Automotive

Review: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is ridiculous, ludicrous and pure awesomeness

Review: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is r...
The Ram 1500 TRX looks to take a bite out the Ford Raptor
The Ram 1500 TRX looks to take a bite out the Ford Raptor
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The aim of the Ram 1500 TRX is clear: put the Ford Raptor in its place
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The aim of the Ram 1500 TRX is clear: put the Ford Raptor in its place
The TRX takes the Ram 1500, already a well-done pickup truck, and adds in a Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 702 horses
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The TRX takes the Ram 1500, already a well-done pickup truck, and adds in a Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 702 horses
Aimed at the off-road crowd and cheerily labeled a “Raptor killer," the Ram 1500 TRX has a lot of off-road equipment on its docket
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Aimed at the off-road crowd and cheerily labeled a “Raptor killer," the Ram 1500 TRX has a lot of off-road equipment on its docket
The T-Rex has a lot more power, strong capability, and extreme speed – all of those things romp the capabilities of the Ford Raptor by wide margins
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The T-Rex has a lot more power, strong capability, and extreme speed – all of those things romp the capabilities of the Ford Raptor by wide margins
Bilstein shock absorbers with separate reservoirs are part of the 2-inch suspension lift the off-road-oriented Ram TRX includes as equipment
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Bilstein shock absorbers with separate reservoirs are part of the 2-inch suspension lift the off-road-oriented Ram TRX includes as equipment
Most of the capabilities of a half-ton pickup truck are still there in the Ram 1500 TRX, though somewhat limited due to the performance orientation of this rig
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Most of the capabilities of a half-ton pickup truck are still there in the Ram 1500 TRX, though somewhat limited due to the performance orientation of this rig
The 2021 Ram TRX is based on the Ram 1500 Limited package, the top-end package for the Ram 1500 pickup truck
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The 2021 Ram TRX is based on the Ram 1500 Limited package, the top-end package for the Ram 1500 pickup truck
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a starting price of about US$70,000 before delivery and quickly approaches the $100,000 mark when all of the available goodies are added
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The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a starting price of about US$70,000 before delivery and quickly approaches the $100,000 mark when all of the available goodies are added
A beastly 6.2-liter supercharged V8, familiar to all Hellcat fans, powers the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX
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A beastly 6.2-liter supercharged V8, familiar to all Hellcat fans, powers the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX
The articulation of the 2021 Ram TRX is good, but not quite as good as that found in the Ford Raptor
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The articulation of the 2021 Ram TRX is good, but not quite as good as that found in the Ford Raptor
Wheel reach is nothing to sneeze at in the Ram T-Rex
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Wheel reach is nothing to sneeze at in the Ram T-Rex
Off the road, even with all that engine power, the Ram 1500 TRX is clearly in its element
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Off the road, even with all that engine power, the Ram 1500 TRX is clearly in its element
The Ram 1500 TRX looks to take a bite out the Ford Raptor
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The Ram 1500 TRX looks to take a bite out the Ford Raptor
Unlike coal rolling for the sake of burning dinosaurs, this is dino-power used for power’s sake – and it’s intoxicating
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Unlike coal rolling for the sake of burning dinosaurs, this is dino-power used for power’s sake – and it’s intoxicating
View gallery - 14 images

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, affectionately called the T-Rex and with Easter egg graphics to encourage that moniker, boasts 702 horsepower (523.4 kW) and a 0-60-mph (0-96.5-km/h) sprint of about 4.5 seconds. In a full-sized pickup truck. Ridiculous? Yes. Ludicrous? Yes. Awesome? You bet.

The TRX takes the Ram 1500, already a well-done pickup truck, and adds in a Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 702 horses and 650 lb-ft (881 Nm) of torque. Aimed at the off-road crowd and cheerily labeled a “Raptor killer” by Ram Truck and its public relations team, the T-Rex adds wide-body fenders, 35-inch tires, a sport-tuned off-road suspension, reinforced framing, and a two-inch (5.08-cm) lift. Easter egg graphics under the hood, behind the center console storage cover, and elsewhere show a Tyrannosaurus rex munching on a Velociraptor in etched detail.

The aim of the Ram 1500 TRX is clear: put the Ford Raptor in its place. The goal is well met, on paper, and is pretty well executed in real life. The T-Rex has a lot more power, strong capability, and extreme speed. All of those things romp the capabilities of the Ford Raptor by wide margins. Where it gets tricky is in real-world truck use and in some types of hardcore off-roading, such as climbing rocks or traversing difficult terrain. The articulation of the Raptor is hard to beat and the TRX seems a little shy in that department.

The articulation of the 2021 Ram TRX is good, but not quite as good as that found in the Ford Raptor
The articulation of the 2021 Ram TRX is good, but not quite as good as that found in the Ford Raptor

Still, the point of the Ram TRX is to go really, really fast while emitting very satisfying engine growls and exhaust snarls as it does so. In that, it excels. On the street or out in the bush, these sounds and the butt-rumble they create through the seats is viscerally engaging. Many might bemoan the muscle car as going the way of the dodo and the dinosaurs it burns, but for many, there is no replacing the rumble and feel of a truly opened up big block. Those formerly known as Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis, thanks to a Peugeot merger) understand this phenomenon and are happily shoving the 6.4-liter and 6.2-liter V8s at their disposal into everything capable of receiving them. The Ram 1500 TRX being the latest.

The 2021 Ram TRX is based on the Ram 1500 Limited package, the top-end package for the Ram 1500 pickup truck. The Limited features a 12-inch touchscreen for infotainment, a truly luxurious interior experience with premium leather, and a lot of technology. The TRX makes a lot of modifications, however, becoming a completely separate truck.

The two-inch lift comes with Bilstein adaptive dampers with remote reservoirs, all-terrain 35-inch tires, bigger brakes to accommodate the huge engine output, a Dana 60 solid rear axle to take the torque, an electronic locking rear differential, five underbody skid plates (similar to the Rebel model), launch control and infotainment track/performance data on demand, and that hugely muscular 6.2L supercharged V8.

This comes at a price, of course. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a starting price of about US$70,000 before delivery and quickly approaches the $100,000 mark when all of the available goodies are added. The upgrades to the TRX to give it all that power and performance mean that payload capacity is reduced to 1,404 lb (636.8 kg) and towing to 8,100 lb (3,674 kg). For comparison, the maximum towing capacity of the Ram 1500 lineup is 12,570 lb (5,701.6 kg) and the Rebel model’s maximum tow is 11,340 lb (5,143.7 kg). So the capability of the Ram 1500 takes a big hit with the performance-oriented TRX model. Never mind fuel economy, which is rated at a mere 14 mpg (16.8 l/100km) on the highway.

Bilstein shock absorbers with separate reservoirs are part of the 2-inch suspension lift the off-road-oriented Ram TRX includes as equipment
Bilstein shock absorbers with separate reservoirs are part of the 2-inch suspension lift the off-road-oriented Ram TRX includes as equipment

On that last point, however, we can beg to differ. In our week with this monster truck, we achieved slightly above 19 mpg (12.38 l/100km) without trying very hard to “hypermile.” Our advantage was high altitude (6,400 ft, 1,951 km) for less air interference, a relatively flat roadway, and an 80-mph (128.7-km/h) speed limit. The supercharged engine helps make up for the lack of engine intake airflow most other vehicles experience here. With daily driving around town, on the highway, plus off-road use, though, our average was only 11.3 mpg (20.8 l/100km) overall.

Despite all of this, it’s hard not to fall fast for this truck upon startup. Nearly everyone who sees it thinks it’s the greatest thing they’ve seen in years. Having driven it, it’s clear that the Ram TRX is an instant icon for its beastly looks, powerful drive experience, extreme capabilities, and rumbling good times.

Few things are as satisfying as something like this truck. It might be a purely American thing, but I suspect that it’s a visceral part of being human. Powerful things are often our favorite things. Like a Tesla owner will brag about how much torque and power their car might push to the ground via its electrons, a TRX owner will tell you how much muscle its 6.2L engine will grunt to the wheels. Unlike coal rolling for the sake of burning dinosaurs, this is dino-power used for power’s sake. And it’s intoxicating.

Some might cavil at the “use” for a truck like the Ram 1500 TRX. Those people are missing the point.

Product Page: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

View gallery - 14 images
11 comments
Username
Ridiculous is a more than sufficient description. No need for the other adjectives.
christopher
Meh. Get a Rivian - better in every way, and will keep working after the upcoming mutant Covids shut down oil.
Charlie Channels
Way too heavy and clumsy.... cumbersome and intruding for the rest in everyday driving (where most of them will go). Dinosaurs are long gone.... why not choose much smarter alternatives?
Bruce H. Anderson
Lots of people missing the point already. This is a truck for hairy-chested men. I am guessing that all the scoops and vents are not functional, but are there for the boys.
Daishi
The 252 HP different between the Raptor and TRX is about what I get out of my 4500 lb. SUV with a V6. While it's still not close to a Tesla in a 0-60 at 4.5 seconds it's a full second faster than the current Raptor. It sounds like Ford my respond with a crazier Raptor. I'm sure the electric trucks will launch with faster acceleration but acceleration isn't the only thing that matters and they still don't exist. It sounds like Dodge and Ford are trying to make the competition interesting at least.
DaveWesely
The Hummer and Tesla Truck both go 0-60 in 3 seconds or less. Significantly faster. And they probably have more features for basically the same price. Oil is so old school. Why are you even bothering to report on these farty machines?
mediabeing
Where are the 'easter egg graphics'?
Something mentioned twice should be shown.
ScienceFan
Boring, wasteful, old school. Only for people that are exceptionally ill informed and unaware of what this world really needs. NewAtlas "aims to inspire..." This is anything but inspiring. The enthusiasm of the writer is misplaced. This is quite sad.
buzzclick
To each his own. If you're a hairy-chested adrenaline junkie who needs to go ripping up the countryside or to tow thousands of pounds of trailer trash, then this behemoth is for you. If you never go off road and rarely need the gobs of power it provides, then your macho sensibilities will still be satisfied with a little show and tell. And it sure looks mean.
cjeam
Ah yes, because what everyone wants to hear while out in the wilds is a V8 being revved and 702hp causing small landslides and erosion.
This is a stupid vehicle that's dangerous to both the planet and other road users, which should not be road legal without a higher licence category, and which will be purchased by people trying to compensate for something.