2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon First Drive
More Capable Than Ever Before
"The 2014 Ram Power Wagon fills a need for those who travel into extreme terrain for rescue or recreation, while delivering on-road civility and the towing capability expected from a heavy-duty truck." – Reid Bigland, President and CEO of Ram Trucks
The Ram Power Wagon has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1945. After returning home from combat in World War II, GI's wrote to Dodge asking where they could get a truck like the one they used in the war. Dodge responded by building the first mass-produced four-wheel-drive truck for civilian use: the Power Wagon.
In 1957, Dodge introduced another line of four-wheel-drive pickups, also known as Power Wagons, but with the model designations W100, W200, W300, and W500. This new generation of off-road trucks was offered with more conventional styling, V-8 engines, and improved in-cab amenities. The body was changed once again in 1972, but the Power Wagon retained the titles of highest towing, payload, and snow plowing capacity until production concluded in 1980. Fast forwarding to 2005, Ram reentered the factory off-road truck market by reintroducing the Power Wagon nameplate, and it's been going strong ever since.
Continuing the legacy is the newly redesigned 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon. With a new engine, suspension, axles, and tires, the latest iteration of this classic is sure to prove the most capable to date. In our short amount of time behind the wheel we had a tough time finding any shortcomings. The engine is powerful and responsive, with enough torque to move the large truck down the road in a hurry. Suspension flex and ground clearance are better than ever, and combined with the locking differentials and Goodyear tires, we didn't encounter an obstacle that the Power Wagon couldn't overcome.
Power and Payload
Propelling the 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is the all-new 6.4L Hemi V-8. Boasting an impressive 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, this powerplant has what it takes to get you into, and out of, trouble fast. It has been specifically calibrated for the Power Wagon to provide improved off-road manners, including softened throttle response and increased idle speed when the transfer case is shifted into low-range. To help negate the fuel economy penalty of the large-displacement engine, the 6.4L Hemi is equipped with Chrysler's cylinder deactivation Fuel Saver Technology. When conditions allow, such as while cruising down the highway, the system seamlessly shuts down four cylinders to conserve fuel. During our time behind the wheel, the only indication of cylinder deactivation came from the slightly different exhaust tone. Anchored by a cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder heads, and forged-steel crankshaft, the new Hemi boasts a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Getting all this power to the dirt is a 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission connected to a part-time, manual-engagement, BorgWarner 44-47 transfer case.
Although it's loaded with off-road hardware, Power Wagon owners still expect it to act like the ¾-ton truck that it is. With that in mind, Ram engineers ensured that payload and towing capacity were minimally impacted. A payload capacity of up to 1,490 pounds and towing capability of up to 10,810 pounds prove that this backwoods explorer can still do work.
For the 2014 model year, Ram introduced a new three-link front and five-link rear suspension for Ram 2500 and 3500. The Power Wagon incorporates this same suspension design, but differs in strategic ways as to enhance off-road performance. Bilstein monotube shock absorbers reside at each corner, and single-rate coil springs, which also provide more than two inches of lift, replace the standard progressive-rate units. Its unique three-link front suspension utilizes the Ram Articulink, which incorporates high-movement joints at the control-arm-to-axle mount, allowing for additional flexibility and articulation. However, what really sets the Power Wagon apart from the crowd is its electronic disconnecting front sway bar, front and rear locking differentials, and 12,000-pound Warn winch. Dubbed the Smart Bar, the electronic disconnecting front sway bar allows the axle to move more independently of the truck's frame, which allows for better articulation and a smoother ride. Its available for use in four-wheel-drive while traveling under 18 mph. Both front and rear axles are fit with locking differentials that are selectable by the driver. And if the lockers aren't enough to get you out of trouble, the Warn winch tucked neatly behind the front bumper will.
Looking underneath the Power Wagon, we find generous underbody protection, including both fuel tank and transfer case skid plates. Providing a balance between street manners and off-road capability are 33-inch tall Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. These new meats offer a beefy tread pattern to help claw at the trail while providing excellent traction in sand, mud, and snow. Thanks to the larger tires and suspension lift, the Power Wagon boasts 14.5 inches of ground clearance, a 33.6-degree approach angle, and 26.2-degree departure angle. Deep water is no match for it either, with up to 30 inches of water-fording capability.
Overall, we're extremely excited to see this unique pickup hit the market and can't wait to spend some more time behind the wheel and off the pavement.
|2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon Laramie Crew Cab|
|Engine:||6.4L Hemi V-8, 90-degree V-type, with variable-valve timing (VVT) and cylinder deactivation|
|MFG's HP at RPM:||410 at 5,600|
|MFG's Torque at RPM:||429 at 4,000|
|Transmission:||66RFE six-speed automatic|
|Transfercase:||BorgWarner 44-47 manual shift|
|Suspension (front/rear):||Three-link with track bar, coil springs, electronic-disconnecting stabilizer bar/five-link with track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar|
|Axles (front/rear):||AAM 9.25/AAM11.50|
|Brakes (front/rear):||14.17-inch rotors with twin-piston calipers/14.09-inch rotors with twin-piston calipers|
|Curb Weight:||6,700 pounds|
|Running Ground Clearance:||14.3 inches|
|Axle to Ground Clearance:||8.5 inches|
|Approach Angle:||33.6 degrees|
|Departure Angle:||26.2 degrees|
|Water Fording Depth:||30 inches|