There are some cars that make you want to just get behind the wheel and find a good road. A Honda Civic Type R makes me want to go drive up and down a canyon all day, and a Dodge Challenger Hellcat makes me want to cruise the Pacific Coast Highway. Our long-term 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon makes me want to just go out and drive, too—except in this case, away from all roads, in Arizona’s open back country.
Blessed with a three-day weekend and an Airbnb reservation at a remote cabin in the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, we hit the road before sunrise. Despite the Ram Power Wagon being unashamedly biased toward off-roading, it also works quite well on the open road. Its big, burly 6.4-liter V-8’s 410 hp is plenty for passing slower traffic while cruising in the fast lane, and its six-speed automatic doesn’t hesitate to downshift when needed. The Ram’s ride is shockingly comfortable for a heavy-duty truck, too. Thanks to its fantastic (if a bit old-school) Bilstein shock absorbers, and the massive sidewalls on the stock 31-inch off-road tires, the Power Wagon eats up bumps, bruises, and road warts without complaint. The only real downside to the Power Wagon thus far on the highway is a slight tendency to wander in its lane, due to the combination of its solid front axle and off-road tires.
Once off the highway and in Arizona back country, the Power Wagon really can’t be beat. Our Airbnb was located way out in a remote section of the Sunset Crater Monument, requiring a hand-drawn paper map and roughly 20 miles of dirt trails to get to. Although the Power Wagon was hardly challenged on the dirt trail, it was the perfect rig to explore the multitude of isolated trails that snake through the open countryside. Its four-wheel-drive system, combined with locking front and rear differentials, electronic sway bar disconnect, and its winch gave me the confidence to explore well off the beaten path.
With that trip in the rearview mirror, rest assured I’m planning a more thorough test of our Ram Power Wagon’s off-road prowess, on-road performance, and its fuel economy for coming updates.