The Ram 2500 Rebel May Not Be the Power Wagon We Want, but Its the Power Wagon We Need

The iconic Ram 2500 Power Wagon is the clear halo truck of the heavy-duty off-road pickup truck segment. So why would the automaker release a competitor: the 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel? Because while the Power Wagon’s uncompromising off-road capabilities fire up any 4×4 fan’s imagination, it is not the most realistic purchase for the majority of truck buyers.

The Ram 2500 Power Wagon offers uncompromising off-road performance

Blue Ram 2500 Power Wagon off-road truck parked atop a distant ridge line, the desert visible in the foreground.
2022 Ram 2500 Power Wagon | Stellantis

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The Doge Power Wagon was Detroit’s first factory-built 4WD truck. It leveraged technology Dodge designed for its WC series 4×4 platform–which was instrumental in winning WWII. The modern Ram 2500 Power Wagon builds on this heritage with one of the most capable off-road trucks around.

The Ram 2500 Power Wagon boasts 14.2 inches of ground clearance. That’s more than any other internal combustion truck. It also features the only locking front differential in its segment and a factory-mounted winch–a distinction it only shares with Ford’s new Super Duty Tremor. The Power Wagon features a front sway bar disconnect for better wheel articulation off-road. It comes with Bilstein 4600 shocks, a Bilstein damper, and 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires on 17-inch rims.

The Ram 1500 TRX may be the world’s most powerful factory-built desert racer. But the Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a factory-built crawler that can navigate low-speed obstacles that would trap even the TRX.

The 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel is the multi-tool of off-road trucks

Red Ram 2500 Rebel heavy-duty off-road pickup truck towing a trailer of 4x4s through the woods, a dust cloud visible behind it.
2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel | Stellantis

RELATED: 4 Great Ram 1500 TRX Alternatives

The Power Wagon’s uncompromising rock-crawler capabilities come at a high price: The Ram 2500 Power Wagon starts at $63,760 and its buyers must sacrifice on-road performance. The Power Wagon’s exceptionally tall suspension makes it less stable on road. In addition, its softer springs mean it can tow and haul less than other heavy-duty Rams.

Ram truck’s new 2500 Rebel brings the Ram 1500’s off-road “Rebel” package to heavy-duty trucks. It features includes a limited-slip rear differential with an electronic locker, off-road tires, and skid plates. It is also available with a rear auto-leveling air suspension upgrade to its five-link rear coil spring setup. You can even order it with the Power Wagon’s 12,000-pound WARN winch. And finally, unlike the Power Wagon, you can option a Ram 2500 Rebel with teh 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine.

A Ram 2500 Rebel with a Cummins engine boasts a payload capacity of 3,140 pounds and 16,870 tow rating. This is due to the Cummins I6’s 850 lb-ft of torque.

The Ram 2500 Rebel can tow your toys to the trail

Closeup of the 12,000-pound WARN winch available on both the Ram 2500 Power Wagon and Rebel package.
WARN winch | Stellantis

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The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a captivating concept: drive to the trail, lock your differentials, and then tackle some gnarly rock crawling. But the truth is that even with a WARN winch and electronic locking differentials both front and rear, the Power Wagon will always be limited by its 7,000 pound weight. It may still be the best option for many off-road enthusiasts. But a used side-by-side can get up trails a brand-new Power Wagon simply can’t.

The Ram Power Wagon may be the off-roading solution many of us 4×4 enthusiasts want. But the solution we need might actually be the more cost-effective Ram 2500 Rebel and a purpose off-roader. Whether you spend your extra money on a customized Jeep CJ or a capable side-by-side, the Ram 2500 Rebel has more than enough grunt to pull it to the trailhead–and beyond.

Read about Ram’s best TRX alternatives or see the new Ram 2500 Rebel reviewed in the video below:

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