The Next Ram Power Wagon, Toyota Transmissions and Predicting Nissan? [Ask Nathan]

While this is not the next Ram Power Wagon, it would be kind of awesome if it were.

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and full name will be omitted – leaving your first name, initials or nickname, your preference.

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • The Next Ram Power Wagon?  
  • My Toyota Transmission failed!
  • You called it with Nissan!

The first question comes from a Ford fan who is curious to see if the next Ram Power Wagon evolves because of the upcoming Ford Tremor.

AEV Prospector XL. [Photo: TFLtruck]

Q: Via Twitter (@NathanAdlen): So with the Ford Tremor coming with a diesel, will the next Ram Power Wagon be different?

Cool truck. I love it and I know you do too. Will this force the Ram guys to build something different?

BluOval Drew

The Ford Tremor will be available with gas and diesel options.
(Photo: Ford)

A: Love the question!

Thanks for sending me a question last week too. In terms of what Ram plans to do with the Power Wagon, it’s a big question many are asking. Much of this revolves around the upcoming Ford Tremor – as you said.

The next Ram power Wagon must remain competitive, something that Ram is (usually) pretty good at. For quite some time, they owned the heavy duty off-road segment, but things are about to change.

Ford’s Tremor is an off-road package that covers many of their heavy duty lineup. Unlike the Ram Power Wagon, which is reserved for the gas 2500, the Tremor will offer a diesel. They will both be beefy, solid-axle trucks with the ability to tow and haul good-size loads.

The numbers we’ve seen already favor the Ford Tremor. We expect it to be extremely competitive off-road too. Taking a look at the Ford Tremor package, you’ll see a truck that’s only missing a few standard features the Power Wagon comes with; namely, a winch and automatic disconnecting front sway bar.

No word has come from Ram/FCA about revisions, but we expect to see an answer to the Ford Tremor soon.


2017 Toyota Highlander
Not every Toyota is bulletproof. [Photo: Toyota]

The next question comes from a 2017 Toyota Highlander owner who has had a series of failures.

Q:  My wife’s 2017 Highlander V6 has been a headache. It’s had many issues and I’m frustrated.  

It had a major transmission failure and after that was fixed under warranty, it had a terrible engine leak. It’s back being fixed, but I am worried that it will continue to fail after the warranty is up.

Some people swear by Toyota and I know people who put hundreds of thousands of miles on older Highlanders. Why is my wife’s such a mess? Should I get rid of it?


2017 Toyota Highlander

A: I’m sorry you have to go through this.

A couple thoughts:

  • I looked up recalls on your Highlander and there is nothing mentioned for transmissions. With that being said, you’re not the first to have problems with the eight-speed automatic transmission.
  • After checking out a few forums and posts, it seems that there have been issues with the eight-speed automatic transmissions in Highlanders and the Toyota Sienna. It looks like older models, equipped with the six-speed automatic have fewer complaints.
  • As for the engine oil leak: if it wasn’t leaking before, it’s entirely possible your dealership’s mechanic screwed up when replacing the transmission. It could be a incorrectly installed gasket, among other things.
(Photo: TFLcar)
  • Document everything. Take notes and pictures. Toyota Corporate is not easy to deal with and you may have to look into Lemon Law requirements if this issue continues. Be loud and be demanding – this should not be happening in the first place.
  • As for replacing the vehicle: Every time I speak to people about losing faith in their vehicle, it’s difficult to reassure them. Regardless of what the issue with the vehicle is, each person reacts differently to how they feel down the road.
  • I wish I could say that all-is-well after the garage fixed the problem, but that’s not enough for some.

The bottom line is: if you feel like you can’t rely on your vehicle, trade it in on something else. I would also recommend trying a different automaker.

I hope that helps.


The Nissan Desert Runner Concept
(Photo: Nissan)

The last question comes from a Nissan Frontier fan who’s hoping my story on a possible Frontier turbo and the Nissan Frontier Desert Runner are related.

This is the next Nissan Frontier. I doubt it has a turbocharged V8. [Photo: TFLtruck]

Q: Via Twitter (@NathanAdlen): You called it! A while back you reported on a (possible) Frontier turbo and now there’s one!

It’s a concept but how awesome would this truck be!?


A Nissan Frontier Desert Runner concept that appeared at this year’s SEMA Show. [Photo: Nissan]

A: Hi Judd!

Man, I wish they would produce this truck. Its power to weight numbers alone are stellar. I mean, it’s a 600-horsepower off-road monster that’s much smaller than the Ford Raptor. It would be a badass in so many ways.

You can read about the Nissan Desert Runner Concept (here).

Unfortunately, I sincerely doubt Nissan would ever produce such a truck. The turbocharged engine I was referring to in (this) story was an I4 – based on the Altima engine. That story was based solely on an “insider’s” speculation. Nothing more.

Still, could you imagine how Nissan’s image and sales would skyrocket if they were this bold?

One can only wish.


Speaking of off-road awesomeness…

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: