A heavy-duty off-road bruiser from Ram.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Pricing: 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
Base price (Power Wagon): $59,195
Options: $250 Convenience group; $450 tonneau cover; $225 rear window defroster; $100 power fold mirrors; $1,425 sunroof; $300 keyless entry; $325 centre mount rear light; $700 uconnect with nav; $250 CD player; $395 remote starter; $1,195 Rambox cargo management; $300 dual alternators; $550 bed liner; $100 safety kit; $4,995 Leather & Luxury group
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $72,650
First of all, this thing is massive. I thought the Power Wagon was a good-looking truck that has some serious stance on the street. Ram endows it with an extremely aggressive grille and a fake-louvred hood with black POWER WAGON decals on it. The contrasting black bumpers, fender flares and lower two-tone paint look tough too. My review truck’s eye-catching Flame Red colour was a great look, but the gaudy POWER WAGON banner that runs vertically behind the cab was too much for me. Ram completes the package with some great-looking 17-inch rims with massive 285/70 all-terrain boots on them.
Many people commented on the size and presence of this truck. It can’t be missed whether it’s parked or rolling down the street, that’s for sure. Oh, and in case you didn’t catch it from all the other decals, the tailgate makes it very clear that this is a Power Wagon too.
First of all, getting into the Power Wagon is an adventure. The truck sits very high, and does not have running boards. My kids actually struggled to get up into the vehicle.
The truck has a nice interior but it doesn’t feel competitive with what some of the other high-end trucks have to offer these days, including other Ram trucks. While there’s a decent mix of materials and textures, it’s very dark and it doesn’t feel very premium. That’s fine for a basic work truck, but the price of this Power Wagon certainly says premium.
With all that out of the way, like I said at first, it is a nice interior. The seats are heated and cooled and quite comfortable. The Uconnect system is pretty familiar by now. The 8.4-inch touchscreen handles the navigation, phone and stereo and does a fine job with this. By the way, the Alpine sound system is excellent. The Power Wagon has a dual-zone automatic climate control system.
In terms of driver assistance technology, you get a back-up camera and front and rear parking sensors. That’s it. That’s all.
There’s a real twist in the front passenger area – and that is that the centre console folds up to become a sixth seat for this truck. Sure, the front middle passenger has virtually no leg room as there’s still a huge transmission tunnel there, but still, it adds some flexibility, particularly for little people or for emergency cases.
The rear passenger area has three seats, and all of them are very roomy. The cupholders are on the floor, which is a bit weird, and otherwise we found the rear passenger zone to be very spartan for a $72K truck. A couple of air vents, a dash-controlled power sliding window and that’s it. No charging plugs, nothing.
The front of the centre console has an interesting kind of bin, as well as three cupholders and USB, 12V and 115V household plugs. You get two glove compartments – one upper and one lower. When the centre console is in the down position, you also get a large but shallow bin under the armrest lid which has USB, auxiliary and 12V plugs. Interestingly, if you fold the middle seat cushion out of the way, you’ll find yet another storage bin underneath (and the DVD player).
If you flip the rear seats up, you’ll find storage compartments, in-floor storage bins and a fold-out platform that allows for a nice flat load floor for moving large items.
Under the Hood
Ram sticks with a 6.4L Hemi V8 for the Power Wagon. Even though it’s on a heavy-duty chassis, no diesel is available. The V8 churns out 410 HP and 429 lb.ft of torque, and sends it through a 6-speed automatic transmission to a true 4×4 system.
OK, let’s get this over with. I averaged 20.4 L/100 km, which is shocking not only because that’s insane, but also because I was trying to drive conservatively and my week with the Power Wagon saw considerably more highway time than usual. Yikes. Clearly nobody is going to be surprised to find the Power Wagon is thirsty, but these numbers are sobering nevertheless. The 117L fuel tank is a necessity here.
The Power Wagon has everything you’d expect from full-featured 4×4 truck. I was surprised to see that the 4×4 selector is an old-school lever, rather than the usual rotary dial.
When it comes to locking the axles, you can choose to lock the rear axle by itself, or you can lock both front and rear axles. There’s also the option to electronically disconnect the front stabilizer bar, which will allow for more articulation when the Power Wagon is off-road. Speaking of off-roading, there’s a 4.10 rear axle ratio, a hill-descent mode, heavy-duty Articulink suspension bits (the rear uses a multilink coil spring system) and skid plates for the transfer case and the fuel tank.
The Power Wagon has a WARN winch, nicely integrated into the front bumper. It’s not just for looks – its 125-foot long half-inch cable has a 12,000 lb capacity. Ground clearance? How about 363 mm of it?
My review truck had a nice box cover, which is obviously optional. There’s a Ram Box cargo management system in the box, allowing you to keep stuff in one place or to extend the box’s capacity onto the tailgate, pending on how you set up the rails.
I really love the Ram Box system. Each rear fender has a lockable, waterproof box built in. Swing up the lid and a light goes on, allowing you to see what’s in there. It’s a fantastic use of space, and comes in very handy.
The huge Hemi gives off a solid rumble when it’s fired up, but the truck is surprisingly quiet when on the go. There’s no shortage of power obviously, whether off the line or if you punch it to pass someone.
If you’re lugging stuff around, the Power Wagon has a serious 15,630 lb (7,090 kg) towing capacity. The transmission has a Tow/Haul mode, of course, and there is a fully integrated trailer brake module.
This truck commands some serious respect. It looks the part, and it can walk the walk.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was not high. She’s not a huge truck fan, and when she is, it’s a luxurious, car-like interior. She wasn’t a fan of the ingress height, the size of the truck and the loud colour scheme. Let’s face it – she’s not the Power Wagon demographic.
I was sad that I couldn’t test the Power Wagon’s towing or off-road prowess, but I have no reason to doubt either. How does it stack up to the Ford Raptor, which feels perhaps more high-tech and modern, in the same arena? They are both monster machines, both highly capable and competent, and both will get everyone’s attention. It’s up to you as to which suits your needs and wants better.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by FCA Canada.
If you enjoyed this review, feel free to check out my other vehicle reviews under the car reviews tab at the top of my blog.