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2010 Ram Power Wagon - Long-Term Report 1 of 4

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on March 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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2010 Ram Power Wagon - Long-Term Report 1 of 4

Having won our 2010 Pickup Truck of the Year competition (Mar. '10), the staff highly anticipated getting our hands on a Ram Power Wagon for our long-term fleet. Our Bright Silver Metallic truck arrived to replace our much-loved '09 Ram TRX4 and gave us an opportunity to sample Ram's light-duty and heavy-duty lineup, back-to-back.

Ram's HD line-up was refreshed for the 2010 model year with a new body style, a true Crew Cab option and an interior based on the light-duty trucks, however, much of the underpinnings remained the same. One important change that makes a very big difference in comfort is the addition of hydraulic body mounts that smooth out ride motions and recalibrated suspensions. The 5.7L Hemi V-8 also received a power bump from 355 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque to 383 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.

Other than being 7.5 inches longer overall by virtue of an 8.5-inch-longer wheelbase to support a true Crew Cab, the 2010 version of the Power Wagon will be familiar to any Power Wagon fan. The Power Wagon still features 4.56:1 gearing, front and rear selectable lockers (the rear is a helical limited-slip when not locked), an electronically disconnecting sway bar, precisely tuned Bilstein shocks, and a hidden 12,000-pound Warn winch behind the front bumper. A set of 17x8-inch forged aluminum wheels and 33-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires round out the package. New to the Power Wagon for 2010 are retro-style graphics that will ensure no one mistakes this truck for a common-man Ram. The Power Wagon still offers big time capability with a 1,940-pound payload capacity and a 10,300-pound tow rating.

The Power Wagon had no problem towing our 4Runner Backcountry project from place to place.

In addition to the Power Wagon package ($6,350), we ordered our truck with Power Premium Cloth 40/20/40 seats ($900), Luxury Group ($345), Technology Group ($495), Security Alarm ($150), Media Center 730N Radio ($1,255), Power Adjustable Pedals ($125), Remote Start System ($185), Under-the-Rail Box Bedliner ($245), and the Rear Seat Video System ($1,696). Realizing that we had failed to order the backup camera, something we have found is a necessity on such a large truck that is regularly used in the city, Ram added that after delivery for us. The option price on the ParkView backup camera is an additional $200.

Some of the options we wish we could have gotten, but were not available on the Power Wagon, are heated leather seats (hey, they are easier to clean, and our aging backs enjoy a little heat at the end of the day) and the RamBox option that we so thoroughly enjoyed on our 1500 long-termer. Rumor has it, though, that the RamBoxes will be available on the heavy-duty trucks next year.

The Power Wagon is equipped with a matching fullsize spare and Bilstein shocks.

As soon as our Power Wagon arrived, it was immediately put to work. So far it has appeared in the Raptor versus Power Wagon comparo (Jan. '10), being crowned the winner in that head-to-head matchup, as well as used to tow our Project 4Runner Backcountry around for its pre-SEMA build up. In addition to all of that, we used it to prerun our 2011 Truck of the Year routes.

With the extra 1,200-pounds of weight the Power Wagon is carrying over our 1500 TRX4, power delivery isn't as immediate, but we have found the Hemi is up to the task of everything we have thrown at the it so far. The five-speed transmission does a good job of gear selection, and is very responsive. Brakes feel is good with a firm pedal and steering feels quicker than and has better feedback than in the Super Duty.

The 34-gallon fuel tank provides a highway range of over 400 miles, which means the Power Wagon is capable of breaking off huge chunks of road trips at a time. Making long trips easier are excellent visibility, a roomy cab, and comfortable seats. Plus, the Power Wagon offers a slew of entertainment options ranging from iPod integration and Sirius satellite radio to Sirius Backseat TV. No longer just an option for minivan owners, our kids love watching their shows on Sirius Backseat TV in the rear, separate from what the parents are listening to in the front.

With 383hp and 400lb-ft of torque on tap, the 5.7L Hemi has easily lived up to expectations.

We are very impressed with the tune of the Bilstein shocks, which make a huge difference in ride comfort, especially over rutted freeway expansion joints that send other trucks into suspension oscillations. The Bilsteins equally impress on the trail, where the Power Wagon soaks up road imperfections better than any 3/4-ton truck on the market, and better than some 1/2-tons. In the dirt, only the Power Wagon's sheer overall size and lack of rocker protection keep it from truly going anywhere.

Our first service was performed at Huntington Beach Dodge in Huntington Beach, California, and consisted of an oil change and basic inspections. All 2010 gas-engine Ram HDs require severe-duty service at 3,000-mile intervals, while the 2011 models have been bumped up to 8,000 miles, which will cut down on maintenance costs tremendously for 2011 owners.

One of our favorite features is the 12,000-pound Warn winch, which is hidden behind the front bumper.

So far we have found our truck to be a head turner, with only one other Power Wagon spotted since we took delivery. But it seems as if word is getting out, because more and more people in our travels seem to know what the Power Wagon is and love to chat us up about it. But enough talking about the Power Wagon-the real joy is experiencing it. Now if you'll excuse us, we have a great truck to roll some miles on.

Report: 1 of 4
Previous reports: None
Base price: $44,830
Price as tested: $51,175
Four-wheel drive system: Two-speed, part-time, shift-on-the-fly

Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 4,681
Miles since last report: First Report
Average mpg (this report): 11.18
Test best tank (mpg): 13.70
Test worst tank (mpg): 9.62

Maintenance
3,000-mile Service: ($49.62)
Problem Areas: None

What's hot,
What's Not
Hot: Power Wagon package, great shock tuning, do-anything capability
Not: Increased size, no Mopar rock rails, no RamBox, no leather

Logbook Quotes

  • "As much as I loved our old Power Wagon, this one is better in almost every way."
  • "Still has a manual T-case lever-nice touch."
  • "Just towed our 4Runner to the shop and the Hemi didn't even care."
  • "The Power Wagon got bigger, it should have 35s like the Raptor."
  • "I love how you have to climb up into the power wagon, this is a man's truck."

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