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There are people who buy Jeep Wranglers without knowing of any off-road trails they can use; and those who own Ferraris nowhere near a high-speed course. Sometimes the heart simply wants what it wants, and if yours desires a stinkin’-big off-road beast, Ram has just the truck for you with its Power Wagon.

The Power Wagon was originally a military vehicle, designed and built by Dodge during the Second World War. Afterwards, it was sold to consumers as a heavy-duty, one-ton work truck.

Today it’s an off-road specialist, available only on the 2500 crew cab with 6-foot-4 box, and strictly with a 6.4L Hemi V8. It includes electronically-locking front and rear differentials, and a 4.10 rear-axle ratio.

Specialty costs, and the Power Wagon starts at $65,295. But of course there’s a lot of icing you can put on this cake, and my tester was optioned to $81,155 before freight and taxes. (Fun fact: My tester’s optional power sunroof, at a rather ridiculous $1,425, was just $202 short of a brand-new Power Wagon back in 1946.)

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The 6.4L V8 makes 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic. It’s a beauty of an engine with great power and grunt, but it’s also very smooth, and responsive even on light throttle. Its cylinder deactivation seamlessly shuts off half the engine to save fuel when full power isn’t needed. A truck this big isn’t officially rated for fuel consumption, but I was racking up 18.2 L/100 km.

And this truck is big – needlessly oversized, as all full-size trucks are these days. You have to climb up into it, slide out of it, and crawl up into the bed. It’s pretty much as capable as a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with its locking differentials, disconnecting sway bar, and hill descent control, but you’re restricted to wide-open spaces since it won’t fit on tighter trails.

And while the Ram 2500 series overall has a maximum towing capacity of 20,000 lbs, much depends on the truck’s size and weight. The Power Wagon’s top tow rating is 10,290 lbs, while its maximum payload is 1,500 lbs.

Speaking of towing, my Ram’s options included spotter mirrors, with convex lenses at the ends. They’ve always been power-adjustable on the Ram ProMaster commercial van, and Ram finally figured out it should steal such a great idea for it heavy duty trucks. You can separately power-adjust both the flat and convex glass, which beats the hell out of telling your passenger to move it up a little, no not that much, out a little more…

Whether you keep the Power Wagon on pavement or take it off-road, you’re going to get noticed, because this truck’s damn-good-looking. I actually like the oversized black grille and the big badges, including the wraparound bed banner; the whole point is that this thing’s over the top. The electric winch is rated for 12,000 lbs (5,543 kg) and is standard equipment. My truck’s option packages added a power-release tailgate – down only; you must close it manually – which can be operated from the key fob.

Mine also had RamBox, which for $995 adds two locking storage compartments into the bed sides. They’re very handy – great for fishing rods, tools, or for muddy boots you don’t want in the cabin, and one contains a 115-volt power outlet. But they chew up some of the bed’s cargo volume, so assess which is more important before you order them.

They’re only part of this Ram’s considerable storage capacity, which also includes two gloveboxes, under-dash bin, and bins under the rear floor.

Ram is turning out some of the best interiors in the truck business, and my tester sports a handsome cabin design. It’s also very luxurious, but much of that is thanks to a $5,095 option package that adds such goodies as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, heated rear seats, and power-adjustable pedals. The front seating looks like buckets, but it’s actually a cleverly-designed bench, with a dual-depth console as part of the middle seat.

What’s not so clever is my tester’s $2,020 upgrade to a 12-inch centre screen that tacks an oversized tablet into the dash. Some folks are found of tech-heavy vehicles, but I’m not. There are dials for stereo volume and tuning, but cabin temperature and fan speed are small, tap-up tap-down buttons, or icons in the giant screen, rather than using big, simple dials that require almost no attention away from the road, and work well with gloves.

The infotainment system is Uconnect, one of the best out there, and it includes satellite radio and navigation with a five-year subscription to SiriusXM Travel and Traffic Link. I love Uconnect’s simplicity, save for one annoying feature: If you’ve got the map up, and you go to another screen and then tap Navigation to get back, it brings up the menu, where you then have to tap “Show Map.” It shouldn’t be a two-step process to get back to where you were.

Of course, you don’t have to add that oversized entertainment, and if you don’t, you get an 8.4-inch screen, with buttons and dials below it for climate functions.

The starting price is still a hefty chunk of change, but for fans, the good news is that everything related to off-road driving comes standard. Every available option is related only to technology, appearance, or cargo, not to the great outdoors. If your heart wants heavy-duty off-road, this just might be your truck.

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-ca/autos/other/pickup-review-2020-ram-2500-power-wagon/ar-BB1a1Pxk

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