Power wagon comfortable but load capacity is weak

Once I’m in the 2017 RAM Power Wagon, it is great to be in.

The seat is comfortable and fully power adjustable. All controls are right at hand and just about everything is a dial type switch, from the gear selector to the 4 X 4 system.

The centre console is large enough to hold all the office stuff you might ever have to take on the road, and the console lid could double as a desk top if it had to.

The steering wheel is a decent size and the push button starter works great, as does the remote starter. All you have to do is remember to set the temperature you want it to be when you get in.

Ah, yes, getting in. That proves to be a bit of a task.

The Power Wagon comes with large 33-inch Goodyear off-road tires and a lift kit to make the tires fit in the wheel wells. That puts floor height of the Power Wagon at roughly waist high for me.

I’m sure there are running board or side pipe options available, but it seems that my six-foot six-inch factory rep neglected to check that out. Maybe he doesn’t need that extra step, but my stubby 32-inch in-seam legs mean that every time I get in, it is a fair sized leap.

Adding to that, all there is to hang onto is the steering wheel. The other three doors all have a grab handle to help you make that leap.

On the up side, I found that I had to keep the truck clean or when somebody came with me they let me know about the dirt that rubbed off onto clothing.

Power Wagons come with four doors and a six-foot six-inch truck box. This and the overall look of the truck would make you think it had an enormous carrying capacity, but you would be wrong. Load capacity including passengers is 1,510 pounds.

What that means to you is that if there are two of you in the truck, the two snowmobiles you have on the deck above the box can put you into an overweight situation.

When it comes to towing, capacity is rated at 10,030 pounds. The factory hitch is a Class 5 unit solidly mounted and the factory multi-link coil suspension controls the ride.

Up front, my test unit had the RAM Articulink front suspension, which allows for up to 26 inches of vertical wheel travel. When the going gets a bit rocky there is even a switch to electronically disconnect the front sway bar. I never had to test this feature out.

I did try the hill descent control feature and found that it took a lot of will power to keep my foot off the brake on steep hills to let the electronics do the job, which they did it well.

A side benefit of all this off road stuff is the Articulink suspension and large tires did make even the largest of potholes and patches of broken pavement on rural roads seem smooth.

One feature I didn’t get to use was the 12,000 lb. Warn winch that’s so neatly integrated into the front bumper. The winch and a well-thought-out off-road kit would make sure the Power Wagon could go just about anywhere with ease. That winch is also the reason there is no diesel option. The intercooler for the Cummins will not fit in behind the winch.

In traffic, the 410 horsepower 6.4 Hemi with 429 lb. feet of torque is actually quite docile and easy to drive. Variable valve timing means that if you see a gap in traffic, you can get to it at near warp speed.

Clover leaf interchanges or entrances and exits can be handled with ease. I never once felt uncomfortable pushing the RAM to make it fit in with the flow of traffic or when out boon-docking.

In city traffic, one should never discount the intimidation factor of driving such a large vehicle, but you have to remember that the ability to drive over some bonehead who is weaving from lane to lane and cutting you off doesn’t mean you should — no matter how tempting.

Not feeling uncomfortable might be the key to summing up the Power Wagon. I was always comfortable enough to not mind the leap up to get in.

Charles Renny is a professional automotive reviewer.

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