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AEV has built a strong reputation in the off-roading world. The aftermarket builder has made some of the toughest and most insane off-roaders the market offers. AEV is most known for its Jeep Wrangler TJ pickup truck builds. Despite the company’s reluctance to work with a full-size Ram platform, AEV finally debuted the Prospector the Prospector XL. But AEV fans wanted more, and 10 buyers got it. This run of 10 pickup trucks is more exclusive than most supercars. 

AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed
AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed | AEV

What is the AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed? 

The AEV Prospector came out as an answer to AEV’s customers who wanted a full-size platform for overlanding. The company came up with the Ram-based Prospector and Prospector XL. According to Motortrend, despite what it seems, the “XL” doesn’t mean “Extra Large”; the XL is the Roman numeral for “40.” This denotes the massive 41″ (I know, it’s a different number) tires the truck stomps around on. 

Once the fans got the Ram-based overlander, they wanted more. This time they asked about getting the Prospector XL with a Tray Bed, and they got it – at least a very small handful will. 

The AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed is an overlanding powerhouse. Sidebar: Before we get too far into our drooling, AEV is only making 10 Tray Beds, all of which are already sold. Now that that is out of the way let’s daydream. 

AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed specs

AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed parked at sunset
AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed | AEV

MotorTrend got to take the big brute to Moab’s legendary Slick Rock trail while they still can. One of the first things MT says about the AEV is that its secret is a set of big tires with a smaller lift. The Ram 2500 Bighorn, set up with the turbodiesel 6.7-liter Cummins, got the AEV DualSport 3-inch RT suspension lift. Given the truck’s size, a 3-inch lift is pretty mild, but it still requires moving its front axle up 1.5 inches using AEV’s proprietary brackets. MotorTrend says that this helps keep the tires far enough away from the firewall when you cut the wheel all the way. The last step in fitting these massive tires requires cutting a significant amount of the Ram’s sheet metal away from the wheel well and adding new fender flares. 

Despite all these major changes, MotorTrend says the truck still behaves like a civilized truck on the road. The secret here; is very fancy XP8100 Bilstein big-piston reservoir shocks. 

A big truck needs a big winch. Thankfully, AEV put a 16,000-pound winch on the former Ram. The winch was so important to the team that it designed the whole front bumper around the winch. 

What’s a tray bed pickup truck?

AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed
AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed | AEV

The tray bed is what makes this truck special. Where the other Prospector XL keeps its factory bed, the Tray Bed model, well, doesn’t. The bed is now reminiscent of a flatbed, using a flat aluminum pan surrounded by rattle-free panel latching. This surface allows for far more versatility while still offering the conveniences of a normal truck bed. 

The AEV Ram Prospector XL Tray Bed is hard to beat

Again, this truck is only one of 10 to be made. That makes the fact that somehow, AEV managed to keep the cab mostly stock, including Ram’s superior soundproofing and comfort. Despite everything; its size, heft, power, equipment, and anything – else- the AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed performs as the base truck should. 

The AEV Prospector XL Tray Bed is surprisingly well-priced. After you buy the truck, AEV only charges $29,999. I’m not saying that that is cheap by any means. However, I am saying that it is cheaper than most might expect from an AEV truck so capable as this.