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Ram's burly 2017 Power Wagon storms into the Chicago show

Ram has stormed into the Chicago Auto Show with the trail-ready 2017 Power Wagon.

The Power Wagon lives up to its name with a brawny design inspired by the smaller Rebel. The most noticeable visual change is that the cross-hair grille that has characterized Ram trucks for decades has been tossed out and replaced with a bigger unit adorned with “RAM” lettering. The truck is also fitted with a specific powder-coated front bumper that integrates a 12,000-pound winch with 125 feet of line, blacked-out headlight bezels, and 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped by 33-inch tires. The Power Wagon is over two inches taller than the 2500 Heavy Duty it’s based on thanks in part to an upgraded suspension.

The seats feature upholstery that mimics the tread pattern of the Goodyear DuraTrac tires. Ram has put a big focus on perceived quality, and it promises the 2017 Power Wagon is a much nicer place to sit in than the outgoing model because it’s built with improved materials. Rugged doesn’t mean rudimentary, either, and the Power Wagon ships with a seven-inch high-resolution screen integrated into the instrument cluster as well as a center console-mounted 8.4-inch touch screen that runs Ram parent company Fiat-Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system.

The Power Wagon receives a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine tuned to generate 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, and 419 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission, the eight-cylinder allows the Power Wagon to tow 10,030 pounds in its most powerful configuration. A cylinder deactivation system that turns the V8 into a frugal four-cylinder under partial load keeps fuel economy in check, but Ram hasn’t published official figures.

The suspension and tire upgrades give the Power Wagon an impressive 14.3 inches of ground clearance. The truck consequently boasts an approach angle of 33.6 degrees, a breakover angle of 23.5 degrees, and a departure angle of 26.2 degrees. Additionally, it can drive through up to 30 inches of water. Beefy skid plates protect the fuel tank and the transfer case.

Built in Mexico, the 2017 Ram Power Wagon will begin to arrive on dealer lots in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing information will be published in the weeks leading up to the truck’s launch date.

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