2021 Ram 1500 TRX To Be The Most Powerful Pickup Truck

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - August 18, 2020

Four years ago, Ram unveiled the Ram Rebel TRX concept. Ram made the concept by shoving a Hellcat engine into it, giving it massive off-roading tires, and fitting it with impressive off-roading suspension. Now, roughly 48 months after the concept dropped, Ram has finally built a production-ready version of the concept. And it’s glorious. This is the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. It’s a 702-horsepower pickup truck that only has one major purpose – to take down the Ford F-150 Raptor.

Unlike Ram’s other 1500 models, the TRX is only available in one configuration: Crew Cab with a 5-foot, 7-inch box. It’s also only available with one powertrain, which is a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that generates 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and has a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. If you keep your foot pinned on the throttle, the TRX will hit 118 mph. If you’re not interested in going fast, but care more about towing capacity, the TRX can haul up to 8,100 pounds and has a payload capacity of 1,310 pounds.

Ram didn’t stop at stuffing the TRX with the engine from some of the most powerful cars on the market, either. The pickup truck is meant for some serious off-roading. So, Ram upgraded the TRX’s frame with thicker high-strength steel. The TRX features unique 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk E2 shocks that have active damping. Whether you’re in the middle of the desert off-roading or traveling on the highway, the adaptive dampers will ensure that the TRX will tackle both while keeping passengers comfortable. Compared to a regular Ram 1500, the TRX is two inches taller and has a track that’s six inches wider. Massive fender flares that house 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires are also included. Overall ground clearance measures at 11.8 inches.

The upper and lower control arms have been upgraded to accommodate approximately 13 inches of wheel travel at the front. The rear end can travel over 13 inches, too, thanks to a Dana 60 rear axle that has a five-link setup. An electronically locking differential is also included at the back.

Ram 1500 TRX

As further aids to help owners go off-roading, TRX has a few special off-road modes that adjust the truck’s dampers, throttle, transmission, four-wheel-drive system, and steering. Rock mode ensures both the front and rear axles get an even amount of torque and calibrates the locking differential; Mud and Sand splits the engine’s power 45/55 for the front and rear and alters the throttle for minimal wheel spin; and Baja mode has a 25/75 torque split, allows the dampers to travel their full amount, and sharpens the transmission. With 702 hp on tap, catching air is going to be a regular occurrence with the TRX if you’re traveling through the desert. Luckily, Ram thought of that and added a jump detection feature to the truck to prevent possible driveline damage when crashing back down to Earth.

Other off-roading goodies offered on the TRX include skid plates, steel bumpers, rock rails, a bed-mounted spare tire carrier, a 29-liter airbox that’s engineered to filter out debris and water, as well as off-road pages. The latter are displayed on the truck’s 7.0-ich gauge cluster and 12-inch touchscreen, and show things like the TRX’s pitch and roll, ride height, and transfer case position.

Just like the regular Ram 1500, the TRX comes with loads of technology. The 12-inch touchscreen is standard, while a new head-up display can portray everything from advanced safety features to current speed and gear. A 9.2-inch digital rearview mirror is optional, as are a 360-degree surround-view camera, over 100 available active and passive safety features, as well as Trailer Reverse Steer Control. That last feature is similar to Ford’s Pro Trailer Back-Up Assist system in how it allows drivers to use a separate dial to control an attached trailer.

Car & Driver reports that the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX will start at $71,690 and top out at $90,265 for the limited-edition Launch Edition. That’s a whole lot of money for a pickup truck, but what other option offers 702 hp and has the same off-roading prowess? The answer to that is none.

The TRX really only has one competitor: the Ford F-150 Raptor. The Raptor’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque is dwarfed by the TRX’s massive motor. The extra power in Ram’s pickup makes the TRX much quicker than the Raptor in a straight line.

When it comes to off-roading goodies, the Raptor has an available Torsen limited-slip front differential and a standard electronically locking rear differential. At the moment, the TRX only comes with an electronically locking rear differential. So, in really gnarly terrain, the Raptor should have more grip at the front than the TRX. Both trucks come with upgraded suspension, with the TRX using Bilstein dampers and the Raptor using Fox Racing units.

While the TRX has 11.8 inches of ground clearance, the Raptor measures in at 11.5 inches. The TRX is 1.7 inches wider than the Raptor and is 2.4 inches taller, too. Both pickups can ford through water that’s 32 inches deep.

So, on paper, the all-new TRX looks like the ultimate pickup when it comes to off-roading. The truck is an absolute beast and bests the Raptor in nearly every category. Consumers, though, will have to pay a hefty price, as the Raptor starts at $58,135, $13,555 less than the TRX. If Ford really wants to have a Raptor to take on the new TRX, it will have to shove a high-performance V8 engine into the pickup.

Explore the current Ram lineup »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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