If you’re wondering whether the impressive Ram TRX pickup is right for you––or perhaps more importantly, if you can actually afford it––then that’s a good question and well worth asking yourself. Unfortunately, the answer is pretty complicated and really comes down to what you’re looking for, what your budget is, and considering all of your options realistically. For many people, a Ram truck lease is the perfect way to enjoy everything a brand-new truck has to offer while saving money and not making a long-term commitment.
As you’re shopping for your next truck, figuring out the right kind of financing and what your budget actually allows for is incredibly important. Yes, choosing the right pickup and various features is vital for getting a truck with everything you need, but none of that matters if you’re sweating every night worried that the repo man is going to show up at your door. That’s why it’s so important that you’re realistic about your budget and stick to it when shopping for your next vehicle. That might mean the Ram TRX is outside your grasp at the moment, but it doesn’t mean that it will always be that way…
Let’s Talk Budget
The very first thing you should do when you’re shopping for a vehicle is to figure out what you can realistically afford––not a best-case scenario or what you wish you could afford (I’d love to have a Lamborghini Countach parked outside, but let’s be real) but what you can really afford. Experts typically agree that the best way to budget for a car is to allot no more than 20% of your income for all of your car expenses. That’s not just your car payment but everything, including insurance, gas, and anything else like maintenance costs.
Your monthly car payment should only be about 15% of your income––in order to keep things simple, this budgeting calculation uses your gross income, not take-home. So, if you make $3,000 per month (before taxes and everything else), then your total car costs should only be about $450 to $600 each month in order to keep your budget under control. This isn’t always possible for everyone, but it’s what you should be trying for when you’re looking at your options and shopping for your next vehicle.
This next part is going to be hard to read…
A Dose of Reality: The Cost of the Ram TRX
If you think the Ram TRX is an incredible truck that delivers unparalleled power and speed, with remarkable off-road performance to boot, then you’re right. You’ll hear no argument from me because the TRX is amazing, and there’s really no other truck quite like it on the market when it comes to raw power and off-road design. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s also an incredibly expensive piece of machinery that’s, sadly, not within everyone’s reach.
The starting MSRP on the Ram TRX is $78,890––and that’s before you consider destination charges, options, fees, and taxes. If you’re interested in buying a Ram TRX with, say, a $10,000 down payment, plus a loan for the rest with 4.33% interest, that you’ll pay off in 60 months, then you’re looking at monthly payments upwards of $1,313. That’s just the payment on the loan and doesn’t include your insurance, gas, or anything else––if you’re sticking to a careful budget, then that should be 15% of your income each month.
But what about a lease? Well, assuming the same $10,000 down payment and a 48-month lease with a 12,000-mile limit, Ram offers a TRX lease for a $1,084 monthly payment. So, if you’re asking yourself whether the TRX is a realistic option, then consider this: you can safely afford to buy a 2022 Ram TRX if you earn about $8,750 per month in gross income, and you can afford to lease one if you make around $7,225 a month. If that’s you, then enjoy your TRX! If not, then let’s look at a few other options that might work for you.
What Are Your Other Options?
If the Ram TRX is out of your reach, then don’t feel like it’s the end of the world––you still have some great options available to you. There are plenty of Ram 1500 models that are much more accessible than the TRX, all of which still have impressive engines for great performance. You’re not going to get the 702 hp monster of a HEMI V8 that the TRX has, but the Ram 1500 pickup does have a 5.7L HEMI V8 engine available, with an available eTorque mild hybrid system that helps boost performance.
And if you’re interested in a Ram truck for towing, then you’re probably better off skipping the TRX, which sacrifices a lot of towing potential for its insane performance. Even the best TRX tops out at just over 8,000 lbs of towing capacity, while other Ram 1500 models can handle more than 12,000 lbs of towing when properly equipped. The TRX is many things, but it’s really not much of a work truck.
Best of all, you have more financing options with a Ram 1500 that can make it more affordable for you than something like the Ram TRX. Leasing a Ram truck is a great way to enjoy everything it has to offer for several years while keeping your payments low and not making a long-term commitment. Since you are essentially just paying for the wear you put it you use the truck on a lease, your monthly payments will probably be more-than-a-little-less-than what we saw with the TRX. In fact, leasing a Ram Rebel for 48 months and 12,000 miles a month could cost just $757 a month, even with half the down payment we assumed for the TRX.
You can also look into a wide range of impressive used Ram truck options, especially if you’re shopping at a dealership that you know you can trust. Pre-owned Ram pickups can still be a bit pricey since they are so reliable and sought-after that they don’t depreciate as much as a lot of other vehicles out there. Still, a used Ram will save you money, and you skip out on the initial depreciation that they’re bound to suffer from. You probably won’t find a pre-owned TRX out there––though anything’s possible––but a used Ram 1500 Rebel or another model with the available Off-Road package can be an amazing truck.
Planning and Budgeting Is Everything
One important thing to remember is that just because your budget might not allow for something like a brand-new Ram TRX right now doesn’t mean that it won’t change in the future. Other than possibilities like changes in career or promotions, by going with an affordable vehicle right now, you can keep your budget tight and work on saving enough money to be able to afford something like the TRX in the next few years. Remember those $1,313 payments I showed you earlier? That was with a $10,000 down payment on the vehicle, but what if you were able to save more money?
Let’s say you save up for a year or two, and you’re able to make a $20,000 down payment instead, plus you enjoy a different vehicle in the meantime that you end up being able to use as a trade-in for another $10,000. With the same TRX price and interest rate, you’d be looking at monthly payments of $942 instead! While that’s still outside the reasonable budget for many people, it’s definitely a huge improvement over what we saw before. And the more that you can save for a down payment to reduce how much of a loan you need, the lower you can make your monthly payments.
By going with something reasonable right now, like a leased truck or a pre-owned model with payments well within your budget, you can save for something a bit more exciting in the future. Saving and budgeting aren’t always easy, but the long-term rewards are incredible. I can’t promise you that you’ll have a Ram TRX in three or four years, but a good plan can put just about anything within your reach (although maybe not my Countach dreams…).