Ram brought the heavy metal to the North American International Auto Show by debuting its new heavy-duty lineup of trucks. The 3500 series establishes itself with 1000 lb-ft of torque and 35,100-pound towing capacity, and in the same announcement Ram also showed a new Power Wagon. We got up close in personal to find out just what makes this off-road trail truck stand out from its workhorse siblings.
Factory suspension lift
Additional ground clearance is a staple of the off-road aftermarket. Ram decided to give buyers what they want on the options sheet and straight from the factory. The two-inch lift sounds subtle, but it is just enough to give the Power Wagon the proper stance and improved approach angles. The suspension also features unique geometry and electronic swaybar disconnects, which all combine to make this big truck more maneuverable off-road.
The suspension design can get you out of trouble, but off-road often means that eventually you are bound to get in over your head—or up to your axles. The Power Wagon comes prepared for that too with a special 12,000-pound Warn winch mounted behind the front bumper. A unique fairlead and synthetic cable—which saves 28 pounds over a traditional metal cable—round out the package.
Front view camera
Situated in the RAM grille script, a small wide-angle camera points forward and is meant as a utility item for off-roaders to better see the terrain ahead. Will it replace making your passenger get out and spot for you? Probably not completely, but it doesn’t hurt. As long as it’s not covered in mud.
Front and rear lockers
Locking differentials are a staple of hardcore off-road rigs, and they’re standard on the Power Wagon. The differential continues to send power to a slipping wheel, but that distribution makes turning on high-tractions surfaces (read city streets) an abusive affair for hard parts. So at the push of a button, Power Wagon drivers can disconnect the electronic lockers for street driving.
Gas engine only
The Power Wagon has always been a gasoline-only affair, and this latest generation is no different. However, there is a unique first gear ration that lowers the final crawl ratio of the driveline from 35:1 to 51:1. All that torque multiplication means the standard 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with 429 pound-feet or twist is plenty.
Is the Power Wagon the end-all-be-all of off-road HD truck? Maybe. All the parts are there for it to be extremely capable, and it has the off-road pedigree to back up its claims. We’ll know when we see it out on the trail if this Power Wagon still holds up to its nameplate.