2017 Ram Power Wagon Review: Quick Crawl

IMG_5476 II

Although fundamentally identical to its 2016 counterpart, the updated 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon sports a new graphics and design look, riding on the coattails of the popular, but smaller, light-duty 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel.

The Ram Power Wagon always has been a purpose-built choice for those discerning heavy-duty truck buyers who want Jeep-like off-road capability sitting underneath a hulking gorilla. Based on a three-quarter-ton Ram HD platform from its inception, the 2017 Power Wagon offers a more flexible five-link front suspension setup (thank you Articulink), comes standard with front and rear locking differentials and an electronic front sway bar disconnect; and uses the strong-pulling 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 gas engine. These are all features carried over from the 2016 model year, but there are some changes.

New for 2017

The new front grille and tailgate share their look with the adventure-oriented Ram 1500 Rebel, with black-out head- and taillights, a swooping Ram blacked-out grille and large lettering on the tailgate There's also special smaller lettering on the tailgate, below the brand name, to identify the 2500 as a Power Wagon. Additionally, Ram uses the classic Macho Power Wagon's (1979-80 model years) vertical graphics to amplify some of the Power Wagon's deep heritage. Ram will also offer a power dome hood graphic and a unique wheel option.

Inside the vehicle, which is subtly upgraded at every touch point, the 2017 Power Wagon does a good job of adapting the design features we like in the Rebel — specifically the tread-patterned seating option and stitched name on the seatback and floormats. Also new for 2017, all headliners will be black with interior accents on the doors and the center stack is done in Iron Gray Metallic. Along with the optional tread-patterned cloth seats, Power Wagon customers can also choose a premium leather interior and matching slate gray stitching. The new Power Wagon also has unique graphics that come up on the 7-inch info screen at startup, just in case you forget what truck you're driving.

How It Drives

We had the chance to punish the 2017 Power Wagon on a large hunting ranch outside Austin, Texas. Every time we get behind the wheel of this truck we are stunned at how nimble and capable this large heavy-duty pickup can be. When facing deep ruts and holes designed to swallow Jeeps and other less worthy SUVs, the tremendous flexing power of the front and rear live axles, the incredibly grippy 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, gobs of ground clearance and selectable locking differentials make this vehicle as much a tractor as it is a pickup truck. Now that it has a more specialized look, more fitting to an outdoor adventure-themed option package, we wouldn't be surprised if the Power Wagon resonates with even more buyers, possibly doubling it meager volumes for the coming year.

So fear not if you had any worries about the 2017 Power Wagon being any less capable and beastlike than in years past; we can allay your uncertainties. Yes, it might look a little more civilized, but it's still all brute underneath — now it's just sporting a more unique, stylish look. And it's still the only vehicle offered in the U.S. that comes with a massive integrated recovery winch as standard equipment. Maybe that's why it's so popular with law enforcement.

Pricing for the 2017 Power Wagon will be released before the end of 2016.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

IMG_5451 IIIMG_5453 II

IMG_5456 II

IMG_5457 II

IMG_5461 II

IMG_5459 II

IMG_5454 II

IMG_5471 II

IMG_5475 II 



Here's a real off road truck, none of that mall crawler junk called Ford Craptor.

Still too big too heavy and too wide for serious off-roading!

You would need 39.5" tires to survive the wet fire lanes up here and even with 33" tires, it would get hung up in the deep mud and get stuck!

U.S. Marine Corps MTVR, a basic Mk-25 has huge tires for a reason. Because of the weight of the truck and its payload, the independent axles need to be up higher to off-set the sinking effect of that weight off-road!

Unwritten rule, the ground clearance needs to match the weight of the vehicle or it will sink and get hung up!

Full-size trucks like this need much larger tires like 38" or 39.5" or larger or they will get stuck in simple situations off-road!

I have seen this during my time with a local mudding/trail off-road club over the years! My best example was a massive full-size Bronco with huge 38" wide tires getting hung up and stuck while my old 86 Toyota with just 35" BFG's did just fine. I had better ground clearance and my weight was much lighter, I floated over the ruts and deep mud while the heavy Bronco sunk down and those axles got stuck!

By the way, if the federal military stops using solid axles, shouldn't you?


By the way, if the federal military stops using solid axles, shouldn't you?

Posted by: oxi | Nov 3, 2016 10:57:25 AM

Guess you better buy a Honda Ridgeline then oxi, only full independent suspension truck out there.

Nitro All GM needs is a stock 4WD to blows the doors off the cheaply made Ford Craptor HAHA!


Honda Ridgeline is a nice truck, but it just does not look like a truck!

Still a fiat that can't hold a candle to a raptor.

as you said," all they need is..." You forgot the rest of my words. Which I said was a stock 4wd HAHA! Nice fail.

@oxi, Let us know when you purchase a truck.


oxi, think this truck needs trails lol. This truck makes the trails.

Dodge Power Wagon served the armed forces for 38 years only to be replaced by the Humvee.






Their is only one Power Wagon. The truck of Trucks.


Nitro GM needs nothing more then a stock 4WD to embarrass Fords junk china off road truck AKA Ford Craptor mall crawler. Pebbles are shearing the heads off the china made Ford bolts ffs HAHAHA!


Nice looking truck! All ram 2500hd should come with 4.10 standard axle ratio. They should offer 4.56 or lower gear option. Also should come with 295/70-17 minimum. Might rub with so much articulation. Still wider tires will make it tons more mud worthy. I drive through corn fields and all sorts of norther wet lands with just 315/70-17 On a 6500lb rig. This is towing scrap or farm equipment that's shot most of the time. The power wagon is very close to perfect for truck use. Just needs a payload and towing option or the normal ram needs the axle option of this.

Legacy Power Wagon,


Helping Ford? That why their going broke chevy is the fastest growing in the US, and everyone else is pulling in positive profits HAHAHA! Where does Ford hire these idiots from? HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!




American Expedition Vehicles.


Mark Field better pay and train these Ford clowns a little better, they are failing badly at trying to make Ford look good HAHAHAHA!

Ford and Chevy got nothing for the Combat proven Power Wagon,


It's a shame they slapped that ugly Rebel grill on the front of such a good truck.

70 years young, Power Wagon,


Raptor is a much more capable truck. Plus it's a Ram which is a service center queen.

Macho Power Wagon,


Good news Mark Williams, You can buy an AEV Power Wagon with a 3" lift 37"'s and black out lights from your local AEV Ram dealership all under factory warranty Oh and you can get a new hood with heat extractors. Did I leave anything out Mark? Oh the badging you can get that custom made. lol.


@Ford drools, Stay thirsty,

Ram beats Ford in dependability.


Ram longest lasting pick ups

I like the power wagon although I like the older front end better. That black plastic grill and wheel arches are what they call "Made to Fade"

Raptor is a much more capable truck. Plus it's a Ram which is a service center queen.
Posted by: Ford rules G M and Ram break down | Nov 3, 2016 4:45:45 PM

You forgot, they removed the tough, reliable 6.2 V8 from the Raptor and installed that junk ecoboost. They'll be stretching timing chains and throwing rods like crazy. Not to mention the master cylinder likes to fail by surprise on ecoboost F-150's. Nope, the 2017 Raptor will remain the service center queen.

"When facing deep ruts and holes designed to swallow Jeeps and other less worthy SUVs,... "

....swallow Jeeps and other LESS WORTHY SUV's????

Look, I'm a Ram guy: been so since the Dodge D100 in 1974.
When I take a blood test, I have to assure the Doc's that just because my red corpuscles look like ram's heads is no reason to suspect an unusual illness, except maybe unbridled enthusiaitis. So yeah, I think the Power Wagons is the cat's meow, --- within normal off-roading parameters.

But I also have Jeeps! They are more than off-road worthy, and I can guarantee you there is no reasonable hole that can even be designed to "swallow" a proper Jeep, except maybe dropping one down a mine shaft!

I'll challenge you: get your best Power Wagon, and see if it can even come close to following this Jeep in Moab:


I would challenge any stock jeep to a stock power wagon. More power more torque more ground clearance and a 12,000 lbs winch for tree removal.


Look, Guys - - -

I appreciate the videos.

But there are some mathematics and features that would make my Power Wagon (PW) troublesome in the Devil's Highway Hot Tub, Moab (for example).
1) Wheel base is too long;
2) Track is too wide;
3) Approach, Break-over, and Departure angles are too low;
4) Weight is too high;
5) Fuel mileage goes south really quickly!

So, yeah, I could muscle my way through some obstacles, at the cost of over-working (read: cooking) the 66RFE Trans, but I have two rules that make my Rubicon a lot better for severe (SEVERE) off-road work:
1) No touching of chassis or body parts on ANYTHING;
2) No momentum blasting to get through difficulties: that can go uncontrollable fast, and is inviting a really bad day.

Again, as I said, the PW is great and comfortably in range for light to medium off-roading, but don't go nuts with it when clearances are tight, traction is REALLY slippery (e.g., deep snow), or high-centering is likely.


@NMGOM, I use my 15 AEV Prospector Power Wagon to tow my 25 foot toy hauler off road in the soft dune sand with my three YFZ 450's to the dunes. Why everyone else is packed together down by the ocean. I go were they dont or cant. Nice and quite. I wood be giving up a lot to trade it for a Jeep. lol

Here are some issues with short wheel base vehicles on the trail


@HEMI V8 and oxi, This is why I no longer use a Tacoma to go off-road. Tacomas have a very flimsy frame and don't have the proper power to weight ratio. Go full-size or go home. This is hilarious...


Even FCA is smarter then Ford HAHAHAHA!


Lame...I can do all this in my global Ranger with street tires & then some...

HEMI V8 - - -

"I use my 15 AEV Prospector Power Wagon to tow my 25 foot toy hauler off road in the soft dune sand with my three YFZ 450's to the dunes. Why everyone else is packed together down by the ocean. I go were they dont or cant. Nice and quite. I wood be giving up a lot to trade it for a Jeep."

Yes, you would. That Prospector PW is perfect for the application you described! Congratulations on that choice.


SEMA 2016: Meet “Bootlegger,” Daystar’s 720HP 1941 Dodge Power Wagon


@ oxi et al,

I used to wheel Jeeps and Yodas, always talking about light weight and short-narrow rigs.

Until I had to go full sized for the family and my job. Sure there are a few trails I can't squeeze down, but I've run some wild trails with my double locked PW. 315/70R17s fit with no lift. I've run the dunes at Glamis, alpine bogs in the Rockies, trails at Moab, east coast narrow tree cuts, and more. I can walk up obstacles that short rigs bounce and spin trying to grip, I can dig through mud, just like H1s, while still running sand and staying sure-footed on loose shale.

With Yodas and Jeeps, they are geared low for big tires and highway driving suffers. I tow a gooseneck equipment trailer with my PW, haul race cars, equipment, even hay to the ranch. My PW can do most of what a heavily modified rig can do, I can out tow a Raptor, and take my 3 kids to school.

To each their own, but I traded a tow rig and a lifted toy for a Power Wagon and a Grand National.

Guys I have owned 2 raptors! I currently have a 2014 and seriously looking at trading it for a new wagon. Make no mistake I have worked the raptor pretty good and it has stood up to the test. I even pull a small tractor and cows with no problem. Handles great on the road and cannot feel a bump. But I am not sold on the new raptors and always wanted to try the wagon. Little worried about the weight and everyday driving. But in other ways think I will b more happy with the wagon. Thoughts???

The comments to this entry are closed.