Ask Nathan: Power Wagon STILL Don’t Care, the Cheapest Nissan Frontier, and Punk Rock Cars?

Future Ram Power Wagon concept sketch:

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • I think the Ram Power Wagon still doesn’t care!
  • Is the cheapest Nissan Frontier more expensive than a Toyota Tacoma?
  • What is the most punk rock car?

The first question comes from a fan who has a few questions about the Ram Power Wagon.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Do you think the Ram Power Wagon still don’t care!?

Few questions Natedogg!

With gas prices being what they are at would you still want to own a Ram Power Wagon for your daily? Also I wanted to know if you know if Stellantis will still build them being so inefficient? The Ram Power Wagon is one of my all time favorites and I don’t care if it costs me $150 every time I have to fill it up. I want one!

— Kyle.RZ from Phoenix, AZ

A: Any question about the Ram Power Wagon gets me in the “feels...” I still love the beast, and owning one could cost me, in many ways.

Let’s face it, anything that gets 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined is asking for trouble. with a 32 gallon tank, most people should average about 450 miles per tank. Fortunately, the big Hemi runs fine on regular unleaded. In Denver, CO – our current low-grade unleaded runs about $3.90 per gallon.

As of March 2022: you should be able to fill it up for less than $130 – in Denver. Yay.

The funny thing for me is, the Power Wagon averages about ONE-mpg less than my much smaller, 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Despite its mass, it has the MDS-equipped engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Both help the 7,000-lbs get much better fuel mileage than its the older models.

To avoid going bankrupt each month, I split up driving with my family’s Mini and Nissan Leaf. I figure, the Power Wagon would cost me about $120 more per-month for gasoline. While that stings, I still feel that the Power Wagon is one of the most capable off-road pickup trucks all-around.

I still think that, at about $60,000, the 2022 Ram Power Wagon (built from the Tradesman model) is a good deal – considering what you get for the dough.

… yes, I would love to drive one daily; despite the rage that would emanate from She-who-must-be-obeyed.

Will we see a next-generation Ram Power Wagon?

It’s a fairly popular truck for the brand, but it is no longer alone in its bracket. The Ford F250 Tremor is not only competitive, it offers a diesel option. Something Ram refuses to do. They need a more efficient Power Wagon. In order to keep up with Stellantis’ plan to electrify, and lower their carbon footprint, the Power Wagon must evolve.

The designers at Ram have a few options that may power future Power Wagons. We’re hearing that the upcoming Stellantis GME T6, which is expected to be a turbocharged strait six-cylinder, may have seriously torquey variants. One is rumored to make over 500 lbs-feet, and it could be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Image this: a beefy Ram Power Wagon that has the same 4Xe PHEV tech as a Jeep Wrangler 4Xe, but with a substantially more powerful drivetrain. Same 4.10 front and rear lockers, same chunky frame, same (or even better) off-road capability? Now that sounds epic.

TFL Studios (TFLtruck) knows that Stellantis is seriously expanding the PHEV tech that is already successful in Jeep. They promised a ton of electrifying in the near future. It seems logical that we could see something like a PHEV Ram Power Wagon before too long. If so, I AM TOTALLY ON BOARD!

— N

The next question comes from a reader who was looking at a base model Nissan Frontier and found the price not as competitive as he thought.

Q: Please Ask Nathan help me get a mid size pickup truck!

I was looking for the least expensive rear drive pickup I can find. The 2022 Nissan Frontier King Cab comes in at about $30,000 with basically no options. That is with most fees.

I found a Toyota Tacoma for thousands less. I don’t get it.

— Anonymous

Your 2022 Tacoma SR
                Vehicle Overview, White exterior, front view

A: If you are looking for the absolute least expensive pickup, it’s the Ford Maverick hybrid. The least expensive midsize pickup is the Ford Ranger XL, which is listed at $25,500 base (before fees).

Now, if you look at the base model Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Tacoma four-bangers, you can get them for between $26-$27,000 – before fees. The Tacoma and Colorado’s four-cylinder engines are a bit anemic, but at least you can still get a manual with the Tacoma standard.

The thing is: the Nissan and Ford give you a lot more power for the money. The Ford Ranger comes standard with the powerful EcoBoost (turbo) 270 hp/ 310 lb-ft four-cylinder and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Nissan’s new Frontier pickup also comes with just one engine choice, the beefy 310 hp/ 281 lb-ft 3.8-liter V6. That power goes through a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Nissan Frontier currently offers the nicest interior with lots of standard equipment. Next year, the Ford Ranger is expected to get a ton of changes as well. The Toyota Tacoma is a stout, reliable truck; but in base form, it doesn’t have the bang-for-the-buck value of the Ford and Nissan. We should also see lots of updates for the GM trucks soon.

One additional note: pricing for the base mode Ford F150 and Ram 1500 Classic aren’t that much higher than these midsize trucks. Granted: it’s all based on what price you can actually get at the dealership. Markups or market adjustments are out of hand, and it may take time to find a base model truck for the MSRP.

Good luck!

— N

The last question comes from a friend of mine who has a punk-rocker for a daughter. This is paraphrased from a conversation.

(Via: My friend, regarding his kid) After taking a nearly three year “gap year” my kid is ready to go to college, and needs a car.

After a ton of creative convincing, she is willing to get rid of her Ziggy G5 scooter. I think it was our last rainstorm she was caught in that changed her mind. It was not pretty. Now, she’s willing to drive an actual car. She doesn’t want my old Volvo S40 because it’s not “punk rock.”

I have no idea what she’s talking about.

What can I get her that is inexpensive, used and “punk rock?”

– T.T Amigo

1969 Plymouth Valiant 100 on Craigslist.

A:  Yes, I met that kiddo, and I might have a few suggestions.

First of all, her “punk rock” tastes are all old-school. Essentially, she looks to bands like the Ramones, Clash and maybe Bad Brains too. Why is this significant? If you look at her attire, the patches on her bag and stickers on her door, you’ll get an idea of what her current esthetic is. I don’t think a newer Volvo will do the trick.

In this case, think the idea is to be anti-establishment, unique and slack without looking like you’re trying to do so.

I honestly think that she would be happier in something that has a different image, and is older.

I am sending you listings for a ’69 Plymouth Valiant 100 and a ’93 Honda Civic. Both are about the same price and cover two sides of the coin. I know you’re aiming for less than $4,000 – and both can be bought and improved for that price.

93 Civic on Craigslist

I’m willing to bet, she will totally dig the Plymouth. It has a slant-six, and should run forever – if it’s well maintained.

What do you guys think?

— N