A Day at the Truck Rodeo

The 2019 Texas Truck Rodeo had us herding pickups at Austin’s Star Hill Ranch in late October. I managed to get some seat time in Ram’s big red 1500 Rebel, powered by the newly redesigned 3.0 Liter V6 EcoDiesel engine. This engine is rated at 260 horsepower with a class-leading 480 lb.-ft or torque, giving the Ram 1500 Rebel a towing capacity of 12,500 pounds! That’s not a bad way of commemorating Ram’s tenth year of selling trucks under its new brand.

Ram even made a rather bold statement at the Truck Rodeo: a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel could drive across Texas on a single tank. And that’s something I’m more than willing to test. This statement comes from a combination of Ram 1500’s 33-gallon fuel tank and efficient EcoDiesel engine, capable of 32 mpg on the highway (4X2 models), giving the truck a trip range that approaches 1,000 miles.



But How Does it Drive?

Quiet! For a pickup that looks as subtle as a fire truck, the Rebel EcoDiesel gives a stealth driving impression. The cabin does an excellent job of blocking out road noise and tire roar. The EcoDiesel’s turbo spooling up under acceleration is the only notable noise, with a faint chugging of a diesel engine underneath. The 8-speed transmission changes gears that you will hear but not feel, delivering a smooth ride for an off-road capable truck riding on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. I did not expect this truck to ride this smoothly on the highway. Off-road the Rebel EcoDiesel gave me the impression that I was only using 10% of its capability.

The EcoDiesel sounds quiet outside, as well, which I assume will quickly be addressed by the aftermarket community. It sounds as quiet as a gasoline V6 pickup truck. That means the 2020 Rebel EcoDiesel is a truck that is stronger than it looks. And as you’d know, it’s the quiet ones you always have to watch out for.

2020 Ram Rebel also offer a Multifunctional tailgate that is light weight and versatile.


Ram is the current King of the Hill amongst truck manufactures when it comes to interiors. This 2020 Rebel Eco Diesel treated the eyes to a feast of red inserts, leather, and detailed texture that made it an exciting place to sit. Ram’s 12-inch Uconnect infotainment screen (optional) was the centerpiece. My traditional views on what a truck should be means I still have trouble declaring a definitive opinion on whether I like the idea of having a 12-inch screen that I can’t look at because I’m driving. I won’t be able to give an educated decision until I have an opportunity to live with this Uconnect infotainment system for longer than a brief test drive.


Starting price for the 2020 Ram 1500 Rebel is $47,000, with the model used for testing showing an MSRP of $58,405. Paying $60K for a half-ton truck may seem expensive (it is), but remember that you can option the new 3.0 EcoDiesel engine in regular Ram 1500 models, starting at $37,000. (EcoDiesel engine will also be available on 2020 Jeep Wranglers).

MPG for the 3.0 EcoDiesel is a combined 24 mpg, with 21 city and 29 highway for 4×4 models. And as noted, 4X2 Ram EcoDiesel trucks had slightly better mileage, with a combined EPA estimate of 26 mpg, 22 city and 32 highway.

Below is a brief video walkthrough of the 2020 Ram 1500 Rebel Eco Diesel’s interior, key features, and specs: