The battle for the best high-performance pickup truck just got interesting now that the 702-horsepower Ram 1500 TRX has entered the arena. The Hellcat-powered half-ton has the Ford F-150 Raptor squarely in its sights, but until its Blue Oval rival adds more power and steps up its interior game, the Ram rules. Rivalry aside, the TRX is an impressive and intimidating machine and one that we named to our 2021 10Best list and gave it an Editors’ Choice award. Its body is 8 inches wider than the regular Ram 1500, and its off-road capabilities have been transformed. This is thanks to a stronger frame, and even more sophisticated suspension, and myriad other enhanced characteristics. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is also loaded with a seriously luxurious interior and packed with all the latest technology. The only question left is whether the TRX can fly higher over the jumps than the now seemingly obsolete Raptor.
What’s New for 2021?
Ram has been teasing a high-powered rival to the F-150 Raptor since it debuted a badass concept truck back, but now the wait is over and the teasing has turned to reality. What’s especially neat—besides the fact it packs a 700-plus-horsepower Hellcat motor—is that the production TRX looks pretty close to what was promised. With intimidating inflated bodywork, a bed-mounted spare-tire carrier, body-colored Beadlock-capable wheels, and an abundance of other off-road goodies, the most radical Ram is, thankfully, fully realized.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Hiding between the TRX’s bulging fenders and below its scooped hood is a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. More popularly known as the Hellcat engine, this specific version produces 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. During our testing, the TRX shot to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds at 110 mph. That makes it the quickest pickup we’ve ever tested. Despite its hefty curb weight and huge footprint, the Hellcat-powered Ram is surprisingly refined and easy to handle on paved roads. Still, its supercharged V-8 is ready to emit exciting sounds from its exhaust pipes. Of course, the TRX is meant to play in the mud, rocks, and sand, too. Along with a reinforced steel frame, it boasts a beefed-up suspension that’s built to bend and bound with more than 13 inches of travel. It rolls on a set of massive 35-inch all tires mounted on 18-inch wheels that contribute to the truck’s 11.8 inches of ground clearance. Ram says the half-ton Hellcat can also ford up to 32 inches of water. Every TRX comes with enough underbody plating to protect a Brink’s truck, Bilstein remote-reservoir dampers, an electronic-locking rear differential, and gigantic 15.0-inch front brakes.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Ram has redefined expectations for truck interiors with its latest half-ton pickups, which deliver rich-looking materials and impeccable insulation from outside noise. That level of luxury and refinement looks to continue on the TRX, which is offered solely as a crew cab with a short cargo bed. Inside, the base model’s cloth upholstery and standard equipment are based on the Ram 1500 Rebel. However, the optional TR1 and TR2 packages make the cabin look and feel significantly snazzier thanks to leather-covered surfaces and a mix of microsuede and carbon-fiber accents. The TRX’s flat-bottom steering wheel features a pair of prominent paddle shifters, but there’s also a floor shifter located on the center console. The TRX’s top options include a digital rearview mirror, a head-up display, and heated and ventilated front seats.