The Ram 1500 TRX Is Detroit’s Mightiest Off-Road Pickup
A blue 2021 Ram 1500 TRX SUV after driving through the mud
For the past six years, Stellantis (formerly known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has pursued a very specific performance playbook: fill the phenomenally powerful, supercharged Hellcat V8 engine into as many different platforms as possible, then let it go on both the road and the route.
The strategy was smart as the engine’s monstrous output of over 700hp has proven to be an excellent distraction from the older platforms it rides on. In fact, it offers an exciting upgrade to keep Dodge and Jeep sales going when actual technical and design updates were deemed too expensive to implement.
Ram’s pickup lineup seemed to be the weird one at the Hellcat party for a long time. While the burnout-inducing antics of the supercharged V8 made old cars like the Dodge Challenger coupe and Dodge Charger sedan relevant, Ram’s increasing popularity with full-size truck buyers made it unnecessary to use under-the-hood pyrotechnic injection.
Of course, when discussing asphalt-breaking torque, terms like “need” rarely come up in discussion. Determined to sell the sizzling, there was no question that the Ram would eventually take a seat next to his company siblings at the charged table. The difference would be a move away from pavement performance to a far more profitable part of the pickup segment.
Step into the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, a giant that goes head-to-toe with Ford’s equally huge Raptor to capture the hearts and minds of desert minds. Or at least beat them into submission.
You will see the Ram 1500 TRX come a mile away. If you don’t, you will surely hear it.
I am bad, I am national
As with all modern pickups, everything on the Ram 1500 TRX is larger than life – and that’s before you take a look at what’s hiding between the front fenders. The TRX is bigger and wider than any other Ram in the showroom and protrudes above the traffic, like the Stalking Theropod, as the name suggests. Another enhancement to the pickup’s visual threat level is an array of lights, scoops, vents, and cutouts on the hood and fenders. Even the taillights show details that are not available on the standard version of the 1500.
The story goes on
If you miss the black plastic ram grille cluttering your rearview mirror, the sound of the thunder accompanying it at full gallop will turn your head. The 6.2-liter V8 with an output of 702 hp and torque of 650 lb-ft exhibits a whine of the compressor and a menacing rumble that deepens into a roar if the driver’s right foot drops further, even at part load . The TRX is a real storm for the senses in almost any setting, but its overall effect catapults into Category 5 in an urban setting, since like Lord Humongous it protrudes over fewer (read: all other) vehicles on the road.
You don’t buy this pickup for the classy interior. Then again …
Do we dare to say luxury?
Despite its disobedient outward character, riding in the Ram 1500 TRX can be a surprisingly docile experience. By selecting “Auto” from the many different driving modes (including Baja, Snow, Tow, Rock, and Sport), the full-time all-wheel drive system’s bite is reduced and the exhaust elevation is kept to a minimum, which when combined with the relatively upscale interior of the Ram can make you believe for a moment that you are commuting in a more traditional truck.
This illusion disappears instantly as soon as you do anything other than simply cruising the freeway or slowly crawling in traffic. Accelerating the TRX’s curb weight of 6,800 pounds is shockingly easy. If you can get 60 mph from standstill in just 3.7 seconds, weighing about as much as a pair of Porsche 911s, you’ll wonder if someone replaced the Ram’s compressor with a teleporter.
In fact, there’s far more concern about how quickly you can stop the entire crowd once you’ve exceeded the legal speed limit – or whether you can keep things together on the next corner. It’s worth noting that the TRX’s Sport mode keeps things relatively under control, but in most other drive settings, the Ram’s ultra-stiff chassis and damp suspension will envelop your ankles in case you make the mistake of cornering too much speed the road to wear. This only adds to its unwieldy character, especially when working in an environment where civilian vehicles are present.
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Most off-road vehicles are not supposed to get that much air. The TRX isn’t most trucks.
Built for dunes, rivers and rocks
Of course, this truck was never intended to drive anywhere other than the wide open spaces of your next dune park. Similar to the Raptor, the Ram TRX’s shock absorbers and springs are engineered to maximize suspension travel and absorb as much punishment as possible while being bombarded into the nearest ruts or rocks landing with their remote storage dampers.
In fact, there is absolutely no point in owning the TRX outside of an off-road context. There is no real way to estimate what the truck is bringing on the table without beating it over or through some obstacles foolishly appearing in its sights. With nearly 30cm of ground clearance, I couldn’t find a pit so deep that the Ram’s 35-inch tires couldn’t crawl out. Likewise, my stays in the drink were swiftly shaken off with a speed of nearly a meter of water that I could call for.
Most impressive is the sheer control of the truck as it jumps from one high-speed burst to the next. Even with the throttle on, the TRX outlived my own nerves as I slapped through muddy bumps, never got a bike out of position, or dramatically distracted me from course on rebound. This sets it apart from other, less demanding off-roaders, which are nowhere near as composed on rapidly changing terrain. Yes, the ram’s size is a drag on narrower trails, but outdoors there are few, if any, off-road vehicles that can approach its top speed as it mows down the bog.
No stone was left unturned in our testing process.
Hellcat’s last gasp
All of this comes at a pretty fantastic price. The cheapest TRX starts at just under $ 71,000 and after loading options (e.g. the Launch Edition model for $ 12,000 or the advanced security systems and lavish cabin of the model I tested) can go up to over $ 80,000. Dollar go out. In a world where both heavy duty and luxury trucks are routinely stuck in this area, the Ram’s staggering price tag is oddly at home.
Despite the sky-high pressure on pickups, the Ram’s price tag is well ahead of its closest competitor, the Ford F-150 Raptor. Of course, the TRX is much more powerful and much more classy than the Blue Oval entry. It also has two extra cylinders compared to the Raptor’s turbocharged V6, which is of great importance in both setting and sound enjoyment for high-performance truck fans.
There is no doubt that the status of the Ram 1500 TRX as the apex predator of the pickup truck world comes with a fixed expiration date. Federal regulators are badly seeing the seven miles per gallon the ram emitted during our week together (its official EPA rating is 12 mpg combined), and the Hellcat engine has only a few years of life before it thirsts heavily and The emissions tightened regulations make the payback in the entire lineup of Stellantis difficult.
The TRX is the most powerful and exaggerated pickup truck that has ever popped up from Detroit. That really says something when you consider we live in an era when we also have a ram powered by the V10 supercar’s V10 engine. That it just like its tyrannical namesake represents the last breath of an old-school era threatened with extinction only feels appropriate.
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The review: The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is Detroit’s Most Powerful Off-Road Pickup First appeared on InsideHook.
The item First ride: the Ram 1500 TRX is Detroit’s most powerful off-road pickup by Benjamin Hunting was originally published on InsideHook.