Tuesday 25 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Review

Test Drive: 2016 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Review

The first Dodge Power Wagon was produced in 1945 as a World War II military truck. As you can see from the pictures and my video, it has evolved into one of the biggest, baddest trucks on the road today.

My review vehicle this week is the 2016 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Crew Cab 4×4. This is a truck for serious off-road enthusiasts who want to make a statement by driving a 3 and a half-ton beast of a pickup.

I had assumed all along the Power Wagon would come with the Cummins diesel, but the only choice is a 6.4-liter Hemi gas engine that is putting out 410-horses, and equally important, 429-pound feet of torque.  It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and it has a 4:10 rear axle ratio.  Power Wagon is rated to tow just under 10,000 pounds.

While this truck is outwardly good looking with its lift kit, big tires and wheels, and graphics that let the world know you are driving a Power Wagon, it is the things you can’t see that make this truck such a monster.

First, it is a true 4×4 with locking front and rear axles which operate from a round knob near the steering wheel.  It has the old-fashioned shift-on-the-fly manual transfer case to lock it into 4-wheel drive, and you can even disconnect the sway bars electronically for better traction.  This Ram has hill descent control for safely going down steep hills.

If you do get yourself stuck, or if you want to help out someone else who got stuck, this truck comes from the factory with a 12,000-pound winch.

As you move to the inside of the truck, you see a huge interior that will comfortably seat six adults.  There is a large fold down center console on the front seat, and one thing I love about the Ram is the way the back seat folds up to reveal in-floor storage bins.

The Power Wagon’s seats are very comfortable and everything is easy to reach.  Large gauges are easy to read and there is a 7” driver information center in the middle of the dash.  There is also a ton of storage areas and at least a dozen cup holders.

The Power Wagon comes well equipped with a lot of standard equipment like power driver’s seat, keyless entry, power windows and door locks, cruise control, and Chrysler’s Uconnect system, which gives you Bluetooth, Sirius radio, and a host of apps.

My red review truck has the $695 luxury group which is primarily the power fold exterior mirrors which have turn signals built in, along with courtesy lights to see under the truck, a leather steering wheel, and built-in garage door opener.

For $325, which is a bargain, you get a camera to let you see the cargo area, then for $1000 you get navigation system built into the Uconnect screen, plus real-time weather, traffic, and you can make your Ram an office complete with Wi-Fi.

A few more options include rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, remote start, and spray-in bed liner.  Those add up to $1270, and the last option-but one of my favorites-is the $1295 Ram Boxes.

Ram box is built into the truck on each side of the bed and they are lockable and waterproof.  You can buy accessories to hold shotguns, fishing rods, and more.  There are plugs in the bottom for drainage if you want to put ice in there, and one of my favorite features is the tool boxes and tailgate all lock when you lock the cab doors. 

The Power Wagon is large, but it rides surprisingly well for a ¾-ton pickup that is 20-feet long, and 6 ½ feet wide AND tall.  I expected a much harsher ride.

If fuel economy is important to you, this is not the truck for you.  Since it is a 2500-series, there are no EPA ratings, but I can tell you that I am averaging around 11 miles per gallon in city and highway mixed driving.  With the way this truck is rigged and geared, that is not a surprise but wanted you to be aware of it.  It has cylinder deactivation so it is only running on 4 cylinders at highway speeds, so I suspect you could get it up to maybe 13 not towing anything.

One question I am getting often is how it compares to the Ford Raptor.  They are both bad-to-the-bone trucks, but very different.  Raptor is a half-ton truck and more of a desert runner if you will, while Power Wagon is more suited for true off-road enjoyment.

MSRP on this Ram as equipped, is right at $57,500 and this is a lot of truck for the dollar.

If you look into your rearview mirror and see the massive grill of a Ram Power Wagon up close, my advice is to get out of the way…it can go around you OR over you!

What I liked most:  Exterior appearance and off-road capability.

What I would change:  I would love to see this truck with a Cummins diesel.

MSRP: Base price $50,715, as equipped $57,480.

Fuel Economy:  Not rated by the EPA, but after a week of mixed driving, I got 11.8.

Fuel Tank:  31 gallons.

Dimensions:  19.7’ long/6.5’ wide/6.4’ high.

Weight: 7006 Pounds

Trailer Towing:  9800 pounds

Miles When Tested:  3200 miles.

2016 Power Wagon in a few words: A beast of a truck and a serious off-roader.

Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance.

Manufacturer’s website: Ram