2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon CC 4x4 Review

Ram's monstrous pickup is a real juggernaut

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

Positives: A real presence on the road, tons of storage space, powerful, ready to take on any terrain, looks totally indomitable from every angle.
Negatives: Guzzles gas like nobody's business, hard to get into and out of, almost too big for some roads, some initial phone pairing issues.
Bottom Line: The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a beast of a truck. The pickup feels unstoppable and looks that way too. It's giant and powerful. If you need a work truck with some serious attitude that can also off-road like a boss, the Ram Power Wagon is for you. If you have any interest in fuel economy, it probably isn't.
 View Our 2017 RAM Ram 2500 Overview
The Power Wagon goes way back to 1946, a dedicated off-roader, and now that over half a century has passed, not much of its original spirit has changed, but its level of power and off-road prowess have only grown. It's in some ways an answer to the Ford Raptor and in other ways a challenge to the Ford Super Duty. Ram’s Power Wagon is built for enthusiasts, but even though it’s a pretty focused, purpose-built model, it still has to be usable as an everyday vehicle. We drove the new Power Wagon for a full week. Read our in depth review below.

Driving Experience



Unfortunately, we were in short supply of the kind of terrain that would really challenge the Power Wagon during the week we drove the model. We did, however, test it out on a variety of road surfaces and are happy to report that the vehicle isn’t awful on the road. It feels almost too large at times, but otherwise, we were happy with its on-road performance. We spent a short time bouncing around a field as well, but that just scratched the surface of what this vehicle is capable of.

Ride Quality: Surprisingly smooth around town and on the highway. We expected the ride to be a little harsher, but the Power Wagon is genuinely smooth over just about any road surface. Its rigid body-on-frame construction does allow some bumps to make it through to the cabin, though.

Acceleration: Surprisingly quick. The rate at which this truck consumes gasoline will discourage you from putting your foot down often. However, when you do, the 6.4-liter V8 opens up and shoots you down the road with purpose. Reported 0-60 times are about eight and a half seconds.

Braking: The brakes in the Power Wagon offer decent pedal feel and are progressive. They’re powerful, but you do need to keep the overall weight of the vehicle in mind. It’s not the easiest thing to bring this hulking mass to a stop.

Steering: Poor on-center feel. The steering is vague and on the lighter side. This is likely due to the off-road setup of the truck. While it’s not necessarily ideal for on-road use, it’s not so bad as to make the truck unwieldy.

Handling: There is a fair amount of body roll in the Power Wagon, but it’s not debilitating. The truck handles surprisingly well on a curvy stretch of road and the 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTac tires grip the road better than we thought.




The Power Wagon starts its life as a typical Ram 2500 Crew Cab 4x4, and it then gets the Power Wagon Package that includes all the off-road goodies. The package also comes with lots of optional tech features like an upgraded infotainment system and larger screen as well as navigation and a 9-speaker Alpine sound system. Our tester came equipped with a lot of features, including USB connections, Bluetooth and FCA’s Uconnect 8.4 system. We would have scored this section higher, but we experienced some pairing and loading issues in this particular model.

Infotainment System: The Uconnect system is excellent when it works. However, we experienced some issues with playing audio via our smartphone. Satellite radio and navigation also loaded slower than expected at times. The 8.4-inch screen is large and displays graphics clearly. If it weren’t for the operational issues, we’d be in love with this system.

Controls: The controls for the Uconnect infotainment system are almost entirely on the 8.4-inch touchscreen. There’s still a physical volume knob, a tune/enter knob and button, and steering wheel controls. We experienced no issues with the controls and enjoyed the straightforward layout.

Bluetooth Pairing: Paring a phone was easy. However, we experienced issues with connectivity both when streaming music and when making calls. This didn't occur every time, but even once is too much.

Voice Call Quality: There were some issues with the call recipient being able to hear us.




If you’re looking for a truck with attitude, the Ram 2500 Power Wagon is it. The blacked-out trim, large off-road tires, high ride height and muscled exterior make for a truck that’s nothing if not tough-looking. If you want something subtle, this isn’t it.

Front: The large black grille on the nose of the Power Wagon is carried over from the Ram 1500 Rebel. This is a departure from the previous Power Wagon’s grille and many of the other Rams and Dodges that came before it. We love the look of this new grille.

Rear: The rear loudly proclaims that the truck is a Ram with three large black letters. Under that in smaller black letters are the words Power Wagon. To either side of the badging stands tall wraparound taillights. It’s a simple and somewhat in-your-face rear end that we like.

Profile: From the side, it’s easy to see just how long and tall this truck is. The Power Wagon keeps the typical truck shape but just seems to pump everything up a little bit, starting with the tires and working all the way up to the badging and decals.

Cabin: If you thought Ram was going to tone things down in the cabin, you don’t know this truck company very well. The seats have Power Wagon stitched into them, and the dash and steering wheel either have Ram or Power Wagon logos on them. The inside mirrors the outside in many ways. It’s large and somewhat in your face.




Old off-road trucks weren’t always very comfortable. Times have changed. The Power Wagon has an interior that’s surprisingly comfortable, even for longer trips. The truck offers a cabin that is exceptionally large and easy to sit in, and the seats are top notch. We're rarely impressed with FCA interiors. This one gets a big thumbs up.

Front Seats: The front seats are leather-clad, supportive, well-bolstered and offer plenty of adjustment and room. The heating and cooling features help keep you comfortable after a long day of going off the beaten path.

Rear Seats: The rear seats offer plenty of room and solid support. You can seat three adults across the rear seat no problem.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): You might not think a big truck like this would be a quiet vehicle, but for the most part it is. Even the chunky off-road-ready tires don’t make too much noise. It’s not whisper-quiet by any means, especially on the highway, but road and wind noise are at a minimum. We noticed no errant vibrations, either.

Visibility: You tower over most cars in the Power Wagon. This means you can survey the road easily. This high seating height paired with the trucks overall large size make it difficult to see when things get tighter in the parking lot, but that’s where the parking sensors and backup camera come in.

Climate: The dual-zone climate control makes the Ram Power Wagon easy to keep at a comfortable temperature. The heated and ventilated seats help as well.




Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA have tested the Power Wagon. The NHTSA has, however, tested the Ram 2500 Crew Cab without the Power Wagon optional package. That truck received a four-star overall rating. It got four stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test and three stars in the rollover test.

IIHS Rating: This vehicle has not been tested.

Standard Tech: Ram’s big truck comes with a fair amount of standard safety equipment, including airbags, a number of skid plates and shields for vital engine and drivetrain parts, hill descent control, electronic stability control, trailer brake control, tire pressure monitoring, automatic headlamps and disc brakes with ABS.

Optional Tech: Optional safety tech is more technology focused and includes front and rear parking sensors, a backup camera, auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensitive windshield wipers and a cargo view camera.




The Ram Power Wagon pickup is built first and foremost for serious off-roading and then secondarily for work. This means there must be a lot of space to store gear. The 2500 Power Wagon has all of the spaces the regular Ram 2500 does, making it an excellent pickup for hauling around a lot of equipment or tools.

Storage Space: The interior is festooned with storage compartments, from the massive space beneath the center armrest to the six cupholders and the bin on and in front of the armrest. There’s even a space beneath the front middle seat and storage areas under the rear seats. If you can’t find a place to put your things in this truck, you own way too much crap.

Cargo Room: The six-foot-four-inch bed gives you plenty of room for carrying materials, large tools and basically anything you want. Also, the RamBox cargo management system integrated into the sides of the bed make storing tools and other equipment in a lockable area outside the cab easy.

Fuel Economy



Heavy duty trucks like the Power Wagon do not have to report their mileage numbers to the EPA. As such, there are no set numbers for mileage. Still, we tried our best to track how much fuel the big 6.4-liter V8 used.

Observed: We saw an average of 12 mpg in the Power Wagon over the course of a week.

Driving Factors: We drove both in the city and on the highway. In the city, we averaged about 9.8 mpg, and on the highway, we got up to 16 mpg. This is not an efficient vehicle, but no one expects it to be.




The optional 9-speaker Alpine audio system with a subwoofer provides rich sound to all areas of the cabin. We imagine the Alpine system is a significant upgrade over the standard 6-speaker system that comes in the regular Ram 2500.

Final Thoughts

The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a huge truck for the person who needs to go off-road, tow about 10,000 lbs and look like a real bruiser while doing it. It’s unapologetically big, unabashedly thirsty for gas and sticks out in any environment except an off-road park or the Nevada desert. The Power Wagon is more truck than most people will ever need, and because of that, we would tell the majority of prospective truck buyers to go with a smaller model. One that’s easier to park and more fuel efficient. However, if you legitimately need a truck like this, there are few out there like it, and the Ram 2500 Power Wagon will certainly put a smile on your face.

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