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Hellcat powered Ram 1500 TRX is ready to slay the Raptor

by Patrick Rall on

It has been many moons since there was a proper high performance Ram 1500 pickup, but today, FCA introduced the quickest, fastest and most powerful production truck in the world. That truck is the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX and as we all expected, it is powered by the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi.

This is the same engine that has taken the performance world by storm in the Dodge Challenger and Charger, but this truck is way more than just a half-ton Ram with a monster engine. The Ram TRX features a unique chassis, suspension, body, interior and drivetrain, all of which will allow it to make very short work of the V6-powered Ford F-150 Raptor.

Most importantly, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is a fantastic production version of the 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept, with a unique look, incredible off-road capabilities and even more power. Spy shots showed a truck with a pretty standard body, leading some to believe that the muscular look of the concept would be lost, but that isn’t the case. The concept “only” had 575 horsepower, leading some to believe that the production truck would be low on power, but that also isn’t the case.

“The all-new 2021 Ram TRX sets the benchmark for extreme performance pickup trucks and solidifies Ram Truck’s position as the off-road truck leader,” said Mike Koval, Head of Ram Brand, FCA – North America. “Ram has a strong history of high-performance trucks and TRX adds to that while expanding the light-duty lineup with the segment’s best combination of performance, capability, luxury and technology.”

The Ram TRX is the supercharged super-truck that so many of us have been dreaming of and it goes on sale tomorrow with a starting price of just $69,995 (plus destination).

The Big Numbers

The 2021 Ram TRX is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 that is nearly identical to the one used in the Dodge cars and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The truck uses different exhaust manifolds and a different engine air intake system to feed the 2.4-liter IHI supercharger, with 50% of engine air coming through the grille while the other 50% comes through the hood scoop. These different intake and exhaust components lead to slightly different power ratings than the Dodge cars or the Jeep.

The TRX delivers 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful production truck by a massive margin. It is the most powerful production truck today and the most powerful production truck ever. That power is sent to all four wheels by means of an 8-speed 8HP95 automatic transmission, a Borg Warner transfer case with a 2.64:1 low range and a Dana 60 rear axle that features full floating axle shafts and electronic locking function. The unique wheels measure 18×9 and they are wrapped in 325/65/18 tires that Goodyear developed specifically for the Hellcat-powered pickup. Buyers can also pick beadlock wheels from the option sheet.

While the Ram 1500 TRX is not built for on-road performance, it is still the quickest and fastest production truck to date. It sprints from a stop to 60 in just 4.5 seconds while running up to 100 takes 10.5 seconds. It will cover the quarter mile with a 12.9 at 108 miles per hour. Those numbers make it the quickest production truck in the world. It also has an electronically limited top speed of 118 miles per hour, due to the speed rating of the 35-inch off-road tires, making it the fastest production truck in the world. All of those numbers comfortably beat the Ford F-150 Raptor, which is the closest thing to a competitor for the TRX.

The Ram 1500 TRX can also haul 1,310 pounds and tow 8,100 pounds, so it is also capable of doing some pretty serious half-ton truck work.

The Toughest Chassis

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a unique frame containing greater amounts of high strength steel, with fully boxed side rails and hydroformed portions that remove the need for some welding. Fewer welds lead to a stronger frame, especially with the stronger materials and boxed rails. Unlike the Raptor, if TRX owners take to the skies, their frame won’t bend or break on landing. There are also five skid plates to protect the engine, transmission, transfer case, rear differential and other key components.

Next, the Ram 1500 TRX uses a similar coil setup to the one used on the other half-ton trucks, but it has been heavily beefed-up to handle extreme abuse while also sitting 2 inches higher than any other modern Ram truck. The front upper and lower control arms are new, with the front axle being shifted forward 20-millimeters to allow for plenty of movement from the 35-inch tires. The TRX features 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive dampers at all four corners, allowing the driver to select the desired stiffness and performance level via the Drive Mode system.

The TRX uses the Ram brand’s segment-exclusive five-link coil spring system, including the longest coil springs in the consumer market. With the help of the Active Terrain Dynamics suspension management system, the Hellcat-powered pickup has the most advanced suspension setup in the segment, offering the greatest off-road performance while still being smooth for the daily drive.

The unique chassis and suspension bits afford the Ram 1500 TRX 13 inches of wheel travel in the front and rear along with 11.8 inches of ground clearance. When coupled with the unique body design, the TRX offers an approach angle of 30.2 degrees, a breakover angle of 21.9 degrees, a departure angle of 23.5 degrees and the ability to safely drive through 32 inches of water. The Raptor offers the same water-fording depths and approach angle, but the TRX beats the F-150 in every other off-road metric.

Ram didn’t announce an official curb weight for the TRX, but they did say that it weighs about 600 pounds more than a typical four-wheel-drive 1500 with the 5.7-liter Hemi. With the ability to go 118 miles per hour in a truck that weighs over 5,000 pounds, stopping is important, so the TRX has the biggest braking package of any truck in the segment. This include 15-inch rotors in the front and rear, with dual piston calipers up front and single piston calipers out back.

A Muscular Body

One of the reasons why the 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept was so popular was the aggressive exterior, but that was on the previous generation truck. Some folks were concerned that the production TRX would go with a blander styling, but that isn’t the case at all. This truck is 8 inches wider than the rest of the lineup, with composite flares up front and uniquely-flared steel bedsides out back.

The TRX also includes a unique hood with the aforementioned hood scoop and dual heat extracting vents that flanked a raised center section. The grille is larger, allowing for better cooling flow and the large RAM font badge has a flow-through design, and there are functional vents on the outer edge of the headlights that improve high speed aerodynamics.

The Ram Full LED Adaptive Front-lighting System is standard on the TRX, including twin bi-functional projector headlamps that angle with the steering wheel, along with LED fog lights and LED taillights. There are two large tow hooks up front and out back, and 5-inch exhaust tips let the Hellcat Hemi announce its presence. Buyers who want a truck that looks even more like the concept can add a rollover bar with LED fog lights, a bed-mounted spare tire carrier, graphics on the bedsides and hood, rock rails or running boards and a huge panoramic sunroof.

High Tech, Sporty Cabin

The interior of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is a marvel of modern technology, starting with the 12-inch UConnect infotainment screen that controls every aspect of the vehicle. This system includes the Drive Mode and Off-Road performance pages, along with navigation, the sound system, vehicle settings and the phone interface. The 7-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster is standard, as is the SRT-style flat-bottom steering wheel, while a new heads-up display is optional. A 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a new trailer backup control system and a new digital rearview mirror are also optional on the TRX.

Although the drive modes can be changed via the touchscreen, the TRX also comes with a dedicated button panel that allows the driver to toggle between drive modes, access launch control and make changes to the four-wheel-drive system. There is also a panel for the trailer brake control system and an array of auxiliary buttons, which is where the trailer backup control knob is located in trucks with that new system.

The Ram TRX features sporty front seats with the deepest bolsters in the lineup. Cloth is standard on the base TR trim level, but those who opt for TR1 or TR2 get leather seats. TR1 includes heated seats and steering wheel along with the Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment / Pouch Attachment Ladder System (MOLLE/PALS) storage system. TR2 adds ventilated front seats and reclining rear seats.

Between the front seats of the Ram TRX is a new center console, featuring a new shift level and loads of storage space. Ram listened to enthusiasts who hate the shift knob and they got rid of it in the Hellcat Ram. Just beyond that new shifter is the TRX information plate on the center console lid, with all of the details of the high performance pickup.

As mentioned above, the Ram 1500 TRX goes on sale at dealerships around the United States tomorrow, August 18th. Pricing starts at $69,995 plus $1,695 destination fees, but we don’t have specific option pricing just yet. With the truck going on sale tomorrow, we would expect that the consumer website will have full pricing details very soon. Production will begin early in the fourth quarter and the company expects to deliver the first supercharged pickups before the end of this year.

TRX Launch Edition

Finally, the Ram brand will offer 702 examples of the TRX Launch Edition. This truck is fully loaded with the TR2 trim, carbon fiber interior trim, panoramic sunroof, beadlock wheels, 19-speaker Harman sound system, the full graphics package and the Anvil Gray paint.

This loaded, limited edition TRX has an MSRP of $88,570 plus destination of $1,695. In other words, the top-of-the-line TRX costs $90,265, but with just 702 units slated for production, we can expect that some dealerships will pile-on a markup.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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