"Not everyone needs this much capability," Ram Truck Brand head Bob Hegbloom admits of the two newest off-road-capable Ram models. Nonetheless, Ram knows that its customers need extra capability for hitting trails rather than flexing in parking lots -- in fact, the brand sold about 5,000 Power Wagons in 2015 alone. For those buyers, the 2017 Ram 2500 gains an updated Power Wagon model and a new 4x4 Off-Road package, both of which debut at the 2016 Chicago auto show before going on sale later this year.
The 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon looks like a super-sized version of the Ram 1500 Rebel, with a new black grille featuring giant "RAM" lettering, tinted headlight housings, a vented hood with a gloss-black anti-glare graphic, two-tone paint, and giant "Power Wagon" decals (which can optionally be deleted if you like to roll up to the trailhead with more subtlety.) The truck's badges, fender cladding, and mirrors are also blacked-out. On the tailgate, an enormous black "RAM" logo is said to be stamped in size-324 font.
There's plenty of functionality to back up the brash looks. Available only as a Crew Cab model with four-wheel drive, the 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon packs a 410-hp, 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It can tow 10,030 lb, has 14.3 inches of running ground clearance, and can ford 30.0 inches of water without drowning the engine. Tough black powder-coated bumpers are fitted front and rear, with a Warn 12,000-lb electric winch up front.
Underneath, the 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon has as 2.3-inch suspension lift compared to a regular 2500, with Bilstein shock absorbers, electric anti-roll bar disconnects for improved articulation below 18 mph, and 17-inch wheels shod in 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. The front and rear axles have been upgraded to beefier American Axle Manufacturing units, both with electronic differential locks.
"It's going to have all the capability you expect out of this truck, but it's going to deliver on that active lifestyle, too," says Hegbloom.
The 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon goes on sale in the fourth quarter of the year. Pricing has yet to be announced; the outgoing 2016 Ram 2500 Power Wagon starts at $52,355.
Milder off-road package
There's also a new 4x4 Off-Road package for Ram 2500 customers who don't need quite so much capability. Available on any cab style with any engine with four-wheel drive, Ram categorizes the Off-Road package as intended for, "the occasional off-roader. "
Upgrades over a standard 2017 Ram 2500 begin with new fender flares, large functional front tow hooks, Bilstein shock absorbers, Firestone LT on-/off-road tires with special tread designed to self-clean by "flinging" mud away, skid plates, and hill-descent control. The truck also receives a limited-slip rear differential and a prominent "4x4 Off-Road" decal.
The 4x4 Off-Road package goes on sale in the third quarter of the year. Though an exact number has yet to be confirmed, Ram promises it will be a "value-priced option."