At last year's Tioga Downs Casino auto and truck show, held at the casino located off Rte.17 and 86 at Nichols, N.Y., we took along a brand new 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Crew Cab 4x4 to display at the Auto Round-Up tent. This Ram is so big it is listed as a special Heavy Duty vehicle by the EPA with no MPG ratings listed.
Formerly known as the Dodge Ram pickup, Chrysler decided to drop the Dodge vernacular a while back and began branding the vehicle thanks to the deep, manly voice of Dodge pitch man and actor Sam Elliott who was hired to do the "voice-overs" for its television commercials. Coupled with a strong newspaper and magazine print campaign, the resulting success has allowed Dodge and Chrysler dealers to reap solid sales numbers from Ram consumers, all while the "Ram Tough" ideology is branded deep into the truck consumer's consciousness.
This brings us to the American pickup market, overall.
Frankly, it's the biggest and perhaps most profitable market in the business as more full-size pickup trucks are sold every year in comparison to any other class of automobile, be it compact, mid-size or full-size. This fact comes thanks to the evolution of what a modern truck is these days, as the former "work duty" or "farm truck" pickup is long a thing of the past.
Today's modern marvel pickup is usually loaded with work duty mechanics and then topped off with so many creature comfort amenities they mimic today's higher dollar luxury cars.
Clearly, there's nothing quite like an American built full-size pickup.
Our tester Ram Power Wagon came with a standard 6.4 liter Hemi V8 that I would think will deliver 13 city and at least 16 highway EPA fuel mileage. The Hemi connects to a heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission that transfers power through a 4.10 ratio rear gear. The result is a 4x4 pickup that will light the tires up if you're not careful yet still deliver "acceptable for its size" fuel mileage if driven in a normal manner.
Every 2017 Ram Power Wagon 2500 Crew Cab 4x4 comes equipped with special off-road equipment that assures you won't bottom out. Matter of fact, our Power Wagon sat so high I had to remember I was "way up there" when getting out. Granted, the Power Wagon with its optional special exterior graphics and ultra-high stance may not be a pickup for everyone, but I'll guarantee you'll be noticed wherever you may roam.
If some serious "work truck" performance is at hand, fret not. The 392-inch, 6.4 liter Hemi delivers 410-horses and offers 429 lb. ft. of torque and can tow some pretty heavy cargo. The choice is yours as to engines, but rest assured your Power Wagon is ready to perform. Notable is the availability of a 5.7 Hemi in other 2500 series trucks along with the Cummins Diesel option, the latter a bruiser of a 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel that can tow up to 17,980 pounds and delivers 800 lb. ft. of torque.
However, due to Cummins engine heavier weight, it is not offered in the off-road specific 2500 Power Wagon.
As for pricing, an entry level rear drive half-ton Ram V6 1500 Tradesman starts at just $26,145 while the 4x4 Tradesman begins at $30,615. If you need more heavy duty build, set your sights on the ultimate 3500 series Ram, another popular vehicle with workers and those who need to tow some serious cargo.
Options on our three-quarter-ton Power Wagon include a $1,005 Uconnect 8.4 system that includes a USB and auxiliary media connect, GPS navigation, HD radio, one year of Uconnect and SiriusXM, and five years of SiriusXM Travel Link.
Also on the options list are recommended Park View rear cameras for $245, Park Sense front and rear assist program for $395, a remote start for $225 and very nice spray in bed liner for $495. An optional 40/20/40 front bench seat package that includes fold flat floor storage, power driver seat and rear 60/40 split seats costs another $900 while a luxury group adds another $695 with some nice amenities.
I feel all of these options are priced properly and your Ram dealer is ready to explain them all. The final price as tested on our 2500 Power Wagon came in at $56,485 retail before dealer incentives.
The heavy duty suspension finds a beefed up five-link front coupling with a leaf spring rear setup. The result is a "bumpy road, bumpy ride; smooth road, smooth ride" experience. Also part of the standard heavy duty items is skid plates, tow hooks, trailer tow four-pin connector, trailer brake controller and even a front mounted power winch.
One thing for sure is you won't mistake a Ram Power Wagon 2500 for any other pickup on the road. Thanks to unique Power Wagon lettering and graphics, two-inch additional lift, coil springs all around, special off-road shocks, 17-inch aluminum machined wheels on 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler raised letter tires, you'll be king of the road for sure.
Important numbers include a 6.4-foot box, 148.9 in. wheelbase, 7,066 lb. curb weight, 31-gallon fuel tank, up to 15,400 lb. tow capacity and 18.3 inches of ground clearance from the driver/passenger step out area.
The Ram Power Wagon 2500 4x4 is one awesome truck. It's not cheap by any means, but once you're on or off the road enjoying the features, I'm pretty sure you'll agree it's a very special 4x4 pickup.