ROAD TEST: 2021 RAM 1500 TRX

By Shari Prymak

The RAM 1500 TRX is a game changer. It forces you to rethink what is possible for a massive, normal production-spec pickup truck. If the concept of a 700 horsepower off-road dominating truck doesn’t sound ludicrous enough, the real world experience of driving one will be a sure-fire convincer. For more than a decade, Ford had comfortably basked in the hype and fanfare of the Raptor; the high performance off-road version of the F-150. Well, no more, because the TRX (yes, it can be pronounced T-Rex) is here to announce its rightful spot as the top dinosaur of the park.

In order to create the ultimate pickup, RAM sourced the same 6.2L supercharged V8 used in the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. Here is produces 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission and a full-time four wheel drive system. The additional mass of a pickup truck hasn’t seemed to hamper the Hellcat V8’s ability to annihilate tires and scare passengers with its insane straight line thrust. 0-100km/hr comes in as little as 4.5 seconds, with an outrageously loud and aggressive sounding exhaust note to accompany you along the way.

The TRX has far more to offer than just wild straight line shenanigans. It gets a reinforced steel frame and an extra eight inches of width to handle the additional performance capability. The suspension consists of heavy duty Bilstein dampers with remote reservoirs and larger springs with 13 inches of wheel travel. The TRX also gets 35 inch all-terrain tires mounted on 18 inch beadlock wheels, an electronic locking differential to handle all the V8’s power, and huge 15 inch front brakes. The result of all that serious hardware is the ability to handle dessert running, dune bashing, and hill jumping with a level of ease that should embarrass plenty of Raptor owners.

Despite its incredible performance, RAM hasn’t compromised the TRX to point where it is unusable for the daily grind. In fact, it is surprisingly tame and easy to drive, complete with all the luxuries that are available in the standard 1500 models. The TRX receives a few unique touches such as carbon fibre trim, microsuede surfaces, and colour-contrast stitching for the mostly leather covered interior. It is an impressively well-appointed truck packed with features, an advanced 12 inch touchscreen infotainment system, and several active safety technologies. The usability of the standard RAM 1500 is maintained thanks to its crew cab configuration, five foot bed, and 3,600kg towing capacity.

The TRX’s starting MSRP of $93,995 seems lofty, but is actually fairly reasonable when compared to a well-optioned Raptor and considering the major performance difference between the two. In one fell swoop, RAM has shaken up the truck market and delivered a decimating brute unlike anything else. It is unbelievably excessive, horrible on fuel, and just plain unnecessary, but it is an amazing thing and an incredible accomplishment nonetheless.