In this sixth long-term update, some thoughts before the beast ends its stay with us
Our 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is sadly nearing the end of its yearlong stay with us, and as I emotionally prepare for the beast’s departure, I thought now would be a good time to round up some things I like and don’t like about our Power Wagon that I haven’t covered in the past.
Cargo Divider/Bed Extender: Pickup trucks live and die by their utility, and I’ve got to say, when it comes to bed extenders and cargo dividers, Ram does it better than anyone. Before I go into why Ram’s cargo area is so good, it’s worthwhile to take a look at what Ford and GM are fitting on their trucks.
Ford fits its F-Series trucks with a bed extender that folds up against the passenger side of the tailgate, but it never truly folds out of the way, eating up your bed space. Chevrolet and GMC use GM’s GearOn hooks for their bed dividers, which limit your placement options, and can’t be stowed out of the way, either.
On the other hand, Ram uses a device that converts from a bed extender to a cargo divider in seconds—and it can be placed nearly anywhere in the bed. On top of that, the extender/divider stows completely out of the way against the front of the truck’s bed when not in use, ensuring you get to use all the space you paid for without having to leave your bed extender/divider in the garage.
Tow Mirrors: I haven’t done a ton of towing with our long-term Power Wagon, but I do appreciate that the Ram’s side mirrors flip up 90 degrees to function as tow mirrors or lie horizontally when not towing.
Ram Boxes: I don’t use the Ram Boxes as much as I thought I would, but on long road trips or on off-road expeditions, they’re indispensable. They let me keep small items locked down and in an easy-to-reach place rather than lose in the cab, or worse, in the bed.
Fuel Economy: There’s no getting around it: With a 410-hp 6.4-liter V-8 and a 7,316-pound (3,318-kg) curb weight, the Power Wagon is a heavyweight. It drinks like one, too. We’ll save the final observed fuel economy calculation for the verdict story, but anecdotally the truck gets about 8-9 mpg (29.4-26.1 L/100 km) around Los Angeles and can go about 230 miles (370 km) between fill-ups. On the highway, the Ram tends to average about 12 mpg (19.6 L/100 km) and can just crest 300 miles (483 km) between fill-ups. (The indicated mpg numbers are about 30 percent higher than our own fuel logs show.) Gassing up isn’t exactly cheap, either, considering the Ram’s thirst for 89 octane and its 26-gallon tank. It comes with the territory, I know, but it’s something worth considering before you make it your daily driver like I have.
Bed Access: I’m not exactly short at 6 feet, but even I have trouble climbing up into the Power Wagon’s bed. The kick-down corner step, now available on the 2019 Ram 1500, is a must-have option for the Power Wagon.
Dealership Experience: I’ve covered this in earlier updates, so I’ll keep it brief here. By and large, the dealership experience at our local Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram dealer has been terrible. There are certainly a few good eggs at our local dealer, but the service department has generally been unorganized, slow, and at times downright frustrating to deal with. Some of you have shared similar experiences with me about your local FCA dealers over social media, and news editor Alex Nishimoto has also had issues at a different local Chrysler dealer with his long-term Pacifica, so unfortunately it doesn’t seem like an isolated incident.
Room for improvement:
Differential Locks and Anti-Roll Bar Disconnect: The Power Wagon’s front and rear differential locks are controlled by a knob mounted on the center stack. They’re super easy to operate and usually work fine on the first go. Sometimes, though, instead of locking, the differential lock light just flashes, indicating that it isn’t locked. The anti-roll bar disconnect switch, located next to the diff knob, does the same thing on occasion. It can be frustrating because the driver is left to guess why the diffs aren’t locked. I’d love to see Ram incorporate a warning message in the driver information display on the dashboard when this happens on the new Power Wagon.