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2005 Dodge Power Wagon Review

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on June 1, 2006
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Our Power Wagon sure has been busy out on the road during the last test period. It was our rig of choice for prerunning our challenging Pickup Truck of the Year route (Jan. '06) in the Eastern Sierras, just outside of Bishop, California. We used it to retrieve Project RangeRunner from Dixon Brothers Racing in Lompoc, California, after its suspension transformation (March '06), and the Power Wagon has been wheeling out in the San Diego desert with some friends from KORE Performance and Bilstein, where it held its own to some highly modified vehicles.

Our Power Wagon has proven itself over and over again as a tow rig, and it more than stands up to the challenges of wheeling with its ample ground clearance, rocker protection (which we have found useful), great articulation, and lockers.

This quarter, the Power Wagon required a 15,000-mile service, which cost $446.03 from our first-class dealer, Huntington Beach Dodge in Huntington Beach, California. The comprehensive list of requirements from Dodge, such as differential service, air filter, lube, tire rotation, and oil change makes this one of the more expensive services.

All of the important switchgear is on the center stack. While we love the swaybar disconnect and lockers, we get absolutely spoiled on the heated seats.

So far, the Power Wagon remains a solid vehicle, and still has no creaks or rattles to report. Our only warranty issue came from our indash CD changer, which ate a CD, rendering the Nav system useless (it uses the same slot for music and Nav CDs-this has been fixed on '06 Rams with the full-screen navigation system). Our dealer informed us the radio would have to be taken out and sent back east for repairs, leaving us without a radio, so we have put it off for the time being. We also have the same weatherstrip tearing issue at the A-pillar with the Power Wagon as on our '04 LT Ram Cummins 600, though this has also been cured for the '06 model year.

Other than that, we enjoy our Power Wagon every bit as much as the day we took delivery and we enjoy driving it wherever we go, whether it be to the desert or in a commute to the office. Being one of the few in our area, it still gets looks wherever we go, but the secret must be out because we have seen quite a few 2006 Power Wagons on the road. This truck is still the best fullsize truck on the market for a four-wheeling enthusiast. Not only will it tow your buddy's rig to the trailhead, but you can follow him without any reservations-and winch him out when he gets stuck too.

Report: 3 of 4
Previous reports: Oct. '05, March '06
Base price: $39,970
Price as tested: $47,020
Four-wheel-drive system: Manual part-time two-speed

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 18,462
Miles since last report: 5,216
Average mpg (this report): 10.97
Test Best tank (mpg): 12.72
Test Worst tank (mpg): 8.11 (towing)

15,000-mile service: major service
Cost: $446.03
18,000-mile service: oil change
Cost: $40.40
Problem areas: CD player, weatherstripping

What's Hot, What's Not:
Hot: Tight body, great visibility, still turns heads, great brakes, plenty of storage
Not: CD changer jam can be a lengthy repair

Logbook Quotes:
* "Wish our truck came with the steering-wheel-mounted radio controls."
* "Auto trans can sometimes be slow to kick down."
* "We should have checked off the optional trailer towing mirrors on the order box."
* "Low-speed steering situations are slowed down by the steering damper."
* "Our big red Dodge still draws looks."

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