Although we're impressed with our host's wilderness demonstrations, to call the Power Wagon merely an off-road package would be an injustice. This model does have extra underbody skidplate protection and plenty of ground clearance, but it also has a higher-output alternator, extra-capacity cooling for the transmission, a brand-new, extremely heavy-duty forged trailer hitch, a modified clutch fan for moving more air through the engine compartment, and a larger-capacity battery. Clearly, this is more than a nice option package for truck buyers looking for the ultimate full-size rock-crawler.
It's our guess this Power Wagon package may be just what many towing aficionados have been waiting for, whether they're hauling their boat to a lake with a boat ramp that's in bad shape or if getting out of the backcountry during a thunderstorm is a concern. As we mentioned earlier, because the spring rates have been softened, payload and towing numbers are down slightly when compared with standard 2500 4x4 Rams, but not by much. That's a small tradeoff, given the improved ride and handling (not to mention the overall look and prowess) of this multipurpose pickup.
Sure, it's nothing like the Power Wagons of 40 or 50 years ago, or even the Power Wagon Concept shown just a few years ago, but we still think there's plenty here for those who want a strong, serious full-size pickup. Expect pricing to carry a solid premium, probably starting in the low- to mid-$30,000 range. And expect more Power Wagon variations to come.
Dodge Ram Rumble Bee
by Mark Williams
Photo by Thomas Voehringer
As if to prove the Power Wagon won't be the last Dodge Ram to borrow heavily from history, the Rumble Bee Ram package is available now, on sale across the U.S. Using a 5.7-liter Hemi Magnum motor, the lowered two-wheel-drive sport truck has good power and strong road-hugging agility, but none of the monstrous power of the SRT-10. Accents inside and out are well done, and it won't hurt that the package is about $15,000 cheaper than the SRT version. Offered in either Jet Black or Solar Yellow, the Rumble Bee is basically a dressed-down Ram SRT-10 (no V-10) with some nostalgic "Scat Pack" era badges and decals. We like the look with 20-inch wheels, but would probably be quick to do a tire swap. Dodge is trying to keep exclusivity high by limiting production to between 2500 and 5000 units, depending on its popularity.