Hard working and hard playing
The beauty of the Power Wagon is its dual-purpose nature. Comfortable and spacious enough for family getaways, but adept enough to get the job done—whatever that job happens to be. Hauling, towing, wheeling, commuting—the Power Wagon is up for anything. For this report, we used the big Ram to shuttle us to and from photo shoots, to Las Vegas for the annual SEMA show, and for hauling supplies and trash back and forth for a home we were rehabbing.
The major change to the Power Wagon for 2010 was the Crew Cab body style, the first time that a “true crew” has been available on this model. This extra space provided by the Crew Cab has been well enjoyed by our staff as we have loaded it up three-across the back seat for a 200-mile roundtrip to San Diego, and no one complained about legroom or seat comfort.
Adding to that rear seat comfort is the Sirius Backseat TV, which allows our youngsters to watch kids programming with their own headphones.
So does the increased size hamper the Power Wagon off the highway? Well, it may be a bit on the plus size, but other than needing to be a little more cautious about the breakover angle, the Power Wagon is very manageable on the trail. The front and rear lockers and sway bar disconnect add to its mountain goat ability and make it feel like a big Jeep in the dirt. And if you find yourself, or someone else, stuck, the hidden 12,000-pound Warn winch is there at the ready for recovery. However, vehicle recovery is not the only use for the Warn winch, as we discovered when we had to topple a cinderblock wall.
The one question we get asked the most about the Power Wagon is if we miss having a diesel. So far the answer has been “no.” With a large discrepancy between gasoline and diesel fuel prices, the 383hp Hemi still has the advantage, even if the fuel economy isn’t quite as good as the oil-burner. In mixed driving, we average about 11 mpg, but fuel economy improves enough during highway driving to give the big Ram more than 400 miles of range—plenty to outlast the hardiest road warrior on staff.
So far, the Power Wagon has held up quite well to our hard use. With no squeaks or rattles to report, the only anomaly is a Bluetooth system that won’t play nicely with our iPhones and a recall on an HVAC door actuator. During a scheduled trip to Huntington Beach Dodge in Huntington Beach, California, for the recall and oil service, we had them perform a head unit software update under warranty, which seems to have remedied the Bluetooth problem.
With half of its stay behind us, the Power Wagon continues to live up to its predecessor’s reputation as a tough and multi-talented pickup. And we can’t say we mind its more civilized nature.
Report: 2 OF 4
Previous reports: March ’11
Base price: $44,830
Price as tested: $51,175
Four-wheel drive system: Two-speed, part-time, shift-on-the-fly
Miles to date: 9,661
Miles since last report: 4,980
Average mpg (this report): 11.3
Test best tank (mpg): 14.05
Test worst tank (mpg): 9.62 (towing)
Oil service and tire rotation: ($75.82)
HVAC door actuator: (recall)
Problem areas: Bluetooth (warranty)
What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: Spacious, capable, can take it anywhere without thinking twice
Not: Bluetooth not playing well with our iPhones
“This truck is incredible for carrying our gear and getting us to photo shoot locations.”
“Stupid Bluetooth is unreliable and cuts in and out when I use my iPhone.”
“The winch can be used for more than just vehicle recovery.”
“Total road trip machine. Very comfortable on the highway and it is nice to sit up high above everyone.”
“Three adults in the back seat and everyone came out as friends.”