(Reader Review by Matt Butler)
That’s right, this beast fits in my suburban garage. This also makes me a proud owner of a 2015 Ram Power Wagon Laramie. However, don’t let the word “proud” make you think this review will be biased. On the contrary, after driving this rig for 6,000 miles I found a few things to nitpick. As my family upgrades, so do I. After owning a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon for 50,000 miles, I felt my family would be better served with a more utilitarian vehicle. Considering all the great truck options on the market, I went for the Power Wagon.
I viewed it as a way to keep as much Wrangler Rubicon capability as possible. What I lost in break over angle, I gained in a truck bed. When people ask me to describe a Power Wagon, it’s easily explained as a ¾ ton Rubicon… kind of.
The Power Wagon enjoys a rich heritage and has recently made some more history. In 2014, the Power Wagon received some welcomed upgrades: coil sprung rear suspension, 6.4 HEMI, 4.10 gears, Articulink Suspension, and for 2015, some power-folding side mirrors. This is all in addition to: electronic front/rear lockers, 14. 5” ground of clearance, electronic sway bar disconnect, 33” Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, and least I forget, a 12,000 lbs Warn winch.
No wonder people look at me funny when I tell them my truck is stock. Maybe I’m asking too much, but I still think Ram can offer a few more “off-road goodies”.
Yep, it’s pretty awesome. When it comes to off-road, most people buy 4×4 pickups for that “just in case factor”. I use this truck specifically for getting far away from it all. When I was looking for a 4WD truck, I wanted more. I wanted lockers, large off-road tires, ground clearance, skid plates, and amenities that will keep my family comfortable. There are not that many trucks on the market that offer all those things, but the Power Wagon does and then some. This Power Wagon has been used for simple groceries runs and extended hunting trips in some of California’s most rugged terrain.
Other than the grinding of my teeth when I put this brand new truck through some scratchy bushes, this beast pretty much has no issues going anywhere I point it. The Power Wagon is large and feels just as big when driving it. A front camera would come in handy off-road, because the hood seems to go out to the horizon. Really though, the only issue with this truck’s off-road ability is its large size.
In 4WD low, I found the throttle to be predicable while negotiating over obstacles. Also, there can be a short delay for the front or rear lockers to engage when you turn the dial. The 4WD shifter requires some man handling to get it to move, but I like that. Pressing a little harder on the gas pedal reveals a suspension that sucks up most bumps in stride thanks to good wheel travel and forgiving Bilstien shocks. Please don’t assume this is a desert-ready Raptor suspension, but I think most will be surprised with how much abuse this Power Wagon can take at speed.
The Power Wagon sports a generous amount of skid plate protection underneath, but Ram should go the extra step and finish this rig off by adding rock rails/sliders (with a side step option). And why doesn’t the truck come with 35” tires? Those 33’s just look a little too small.
The Warn winch is rated at 12,000 lbs. So far, I’ve only used the winch to pull an object blocking the trail. I could have gone around or over the object, but it was much more fun to pull it out of the way. While my time with the winch is limited, I still have one recommendation. Ram please put the Warn manual in the truck when you sell it. While on the trail, I was forced to refer to the all-knowing smart phone to tell me how to use the winch and set it up correctly (thankfully, the internet was accessible on that trail).
Yep, it drives like a truck. Now I don’t have any zero-sixty data for you, but I can tell you this truck will move out of its own way. It’s not a rocket by any means, but it instils confidence entering a fast moving freeway or making spirited passes at highway speeds. The muffler does too good of a job letting you forget that 6.4 HEMI is carting you down the highway. I sometimes consider switching to an aftermarket exhaust just so I can hear the big V8 growl a bit louder. What about the Power Wagon’s fuel economy? If you’re concerned about it, keep looking.
Considering the large size of the truck, it still feels very grounded and planted in the turns. The rear coil suspension does an effective job at delivering one of the best rides I’ve ever felt in a heavy-duty pickup. The brakes work well considering they are stopping nearly 7,000 lbs. However, early detection of an obstacle is a good thing, and a driver would be wise to take advantage of the better outward views afforded by the height of the Power Wagon.
The interior of the Laramie does a good job of keeping most of the road noise out. The Uconnect system is very user friendly, however, its not as friendly as an iPhone. The Uconnect system does not let iPhones take advantage of the “talk to text” feature.
There are 10 cup holders just in the front cabin of the truck. Having been on many road trips, I can tell you that having 10 cup holders is a good thing. It turns out cup holders do more than just hold cups. The Laramie trim level on the Power Wagon makes the experience all the better. The seats are comfortable and the all the knobs and dials seem to be right where you need them. The 8.4” touch screen display is big and easy to read, but I feel there could be even more definition in the display.
Hauling and Payload
While I have not personally done any major hauling or towing as of yet, I will let you know there is a large difference between the standard Ram 2500 and the Power Wagon 2500. Take a look at the differences between the two brothers.
Ram Power Wagon 2500 HD Crew cab, 6’4” bed with 6.4 HEMI:
Max Towing – 10,030 lbs.
Max Payload – 1,510 lbs.
Standard Ram 2500 HD Crew cab, 6’4” bed with 6.4 HEMI:
Max Towing – 15,630 lbs.
Max Payload – 3,300 lbs.
While the towing is not what you might have expected out of a ¾ truck, it’s still better than a Ford Raptor. But, if you plan on doing some major towing or hauling, a Cummins turbo diesel powered HD is recommended.
Overall this Power Wagon has a lot to offer for people who want a little more out of a 4×4 truck. As mentioned earlier, Ram still has room to make this truck an even more complete off-road package. Just add some rock rails and 35” tires and I’ll pretty much shut up about the other stuff. To each their own, but I love the way this truck looks and stands. In a word, commanding. People in the market for a truck usually have certain needs that only a truck can fulfill. However, the Power Wagon isn’t about needs, you buy a Power Wagon because you want one, and if it fits in the garage – even better.
Watch the 2015 Ram Power Wagon on an icy and snowy off-road course.