For years now, the Ford Raptor has been the (mostly undisputed) leader when it comes to full-size trucks designed to go off-road. If that’s something you were interested in, then the answer was very simple: go for the Ford F-150 Raptor – or a standard full-size and make a lot of aftermarket additions. But all of that is about to change with the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, one of the most powerful and impressive Ram trucks I’ve ever seen. Even if you only care about street performance, the TRX is fantastic, but where it truly shines is on the trail.
It’s clear that Ram’s engineers and designers looked at the Ford Raptor and wanted to build a truck that could compete with it. However, what they ended up producing is not a competitor – calling this a competitor is a disservice because the Ram TRX blows away the Raptor and pretty much every other full-size off-road pickup. Don’t believe me? Well, keep reading to see for yourself, because the numbers paint a pretty clear picture: the Ram 1500 TRX is the new king of not only Ram trucks, but of all off-road pickups.
Oh, What an Engine!
First things first, let’s talk about the engine in this Ram TRX beast because it is an absolute monster that words won’t really do justice to (though I’ll try my best). According to Ram, the all-new TRX is “the most powerful production street-legal half-ton pickup ever built.” Yes, you read that right – it’s not the most powerful half-ton built by Ram, it’s the most powerful half-ton pickup built by anyone, and the engine is a massive part of that.
It’s a Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8, much like what you can find in the incredible Dodge Challenger Hellcat, but this one is tuned to deliver 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Just a reminder, despite my mention of the Challenger, we’re talking about a truck here – a Ram 1500 model with that engine in it. Now you’re beginning to see what I’m talking about and why this thing is so powerful.
The twin-screw supercharger on the engine is an absolute marvel. It provides you with near-instantaneous torque, with a maximum rev speed of 14,600 rpm and incredibly high pressure thresholds that harness all of that power. Of course, that much power requires a lot of air, which is why it comes with a high-performance air induction system that filters out four times as much dirt and debris as the Ford Raptor, invaluable when taking this incredible truck on the trail, by consuming nearly 33 liters of air per minute.
One major reason this incredible Ram truck is the new king of the trail is that it offers remarkable performance that blows everything else away. That powerful engine is a tremendous amount of fun for going off-road, but it also means you dominate the paved road too. This combination of features is something I haven’t seen anywhere else – the Ford Raptor is a great off-road machine, but it’s not a high-performance powerhouse. The Ram 1500 TRX is.
This is not something that happened by accident; it’s something that the Ram engineers clearly focused on and encouraged. The TRX has Launch Control – in fact, it’s the first Ram truck with Launch Control with Launch Assist, which regulates the engine RPM while monitoring wheel slip feedback to give you an incredible acceleration rate. How incredible? The Ram 1500 TRX can go from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds; this is another reminder: we’re talking about a full-size, light-duty truck here, not a sports car.
As I said, this is something that Ram has clearly leaned into here, so you have all sorts of tools and information displays to help you keep track of your performance. Launch Control is only the start, as you also have access to a dashboard that tracks your reaction time, providing you with a 60-foot timer, along with quarter-mile and eighth-mile timers. Your best records are saved so you can work to improve them, and an integrated dynamometer lets you easily track your peak horsepower, torque, and boost pressure against your own records to improve your skills as a driver.
The Trail Has Been Conquered
Enjoying the Ram 1500 TRX as a high-performance pickup is all well and good, but you don’t have to stop there. Once you’re done posting a few quarter-mile records, then you can head out to your favorite trail – or a brand new one – and really see what the TRX has to offer. You get 11.8 inches of ground clearance in the TRX, along with 13 inches of front suspension travel and 14 inches of rear suspension travel to let you handle any terrain or obstacles you encounter.
The Ram TRX comes with an all-new Bilstein Black Hawk e2 shock system that is exclusive to this truck and can only be found on the TRX. These shocks are absolutely phenomenal and really let you enjoy the trail without being thrown around, while keeping you in control at all times. There are also eight different drive modes you can choose from, letting you quickly and easily customize your performance on the fly.
These drive modes include a sport mode with quick shift times and a snow mode for optimal control on snow and ice. There is a mud/sand mode that adjusts throttle management and torque distribution to improve your traction, as well as a rock mode with an extra-low gear ratio that is perfect for crawling over rocks and boulders. As you can see, the Ram TRX is designed to keep you in control and let you dominate both on and off the road.
A Surprisingly Luxurious Interior
If you’re familiar with the fantastic interior features Ram has been packing into their trucks lately, then you might not be surprised by everything you can get in the TRX, but I think a lot of people will be. For starters, a 12-inch vertical infotainment display is standard on every model, regardless of trim or packages. This display not only looks impressive and is bigger than what you’ll find in most trucks, but it is ideal for navigating all of those performance pages and settings that I mentioned earlier.
There’s also an available head-up display that acts as a sort of virtual cockpit, providing you with different types of customizable information right on your windshield. This includes data you’ll find with other vehicles like your current speed and navigational directions, along with local speed limits and additional information to make driving easier. There’s a center-mounted gear shifter with a manual shifting mode, as well as aluminum paddle shifters integrated onto the flat-bottom steering wheel so you can fully embrace the power of this pickup.
Honestly, the interior is just plain gorgeous, especially if you choose the available leather-trimmed seats. The available 900-watt 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system surrounds you with a powerful and rich audio experience that takes everything one step further. No matter how far away from civilization your adventures might take you, the Ram TRX lets you bring a bit of luxury and civility with you.
What More Do You Need?
With an engine that makes it the most powerful street-legal half-ton pickup ever built, off-road chops that will let you conquer any trail you find, and an interior that surrounds you with sophistication and comfort, the Ram 1500 TRX really does have it all. The only thing left for you to do is take one for a drive and experience all of this incredible performance for yourself.