What’s it like having a child? It’s like taking your entire being and everything you’ve ever accomplished, taking your next breath and the one after that, every ounce of energy you have to survive, and placing it on red then watching the wheel spin. It’s putting everything on the line and then sitting on the edge of your seat, tense, scared, exhilarated. And watching a little chest rise and fall. Rise and fall. Feeling the rush of a hurricane, feeling the turbine of a jet, then holding it all in. Rise and fall. Rise and fall.
That chest gets bigger, the world gets smaller.
Your back gets weaker and your energy fades. You still watch that person move, work, suffer, win, lose, and be. Your bets were already placed, and no one can change your choice. It just is as it is, and you can’t get off the edge of your seat. Clenched fists and the brazen and irrational belief you are watching greatness happen. A biologically programmed fervor and yet a reason to believe in the presence of actual magic in the universe.
Through failed tests, wrecked cars…
Every other bump, fists remain clenched, ass remains sore. Perched on the edge of your seat, you are also thankful and aware. In a new way you are relaxed and accomplished. And you love. All the time.
I bought and all-new 2019 Ram Rebel Crew Cab pick-up truck, and I like it a lot. I think Ram has continued to challenge the status quo with some seriously interesting strategies, and those come at something of a price. I’m not talking sticker shock because as far as I can tell even the most stripped down trucks these days are a lot more expensive than I would have thought they would be. I’m really talking about a learning curve, of sorts. This is my personal take on what you get for your money in the “all-new” Ram 1500 truck.
What about Ford? What about Chevy?
If you’re looking for reasons why I picked a Ram over a Ford or Chevy, you might be somewhat disappointed. What I will say to cover that question is that I didn’t like Ford’s fit and finish, and I don’t like the materials and presentation in a Chevy, especially on the interior. Styling-wise I like them all, but I felt I was getting a better put together machine in a Ram. That’s my personal opinion, and you don’t have to take it up for yourself. I’m good either way.
Things I Don’t Like – 2019 Ram Rebel Crew Cab
I don’t want to write a shit sandwich about this truck, so I’ll start with the stuff I really don’t like. After that, I’ll introduce you to what I think makes this truck work well.
Emergency Braking – Stinks
First, let’s talk about emergency braking. I think it sucks. The only place I’ve had it fire so far is backing into my own driveway. No kids or animals darting around, nothing. It’s a slight incline from the street and it appears to me at least that it might be detecting the hill it is rolling up. I don’t really know. The main reason I hate the feature is that I like the idea of it. So rather than turn it off completely, I’ve developed the habit of switching the rear park sensors off when backing into my driveway. I’m pretty confident that with the backup camera, well adjusted mirrors, and a completely familiar surrounding, I can avoid the one-off situation there. I sincerely hope this is something they can fix with a software update along the way somewhere.
Under-Seat Storage – Unfunny Joke
One thing I believe you should skip while you are investigating this truck is the rear under-seat storage. I’m not talking about the awesome in-floor storage boxes, I’m talking about the stupid little fence you can pull out to contain items on the floor under the rear seats. They should be ashamed. I’m thinking about dropping the $389 for the Tuffy lock box. I’ve seen these products personally at least once and think they’re worth the investment. I’ll send up a review on that if I decide to go that direction.
Fuel Economy – Drinks Like a Fish
Another problem with this truck is fuel economy. I know, I opted for a 5.7 liter Hemi, so I effectively opted out of getting great mileage. It just seems strange to me that my father gets 20-30 MPG in a diesel 3500. If they offered a diesel in this truck I’d have taken it. If that’s what it takes to get a strong truck with good mileage, they should offer it. I have recorded every fill up so far and on the high side, I get north of 16 MPG. In town, I get maybe 12 MPG. I have a pretty aggressive driving style, and I guess I pay for that. Also, I fully recognize that shopping in this lineup no matter the manufacturer, starts with deciding you don’t really care about fuel economy. Still, I don’t like it, so I list it here as a negative for this truck.
Seats – Leather is scarce, No power passenger, No coolers
If you think I’m stretching to find things I don’t like, that may be true to a degree. How about offering full leather seats in the Rebel trim without having to buy a special trim level? Plus, I lost my seat coolers. Plus, they should have made the passenger seat power adjustable like the driver’s.
Where is 4×4 Auto Mode?
There are some things I admit not understanding completely, like losing the 4×4 Auto feature I had in my sport trim 2011. I wonder why they don’t just make 4×4 auto mode default and call it all wheel drive. Evidently the Rebel 4×4 system is intended to be more off-road than on, so they dropped that extra bit? I miss it.
Aero Height is Uncomfortable
One final thing I dislike has to do with “Aero” mode in the air suspension. The advertised intention was that the truck would lower itself at high speed to save 1% fuel efficiency. The problem with that is that when it is in that lowered stance, it rides like total ass. It’s not as bad as rolling off in “Entry/Exit” mode, which is awful just like any lowered vehicle would be, but it takes away from your highway miles, making them too stiff and somewhat uncomfortable. Luckily you can turn that feature off, so I did. I just ride around at “Normal” height. By the way, Normal on this truck is higher than normal on others. Get the running boards because waiting for it to raise and lower for Entry level is ridiculous.
Things I Like – 2019 Ram Rebel Crew Cab Pick-up Truck
Now we’ll get on to the good stuff about this truck. I’ll start where I left off above with the suspension. Traditionally you’d add a leveling kit, but with the air suspension, the Rebel rides level right from the factory. Plus you can get decent ground clearance for those times you want to take it off road. I don’t like spending $60k to go mudding, but sometimes a little more clearance is a good thing. I really like the wheels and tires they started me out on, too. They are comfortable, relatively quiet, and they have a nice appearance that matches the rest of the truck.
The Roof is Awesome!
Can you say panoramic sunroof? Oh man! You have to open the shade twice to get the full effect, but the roof is one of my top 5 favorite features. Sun load can be quite high with the shade back, especially if you sweat in the snow like I do. Still, rolling that shade back is a really nice thing to be able to do.
The Lighting is Spectacular
The LED headlights are great. My 2011 had old school halogens, and these really are an upgrade. The cornering lights are unexpectedly nice in dark spots, too. And lighting in general is exceptional. The bed lights are an excellent addition.
Bed Tie-Downs are Great
While we’re in the bed fooling around, I’ll mention the bed tie down bars. There’s no better feature, I think. I imagine there’s going to come a time when I load something and they’ll be in the way. At least you can move the hooks along the rail, so’ll bet the trade-off will be minimal there as well. I’ve made use of mine already, and haven’t owned the truck but long enough to make one payment. Seems like a total win to me!
Infotainment – The Best Ever
If you’re shopping for one of these trucks and are excited about the “infotainment” system, it is awesome. That 12″ screen is a window into the new age. I use Android Auto and the system has been completely usable in all the best ways. The built-in navigation system is fantastic, too. I’ve compared routes it suggests to Waze and Google Maps, and they are similar. The voice for navigation is also quite pleasant and doesn’t have an overly mechanical or synthetic cadence.
You get a set of USB ports front and back that include fast charging USB C. As a bonus, using Android Auto removes your need to touch or see your phone. There is a great clip you can slide it into and keep it secure. It is really nice to not have to find a place to stick some cheesy phone holder. The integrations offered make it reasonably possible to not fidget with your phone in any way while you are driving. It works, it appears to be reliable, and I can’t say enough good things about it. I did not opt for the upgraded speaker system, so mine is just the regular Alpine system. It sounds awesome though. I may not be a super audiophile, but to my ear, it sounds great.
Premium Console Storage is Fantastic
One thing I am still challenged by a little bit is the dial gear shift on the dash. My first car was a Dodge. It had push buttons to the left of the steering wheel, used to select Drive, Reverse, Neutral, etc. Other Chrysler products have interesting configurations, so while this isn’t weird in that sense, muscle memory is substantial here. I’ve grabbed a water bottle trying to shift from reverse to drive a couple times. Still, I will gladly trade the shift lever for the storage provided by the console in this truck. Yes sir, that part is spot on perfect.
One technical feature that works well yet is a mystery why anyone would want it is the hot spot. It is powered by AT&T and comes with a “free” 1 gig / 3 month trial plan. Mine was used up in about three days. I’m fairly confident you’d need to go with an unlimited data package on it. I guess if your unlimited cell plan keeps you from activating a hot-spot on any of your phones, it might make sense. As it stands for us, though, we don’t really need it. It does work, and performance is pretty good. So if that’s for you, I can attest that it does indeed work quite well.
All the regular stuff like power, braking, steering, comfort, and other such topics are spot on in this truck. Driver position is perfect, passenger room and comfort is second to none. If you are one of those people who don’t want a truck because it is too austere, you might want to take a look and update your expectations.
In conclusion, I find the 2019 Ram Rebel Crew Cab truck to be an incredibly nice and capable vehicle. There is a learning curve for some things but those all come together to tell a great story. It is all about getting where you need to go and back again in the most satisfying of ways. I personally feel at home in this truck, and expect to be exceptionally well satisfied for the next ten years. If you care about my opinion and are on the fence, I confirm the hype swirling around this truck. I can’t imagine being disappointed in buying one. I hope you enjoyed reading what I had to say and find my commentary enlightening.
While I’m advocating strongly for this vehicle, I think it is only fair for people to get a glimpse into what you might NOT like about this truck. I’m still a little bitter about the price, but don’t have any remorse in making the purchase. I guess that’s about the best argument for buying it I can make.
Mother’s Day in the US is all about honoring those who gave us life, held our hands, wiped our noses, and stood us up to take on the world. If you have one, and I know you do, you should do something for her to let her know you care. Even if she’s not with us, you should do this thing that is in your heart for her. I’m extraordinarily lucky to still have my mom. She is in my thoughts every day. She comes up in conversations regularly, especially in topics having to do with being honest and taking pride in your work. But before I get too far down this rabbit hole trying to illustrate how much I love my mother, I want to take a detour and land in a different place altogether.
I am among the most fortunate on this planet having had a stable nuclear family unit growing up. My mother and father were present and accountable my entire childhood and still are to this day. I have drawn strength from their bond my entire life, so I have struggled with what I laid in contrast before my own child. While not everything is my fault, the buck stops here. This single maxim made me deal with a lot of guilt, even some that was not my own. In the end, the relentless return to the right path when a mistake was made, and the acceptance and forgiveness of myself has lead my son and me to a better place. He still has his mother, but our family unit did not survive. After a divorce and many long months and years, we remain standing. And we both gained something we never would have bet on.
A truly remarkable thing happened along this journey from then to now, and this is why I started writing this note. I met someone that carried the gift of family love in her heart and was willing to share it. In her, I found the same comfort and relaxed control I always felt in my own original nuclear family. I found myself acting like myself; there was no requirement to be anything but me. Like going home, her heart was a comfort. She took on the enormous task of helping me manage from afar the disaster my young son was surviving day to day. She fearlessly challenged me to disabuse myself of more and more false notions and toxic history, and she did the same for our son. She continued to help build us up by shouldering the burdens with us. In case it bears repeating, none of this was easy. While she never had a child born of her own body, she is among the most amazing mothers I have ever met face to face. I honor her today and every day. And don’t worry, I’m not trying to take anyone’s motherhood away. I am simply challenging you to remember that some folks drop responsibilities while other people pick them up.
There are all sorts of mothers in this world. Some gave birth and share DNA with their children. Some bring their children out of the darkness of the system through adoption. Still others inherit their children through the processes of divorce and marriage. In far too many instances mothers of all stripes have to work to not only show these young people love, but help rebuild broken foundations of trust and even dignity. All of these fine people deserve our love and respect.
I have finally found in this perfect match, the person who will stand beside me and be that solid backstop for our son to come back to when he needs it. If he needs it. While the entire history hasn’t been what I wanted for our son, the future is precisely what he and every son ultimately needs. I am eternally grateful, humbled. Loved.
Thank you Michell. I love you.