Pickup Trucks: The ultimate luxury? Keri Potipcoe This week’s test vehicle received a lot of attention, including one guy who cut across three lanes of highway to pull alongside me and yell a compliment. It’s not because I’m looking extra special, his opinion is slanted because I’m driving a 2015 Ram Rebel, the newest addition to one of the hottest segments right now – luxury pickup trucks. Gone are the days when pickups were for work only. Sure, these top trimmed trucks are designed with a contractor in mind, one who spends his day travelling between construction sites. But then the affluent crowd got a hold of them, and they’ve now become the new status vehicle – pickup trucks with sports performance hoods and interiors that rival that of a luxury car. It’s not out of line for luxury pickup to surpass six figures in price. It doesn’t matter that 90% of the time it’s a single occupant. It suggests fuel costs aren’t an issue for the driver. Nor does it matter that while the truck is capable of towing small farm equipment, the only thing it tows is the driver’s gym bag. Actually, that’s kind of the point of this segment – massive luxury for one. I’m driving a flame red 2015 Ram Rebel, the all-new off-road edition of the Ram 1500 series. Powered by a 5.7 L HEMI V8 that outputs 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque to the 33” wheels, I am looking down on everyone around. Here, take a look at this Rebel’s feature list, an interior that rivals that of a luxury vehicle. But first I’ll make it easier for you to see inside by lowering the air suspension to one of four heights. Really. it’s not two but a rare, three-tone coloured interior leather wrapped dash, steering wheel, everything is leather with contrast stitching at that and heated – steering wheel, side mirrors, and front seats that move 10-ways 8.4” Touchscreen with hands-free navigation And, an all-digital instrument cluster that’s infinitely customizable: Outside, the exhaust tips have brightened tips, there’s air vents in the hood, the grille is blacked-out, and the list goes on. For obvious reasons this trend isn’t as apparent in urban centres as it is outside of them. And especially in places like Fort McMurray Alberta, Canada’s oil epicentre. Can you picture the one-up-man-ship? Couple drivers in a parking lot with their pickups, “we are looking good.” Then another Ford F150 pulls in, but this one has the exclusive Harley Davidson trim, and takes the lead. My Rebel and I make an entrance – hi hi guys, my vented hood and I are now in front. And add extra points because bet you haven’t seen this all-new 2015 model yet. But then a 2500 HD arrives, making his point by parking real tight with the 1500s so they seem cute and little. But then the winner shows up. He’s also driving a 2500, but it’s been modified to with a lift kit, making the truck so big that an average sized person cannot see over the hood. This isn’t just one-up-man-ship. It’s one-truck-man-ship.