’17 Power Wagon leads fresh off-road offerings

New package promises to enhance Ram 2500 capability in rough terrain

New package promises to enhance Ram 2500 capability in rough terrain

The freshened 2017 Power Wagon gets an updated grille with a new Ram logo in block letters, and new graphics on the rear quarter panels to evoke an image of the 1979 version of the off-road pickup.

CHICAGO — Ram’s Power Wagon, the halo vehicle in the brand’s pickup lineup, will get a distinctive interior and new exterior treatment for 2017 as part of a plan to raise the profile of its heavy-duty off-road offerings.

Meanwhile, Ram will expand an off-road package across its three-quarter-ton pickup lineup for the 2017 model year.

The freshened Power Wagon, which debuted at the Chicago Auto Show, features an updated grille that trades the current chrome and crosshairs for a blacked-out version similar to that used on Ram’s light-duty Rebel 1500 package

Also making the leap from the Rebel 1500 to the Power Wagon is badging that replaces the traditional ram’s head logo with the Ram brand name in bold block lettering on the grille and tailgate. New Power Wagon graphics on the rear quarter panels complete the look and evoke an image of the off-road pickup’s 1979 version.

The Dodge Power Wagon was the first mass-produced 4×4 civilian pickup in 1945 and was a favorite workhorse for soldiers returning to the farm after World War II. It was reintroduced into the brand’s pickup lineup in 2005.

For the first time, the 2017 Power Wagon will have an interior that is not available in other Ram pickups. Designers picked up cues from the Rebel, including embossing the off-road tire pattern into the seat backs. An optional backup camera in the tailgate will be offered, along with a second optional camera high on the center-mounted stoplight that allows the driver to monitor the pickup bed from the 8.4-inch infotainment display.

A new hood features a large gloss-black graphic.

The Power Wagon retains its 410-hp 6.4-liter V-8 and eight-speed transmission that delivers 429 pounds-feet of torque. The 2017 model is rated at up to 1,510 pounds of payload, with towing capacity of up to 10,030 pounds.

Inside, seat backs are embossed with the off-road tire pattern, a cue picked up from the Ram Rebel 1500.

The 2017 Power Wagon is expected in U.S. dealerships in the fourth quarter.

The new off-road package will be available across the Ram 2500 lineup and include a number of options to improve performance in rough terrain, such as hill-descent control. The feature, which allows the driver to descend steep terrain automatically and safely without using the brake, had been available only on the heavy-duty’s traditional off-roader, the Power Wagon.

“We’ve had customers ask us for an off-road truck in our heavy-duty series, but we’re not going to limit it,” said Ram brand head Bob Hegbloom. “We’re going to have it available with every single cab, with every single powertrain, in all the trims and with all the colors.”

The off-road package, available beginning in the third quarter, will feature all-terrain tires and larger fender flares, underbody protection devices, limited-slip differentials, improved shock absorbers and special badging. Pricing was not announced.

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