The Ram 1500 is no stranger to success. It seems all it does is win, with major authorities giving it awards and accolades in the past year alone. The Ram 1500 kills the game with a split-folding tailgate, innovative coil-spring rear suspension, a built-in truck bed storage system, an upper-class cabin, and a 12.0-inch touchscreen.
Starting with the base-model Tradesman and Tradesman HFE and ending with the TRX, the Ram 1500 offers nine trims. And though the Big Horn marks where the fancier models begin, the Rebel and Limited Longhorn really kick things up a notch. Nevertheless, does the Limited Longhorn trim actually offer much more than the Rebel? If so, is it worth $6,760 more?
The 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel
The 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel 2X4 starts at $45,770 ($45,965 after taxes and fees), Ram‘s website shows. Upgrading to the 4X4 model hikes the price to $49,270 ($49,465 after taxes and fees). We counted nine trims, including the Tradesman models as separate. The Rebel is the sixth trim after the HFE and before the Limited Longhorn.
The Rebel’s powertrain includes a 3.6-liter, 24-valve V6 Hemi with variable valve timing (VVT) technology. It produces 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Towing and payload capacities are 7,440 and 1,800 pounds. According to Ram, the standard engine is an eTorque that includes not only VVT but also a “two-step variable valve lift.” The automaker designed both technologies to boost the engine’s overall power and efficiency. The engine is paired with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission.
Nine optional packages and equipment groups, ranging from $235 to $3,000, are available. The “Rebel Level 1 Equipment Group” (15 items) and Rebel Level 2 Equipment Group” (24 items) are among the most feature-packed. Both packages offer interior accessories, convenience, extra tech, and vehicle security. They both have similar features, such as heated steering wheels, heated front seats, power-folding mirrors, and rear window defroster.
For $1,000 more, Level 2 brings a remote start, security alarm, 115-volt auxiliary rear power outlet, and more. Rebel 12 and 12A packages cost nearly $3,000 each and center on entertainment. The first option adds a 19-speaker premium sound system, luxury leather-trimmed bucket seats, and a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The second package adds the same luxury bucket seats and infotainment center but adds a nine-speaker sound system with a subwoofer.
The 2021 Ram Limited Longhorn
The 2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 2X4 starts at $52,030 ($52,475 after taxes and fees). If you want a four-wheel-drive pickup, the 4X4 option raises the price to $55,530 ($55,975 after taxes and fees), Ram’s site shows. The standard and optional powertrains are identical, as are all the additional mechanical features. It’s when you get to the optional packages that you see noticeable differences.
The 2021 Limited Longhorn offers only eight packages, and none of them provides as much as the Rebel’s packages. For example, the “Longhorn Level 1 Equipment Group” adds the same 19-speaker sound system and 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system as the Rebel 12. The differences include power running boards, ventilated rear seats, a wireless charging pad, and blind-spot and cross-path detection. Expect to pay nearly $4,000 for those extras.
The second priciest package is the “10th Anniversary Limited Longhorn Edition.” It adds neat goodies such as a multi-function tailgate and 10th Anniversary instrument cluster theme. But is it really worth $1,220 extra?
It boils down to style, not utility
A great Consumer Reports article states, “Pick a model, any model, of car or truck. Chances are it’s available in at least four (and potentially several more) trim levels. These are essentially different versions of the same model, each with its own price and set of features — from drivetrain and engine type to safety enhancements to conveniences such as power seats and premium speakers.”
When taking a careful side-by-side look at both the 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel and 2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn, you realize the two are essentially the same. Of course, there are a few differences between the two trims, but those differences boil down to style, not utility. For example, in terms of safety and security, the only extra item the Limited Longhorn adds is a security system — a package-related feature, not standard. The primary differentiation lies in the extra packages, and that’s a stretch since even the packages share many similarities.
In our opinion, the Ram 1500 Rebel looks better, with its standard two-tone red-on-black paint job, beefy-looking matte-black grille, and sporty black wheels.
On the other hand, the Limited Longhorn looks plain, with basic-looking wheels and run-of-the-mill standard paint color. The two-tone paint jobs offered with the Limited Longhorn range from $100 to $500. You might think, “It’s only a few hundred extra dollars.” But considering you’d pay roughly $9,800 more for the Limited Longhorn with few extras than the Rebel, is it necessary to optionalize every little thing?
Vehicle manufacturers seem to have learned a thing or two from the hotel industry’s nickel-and-dime strategy. Obviously, our verdict is a resounding no — the extra cost isn’t worth it.