Bushwhacking Options From Mild to Wild
When you think of off-road pickup truck option groups, Z71 comes quickly to mind for Chevy Silverados and Colorados, and FX4 (and Raptor) ring loud bells for F-series Ford trucks. What about at Ram? Um. Well, there’s the heavy-duty Power Wagon—which gets a full makeover on the latest Ram architecture for 2017, and in the 1500 series you can choose the new Rebel, but that’s another full take-it-or-leave it deal. Some folks just want to add max trail-blasting capability to the truck of their choosing, be it a Tradesman work truck or a Laramie Longhorn showboat.
For those folks, Ram is rolling out its own unimaginatively named “4×4 Off-road 2500” package (order code 484 for you configurator geeks). Included are tow hooks, a transfer-case skidplate, a limited-slip rear differential, hill-descent control, branded blue and yellow Bilstein shocks front and rear, wheel flares, knobby Firestone Transforce AT tires, and of course a set of decals proclaiming your trail-readiness.
Chevy makes a limited-slip rear differential standard on its -tons, and its Z71 pack matches Ram’s (swapping twin-tube Rancho brand shocks for the Bilsteins) while adding a special grille, step plates, and gauge faces. Their price is $480 USD but it’s only offered on the LT (any configuration) and LTZ (four-door models only) trim levels. Ford charges $295 USD for its FX4 package on an F-250, which buys the HDC, skidplates, Rancho shocks, and decals, but an electronic locking diff adds another $390 USD and all-terrain tires add $165-$455 USD. It is available throughout Ford’s F-250 4×4 range. Ram won’t announce pricing until closer to the first-quarter 2016 on-sale date, but expect a discount from the current a la carte total pricing of $695 USD ($370 USD for limited slip, $225 USD for tires, and $100 USD for the skidplate protection package).
Those seeking the ultimate heavy-duty trail-tamer will insist on the Power Wagon, which Ram claims is the class’ most capable production truck. It gets a new riff on the Rebel grille, retooled to fit the heavy-duty’s taller schnoz and rendered in black to match the powder-coated steel bumpers and blacked-out headlights. As before, there’s a 12,000-pound (5,443 kg) Warn winch mounted behind the front bumper. A cool graphics package incorporates vertical “Power Wagon” signage on sides of the box, and of course there’s a squillion-point-font “RAM” shout-out on the tailgate.
Functionally, the “power” in Power Wagon comes from a 6.4-liter Hemi good for 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque and up to 10,030 pounds (4,549 kg) of towing. Then there’s hill descent control, locking front and rear differentials with a 4.10:1 ratio, and a 2-inch (5 cm) suspension lift with Ram Articulink front suspension with half-shaft joints optimized to permit the far greater articulation allowed by the disconnecting anti-roll bars. There are also skidplates (extra-strong tubular ones protecting the transfer case) and 17-inch (43-cm) wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac LT265/70R17 off-road rubber. In all, there’s 14.3 inches (36 cm) of ground clearance. That Duratrac tire-tread pattern is repeated on the better-bolstered front bucket seats and it’s distinct from the tread found on the 1500 Rebel seats (leather, ventilation, and heating are options). Other interior tweaks include a black headliner and rubber floor mats, plus a special Power Wagon welcome sequence on the TFT instrument panel screen. The Power Wagon will hit showrooms in the fall as a 2017 model.
|2017 Ram 2500 4×4 Off-road||2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon|
|BASE PRICE||$40,200-$68,000 (est)||$48,000-$52,500 (est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 5- or 6-pass, 4-door truck||Front-engine, 4WD, 6-pass, 4-door truck|
|ENGINES||5.7L/383-hp/400-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8; 6.4L/410-hp/429-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8; 6.7L/350-370-hp/660-800-lb-ft turbodiesel OHV 12-valve I-6||6.4L/410-hp/429-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8|
|TRANSMISSIONS||6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT||6,350-7,400 lb (mfr)||7,000 lb (mfr)|
|WHEELBASE||149.5-169.5 in||149.3 in|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||237.4-259.4 x 79.1 x 77.6-78.3 in||237.3 x 79.1 x 81.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||8.5-9.4 sec (MT est)||8.7 sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||Not rated||Not rated|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Spring, 2016||Fall, 2016|