What makes the RAM 2500 Power Wagon unique is that it really is the only heavy-duty class pickup from the big-three that has as much off-road hardware and capability as it does. To put it in context, it is to the three-quarter ton class what the Ford Raptor is to the half-ton set.
This is because it has a lot of off-road components above and beyond its styling bits and the 12,000 pound winch in its front bumper. These include a purpose built suspension with a 2-inch lift, coil springs at all four corners and Bilstein off-road shocks.
Being coil sprung with upgraded links front and rear brings far better articulation over the rough stuff than a leaf-spring suspension. And up front it goes one step further with an electronic dis-connecting sway-bar that lets you completely loose for off-road duty. Add in both front and rear locking differentials and you can climb just about anything.
Power comes only from the 6.4 liter HEMI V8 which has a class topping 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a 6-speed automatic, it has unique throttle mapping modes when set in four wheel drive low that make crawling a bit easier in the back country.
I asked why the 6.7 liter Cummins diesel wasn’t offered in the Power Wagon as it seems to be it’d be a nice option. RAM tells me two reasons which are the weight of the diesel which isn’t so good for off-roading, and the cooling package for it doesn’t get along with the front bumper and winch that comes on the Power Wagon.
That aside, power from the HEMI is more than plenty here though it is surely pretty thirsty. It can ford water 30-inches deep given the high location of its air-intake. And if you’re keeping score, it has an approach angle of 34 degrees and a departure angle of 23.5 degrees.
Ride is pretty impressive given its coil suspension both on the highway but most importantly out here on the back trails where you spend the money for this truck to really be good. But it was crawling up the rock hill where I really wanted to get a feel for it.
The RAM guys had me put the truck in four-low, lock up the front and rear axles, and disconnect the sway bar for the straight up run. It was a moderate course but was good for giving you a feel for how the truck behaves at work.
And in such, I was pretty impressed with the level of ease in which it just crawls. The suspension doesn’t buck you around too much, especially with the sway bar disconnected. This is all pretty nice hardware, but I also drove it up this hill in two-wheel drive without all of that and it did fine as well.
The 2016 RAM 2500 Power Wagon as tested here came in at $57,480. It did have about $7,000 in options though. These only come in crew cab models but you can choose three trim grades starting with the base level Tradesman at about $46,000 up to the full tilt Laramie that starts at about $57,000 before options.