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Ram 2500 Power Wagon boasts massive engine, old-school look


The 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a bold visual and mechanical throwback to the bright, blocky (and thirsty) heavy-duty “pick-’em-up” trucks of the late 1970s/early 1980s.

Currently, manufacturers are engaged in a fight to win the hearts (and wallets) of truck buyers looking to stand out with custom-looking rigs like Raptors, Night editions and Rebels. The Ram line of pickups hasn’t been updated in a while, but new packages like the Power Wagon and Rebel with different grilles, front-end treatments, graphics and wheels freshen the look nicely.

I tested a big (everywhere) Ram 2500 Power Wagon and I have to say, this lifted, big-tire, billboard-graphic-slathered truck got some looks and lots of questions, including some about step-up height, power, gas mileage and towing ability.

Under that massive hood resides a massive engine: a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with 429 pound-feet of torque (a no-cost option on Power Wagons). The 6.4-liter Hemi is backed by a six-speed that is so smooth it feels like it should be in a sedan. Also, since it’s a heavy-duty, three-quarter-ton chassis, fuel-economy numbers are not provided, meaning they aren’t great.

The interior of Ram pickups is this author’s preferred setup of all current pickup designs, but the gap between Ram, the F-150 and the Sierra has narrowed considerably. My Power Wagon’s interior featured seats finished in Diesel Gray and black with Sedoso fabric inserts embossed with the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire tread pattern. The heated front leather seats have light slate gray accent stitching and the Ram logo on the headrests. There’s ample head, elbow and foot room for all five passengers.

My test truck had the optional Leather and Luxury package that adds leather seat surfaces, power everything, ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, 8.4-inch touchscreen display, six-month Uconnect access, Alpine speakers and ParkView camera, to list but a few features. A power rear slider is a nice option. The overall design, function and build quality is good.

Getting into this rig requires some dexterity, flexibility and the proper wardrobe.

Power Wagon models only come with four-wheel-drive. My test truck was ready to rock (crawl), with features like a beefy Warn 12,000-pound electric winch, locking front and rear differentials, skid plates and an electronic disconnecting sway bar. The Power Wagon sits over an inch higher than a standard Ram 2500. All Ram 2500s use a five-link coil spring rear suspension instead of a leaf-spring setup. This suspension helps with off-road ability, but the around town ride can be a little bouncy.

The Power Wagon can carry a payload of just over 7,000 pounds.

However, Power Wagon sits so high that should you decide to tow you’ll need a hitch that has a lower drop, a safety chain and a wiring harness extension to reach the trailer. The off-road goodies are nice, but they reduce the Power wagon’s towing ability to only 10,000 pounds.

The 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon has just enough going for it to stay with rival “tuff truck” competitors: old-school macho look, nice interior, off-road capability and modern connectivity.