Ram’s new 2017 Power Wagon twists the spotlight

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Updated Feb 12, 2016
In an effort to get a tire up on the competition, Ram showcased the 2017 Power Wagon’s industry leading axle articulation Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show.In an effort to get a tire up on the competition, Ram showcased the 2017 Power Wagon’s industry leading axle articulation Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show.

It’s hard to beat a dramatic entrance.

When Ram unveiled its 2017 Power Wagon today at the Chicago Auto Show it did so with a memorable chassis twisting show, highlighting the truck’s industry leading axle articulation.

Moments after the truck was spotlighted on its elevated platform, separate hydraulic wheel lifts began alternately lifting one corner of the truck to the next, effectively flexing the truck’s off-road suspension.

Next, the Ram carefully drove down the platform onto staggered steps, demonstrating its ability to take on off-set obstacles. Not a bad start for Ram’s new top of the line off-road truck. (A demo following the main presentation shows the truck making the climb back up to the platform in reverse. See the video below.)

“What you just witnessed in this demo is how Power Wagon’s combined axle and suspension package is designed to clear obstacles and do what it takes to deliver all of its power and torque,” Bob Hegbloom, head of Ram Brand FCA North America told the audience, which mostly included reporters.

Hegbloom explained that the Power Wagon’s 26 inches of axle articulation can’t be beat in its competitive off-road truck segment. The truck’s 6.7-liter HEMI V8, which delivers 410 horsepower and 429 foot pounds of torque, also makes it a serious contender.

Helping the Power Wagon accomplish its chassis twists is its Articulink front suspension system, which incorporates high movement joints along with a sway bar disconnecting system, allowing for additional flexibility and axle articulation.

Locking differentials, coupled with the truck’s 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, will help keep it moving through tough terrain.

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Among the new interior choices are diesel gray and black seats featuring a rugged-looking pattern fashioned after the tire’s prominent treads.

Five-link coil rear suspension is designed to maintain axle control and deliver a comfortable ride.

An electric Warn witch mounted behind the front bumper is packed with 125 feet of cable and is rated to reel up to 12,000 pounds. Towing capacity is rated up to 10,030 pounds.

The 2017 Power Wagon, which will go on sale later this year, will also be available in luxury and Tradesman models.

Hegbloom waxed nostalgic during the roughly 10-minute presentation. He traced Power Wagon’s lineage back to World War II and even recalled its popular Hollywood pedigree from the 1980s hit TV show “Simon & Simon.”

Nostalgia makes its way onto the 2017 Power Wagon in the form of a large, black vertical graphic that bears the truck’s historic name behind the cab. A similar graphic was used on 1979 and 1980 Power Wagons, one of which was featured regularly on “Simon & Simon.”

“From the original to the Power Wagons of the fifties, the eighties and the modern era of Power Wagons, it’s 70-year mission has never wavered,” Hegbloom said. “That mission quite simply is to be the ultimate off-road truck.”

The 2017 Power Wagon is based on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 4×4 Crew Cab. Hegbloom extended the comparison and said the truck is “a heavy-duty interpretation of the Rebel’s one-of-a-kind design.”

The reference to Ram’s 2016 1500 Rebel was well-played. The off-road truck has blazed a successful path among four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, all the way to “Four Wheeler” magazine’s coveted Pickup Truck of the Year Award.