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2014 Ram Power Wagon Test Drive

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If Ram pickups wore superhero pajamas, the Power Wagon would be on them.

The go-anywhere heavy duty truck is just about the biggest, burliest off-roader you can buy. Based on the Ram 2500, it’s nearly 7-feet tall, just shy of 20-feet long and weighs almost three-and-a-half tons. A jacked-up suspension and 33-inch tires help it ford water 30 inches deep. Don’t forget your waders.

 

 

There’s 14.3 inches of ground clearance between the axles, but their extra-strength differentials hang down to 8.5 inches, so don’t try to straddle any big rocks. Putting a set of TruckNutz on one of these would be redundant.

Nevertheless, a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque moves it around with the authority of a muscle car and can tow up to 10,810 pounds, despite its dirt-road chops. Since it’s so big, the Power Wagon doesn’t get an EPA fuel economy rating, but I saw 13 mpg on the highway courtesy of cylinder deactivation tech that lets it run on four cylinders as often as possible.

This is truly a truck’s truck, and the one you would call when yours is stuck in the mud. I’m not usually one for decals on street cars, but the flashy Power Wagon graphics give it the appropriate look of a costumed avenger. You get it only on $50,340 SLT models, however, while an undercover Tradesman trim level starts at $45,690 and the upscale leather-wrapped Laramie goes for $56,015.

 

 

All of them come with a 12,000-pound winch, a two-speed transfer case, front and rear locking differentials and a front sway bar that can be electronically disconnected at low speeds for extreme articulation over obstacles. If you still manage to get stuck, you’re on your own.

Keep it engaged, and the on-road ride is better than you’d imagine. The Power Wagon rides on coil springs, takes turns well and doesn’t hop around too much even with an empty bed. The cabin is quiet, both audibly and visually, the latter being a little bit of a letdown. While it gets the same refined and feature-filled interior treatment that all Rams do, and a split front bench seat, there aren’t any Power Wagon-specific details to get excited about, so you’ll have to settle for the towering view.

 

 

That view comes in handy on the trail. At about half a foot wider than a Jeep Wrangler, the Power Wagon requires a wide berth, as I learned on the off-road course at the Monticello Motor Club in New York, much of it better suited to something a wee bit smaller, which is pretty much everything. Of course, if you don’t mind a few dings and scratches, you can just step on the gas and blaze your own path. Timber!

If this isn’t the official vehicle of Bro Country, I don’t know what is. I couldn’t help drifting it through the curves while yelling “yea c’mon!” to … well, myself. But I definitely looked like a boss when I did.

 

 

Order one with a set of waterproof Ram Boxes in the bed sides, fill them with icy cold beverages and you’re sure to be the hero of the tailgate party, even if no one there needs a tow.

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