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2015 Ram Power Wagon Long Term Update 3 of 4

Coming into its own

Christian Hazel
Aug 2, 2016
Photographers: Christian Hazel
It’s an off-road–oriented vehicle. We’ve been keeping that in mind at every all-too-frequent trip to the fuel station. With front and rear lockers, electronic sway bar disconnect, 4.10 axle gears, and chunky 285/70R17 tires, the ’15 Ram Power Wagon isn’t designed to be a mileage master. Its 6.4L Hemi is thirsty, and the Goodyear DuraTrac tires are starting to howl a bit on the street as they wear, but it’s also got built-in features that help it survive long, sustained high-rpm slogs under heavy use. Things like piston oil squirters like a diesel, sodium-filled valves, specially designed exhaust manifolds, a torque-oriented camshaft grind, and other features that set it apart from just another 5.7L Hemi with more displacement. The 6.4L is a workhorse that just happens to make 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. But something pretty nice happened somewhere around the 13,000-mile mark on the odometer. It felt as though somebody pulled a cork out of the engine’s exhaust pipe. Houston, the engine has broken in … and it’s marvelous.
That’s right. In our previous installments we’ve reported satisfaction with the Power Wagon’s overall power and hustle out of the gate, but all of a sudden out of nowhere it’s like somebody flipped the light switch and added several dozen more horsepower. In reality that didn’t happen, but it sure feels like it from behind the wheel. We’ve experienced the same thing with Cummins-powered Ram trucks after the rings loosen up and the engine break-in nears completion. Our only guess is that the same phenomenon holds true for the 6.4L Hemi. Unfortunately, while the Cummins usually sees a corresponding bump in fuel economy, our gasoline-powered Hemi still sucked down fuel like a sailor at an open bar. Oh well. Power and performance don’t come cheap.
Photo 2/3   |   LT3 Ram Power Wagon Towing
As for gripes and groans, other than the aforementioned trouble areas like the peeling exterior door vinyl between the side windows, somewhat soft paint, and (just to sound like a broken record) horrendous fuel mileage, the Power Wagon was steady as a rock for the duration of this review installment. We did notice the leather on the driver seat starting to develop some deep creases and wrinkles that if left untreated might develop into ugly cracking, but otherwise, the fit, finish, and function of the interior switches, HVAC system, and infotainment system were flawless.
Unfortunately, thanks to a last-minute project vehicle snafu, we didn’t get to haul a heavy trailer/4x4 combo from SoCal to Moab for the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari. Once in Moab we hit the trail in the Power Wagon. With the T-case in low range, front sway bar disconnected, and the lockers engaged, the only limits to this vehicle off-road is the preservation of its copious amount of sheetmetal. The quad-coil suspension just hooks and flexes way more than you think possible from something that still maintains a 3/4-ton capacity. The Bilstein shocks are a marvel, allowing virtually no head toss, chassis roll, or harshness. It’s just a pillowy, controlled experience whether carving up a paved mountain road or hammering down a bumpy wash. And coming down off small obstacles and negotiating rocky sections of trail are equally fatigue-free. To us, the ride alone is enough to warrant considering the $61,000 sticker price.
Photo 3/3   |   LT3 Ram Power Wagon Towing
Report: 3 of 4
Previous Reports: Jan/Feb 2016, July/Aug 2016
Base Price: $48,790
Price as Tested: $61,000
Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 18,927
Miles since last report: 5,242
Average mpg (this report): 11.18
Test best tank (mpg): 13.0 (all highway between 60-65 mph)
Test worst tank (mpg): 9.05 (flat-tow 3,300-pound YJ at 65 mph)
Test Maintenance
This period: N/A
Problem areas: Leather on driver seat showing wear
Logbook Quotes “I wish this had rubber floor mats instead of carpet.”
“There’s like 10 cupholders up front. Seriously—10!”
“The chrome center console latch reflects sun right into your eyes.”
- OF



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