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Drew Dowdell

Chicago Auto Show: 2017 RAM Power Wagon 2500: Comments

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The Ram Power Wagon is one of the most capable off-road trucks on the market today. For 2017, RAM has redesigned the Power Wagon.

 

The Ram gains the Ram 1500 Rebel grille, enlarging it for 2500 use. Six colors will be available along with additional custom colors and graphics. Inside, the seats get a tire tread pattern that matches the tread pattern of the 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires.

 

But what matters most on the Power Wagon is the hardware you can't see. Motive power comes from a standard 6.4 liter Hemi V8 with 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Properly equipped, that allows the Power Wagon to tow 10,030 lbs.

 

The front suspension has Ram's Articulink system that has high movement joints and sway-bar disconnect that allows for extra axle movement during crawling maneuvers.

 

For those who want the Power Wagon without all of the flashy graphics and paint, a Power Wagon Tradesman will be available in more subdued colors and with the standard Ram cross-hair grille, but with all of the same hardware under the covers.

 

You can get the rest of the details on the hardware aspects of the Power Wagon on Page 2.

 

 

 


New 2017 Ram Power Wagon – The Ultimate Off-road Truck Benefits From New Design

  • New 2017 Ram Power Wagon front grille design styling super-sizes Ram 1500 Rebel
  • Tops Ram – “The Off-road Truck Leader” – 4x4 lineup
  • New colors, lighting, wheels, grilles and legacy graphic takes cues from 1979-80 “Macho Power Wagon”
  • New interior colors and materials, including Diesel Gray and Black seats with tire tread-matching pattern
  • Unique 17-inch wheels and 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires pull dirt from its comfort zone
  • Standard 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 with best-in-class 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque features unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/60,000 miles
  • Unique Ram “Articulink” front suspension system incorporates high movement joints and sway-bar disconnecting system, allowing for additional flexibility and axle articulation
  • Ram engineering continues to lead heavy-duty segment innovation with five-link coil rear suspension to deliver best-in-class ride and superior axle control
  • Ram Power Wagon features standard front and rear electronic-locking differentials for true four-wheel drive and maximum traction
  • Standard Warn 12,000-lb. electric winch mounted behind the front bumper, able to hang competitors off the ground
  • Power Wagon available in Tradesman trim and design
  • Up to 10,030 pounds of towing capacity
  • Introduced in 1945, Power Wagon was first mass-production 4x4 pickup — simply no other pickup on the market matches Power Wagon’s on- and off-road capability


February 11, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Ram Truck continues to build the best pickups. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel delivers the industry’s best fuel economy at 29 miles per gallon (mpg). Ram’s Heavy Duty truck line owns best-in-class towing at 31,210 pounds and best-in-class torque at 900 lb.-ft., but Ram Truck has held one title longer than any production pickup: the most off-road-capable. Engineered to conquer the great outdoors, the 2017 Ram Power Wagon receives all-new exterior and interior design elements to match its aggressive behavior and off-road biased lifestyle.

 

For 2017, Power Wagon will top a lineup of off-road trucks that includes Rebel and the 4x4 Off-road Package and will support the Ram brand’s claim to being the off-road truck leader.

 

Based on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 4x4 Crew Cab, the Power Wagon features a number of off-road-specific enhancements, including a unique suspension with more than two inches of lift, locking differentials and a 12,000-lb. winch, giving this beast a significant advantage over all production pickups.

“The Ram Power Wagon is an off-road, all-access pass, removing the limitations, instilling confidence and allowing owners to reach areas of recreation and lifestyle not attainable with any other pickup,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand and Ram Brand, FCA - Global. “The 2017 Ram Power Wagon delivers to those who travel into extreme terrain, while providing the towing and payload capability required in a heavy-duty truck.”

The 2017 Ram Power Wagon engineering efforts include a best-in-class 410 horsepower, 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 engine.

“Dating back to 1945, the Ram Power Wagon’s heritage holds a distinctive position in the Ram Truck lineup as an example of engineering innovation and off-road capability,” said Rob Wichman, Director – Ram Truck Engineering. “For 2017, the Power Wagon’s best-in-class, can-do toughness is matched by can’t-stop-me looks.”

 

The Power Wagon nameplate was initially produced from 1945 through 1980. Early trucks were based on the Weapons Carrier (WC) series of Dodge ¾-ton military-use trucks built during World War II. The Power Wagon went on to become a well-known civilian vehicle. The iconic truck was reintroduced in 2005 and now exists as an independent model in the Ram Truck lineup.

Exterior Design
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon backs up its “ultimate off-road truck” claim with a new exterior design that leaves little doubt as to its capabilities.

 

Similar to the Ram 1500 Rebel, the new Power Wagon has an all-new grille with a prominent Billet Silver “RAM” letter badge. The larger blacked-out grille is bookended by Black bezel bi-functional projector headlamps with LED marker lights. The vent-stamped hood also includes a Gloss Black graphic, which occupies mid-hood to the windshield.

 

Truck color dictates the Power Wagon’s graphic features. While the optional two-tone, lower Black paint is carryover, the design team pulled a popular graphic from the late 1970s for the profile. The 2017 model receives a thick vertical stripe aft of the cab with “Power Wagon” in a large rotated font, paying tribute to an admired design from 36 years ago and providing quick identification of the Power Wagon model. The optional graphics come in two slightly different color variations, depending on vehicle paint. Bright White, Flame Red, Bright Silver, Blue Streak and Granite Crystal receive Gloss Black graphics, where Black Power Wagon’s are covered in Bright Silver graphics.

 

Front and rear bumpers receive a healthy dose of powder coating. The bold front bumper effectively hides a Warn 12,000-lb. winch, roller fairlead and 125 feet of line with nothing visible except a single heavy gauge steel cable and dozer-size hook that attaches to one of the two massive front tow hooks. All-new and unique to Power Wagon, the 17-inch forged, multi-surface aluminum wheels with Silver outer and Matte Black inner are bound in 33-inch tires and feature exposed lug nuts with a small center cap.

 

The blacked-out theme continues on the flanks, where wheel-arch moldings, badges, mirrors and lower body panels create a distinctive appearance.

 

Continuing around to the rearview is a 324-point bold original font “RAM”-stamped tailgate with blacked-out lettering. The Power Wagon Gloss Black graphics meld with the Black powder-coated rear bumper and Black bezel tail lamp housings. A black “Power Wagon” decal crosses the bottom of the tailgate.

 

The 2017 Power Wagon includes an optional backup camera in the tailgate, providing a better field of vision when maneuvering. Also optional is Ram’s exclusive cargo-view camera. This unique view allows owners to monitor bed loads without turning around. A touch screen toggles your choice on the Uconnect 8.4, alternating the view from tailgate to truck bed. Additionally, a new optional tri-fold tonneau cover is embossed with the Ram logo.

The Power Wagon also is available as a Tradesman Crew Cab 4x4 model. Although this option does not include the same interior and exterior design elements, it does include the same unique off-road equipment, including the winch, lockers, larger tires, electronic disconnecting sway bar, suspension and under-body armor. Monotone paint covers this package. The grille-surround and inserts are from the Tradesman model and are colored Black as are the headlamp filler panels and wheel flares.

 

Interior Design
The new Power Wagon is available in a choice of two interiors and offers a uniquely designed cabin that focuses on function with flair. Major upgrades to touch points and wrapped and stitched surfaces are evident from the previous year.

 

The Power Wagon’s interior has been upgraded with unique technical grain seats finished in Diesel Gray and Black with Sedoso fabric inserts embossed with the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire tread pattern, matching the Power Wagon’s actual footprint. Front seats with heated option feature Light Slate Gray accent stitching and Ram logo embroidery on the headrests and Black with Light Diesel Gray Power Wagon nameplate affixed to the upper seat bolsters.

 

A premium trim option steps up to leather seats with Power Wagon and Ram logos tastefully embroidered on the bolsters and Ram logos on the sides of the headrests. Matching Slate Gray stitching gives the material connection points a clean, detailed appearance. Ambient lighting brightens overhead, door panels and foot wells to complete the upscale atmosphere.

Both trims share an all-Black instrument panel, door armrests and 20 percent seat console armrest cover, which are accented in Light Slate Gray stitching.

 

The 7-inch center cluster uses “Power Wagon” startup graphics, which complement the 8.4-inch Uconnect backdrop screen featuring an off-road theme.

 

The center stack and doors are finished in Iron Gray Metallic paint, giving a cast-iron appearance and adding industrial color of a serious nature to the interior. Satin Chrome vent rings outline air output points and the cluster.

 

The steering wheel is wrapped with semi-perforated Black leather with an available heat feature, accented with Slate Gray X-stitches, and the upper glove box door and cluster are finished with a Power Wagon nameplate badge.

On the floor, “deep dish” all-weather rubber mats with contrasting Diesel Gray Ram’s head logo help contain dirt, snow and debris.

Overhead, a new Black headliner and matching upper pillars finish out the alterations of the 2017 Power Wagon interior.

 

Powertrain
Undeniable numbers tell the best-in-class story of the standard 6.4-liter HEMI 16-valve V-8 engine: 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque rating of 429 lb.-ft. (582 N•m) at 4,000 rpm. The engine calibration is unique to Power Wagon to enhance its off-road maneuverability and finesse. When driving in four-wheel-drive "Low," the throttle response softens and the idle speed increases by 100 rpm (from 650 to 750 rpm) – providing added control when ascending and descending off-road obstacles at slow speeds.

The legendary HEMI architecture provides the foundation of the 90-degree V-8 engine. But its advanced technology is decidedly forward-looking. Cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) delivers greater efficiency and elevated refinement. These attributes are manifested in reduced pumping losses and lower emissions. Pumping losses are further reduced by variable-valve timing (VVT). Efficiency is a hallmark of the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, starting with the company’s Fuel Saver cylinder-deactivation technology. When conditions allow, as in highway cruising, the system seamlessly shuts down four cylinders to conserve fuel. The engine features an active dual-runner-length intake manifold optimized specifically for the Ram Heavy Duty lineup. The result is improved low-end torque without sacrificing high-end power.

 

Efficiency is further reflected in a revised positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system, which is integrated in the intake manifold. The resulting benefit is improved oil efficiency.

 

Heat is the enemy of durability. But the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 includes such features as:

  • Robust/high-volume oil cooler
  • Oil jets for piston cooling
  • Aircraft grade, stainless steel gaskets and fasteners for improved durability at high temperatures

In addition, computational fluid dynamics was employed to optimize the cooling circuit in the block, heads and water pump. With upgraded valve-seat material to fight wear, and anchored by a cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder heads and forged-steel crankshaft, it is little wonder the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 boasts a five-year / 60,000-mile warranty.

The 6.4-liter HEMI is offered with the 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission and connects to a part-time, manual-engagement Borg Warner BW 44-47 transfer case. Hill-descent Control allows drivers to control Power Wagon’s speed down steep, rugged grades with the buttons on the column shifter – without the need for throttle or brake pedals.

 

The Power Wagon’s axles are the pinnacle of durability. Built by American Axle Manufacturing, the units measure 9.25 inches in the front and 11.5 inches in the rear (an increase from 10.5 inches), delivering power via a 4.10:1 ring and pinion ratio. Robust rear axle shafts are upgraded to 38 mm, providing rotating force directly to the 33-inch tire/wheel combination. Both axles include electronic-locking differentials driven by electro-magnetic actuators. All Ram Heavy Duty trucks incorporate a segment-exclusive, front-axle disconnect system. When conditions warrant, front drivetrain components are disconnected to reduce parasitic loss and improve overall efficiency. The system provides a gain in fuel efficiency of up to 1 mpg.

 

Additional axle data: FRONT REAR 9.25 AAM 11.5 AAM Front pinion: 98.3 mm Rear pinion: 121.3 mm Front ring gear: 235 mm (9.25 inches) Rear ring gear: 292 mm (11.5 inches) Front axle shaft diameter: 35 mm Rear axle shaft diameter: 38 mm
Crawl ratio - 3.23 (1st gear ratio) * 2.64 (transfer case ratio) * 4.10 (axle ratio) = 35:1

 

Suspension
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon features a specifically designed suspension system, including Bilstein shocks, modified control arms, spring rates and more than two inches of lift.

In the front, the entire Ram Heavy Duty line features an advanced three-link front suspension to ensure roll stiffness. Greater roll stiffness reduces body roll or lean, and is an important characteristic in taller vehicles and especially trucks with heavy payloads. Roll stiffness is measured by the amount the truck’s body tips side-to-side, independently of the wheels, during cornering.

The Ram Power Wagon packages a unique-to-model design of the standard three-link suspension system with Bilstein monotube shocks. The Ram Articulink design incorporates high movement joints at the control-arm-to-axle mount, allowing for additional flexibility and axle articulation.

Additional suspension flex is achieved via the class-exclusive electronic disconnecting sway bar, which allows the front axle to move more independently of the truck’s frame. The driver-actuated "Smart Bar" disengagement is possible in both four-wheel-drive "High" or four-wheel-drive "Low" at speeds below 18 miles per hour (mph). As a safety feature, the Smart Bar automatically re-engages at speeds above 18 mph, increasing roll stiffness.

Heavy Duty trucks generally have a rear suspension equipped for constant, heavy payloads. This usually leads to a harsher ride when unloaded. Ram innovation leads again. All Ram 2500 Heavy Duty trucks, including the Power Wagon, use a segment-exclusive five-link coil rear suspension system for best-in-class ride and handling.

 

The exclusive five-link coil design provides better articulation over obstacles than a leaf spring system and the robust coil springs are more than up to the task of handling heavy payloads. Although the 2017 Ram Power Wagon is loaded with off-road components, owners will appreciate a payload of up to 1,510 pounds and a towing capacity of up to 10,030 pounds.

The five-link coil design provides support at all major points of force. Leaf spring suspensions struggle to combat axle wrap by using staggered shock absorbers (one mounted on the front of the axle tube and one mounted on the rear of the axle tube). The superior design of the five-link coil system functionally resists unwanted axle rotation. Leaf spring configurations also lack lateral support, forcing the leaf ends and shackles to hold against lateral loads — a task they're not particularly good at and one reason the competitive leaf-sprung rear suspensions shutter on rough surfaces.

 

Because of the unique five-link axle control and natural rotation, U-joints in the driveshaft run smoothly and with less vibration through the suspension’s range of motion, an advantage not shared with leaf springs. Another benefit of coil springs is less unsprung mass and elimination of stick-slip friction found between the leaf springs. Additionally, links are engineered in-line with frame rails, so overall packaging is better, not to mention an overall weight reduction of more than 40 pounds when compared to a leaf-spring configuration.

The rear suspension also includes Bilstein monotube shocks, and a Bilstein dampener links the top of the rear axle to the frame, providing additional control – bringing the Ram Power Wagon far beyond what competitors offer for axle control.

The 2017 Ram Power Wagon's combined axle and suspension package adds to greater suspension articulation, a determining factor when negotiating extreme obstacles. With Smart Bar engaged, the Ram Power Wagon reaches a Ramp Travel Index (RTI - a measurement of a vehicle's suspension articulation) of 510 (26 inches of travel).

Ground Clearance and Protection
Power Wagon provides optimal balance between on-road civility and off-road capability with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, which feature a beefy tread pattern to help grab ledges along the trail and deliver optimum traction through sand, mud and snow — a workhorse tire for rugged off-road terrain that still offers a quieter ride on paved roads.

 

Larger tires and a suspension lift contribute to the Power Wagon’s 14.3-inch ground clearance, compared to 12 inches on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty. The truck’s approach angle is boosted to 33.6 degrees, the departure angle is increased to 26.2 degrees and the breakover angle is enhanced to 23.5 degrees. This gives the Ram Power Wagon significant clearance for navigating a variety of severe inclines and declines, as well as providing up to 30 inches of water-fording capability.

Underneath the 2017 Ram Power Wagon are generous underbody protection components. Fore-aft bars bring together the transfer case and fuel tank skid plates, resulting in armor that minimizes underside damage and rock wedging.

 

Frame
Ram Heavy Duty trucks feature frames built with high-strength 50,000 psi steel, including eight separate cross-members, hydroformed main rails and fully boxed rear rails for optimal strength and mass efficiency. Chassis controls on the Ram Heavy Duty models ensure outstanding noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measurements and ride-and-handling characteristics.

 

A large plated-structure interface to the frame brings a lengthened weld surface creating a stiff, robust front section. The design ensures optimum mass efficiency with no need for reinforcements to deliver strength, despite shape complexity. Center frame rail sections are roll-formed, an efficient means for maintaining consistent strength in less complex longitudinal sections. In the rear portion of the new frame, the structure includes fully boxed rear rails and offers a factory-installed rear axle cross-member.

 

Steering
The hydraulic steering system features recirculating ball steering gear, which delivers precise on-center feel, despite the vehicles immense towing and payload capacities.

 

Brakes
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all 2017 Ram Heavy Duty Truck models. Front rotors measure 14.17 inches (373 mm) in diameter and are clamped with dual-piston calipers; rear rotors are 14.09 inches (356 mm) also use dual-piston calipers. All Ram Heavy Duty trucks feature standard four-channel electronic stability control (ESC).

 

Body
The Ram Heavy Duty is equipped with robust engine, transmission and body mounts, including pioneering hydro-mounts at the C-pillar positions for class-leading noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics, despite the truck’s aptitude for higher payloads and towing.

 

The Power Wagon features a standard Class 5 receiver hitch with four- and seven-pin connectors on the bumper. A tailgate handle-mounted, high-definition rear backup camera system is available with dynamic imaging in the 8.4-inch display. Also, an optional cargo-view camera located in the center high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) provides a view of the bed for monitoring payload.

 

Electrical
As the Ram Truck Brand continues to offer more featured content, it’s created the need for a technology that allows more information to be electronically communicated within the truck. The Powernet electrical architecture system allows both high and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers. Within the Powernet high-speed network, each module (e.g., electronic stability control) processes its individual data and transmits the appropriate commands within the vehicle to activate any additional systems (e.g. anti-lock brake system and cruise control).

 

A majority of the commercial truck customers need to tie into the electrical system and certain fleet customers require access to vehicle information to even be considered, especially ambulance packages and some utility companies. A best-in-class vehicle system interface module (VSIM) is capable of communicating between aftermarket modules and various factory control modules. The VSIM upfitter interface module features a total of 53 circuits, including lighting controls, door position, and throttle and transmission position. The class exclusive module acts as a secure gateway to the vehicles’ electrical systems and data bus architecture to enable safe, secure plug and play connectivity for upfitter friendliness.

 

The 2017 Ram Heavy Duty is equipped with intelligent battery sensor technology, which continually measures the flow of current in and out of the battery. The system is an enabler for intelligent load shedding, systematically shutting off select electrical systems onboard the vehicle when the battery is running low, to help prevent further depleting the battery.

 

The new Power Wagon offers a dual-alternator system – the first of its kind for 3/4- and 1-ton pickup trucks with gas powertrains – combining 220- and 160-amp units for 380-amps of total best-in-class output.

 

Additional features
Ram Power Wagon customers can enjoy the convenience of power folding mirrors and power rear-sliding window with defrost. Also, one-touch, central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking all exterior doors and storage lids. Spray-in bedliner, LED bedlighting, front and rear park-assist system, power-adjustable pedals and remote start also are available, adding to a truckload of content.

 

Total cost of ownership and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon is backed with a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram Truck dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period to pass the coverage on to the new owner. The standard three-year/36,000-mile basic limited warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram Power Wagon, from the body to the electrical system.

 

Manufacturing
The 2017 Ram Power Wagon is built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico and will be available in the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

Power Wagon history – America’s first mass-produced civilian 4x4 truck
After World War II, G.I.s returning home wrote to Dodge and asked, "Where can we get a truck like the ones we used in the war?" Dodge responded by building the Power Wagon. Virtually unchanged from its introduction in 1945, Power Wagons first appeared on the civilian market in 1946 as the model WDX. The truck was similar in design to the ¾-ton military weapons carrier, with a 126-inch wheelbase and closed cab. The model designations changed over the years, but the Power Wagon was offered only as a 1-ton truck through 1968.

The original Power Wagon featured a 230 cubic-inch flathead six engine, a two-speed transfer case, a four-speed transmission with a power take-off opening, which would send power to the front and back of the truck for operating auxiliary equipment and big 9.00/16-8 ply tires on 16x6-inch five-stud wheels. The 1-ton rated Power Wagon's maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) was 8,700 pounds. Its maximum payload was 3,000 pounds.

A pickup box was designed that measured 8 x 4.5 feet. Dodge factory-built this four-wheel drive truck over a year-and-a-half before the Willys 4T and 10 years before other manufacturers began producing 4x4 trucks, making it the first mass-produced civilian 4x4 truck. The 1947 WDX featured such amenities as electric wipers, a single driver's sun visor and armrest, dome light, a heater and 10,000-lb. winch.

In 1957, Dodge introduced another line of four-wheel-drive trucks, also known as Power Wagons, with the model designations W100, W200, W300 and W500. More conventional in styling, these Power Wagons were available with different engines, including V-8s. The body transitioned in 1972 through 1980 with a number of identifiable grilles and paint schemes. Utility and function was not challenged by the few competitors in the segment, as the towing, payload, and snow plowing capacity of the Power Wagon equipped with "Dana 60" eight-lug axles was the “King of Durability.”

After the 1980 model year, the Power Wagon went out of production with the introduction of the Dodge Ram, with the four-wheel-drive models being sold under the "Power Ram" nameplate through 1993. The Power Wagon nameplate was reintroduced in 2005, where it continues to hold the top spot in pickup truck off-road capability.


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I salute Dodge for keeping the Power Wagon in the lineup.  I would go for the Tradesman model because I hate the Rebel grille and I think the basic trim is more in keeping with the original 1940's Power Wagon concept, also I'd get it in one of the dark green extra-cost colors, what a super-masculine beast it would be.  Nice!

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^ Agree with Ocnblu on this! 

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Was looking over a Ram Power Wagon in the local dealer; 6.4 Hemi, crew cab, Ramboxes, graphics & step plates…. sticker was $60,200.
I too would opt away from  the Rebel grille (in fact I'd MUCH rather have a 2015), but I admit a soft spot for that vertical POWERWAGON decal.

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Neat retro touch to the see the orange and vertical POWER WAGON stripe...ala the 1980 Macho Power Wagon trim.

 

http://machopowerwagon.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=382&g2_serialNumber=2

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Yeah, the graphics on the 2017 are actually quite nice with their retro flavor, especially compared to the supergay "splash" graphics of recent years past.  If I could get the graphics on the Tradesman without the Rebel grille, that would be the ideal solution.  Also I wish the regular cab were available, always.

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Guest saltypalm

the diesel is too heavy and would likely not add anything in terms of off-road capability. no serious off-road machine strives for such disparate weight differences between the front and rear axles. more importantly, the diesel is too long to allow fitment of the winch behind the bumper. since the current power wagon had to be crash tested with the winch in place to meet DOT safety indices, relocating the winch to accept the diesel also requires very expensive crash testing and would likely make the price less palatable than it already is.

 

look on the bright side, with gas as cheap as it currently is imagine all of that unleaded you could buy for the 5-8000 dollar upfront cost you spend on the diesel. and in terms of maintenance the gasser is cheaper to service and maintain. durability? many many gassers running around with 300+K on the odo with routine maintenance.

 

tourque? well the diesel rocks but do you really believe the current power wagon drivetrain/axleshafts etc are up to the task? as a cummins ram owner I highly doubt it especially in the off road arena where the massive torque of the cummins would likely translate into frequent parts replacement.

 

 

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      There are two engines on offer for the ProMaster. We had the base 3.6L V6 producing 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. There is an optional a 3.0L turbodiesel inline-four with a six-speed automated manual. (No more diesel for 2018 according to FCA). The V6 engine moves the van with no issue even with a large amount of cargo. As for the automatic, it delivers smooth shifts. However, the transmission showed some slowness to change gears. We’re assuming this is due to van only having 350 miles when we took delivery. For those who need a specific setup in the cargo area such as plumbers or painters, Ram offers various uplift packages that include such items as shelving, integrated tool boxes, and dividers.
      The low mileage might also explain the fuel economy figure of 15.7 mpg in mostly city driving. No EPA numbers are available due to the van’s gross vehicle weight being above 8,500 pounds.
      It is evident that Ram’s prime consideration for the suspension was tuned to deal with heavy loads and not comfort. With the van empty, the ride quality is quite harsh with many bumps making their way inside. Fill up the van and the ride begins to smooth out somewhat. Steering takes a lot of effort as it's very slow and requires a driver to make a number of rotations to do simple turns. There is a fair amount of road and wind noise coming inside the passenger compartment.
      If I was to judge the ProMaster like I would with a normal passenger car or SUV, it would be towards the bottom. There is a long list of problems such as the odd driving position, the number of comfort features that are optional, slow steering, and harsh ride. But I need to look at the ProMaster in a different light since it isn’t built for people like me. It is built for people who need a vehicle that can handle holding a lot of cargo or tools, along with being on some sort of worksite for periods at a time. Then the ProMaster begins to show some bright spots. The massive cargo area with the low step-in and tie-down point make it great for deliveries or moving. Using a front-wheel drive setup doesn’t hurt the ProMaster’s capability in terms of payload, and will help the van when the weather becomes terrible like a snowstorm. Finally, the V6 engine is plenty powerful for any situation the ProMaster is in.
      While I found the ProMaster to be a bit much to be used a daily driver for me, I can very much see the appeal for those in the commercial market. Just be sure to try the seating position as that will be the item that will influence your decision the most.
      Disclaimer: Ram Trucks Provided the ProMaster 2500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Ram Trucks
      Model: ProMaster Cargo
      Trim: 2500 159" Wheelbase - High Roof
      Engine: 3.6L DOHC 24-Valve V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 280 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - N/A
      Curb Weight: 4.483 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: N/A
      Base Price: $35,095
      As Tested Price: $43,460 (Includes $1,395 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sliding Driver-Side Door without Glass - $595.00
      Trailer Tow Group - $585.00
      UConnect 3 Navigation with 5-inch Display - $495.00
      16-inch x 6.0-inch Aluminum Wheels - $445.00
      Wood Composite Floor - $445.00
      Premium Appearance Group - $395.00
      Interior Convenience Group - $345.00
      ParkSense Rear Park-Assist System - $295.00
      Rear Hinged Doors with Deep Tinted Glass - $295.00
      Speed Control - $295.00
      Upper and Lower Side Wall Paneling Group - $295.00
      LED Cargo Areas Light Bars - $285.00
      225/75R16C BSW All-Season Tires - $250.00
      Driver/Passenger 6-Way Adjustable Lumbar Seats - $245.00
      Power Folding/Heated Mirrors - $245.00
      Security Alarm - $245.00
      DOT Certified Roadside Safety Kit - $195.00
      Heated Driver Seat - $195.00
      Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel - $195.00
      SiriusXM Sat Radio w/1-Year Subscription - $195.00
      Rear Assist Handles - $150.00
      Heated Passenger Seat - $145.00
      Instrument Panel Bright Bezels - $95.00
      12-Volt Rear Auxiliary Power Outlet - $45.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      (Author's Note: As was pointed out to me on Facebook, the diesel engine is nowhere to be seen on the consumer site or the configurator. Yet, it appears in FCA's media materials. In an email sent this afternoon, Ram Trucks spokesman Nick Cappa said the option has been dropped for 2018. This review has been updated with this new information. -WM)
      I’ll admit that I was a bit crazy requesting a 2018 Ram ProMaster van for review. Ever since it was introduced, I have been interested in this rebadged version of the Fiat Ducato van sold elsewhere. Unlike most vans that use a rear-wheel drive layout, the ProMaster uses a front-wheel drive one. I wanted to know if this works for a vehicle designed for work. But I also have an odd curiosity to cargo vans in general as I wondered what it would be like to drive one for a week as my daily driver. This is what I found out.
      Function over form best describes the design brief for the Ram ProMaster. The overall profile reminds us of an oversized dustbuster with a steeply raked and short front end and tall sides. Awkward is the kindest word to use on the ProMaster’s front end with the grille placed very low, acres of gray plastic, headlights positioned near the windshield, and a large glass area. The rest of the ProMaster’s design fits in line with other cargo vans with clean sides, split-opening rear doors, and a set of optional wheels. 
      The ProMaster offers a wide variety of configurations. With three weight classes, three body styles, and various roof height and length options, you’ll be able to find a van that fit your needs. Our particular tester is one of the popular configurations; a 2500 with the 159-inch wheelbase and high roof option.
      Getting inside the ProMaster isn’t tough thanks to wide opening front doors and steps to help you climb up. Once in, you’ll notice one of the key benefits to the ProMaster’s exterior. The large glass area not only makes the interior feel airy, it provides excellent outward visibility. This helps make maneuvering in tight spaces easier.
      The design is very utilitarian with a plain look and controls within easy reach of the driver and passenger. There are some clever touches such as the integrated clipboard latch on the top of the dash to hold paperwork and numerous storage spaces. Many surfaces are covered in hard plastics which will hold up to the various work demands being put upon by owners.
      One area that will be a major issue for drivers is the seating position. Instead of you sitting in front of the steering wheel, Ram has the wheel set up similar to a school bus or semi-truck where you sit over it. Not helping is the placement of the pedals where you step down instead of push forward. The end result is a driver being in a hunched over position. This could be somewhat alleviated if there was a tilt adjustment for the steering wheel. But Ram only offers a telescoping adjustment. The only way to get a sudo-tilt adjustment is to adjust the angle of the seat.
      The seats themselves are perfect for a long workday with excellent support and firm cushioning. It needs to be noted that the ProMaster only offers the bare minimum when it comes to seat adjustments such as angle and position. If you want lumbar adjustments, you need to tick that box on the option list.
      All ProMasters come with a 5.3-inch touchscreen with FCA’s UConnect infotainment system. Our test van came with the optional TomTom navigation system. The small screen makes it slightly difficult to look at quickly or use while on the move. We would skip the TomTom navigation system as the graphics are quite dated and it takes some time to process before providing directions. At least the base UConnect system has many of the qualities we like on the larger systems such as a simple user interface and snappy performance.
      Step behind the cockpit to enter the massive cargo space. Our particular ProMaster configuration boasted 420 cubic feet of space and max payload of 4,020 pounds. One of the reasons I had requested the van was to get a number of items at my parent’s house to be donated. The van was up to the task by swallowing up everything including a dining room set. The low step-in height, rear-doors that open up 260-degrees, and numerous tie-down points to keep cargo in its place were appreciated.
      There are two engines on offer for the ProMaster. We had the base 3.6L V6 producing 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. There is an optional a 3.0L turbodiesel inline-four with a six-speed automated manual. (No more diesel for 2018 according to FCA). The V6 engine moves the van with no issue even with a large amount of cargo. As for the automatic, it delivers smooth shifts. However, the transmission showed some slowness to change gears. We’re assuming this is due to van only having 350 miles when we took delivery. For those who need a specific setup in the cargo area such as plumbers or painters, Ram offers various uplift packages that include such items as shelving, integrated tool boxes, and dividers.
      The low mileage might also explain the fuel economy figure of 15.7 mpg in mostly city driving. No EPA numbers are available due to the van’s gross vehicle weight being above 8,500 pounds.
      It is evident that Ram’s prime consideration for the suspension was tuned to deal with heavy loads and not comfort. With the van empty, the ride quality is quite harsh with many bumps making their way inside. Fill up the van and the ride begins to smooth out somewhat. Steering takes a lot of effort as it's very slow and requires a driver to make a number of rotations to do simple turns. There is a fair amount of road and wind noise coming inside the passenger compartment.
      If I was to judge the ProMaster like I would with a normal passenger car or SUV, it would be towards the bottom. There is a long list of problems such as the odd driving position, the number of comfort features that are optional, slow steering, and harsh ride. But I need to look at the ProMaster in a different light since it isn’t built for people like me. It is built for people who need a vehicle that can handle holding a lot of cargo or tools, along with being on some sort of worksite for periods at a time. Then the ProMaster begins to show some bright spots. The massive cargo area with the low step-in and tie-down point make it great for deliveries or moving. Using a front-wheel drive setup doesn’t hurt the ProMaster’s capability in terms of payload, and will help the van when the weather becomes terrible like a snowstorm. Finally, the V6 engine is plenty powerful for any situation the ProMaster is in.
      While I found the ProMaster to be a bit much to be used a daily driver for me, I can very much see the appeal for those in the commercial market. Just be sure to try the seating position as that will be the item that will influence your decision the most.
      Disclaimer: Ram Trucks Provided the ProMaster 2500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Ram Trucks
      Model: ProMaster Cargo
      Trim: 2500 159" Wheelbase - High Roof
      Engine: 3.6L DOHC 24-Valve V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 280 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - N/A
      Curb Weight: 4.483 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: N/A
      Base Price: $35,095
      As Tested Price: $43,460 (Includes $1,395 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sliding Driver-Side Door without Glass - $595.00
      Trailer Tow Group - $585.00
      UConnect 3 Navigation with 5-inch Display - $495.00
      16-inch x 6.0-inch Aluminum Wheels - $445.00
      Wood Composite Floor - $445.00
      Premium Appearance Group - $395.00
      Interior Convenience Group - $345.00
      ParkSense Rear Park-Assist System - $295.00
      Rear Hinged Doors with Deep Tinted Glass - $295.00
      Speed Control - $295.00
      Upper and Lower Side Wall Paneling Group - $295.00
      LED Cargo Areas Light Bars - $285.00
      225/75R16C BSW All-Season Tires - $250.00
      Driver/Passenger 6-Way Adjustable Lumbar Seats - $245.00
      Power Folding/Heated Mirrors - $245.00
      Security Alarm - $245.00
      DOT Certified Roadside Safety Kit - $195.00
      Heated Driver Seat - $195.00
      Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel - $195.00
      SiriusXM Sat Radio w/1-Year Subscription - $195.00
      Rear Assist Handles - $150.00
      Heated Passenger Seat - $145.00
      Instrument Panel Bright Bezels - $95.00
      12-Volt Rear Auxiliary Power Outlet - $45.00
    • By William Maley
      It feels somewhat weird to be writing a review of the 2018 Ram 1500 as the 2019 model begins to slowly roll out to dealers. Ram is trying their best get the 2018s out the door. At the time of this writing, Ram is offering up to $12,356 bonus cash on certain 1500 models. Seems very tempting, but are there some other reasons to consider the older 1500 over the new one?
      Design is very subjective. One person may like the design of a vehicle, while the another may think it is quite ugly. Case in point, I’m not a fan of 2019 Ram 1500. The new shape makes the Ram look like any other pickup truck on sale. At least the 2018 model still retains the big-rig styling that was introduced with the 1994 Ram 1500. The front end is in your face with a large grille, square headlights, and muscular hood. The side profile shows off a set of 20-inch wheels standard on the Limited and the optional RamBox storage system. That isn’t to say the 2018 Ram 1500 doesn’t have design issues either. The Limited trim swaps the standard crosshair grille for one that features ‘RAM’ in big letters. It is just a bit much and doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the truck. Since our last review of the Ram 1500 in 2016, not much has changed in the interior. It still has one of cleanest layout for controls and material quality is quite high. Some will snicker at the belt-buckle seat pockets and a ‘Limited’ badge stitched in the center console, but thankfully those touches are only on the higher end models. I do wish Ram would put in a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel as it would make easier to find a comfortable driving position. The adjustable pedals alleviate this issue somewhat. One change I was glad to see was the newest version of UConnect being installed on the 2018 model. This brings an updated interface and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The new interface makes UConnect even easier to use with clearer text and brighter screen. Integration with Apple CarPlay is one the best as it only took a few seconds for the system to find my phone and bring up the CarPlay interface. If you decide to go with the Limited, the only engine on offer is the 5.7L HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive complete the powertrain. Those wanting other options will need to drop down to one of the lower trims. On paper, the HEMI V8 seems like a capable performer with close to 400 horsepower. On the road, the HEMI doesn’t quite match up to those expectations. Despite having a muscle car snarl when accelerating, the HEMI V8 is noticeably slower than competitors. As an example, the Ram 1500 took a few ticks longer to hit 70 mph than the previous GM or Toyota full-size trucks I have driven. I cannot pinpoint the possible culprit to this, but I have the feeling the truck’s curb weight and the eight-speed automatic play a role. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Ram 1500 with the HEMI V8 and four-wheel drive are 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. My average for the week landed at 14.7 mpg in mostly city driving. Ram still holds an edge when it comes to the ride quality. The coil-spring setup for the rear suspension gives the truck a ride quality more akin to a sedan with most bumps being smoothed over. This truck also came with an optional air suspension which lowers the truck at highway speeds to improve fuel economy. It also makes getting in and out of the Ram 1500 slightly easier. One item I hope Ram has improved with the 2019 model is the steering. The system used in the 2018 Ram 1500 is quite slow and light, meaning it takes more effort to do simple tasks such as pulling into a parking spot. The Ram 1500 Limited is only available in one configuration - Crew Cab, 5’7” cargo bed, 5.7L HEMI V8, and 4WD. Base price is $56,375, with our test truck coming in at $63,870. For most folks, I would recommend dropping down to the likes of the Big Horn or Laramie as they offer more configuration options in terms of powertrains, cabs, and features. Aside from the deep discounts being on offer for the 2018 Ram 1500, deciding whether to go for the old or new model will come down to personal desires. For some, seeing the various improvements and the shiny new body will draw them towards the 2019 model. For others, the deep discounts and being a proven product will bring them over to the 2018 model. I fall into the latter category at the moment, but it might change whenever I get the chance to drive the 2019 Ram 1500. Disclaimer: Ram Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Ram
      Model: 1500
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 5.7L HEMI VVT V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 395 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 410 @ 3,950 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17
      Curb Weight: 5,387 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $53,595
      As Tested Price: $63,870 (Includes $1,395 Destination Charge and $300 Suede Headliner Delete Credit)
      Options:
      Limited Package 26V - $3,200.00
      Limited Tungsten Edition - $1,825.00
      Ram Box Cargo Management System - $1,295.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,095.00
      Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover - $595.00
      Anti-Spin Differential Rear Axle - $435.00
      Single Disc Remote CD Player $345.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $295.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $95.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It feels somewhat weird to be writing a review of the 2018 Ram 1500 as the 2019 model begins to slowly roll out to dealers. Ram is trying their best get the 2018s out the door. At the time of this writing, Ram is offering up to $12,356 bonus cash on certain 1500 models. Seems very tempting, but are there some other reasons to consider the older 1500 over the new one?
      Design is very subjective. One person may like the design of a vehicle, while the another may think it is quite ugly. Case in point, I’m not a fan of 2019 Ram 1500. The new shape makes the Ram look like any other pickup truck on sale. At least the 2018 model still retains the big-rig styling that was introduced with the 1994 Ram 1500. The front end is in your face with a large grille, square headlights, and muscular hood. The side profile shows off a set of 20-inch wheels standard on the Limited and the optional RamBox storage system. That isn’t to say the 2018 Ram 1500 doesn’t have design issues either. The Limited trim swaps the standard crosshair grille for one that features ‘RAM’ in big letters. It is just a bit much and doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the truck. Since our last review of the Ram 1500 in 2016, not much has changed in the interior. It still has one of cleanest layout for controls and material quality is quite high. Some will snicker at the belt-buckle seat pockets and a ‘Limited’ badge stitched in the center console, but thankfully those touches are only on the higher end models. I do wish Ram would put in a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel as it would make easier to find a comfortable driving position. The adjustable pedals alleviate this issue somewhat. One change I was glad to see was the newest version of UConnect being installed on the 2018 model. This brings an updated interface and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The new interface makes UConnect even easier to use with clearer text and brighter screen. Integration with Apple CarPlay is one the best as it only took a few seconds for the system to find my phone and bring up the CarPlay interface. If you decide to go with the Limited, the only engine on offer is the 5.7L HEMI V8 with 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive complete the powertrain. Those wanting other options will need to drop down to one of the lower trims. On paper, the HEMI V8 seems like a capable performer with close to 400 horsepower. On the road, the HEMI doesn’t quite match up to those expectations. Despite having a muscle car snarl when accelerating, the HEMI V8 is noticeably slower than competitors. As an example, the Ram 1500 took a few ticks longer to hit 70 mph than the previous GM or Toyota full-size trucks I have driven. I cannot pinpoint the possible culprit to this, but I have the feeling the truck’s curb weight and the eight-speed automatic play a role. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Ram 1500 with the HEMI V8 and four-wheel drive are 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. My average for the week landed at 14.7 mpg in mostly city driving. Ram still holds an edge when it comes to the ride quality. The coil-spring setup for the rear suspension gives the truck a ride quality more akin to a sedan with most bumps being smoothed over. This truck also came with an optional air suspension which lowers the truck at highway speeds to improve fuel economy. It also makes getting in and out of the Ram 1500 slightly easier. One item I hope Ram has improved with the 2019 model is the steering. The system used in the 2018 Ram 1500 is quite slow and light, meaning it takes more effort to do simple tasks such as pulling into a parking spot. The Ram 1500 Limited is only available in one configuration - Crew Cab, 5’7” cargo bed, 5.7L HEMI V8, and 4WD. Base price is $56,375, with our test truck coming in at $63,870. For most folks, I would recommend dropping down to the likes of the Big Horn or Laramie as they offer more configuration options in terms of powertrains, cabs, and features. Aside from the deep discounts being on offer for the 2018 Ram 1500, deciding whether to go for the old or new model will come down to personal desires. For some, seeing the various improvements and the shiny new body will draw them towards the 2019 model. For others, the deep discounts and being a proven product will bring them over to the 2018 model. I fall into the latter category at the moment, but it might change whenever I get the chance to drive the 2019 Ram 1500. Disclaimer: Ram Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Ram
      Model: 1500
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 5.7L HEMI VVT V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 395 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 410 @ 3,950 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17
      Curb Weight: 5,387 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $53,595
      As Tested Price: $63,870 (Includes $1,395 Destination Charge and $300 Suede Headliner Delete Credit)
      Options:
      Limited Package 26V - $3,200.00
      Limited Tungsten Edition - $1,825.00
      Ram Box Cargo Management System - $1,295.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,095.00
      Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover - $595.00
      Anti-Spin Differential Rear Axle - $435.00
      Single Disc Remote CD Player $345.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $295.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $95.00
    • By William Maley
      It has been a rough start for the 2019 Ram 1500 production line. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said on an earnings call last week that the Sterling Heights Assembly plant, home to the 2019 model is only operating at 60 percent of where the company wants it to be. Automotive News learned from sources at the FCA and suppliers that the plant was building around 1,000 trucks per day last week.
      "That's not where we need to be. We allowed enough time in 2017 to get that installation up, but it's proven to be challenging," said Marchionne.
      Why the low production rate? A union source explained there are a few reasons. One is that suppliers are having a difficult time with providing parts for two-generations of the Ram 1500 - FCA is planning on building the last-generation model to help keep sales up while production ramps up on the next-generation 1500. The Sterling Heights' plant is also undergoing construction for the 2019 Ram 1500, which cuts the number of trucks that can be built. Also, the union source said that some workers still lack proper training on building the new model.
      Another source said that more than 2,500 2019 Ram 1500s were sitting in holding areas due to an electrical issue. Once fixed, the trucks will be shipped out to dealers.
      Getting production up and running for the 2019 Ram 1500 is important for FCA. Marchionne said it and the redesigned Jeep Wrangler need smooth launches if the company wants to achieve its financial goals for this year. To this end, the company is planning on spending more than $300 million to get the production ramp-up back on track. Automotive News also obtained a revised production calendar from March that indicates FCA will run the Sterling Heights plant every weekend and holiday through Labor Day.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
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