DodgeForum Exclusive: AEV Recruit RAM 1500 Stops By the Office
American Expedition Vehicles gave us the up close and personal tour of their latest rig, based on the RAM 1500.
It’s been a busy past few weeks here in the office. Handling DodgeForum, and all of its sister sites takes a lot of work, as you can tell from all of the quality content on the homepage. Why are we telling you this, is what you’re likely asking yourself. Well, the team at American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) called us up and asked if we were interested in going off-roading in their latest creation. Normally, we would be on the road, making the two hour drive to our favorite trails. This time, however, it was too short notice, and we couldn’t make it. Bummer.
AEV’s Matt Feldermann responded, saying that it was no problem, he would bring the truck to us. How do you argue against that?
And so it was a few days later, that a sand-covered, Mojave Sand-colored RAM 1500 Rebel was parked curbside, outside our office. How’s that for a delivery service?
Of course, this was no ordinary 2017 RAM 1500 Rebel, this truck features AEV’s Recruit package, the brand’s take on the ultimate dual-purpose truck. A daily-drivable truck that can overland with the best of the them. This particular truck was also one of the company’s 2017 SEMA display vehicles, so it has some provenance. That provenance was further supported by the aforementioned sand-covered exterior and interior. AEV was out wheeling in some of Southern California’s gorgeous trails before the came our way.
Alright, the truck is here, let’s dig into it!
So what exactly is an AEV Recruit?
AEV describes the Recruit as being “a light duty truck with heavy duty DNA.” Based on the RAM 1500 platform, the Recruit is intended for enthusiasts who want a one-size-fits-all solution in “a fuel efficient truck that is equally as agile in rush hour as it is on the trails.”
The Recruit is a turn-key package, offering a truck with a bespoke serial number, exclusive AEV badging, and a factory-matching 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.
A standard AEV Recruit looks noticeably tougher than a standard 1500, especially in the front clip. Here’s why: It features AEV’s front bumper, with integrated bull bar and Vision X fog lights. That bumper is paired with a RAM HD front-end conversion and AEV’s heat reduction hood. This particular truck also features the optional Vision X LED light bar and Warn Zeon 10 winch system. Said winch is rated for 10,000-pounds of pulling power. It also has the kick-ass raised air intake system, of AEV’s own creation.
The AEV Recruit rolls on 18″ “Mesa” wheels, of AEV’s own creation. Those rollers are paired with chunky 35″ mud terrain tires.
This RAM 1500 Rebel came with a factory air suspension, which is quite good, so AEV designed a 4″ suspension lift, based around those fnacy air shocks. They call it their DualSport suspension kit. It allows for an OE-like ride quality, with increased wheel travel and articulation. That said, AEV also has an excellent skid plate solution, because, even with that 4″ lift, the independent front suspension RAM 1500 leaves it’s front differential too close to the Earth for comfort when rock crawling.
The interior gets a few slick little upgrades, as well. AEV cluster badging can be spotted when peeking between the spokes of the steering wheel. The seats get contrast white stitching with the AEV logo in the headrests. This truck had a stack of switches on the dash to control the lighting, which is paired with an AEV serialized build plaque.
The real party, however, is out back.
Being a SEMA special, this truck had a few more goodies than a standard, off the shelf Recruit. A rear exo-skeleton setup can serve as the frame for a canopy, or great place to mount tools and supplies.
Hanging off the side was a removable traction device, in case you, or a friend manage to get stuck.
Inside the bed was a full-size spare mounted up against the cab. Oh yeah, and a big ice chest to keep your drinks nice and cool.
It’s a very thorough package overall. After getting hands-on with everything the AEFV Recruit had to offer, it all felt very OEM in quality, and that’s partly because it is.
Now based out of the greater Detroit area, AEV not only works directly with groups like Jeep and RAM when developing their wares, several key members of staff have previously come from within Jeep. The thoughtfulness, attention to detail and level of quality in the product reflects this. These parts could all be branded as Mopar Performance parts, and we would be none the wiser.
The Recruit package starts at $14,950 and seems to be an excellent way to increase the off-road performance of a RAM pick-up. Until RAM decides to green light their new Rebel TRX concept, it would seem AEV is running the game in OEM-level quality off-road and performance goods.