not many in the US tow that much.

The Colorado will be as robust as most any "average" half ton sold, with the capability, performance, refinement to make it a very attractive alternative.

They aren't that small. I doubt there are too many cars as big as a midsize pickup as well.

I'm not just a midsize person. I do like all pickups, but I think you guys will start to rethink your paradigms, especially when the diesel comes out, making the 2016 Colorado once again the Best Pickup Truck of 2016 Award during Cars.com's Best of 2016 event.

Refined pickup. If refined you mean electronic nannies, addons not really necessary, nothing but plastic inside, car like ride, etc. I'll pass and keep driving my 78 Dodge

@Big Al--What you are stating will probably be true over time. It takes time to change most people's perception of a product. Cheaper fuel prices give more incentive for people to buy a large pickup or SUV. Also 0 percent 72 or 84 month loans also encourage people to buy a larger more expensive vehicle.

With the more restrictive fuel standards and the higher cost to develop and produce trucks to meet these standards you will see more buyers considering alternatives. Also as a new generation become the majority of new vehicle buyers their preferences will differ. I doubt that the full size pickup will become extinct anytime soon and for the foreseeable future the full size crew cab pickup will be a mainstay of most families as was the full size V-8 powered sedan was 40 years ago.

Fuel prices will eventually go up as the small producers are force out and/or acquired by larger competitors due to the thinner profit margins. It is a lot more expensive to develop oil than it was in the past and the quality of much of the oil discovered is much lower. Tar sand oil and heavy crude is not as easy to refine with much less product.

Paradigm shifts do not come quickly but over time.

The 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon is having major transmission problems.
The 2015 Ram 1500 ball joints falling out.
The 2015 F-150 windshields cracking cause of body flex.

You're better off finding a used 10 year old pickup or keeping the one you have now cause build quality has gone down the drain.

All GUTS

ALL GLORY

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@ lou? So ALL those trucks have issues or a select few?

@Lou_BC--You just made a good case for waiting a few years before buying a totally new model or a redesigned model. Wait for some of the bugs to be worked out of trucks. Also it is possible some of the quality issues are due to rushed production to meet high demand on both the part supplier and the vehicle manufacturer. It would be interesting to know why.

@Lou BC: It is more than just windshields cracking on the 2015 f'-150. The truck boxes are cracking around wheel wells as well as box panel adhesives are releasing. The local dealer has just been replacing the whole box assy. Not sure how long Ford can keep that type of a repair in place unless they are re conditioning the damaged units.

Hey Jeff S,
I do think you have it all wrong!!!!

Made a mistake???

;)

I do think the Rebel is a good variant for Ram. It will sell to the guys who would like to think they have off road creed, similar to the Raptor dudes.

These vehicle are an accessory to many. Like many of the value added appearance packages.

The Rebel does offer some better off road prowess in comparison to the "standard" 4x4 Ram.

I would like to see a dedicated diesel off roader in a US pickup. Especially in a half ton.

Even a Lion powered Raptor or a VM powered Ram.

Those grilles on Ram. FCA should of really had a competition to find a better front end design and offer a Ram as for the winning entrant. But FCA must make sure the Ram comes with a nose to tail warranty for at least 10 years to make it worthwhile.

A friend of mine bought a Rebel with the Ram box and loves it. Has taken it on several out of state hunting trips has been great.

I agree with Al from OZ. Everybody that I know who has gone from a full-size to a mid-size truck (including me) will never buy a full size truck again.

This would be better if also available in quad cab.

I don't like the grille, but soon salvage yards will see more wrecked 2009 and up, so better grilles are a grille change away.

The hood-I can take it or leave it. It's nice, but it won't sell me the truck.

Really, you buildl it, and Ram has an option box for limited slip on a 4x4? I would think that would be standard?

Air suspension? I like it, but I'm not an offroader. People who want the air suspension probably won't be hardcore offroaders.
I just want the air suspension to get me over some obstacles here and there occasionally. But yet I don't want to super high jacked up truck for all my driving.

I'm kind of surprised in their little off road challenge between this and the Toyota Tundra, they were so obsessed with sand drag race times.

Meanwhile, this truck turns in a smaller area than the Tundra does. I thought that was a big deal, at least Toyota made commercials showing how quick it can turn when it first came out?

@Big Al, like this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P7rbXRps3c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4jtsysPxiY



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