Ram Trucks has a new tagline, staking the claim as “America’s off-road truck leader,” which it debuted at the Chicago Auto Show. Dodge premiered its updated Power Wagon and a new 4×4 Off-Road Package for its Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup. The Power Wagon was first introduced in 1945 and was produced through 1980. A newer version was introduced in 2005. The early Power Wagon was based on the Weapons Carrier series of Dodge three-quarter-ton military trucks made during World War II.
The 2017 Power Wagon has a brand new exterior and updated interiors, including an all-new tailgate and prominent grille with silver “RAM” lettering based off the Ram 1500 Rebel model that debuted in 2015. The larger blacked-out grille also has black bezel projector headlamps with LED marker lights. The interior and exterior redesigns are meant to make the Wagon that much more rugged. The black is continued on the flanks, where wheel-arch moldings, badges, mirrors and lower body panels stand out. This design is reminiscent of the 1979 “Macho” version of the truck driven by Gerald McRaney’s vehicle in the detective show Simon & Simon. A new hood features a large gloss-black graphic.
Inside, the Power Wagon comes with tougher materials on the seats, dashboard and steering wheel. The rubber mats and other interior touches are rugged enough for customers who go off-roading. Consumers have an optional upgrade backup camera that is positioned in the tailgate, along with another optional camera on the center-mounted spotlight. The cameras allow the driver to monitor the pickup bed from the truck’s 8.4-inch infotainment display.
According to Jeep and Ram Brand Head Mike Manley, the “2017 Ram Power Wagon delivers to those who travel into extreme terrain, while providing the towing and payload capability required in a heavy-duty truck.”
The specs on the Power Wagon back up Manley’s claim. It sports a 6.4 liter HEMI V8, capable of 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque. That allows the Wagon to pull a little more than 10,000 lbs. for towing purposes. Unfortunately for some enthusiasts, the Wagon is still not being offered with a diesel engine.
The front suspension includes an “Articulink” system along with a sway-bar disconnecting system. This allows for greater range of motion for the struts and axles to overcome any obstacle off the road. The power train has front and rear electronic-locking differentials, which helps push the truck through any terrain.There is also a winch behind the front bumper, which is capable of 12,000 lbs. of pulling power as well. The Wagon’s rear suspension includes a five-link set up, which is similar to most performance sedans. This gives the Wagon great ride control and smoothness on the road.
Dodge is making its off-road package widely available, starting in the third quarter. The package will have all-terrain tires and larger fender flares, underbody protection devices, limited-slip differentials, improved shock absorbers and special badging.
The Power Wagon is is expected to arrive in dealerships toward the end of 2016. The price tag is not known, but the 2016 version of the Ram starts at $51,410.