Previewing the Dodge Ram 'Prospector' Package

Ram trucks offer a variety of trims and off-road packages that can appeal to any type of driver. Even then, we know that every add-on available still can't appease every driver, and that's where American Expedition Vehicles, a company that focuses on producing truck accessories, comes in.

AEV recently introduced the "Prospector" package, offering Ram drivers several customization options to their trucks, including additional protection and improved suspension. The intent of the package is to improve the truck's already-impressive off-roading capabilities, while also retaining the comfort and handling that accompanies Ram pickups. While your local Dodge Ram dealers can certainly provide you with the ride (and a number of brand-specific features), you may want to check out the AEV website to upgrade your vehicle even more…

Designed for "dedicated overland travelers and recreational explorers", the Prospector package is compatible with current Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks. The upgrade offers a variety of features, as Zach Doell of BoldRide.com explains, including "body protection, suspension upgrades, and additional trail gear."

Starting on the outside, drivers can opt for a steel front bumper, which include customizable power fog lights (which help improve visibility at night or in bad weather) and a "burly" 16,500-pound Warn winch. 37-inch BGF mud terrain tires surround the fender flared wheel arches (which come in two available "blacked-out" options: the Salta HD and the Katla). Both wheels are "cast" from A356/T6 Aluminum, while also featuring "recessed valve stems to protect against off-road abuse."

Those tires are emphasized via the three-inch DualSport suspension lift. AEV claims the suspension has "been tuned for both on- and off-road driving," as the off-roading features are supplemented with add-ons that improve "driver comfort and vehicle handling."  Furthermore, the suspension helps increase "wheel travel [while also allowing] for the fitment of larger tires." AEV/Bilstein 5100 series shock absorbers are also included in the suspension system, and the shocks have specifically been designed to partner with the DualSport brand. AEV's website says the system will "offer substantial low-speed dampening," which "decreases as vehicle speed increases, providing a great ride quality over a wide variety of terrain.It doesn't end there. In addition to the various badging, decals, and upgrade headrests, the package also offers a variety of features that will improve your off-roading experience. AEV has included a heavy-duty snorkel style air intake (that helps provide the engine with the "coldest and cleanest air charge possible, maximizing engine performance and increasing longevity"), off-road lights (to further improve visibility when you decide to take your vehicle off the beaten path), leather seating upgrades, retractable running boards, a roll-out bed storage system [and] tonneau cover."

All of the added features are specifically designed for Ram trucks, so you won't have to worry about your truck being compatible with the various parts. AEV also performs extensive testing on all of their add-ons, ensuring "that all AEV Suspension Systems perform to the highest safety standards in the industry." With this assurance, it makes the already-safe Ram trucks even safer. AEV products also come with a one-year warranty, and their wheels carry a lifetime structural warranty. 

Ram trucks had already offered their own "off-road-capable" trim with the Heavy Duty option. As Andrew P Collins of Jalopnik.com explains, the truck feature a 2-inch lift, 33-inch tires, a standard Warn winch, and an impressive graphics package. The pickup also offers a variety of impressive specs, like a 14.5-inch ground clearance and a 30-inch maximum water-fording depth. Ram also overhauled their suspension strategy, adding the "Articulink" design that "incorporates high movement joints at the control-arm-to-axel mount, allowing for serious flexibility and axle articulation."

Collins continues to explain the other unique features on the Heavy Duty trim, including the "electronically disconnecting sway bar," which "allows the front axle to move more independently." There's also 9.25-inch diameter front axles and 11.5-inch rear axels, as well as a 6.4 HEMI V8 that can produce 410 horsepower and 429 ft-lbs of torque. Attempts to find an owner that combined the Heavy Duty with the Prospector have so far been fruitless, but we're sure it would make for the ultimate off-roading pickup. 

The Prospector had actually been a package available for Ram pickups throughout the 1980s. Offering an alternate fuel tank, cloth seats and upgrade carpeting (as well as a light package and 6x9 mirrors on future models), the option was ultimately trashed in 1994.

American Expedition Vehicles strayed a bit out of their comfort zone for this concept, as the company has traditionally dealt with Jeep Wranglers. Why did they decide to opt for Ram customizations? A press release for the SEMA Show 2013 (via AutoBlog.com) gives a clue to the company's thinking:

"AEV recognized that there is a void in the industry for customers who require a vehicle that is very capable off-road, has exceptional handling characteristics and ride quality but also has a large cargo capacity and is able to satisfy the demands of a heavy towing. AEV felt that the Ram was the ideal vehicle platform to fill this void." 

While it will cost you at least $30,000 to get your hands on the 2015 Ram 2500, you'll have to dish out an additional $13,925 to get your hands on the Prospector package (for those counting at home, that'd be an overall price of at least $44,000). Of course, considering the number of amenities that come included in AEV's design, that price could actually be a bargain. For comparison's sake, the price of the Power Wagon Tradesman comes in around $45,690, and if you opt for the Power Wagon Laramie (featuring a luxurious, intelligent cabin and a five-year warranty), the price jumps to $56,015.

No matter which direction you choose to take your Ram pickup truck, you won't be disappointed. Whether you opt for AEV's Prospector package, the Heavy Duty trim available via the brand, or nothing at all, you'll be very content with your ride.

If you're in the market for a new truck, there's no other way to go than Ram. If you're in the Miami Lakes, Florida area, head down to Miami Lakes Automall. You can be driving out of the lot in your new pickup in no time.