“Now, as you come round to the ramps, you will need to be doing about 55, 60 miles per hour,” my co-driver shouts over the roar of the engine whereas rocks and dust blast the pickup’s undercarriage. “That’ll get you the very best peak and distance for the jumps and set you as much as begin braking for the subsequent flip.”
Uh huh. Jumps. I am behind the wheel of the 702-horsepower 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, probably the most excessive and overbuilt efficiency vans Ram has ever produced. And because the wheels go away the bottom and the cacophony is changed with an eerie silence, I am beginning to perceive simply how insane this apex predator actually is.
Coronary heart of a Hellcat
Ram’s engineers adopted a well-recognized formulation: Take a preferred Fiat-Chrysler product and dump the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 from the Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats into the engine bay. Pat your self on the again; you have earned a beer.
After all, there’s a lot extra to it than that. Within the Ram TRX, that engine breathes via a brand new dual-path induction system that mixes air drawn via its useful hood scoop and with consumption from the grille on the underside of a large 29-liter airbox. Ram tells me that this design helps to tumble the air contained in the field, shaking out sand and water earlier than it passes via twin 8×12-inch air filters. With a complete of 198.Four sq. inches of filter floor space, Ram claims that is the “largest air filter within the phase.” The TRX additionally incorporates a distinctive, high-flow exhaust with 5-inch resonators and exhaust ideas.
The adjustments to the Hemi’s respiratory imply the TRX makes simply 702 horsepower (versus the Hellcats’ 717-plus) with 650 pound-feet of torque, which it sends although an eight-speed automated transmission to a four-wheel-drive system. That is greater than sufficient energy to launch the 6,350-pound TRX from Zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and onward to 100 mph in 10.5 seconds. The truck will even run the quarter-mile in simply 12.9 ticks. The TRX launches shortly and powerfully, instantly discovering traction, even on a mud runway.
This broad boi is eight inches wider than a normal Ram 1500.
In some ways, the suspension and chassis upgrades to the Ram 1500 TRX are much more spectacular than the powertrain as a result of they’re a lot extra intensive. The TRX’s body is predicated on that of a Ram 1500 Crew Cab, however is modified with over 70% new components to enhance power and rigidity, and to utterly change the truck’s suspension geometry. The pickup’s flared physique is eight inches wider than a normal Ram 1500, accommodating a 6-inch enhance in each the entrance and rear tracks.
The TRX sits 2 inches taller than the usual 1500, boosting its floor clearance to 11.eight inches and its water fording depth to 32 inches. The entrance wheels are moved ahead by 0.6 inch, rising the wheelbase barely and liberating up room for beefier suspension parts and 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain tires, mounted on 18×9-inch wheels (or non-obligatory beadlock-capable wheels of comparable spec that permit ultra-low tire stress for crawling).
The TRX’s suspension and chassis upgrades are maybe extra thrilling than the 700-horsepower engine.
You will discover an unbiased suspension up entrance and a stable rear axle with coil springs and solid aluminum parts throughout. In any respect 4 corners, you will additionally discover 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk E2 adaptive dampers with distant reservoirs controlling the motion of the suspension. Up entrance, the TRX has 13 inches of wheel journey, with 14 inches of journey on the rear axle. (You may test our spec comparability to learn — and watch — how the Ram 1500 TRX stacks up towards the Ford F-150 Raptor.)
On the street
On paved roads, the TRX feels assured with, in fact, nice acceleration off the road and surprisingly clean shifts from its eight-speed automated transmission. The rumble of the V8 exhaust is ever current, however by no means annoying. The journey remains to be body-on-frame truck-like, however it’s no extra floaty than the usual 1500, which already has fairly managed journey.
The TRX incorporates a complete of eight drive modes, plus a valet setting. Freeway miles are finest spent toggling between the default and properly balanced Auto setting and Sport, which sharpens the steering, suspension, transmission and stability management. In the end, I discovered it finest to create a Customized setting that blends the 2. There are additionally modes for Snow, Mud/Sand, Towing, Rocks and Baja.
From the 12-inch contact show, drivers can customise their TRX’s efficiency for a variety of circumstances.
You work together with the drive modes utilizing a mixture of bodily controls and the usual 12-inch Uconnect 4C infotainment system. Ram says that that is the primary implementation of its Efficiency Pages software program with the massive 12-incher, which additionally options menus for monitoring off-road metrics like wheel articulation, steering angle and axle locker standing.
After all, the infotainment software program nonetheless boasts all the tech options that I like in the usual 1500, together with SiriusXM 360L integration, normal Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, Uconnect Apps and extra. You will additionally discover a ton of bodily charging choices for telephones and tech, together with a complete of 5 USB-A ports and 5 USB-C ports break up between the entrance and rear rows, in addition to a wi-fi charging pad on the base of the dashboard.
The pickup will also be had with a contemporary suite of driver-assistance applied sciences, together with blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise management, ahead pre-collision warning with brake help and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping help. Preserve checking containers so as to add a full-color head-up show and a rear digital camera mirror.
Drive modes and 4WD settings might be shortly toggled with these controls. Discover that there aren’t any 2WD modes.
Enjoying round at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, Nevada, I can first take a look at the Ram TRX’s crawling capability over a reasonably steep rock hill climb overlooking the race course. Setting the drive mode to Rock, the switch case to its 2.64:1 4WD Low vary and locking the Dana 60 rear axle units the truck up for high-torque, slow-speed climbing. With assistance from Ram’s spotters and the TRX’s beneficiant strategy (30.2), departure (23.5) and breakover (21.9) angles, the TRX makes brief and comparatively straightforward work of the climb.
Whereas ready for my activate the observe, I can discover the rocky grounds surrounding the course, testing the Selec-Pace Management — a form of off-road cruise management inherited from the Jeep Wrangler — on one other low-speed climb up a free grade. The TRX’s dampers do a improbable job of absorbing some enormous bumps at velocity, jostling me round within the deeply bolstered driver’s seat fairly a bit, however nonetheless feeling nigh unstoppable over a two-track path.
Within the air
Setting the TRX’s drive mode to Baja lets the 4WD, gearbox, steering, and stability management techniques know that it is time for enterprise. In the meantime, Baja units the suspension for max journey and management wanted for high-speed dust driving.
I enter the course on the high of an enormous hill. Then it is a stomach-churning drop right down to the entrance straight and instantly over a small hop. Then it is into the whoops, a washboard sequence of bumps that take a look at the Bilstein suspension and Ram’s Lively Terrain Dynamics software program, which might react each 20 milliseconds to maintain the truck balanced and managed.
I used to be inspired to essentially take a look at the bounds of the TRX’s superior suspension.
After a sweeping left-hander (that I used to be inspired to float), it is time for the massive soar. Lining up for an additional downhill strategy, I level the pickup on the dust ramp and mat the accelerator, reaching the beneficial 55-mph velocity earlier than taking to the air.
The TRX completely flies, and lands with such grace that I’m wondering if Ram ought to have as a substitute known as this tyrannosaurus a pteranodon. Trying again at my pictures, I estimate the massive soar was slightly over 60 toes (about three and a half truck lengths) from takeoff to touchdown, reaching a peak of about 24 inches. All 13 inches of suspension journey are used when touchdown, the dampers permitting for full compression whereas progressively firming close to the top of journey with as much as one ton of damping drive at every nook to forestall bottoming out.
Wheels again on the bottom, I let loose a whoop of my very own earlier than getting laborious on the 15-inch, four-wheel disc brakes for a pointy left-hander. Kicking up a giant rooster tail, I snake my approach again up the hill to do all of it once more… 5 extra occasions.
Ram’s Truckasaurus is just not a sensible alternative, however it’s undoubtedly a ton of enjoyable.
Availability and pricing
Beginning at $71,690 (together with a $1,695 vacation spot cost), the Ram 1500 TRX is considerably costlier than the $58,135 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew’s. Totally loaded, you are taking a look at round $95Ok for the TR2 trim stage with all of the non-obligatory fixings. Plus, the T. rex’s 10 miles per gallon metropolis and 14 mpg freeway rankings are worse than the Raptor’s 15 metropolis and 18 freeway estimates, which means you will additionally pay extra on the pump.
That stated, the TRX is an even bigger, extra highly effective predator than the Raptor with simply over 250 extra ponies at its beck and name. It is also bought a extra superior suspension, significantly on the rear axle the place the Raptor’s nonetheless rocking leaf springs. (Rumor has it that Ford may strike again with V8 energy and a coil spring setup of its personal for the next-generation Raptor.)
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is just not a sensible truck, however it’s fairly presumably probably the most enjoyable and most insane pickup you should buy right now.