2017 Ram Power Wagon Review: Quick Crawl


Although fundamentally identical to its 2016 counterpart, the updated 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon sports a new graphics and design look, riding on the coattails of the popular, but smaller, light-duty 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel.

The Ram Power Wagon always has been a purpose-built choice for those discerning heavy-duty truck buyers who want Jeep-like off-road capability sitting underneath a hulking gorilla. Based on a three-quarter-ton Ram HD platform from its inception, the 2017 Power Wagon offers a more flexible five-link front suspension setup (thank you Articulink), comes standard with front and rear locking differentials and an electronic front sway bar disconnect; and uses the strong-pulling 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 gas engine. These are all features carried over from the 2016 model year, but there are some changes.

New for 2017

The new front grille and tailgate share their look with the adventure-oriented Ram 1500 Rebel, with black-out head- and taillights, a swooping Ram blacked-out grille and large lettering on the tailgate There's also special smaller lettering on the tailgate, below the brand name, to identify the 2500 as a Power Wagon. Additionally, Ram uses the classic Macho Power Wagon's (1979-80 model years) vertical graphics to amplify some of the Power Wagon's deep heritage. Ram will also offer a power dome hood graphic and a unique wheel option.

Inside the vehicle, which is subtly upgraded at every touch point, the 2017 Power Wagon does a good job of adapting the design features we like in the Rebel — specifically the tread-patterned seating option and stitched name on the seatback and floormats. Also new for 2017, all headliners will be black with interior accents on the doors and the center stack is done in Iron Gray Metallic. Along with the optional tread-patterned cloth seats, Power Wagon customers can also choose a premium leather interior and matching slate gray stitching. The new Power Wagon also has unique graphics that come up on the 7-inch info screen at startup, just in case you forget what truck you're driving.

How It Drives

We had the chance to punish the 2017 Power Wagon on a large hunting ranch outside Austin, Texas. Every time we get behind the wheel of this truck we are stunned at how nimble and capable this large heavy-duty pickup can be. When facing deep ruts and holes designed to swallow Jeeps and other less worthy SUVs, the tremendous flexing power of the front and rear live axles, the incredibly grippy 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, gobs of ground clearance and selectable locking differentials make this vehicle as much a tractor as it is a pickup truck. Now that it has a more specialized look, more fitting to an outdoor adventure-themed option package, we wouldn't be surprised if the Power Wagon resonates with even more buyers, possibly doubling it meager volumes for the coming year.

So fear not if you had any worries about the 2017 Power Wagon being any less capable and beastlike than in years past; we can allay your uncertainties. Yes, it might look a little more civilized, but it's still all brute underneath — now it's just sporting a more unique, stylish look. And it's still the only vehicle offered in the U.S. that comes with a massive integrated recovery winch as standard equipment. Maybe that's why it's so popular with law enforcement.

Pricing for the 2017 Power Wagon will be released before the end of 2016. photos by Mark Williams




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