Watch your back, F-150 Raptor, because the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is finally here and the hotly-anticipated muscle truck means business. Teasing those with a taste for potent off-roaders since the 2016 Rebel TRX concept, Ram confirmed it had production plans for the pickup in mid-2018, but we’ve had to wait another two years to see the real thing.
That patience has arguably been worth it, however. The new pickup is the “quickest, fastest, and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world,” Ram crows, courtesy of a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 engine.
As we’ve seen in the Hellcat cars from Dodge, that’s no shy, retiring engine. Here in the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX it means 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, for a 0-60 mph run in just 4.5 seconds. 0-100 mph takes 10.5 seconds, and a quarter mile is the work of 12.9 seconds with 108 mph hit along the way. Top speed for the new TRX is 118 mph.
The V8 is paired with a TorqueFlite 8HP95 eight-speed automatic transmission, which has been fettled to deal with all that torque. Ram uses a dual-path air induction system, combining the intakes of both the sizable front grille and the functional hood scoop. That also relies on what the automaker says is the largest air filter in the segment, with four-times the dust-trapping capabilities of the Ram 1500 TRX’s nearest rival, so that even extreme environments won’t slow things down.
It’s based on a new frame, with thicker sections of high-strength steel. Ram relies on hydroforming in some areas, cutting down on the welding requirements, and there are fully boxed side rails. Five skid plates shield the front axle, transfer case, transmission pan, and fuel tank, while a separate skid plate works both as a belly pan and protection for the lower front fascia. Heavy-duty gauge steel rock sliders will be available.
The doors, hood, and tailgate meanwhile are high-strength aluminum, as are the engine mounts, front axle center section, front suspension and transmission cross-members, front upper and lower control arms, front skid plate, transmission skid plate and steering system gear. The suspension itself is an all-new independent system at the front with active damping, while a new five-link coil system with active damping at the rear promises better articulation than leaf-springs, less weight, and no cut in cargo capacity.
Overall, there’s 11.8-inches of ground clearance – helped by 2-inches of extra ride height over other 1500 series trucks – and 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory All-Terrain 325/65R/18 tires. The Dana 60 rear axle can travel up to 13 inches. Maximum payload is 1,310 pounds, while the truck is rated to tow 8,100 pounds.
Ram has used 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks, which can be adjusted using a nitrogen-charged remote reservoir to tailor their forces to the terrain being tackled. There’s also a new BorgWarner 48-13 full-time active transfer case, along with the segment’s largest brakes. That means two-piston monoblock calipers and 15-inch inverted hat (outboard venting) rotors at the front, along with single piston calipers with 15-inch rotors at the rear.
Ram says the 1500 TRX has an approach angle of 30.2 degrees, breakover angle of 21.9 degrees, and departure angle of 23.5 degrees. For when you want to go fast, meanwhile, there’s Launch Control for maximum straight-line acceleration, and five dynamic modes – Auto, Sport, Tow, Snow, and Custom – which control the all-wheel drive, throttle, and other settings. Three extra off-road modes – Mud/Sand, Rock, and Baja – do the same when you’re in the rough stuff.
It all looks the part, too. New composite flares and fender walls leave the truck 8-inches wider to its 1500 brethren, with a 6-inch track width increase. The front axle has been pushed forward, and there are LED clearance maker lights on the front bumper. More LEDs have been added to the scoop.
The R-A-M badge is bigger, and has a flow-through design so that it doesn’t impede the air intake. All-black LED headlamps – with twin bi-functional projector headlamps – are standard, as are LED taillamps. An optional full-length rock rail for added body/sill protection is available, as are off-road powder-coated aluminum running boards. You can also have a bed-mounted spare tire carrier in addition to the under-bed full-size spare. Oversized tow hooks front and rear, and 5-inch dual exhaust ports round things out.
Inside, there’s the sizable 12-inch touchscreen familiar from other 1500 models, with a new SRT-signature steering wheel with a flat-bottom, leather-wrapped hand grips, aluminum paddle shifters, and a console-mounted performance floor shifter. The drive mode selector is above the transfer case switches, and the Launch Control button is just to the right of them. A head-up dusplay is available, with more information than before, while the driver’s gauges use a 7-inch customizable display.
A 900W Harman Kardon audio system – with 19 speakers and a 10-inch sub – is available. The 360-degree Surround View Camera system can also be added, useful for navigating through tighter obstacles, and there’s a digital rearview mirror option. Trim choices range from the hardwearing through to real wood and leather. Plug in a USB stick and you can export all your performance data, like timers, g-force, gauges, and engine performance.
Pricing for the 021 Ram 1500 TRX will start at $69,995 (plus $1,695 destination) when it arrives at dealers early in 2021. That’ll be with a crew can and a short bed; pricing for the other options will be confirmed closer to release.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition
First version of the truck out of the gate will be the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition. Only 702 will be sold, in exclusive Anvil Gray paint and with special limited-edition badging inside.
It’ll come with the TRX Level 2 Equipment Group as standard. That includes carbon fiber interior trim, color accent package, the head-up display, beadlock-capable wheels, 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, and bodyside graphics.
Production will kick off in early Q4 2020. It’ll be $90,315 plus destination: much more than a Ford F-150 Raptor, sure, but for a whole lot more power.