It is big. It is powerful. It is the 2016 Ram Power Wagon, a heavy duty 2500 Crew Cab 4×4 truck. It won Second Place in the Off-Road Pickup category at the 2015 Texas Truck Rodeo. Finally, this big baby came to East Texas for a two week test drive. Those two weeks included the Thanksgiving weekend with all that accompanying rain, some freezing temperatures, and various days of sunshine.
Driving took place over the Interstate highways and Texas roads, crisscrossing the area. Most of the time, however, driving the Power Wagon was an attempt to navigate washed out dirt and sandy roads during the severe rainstorms and flooding. That was the actual test of the 4-wheel drive capability.
My background includes military training at the Army Ordnance School in Aberdeen Proving Grounds. World War II vehicles were part of the training at that time, so the old 1945 Dodge Power Wagon military version was a truck that had made its mark. That legacy has rolled forward to this current Ram edition, and there was a familiarity.
The current 2016 model Power Wagon is awesome and simply looks and acts the part. It is powered by a 6.4 liter HEMI V8 engine and that is the only option. That powerful HEMI V8 is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission that works really well.
The Ram heavy-duty pickups can be obtained in various configurations and trim levels, but the Power Wagon is fairly specialized as to styling and purpose. In addition to only having a HEMI engine, the Power Wagon only comes in a Crew Cab configuration and a rear cargo area with a 6 foot 4 inch bed. That is not a bad thing, because it can carry 6 full-size adults fairly comfortably.
On the inside, the Ram Power Wagon is much like other pickups on today’s market. They are loaded down with accessories, are fairly premium or luxury-oriented, and have a lot of interior space. There is a center console that folds up for a seat area in the front, but generally, it is kept down and used for a large arm rest, storage bin, and holder for beverages.
The touchscreen display is fairly easy to navigate, especially with the interaction of the various knobs and dials. The standard FCA Uconnect by Fiat-Chrysler was a part of the setup.
The RamBox configuration on both sides of the cargo bed are extremely useful, especially during deer season. They hold a huge variety of hunting equipment and are easy to access. One of my favorite features of this Power Wagon is that the RamBox storage areas automatically lock and unlock when the key fob is used to lock or unlock the doors. That is really convenient.
The Ram Power Wagon can be ordered in a variety of colors that more easily blend into the landscape, but the test-drive model was called Flame Red. It came complete with a highly-noticeable array of graphics and decals. It was impossible to not notice this truck or get the idea that it was big and powerful just from its looks.
A few things could have easily been improved, such as needing a course in gymnastics just to climb into the cab. A milk carton or stool is almost a necessity for height-challenged drivers. Once inside, however, the seats, steering wheel, and mirrors are all easily adjustable. Although the heating and comfort system works fairly well, heated seats would have been appreciated in the days that reached freezing temperatures. Since heated seats are included in almost all vehicles, much like backup cameras, they are expected. This is especially true in a $60 thousand dollar vehicle. Also, it was surprising to not have adaptive cruise control.
The Ram Power Wagon is easy to drive and very comfortable in most instances. It does what it is supposed to do. The four-wheel drive mode works well and is easy to go in and out. The truck even has Hill Descent Control for use on steep grades. It hauls, it tows, and it even can help others in bad situations with a factory installed front 12,000 pound winch.
The heavy-duty Power Wagon is not EPA rated, but during the test-drive, an approximate 14 mpg figure was attained. The base MSRP was $50,175, but there were numerous packages and add-on s. With all of this and destination charges added, the bottom sticker price of the test-drive model was $57,480.
The Ram Power Wagon is so strong and powerful, you suspect it will growl back at you.