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2012 Ram Power Wagon, Just Short Of Perfection

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On: Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 11:36AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Ram Power Wagon, Just Short Of Perfection

 For the first time ever, we’ve got three Power Wagon models to choose from. And to make matters more exciting, one particular model actually starts at a lower MSRP relative to previous years. The base model, Power Wagon ST, comes in at $41,855 and offers bargain hunting off-road enthusiasts a stripped down post-apocalypse friendly truck with absolutely no regard for weakness…or fuel economy. Depending on the depth of your pocket book and desire for amenities, Ram also offers Power Wagons in the standard issue and Laramie variety.

But even considering the vehicle’s long list of brutish attributes, some virile enough to be banned in our puritanical society, the Power Wagon does have a pretty major flaw.

Before crying sacrilege, let’s take a look at a few positive specs. No matter which Power Wagon floats your boat, they all feature locking differentials and an electronic swaybar disconnect, much like the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. But unlike those other playground sandbox-appropriate SUVs, the Power Wagon is the only truck to come standard with a 12,000 pound Warn winch, a towing capacity of over 10,000 pounds, and a payload approval exceeding 1,800 pounds. This is a truck which means business.

The bad news is that a normal Ram 2500 or 3500 can come equipped with a 6.7L Cummings Diesel, producing 350 horsepower and up to 800 lb.-ft. of torque, while supposed Power Wagons are stuck with a still impressive 5.7L V8 plant which offers significantly lower torque and gas mileage. Don’t get the wrong idea, the 335 horses and 395 lb.-ft. of torque produced by the company’s 5.7L V8 are still adrenaline inducing. The problem is that Ram offers a significantly better engine in less expensive models which aren’t even geared for off-road use – where diesel engines are particularly prized.

The popular forum ExpeditionPortal.com recently created a list of new American trucks meant for overlanding, among them the regular Ram 2500/3500 and Power Wagon. “If you’re looking to stick with the Dodge brand, while adding a heavy camper or looking to have a multi-purpose vehicle – perhaps looking toward a diesel isn’t a bad idea. Did I mention people report a real world MPG of around 20?” But in a grouping of negatives, the same article went on to question: “Where is our diesel Power Wagon?”

Taking into account the legendary Cummings engine which is already used in other Ram HD trucks, the company could have a relatively easy diesel implant for the Power Wagon. And why not, other credible off-roaders like the Land Rover Defender and Toyota Land Cruiser BJ70 have relied on diesel? Most will agree the Power Wagon is a beast of a vehicle, but few will argue with the prospect of increased torque and fuel economy. Come on Ram, it's great but not quite singularly perfect...

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