July 19, 2012
2012 Ram 2500 Power Wagon . Click image to enlarge
|Test Drive: 2011 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew CabManufacturer’s web site
Ram Truck Canada
Review and photos by Michael Schlee
2012 Ram Power Wagon
The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a serious truck. It is a massive hulk that looks the part of an off-road menace. It makes lesser half-ton pickup trucks look like grocery getters that should be regulated to shopping mall parking lots and suburban cul-de-sacs. What we have here is a no-excuses heavy duty truck meant for serious off-road use. In fact, Chrysler goes as far as to say that this is the most purpose-built off-road pickup truck available from any manufacturer straight out of the factory—and yes, that includes the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Although the Raptor may perform better in high-speed Baja 1000–style off-roading, when it comes to deep-rut rock crawling, the Power Wagon is tough to beat.
To achieve mountain goat–like agility, the Power Wagon comes standard with heavy-duty shock absorbers front and rear as well as a front stabilizer bar that can be disconnected to allow further offset suspension travel. To traverse deep streams and climb massive boulders, the Power Wagon has an approach height of 554 mm, departure height of 686 mm and ramp break-over height of 462 mm. For added protection in case you get a little overeager and scrape the bottom of the Power Wagon, there is a transfer case skid plate covering the important bits.
To properly test out all of these impressive limits, I took the 2500 Power Wagon off-roading at Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds. I am happy to report that despite the long wheelbase, the heavy duty Ram never bottomed, even on the steepest break-overs thanks to the high ground clearance. Around the tighter corners on the off-road course the Power Wagon felt smaller than it was and the LT285/70R17D BSW All Terrain Tires clawed into the loose surfaces. Even if you are a rookie at off-roading like I am and do not attack an obstacle correctly, the Ram will still just bull its way through it. But if you epically fail and get stuck, there is a Warn electric winch up front capable of pulling 5,443 kg; for those keeping score at home, the 2012 Ram 2500 Power Wagon automatic weighs in at 2,908 kg.
Throttle tip-in when four-wheel-drive low is engaged feels a bit jumpy, but the Tru-Lok front and rear axles combined with the standard 4.56 rear axle ratio do their best to keep all four wheels moving at a nice, slow, controllable pace. To ensure the truck doesn’t overheat when hauling its mass through impassable terrain, the Power Wagon features heavy duty engine cooling.