- Its 702-horsepower engine makes it the most powerful half-ton truck out there
- Suspension is designed for high-speed off-roading plus comfort
- New high-strength steel frame is lighter and tougher
- High-quality interior has advanced off-road, driving, and convenience tech
- More than 100 passive and active safety features are available
- Only comes as one body style and bed length
- Starting price is significantly higher than the Ford Raptor SuperCrew
- Advanced safety features don’t come standard
What’s new this year?
- This all-new specialty model is based on the Ram 1500
- Seventy-five percent of the frame is different from the Ram 1500
- This is the first use of the Hellcat supercharged 6.2-liter engine in a truck
KBB Editors’ overview
The Ram TRX
If you are ready to speed through sand washes in a purpose-built truck, you have a new full-size pickup to add to your wish list. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is the fastest, most powerful off-road truck on the market. Its 702-horsepower engine was borrowed from the Hellcat line of Dodge high-performance cars, but in the TRX it has been modified for heavy-duty high-speed racing. While the suspension has been engineered for hard-core Baja runs, this truck is also said to provide a comfortable ride. The interior has all of the near-lux amenities we’ve come to expect from Ram, as well as some new tech to further enhance any off-road shenanigans.
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If the philosophy of this truck sounds familiar, it’s because the Ram is facing off directly with the Ford Raptor, another half-ton truck that was designed and engineered for fast sand running. But the TRX – based on the Ram 1500 – and the Raptor – based on the Ford F, -2.63% F-150 – have some key differences. The TRX comes with a 702-horsepower engine, a far cry from the Raptor’s 450. The Raptor is available with two body styles, compared with the TRX’s one. But the Raptor’s starting price is much lower than that of the TRX, even when you look at Crew Cab body styles.
But any way you slice it, there are two incredible half-ton off-road trucks on the market, offering even more temptation to truck buyers.
How much does the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX cost?
The price of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX starts at $69,995 plus $1,695 a destination charge. Ram has not yet announced how much additional packages will cost. That’s a significantly higher starting price than the Ford Raptor, even as a SuperCrew (crew cab), which starts at $57,785. However, the TRX is also significantly more powerful than the Raptor.
Hellcat power: Ram, previously known as Dodge (owned by Fiat Chrysler FCAU, -2.05% ), has never been one to shy away from using a muscle-car engine in its trucks. The supercharged 6.2-liter 702-horsepower engine in the Ram 1500 TRX is a beast, far surpassing the Ford Raptor’s 450. It has a top speed of 118 mph and goes from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. This takes us back to when the Dodge Ram was available with the Viper’s V10 engine, which put out “only” 500 horsepower.
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Off-Road Chops: The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX’s suspension uses active damping with unique-to-TRX Bilstein shocks, and coil springs in the front and rear. It has a solid rear axle with an electronic locking rear differential and a 5-link rear suspension. It has 13 inches of wheel travel in the front and rear. The truck’s unique air intake is a dual-path system that brings in air through the grille and the functional hood scoop. And there’s a selectable Baja drive mode that’s specifically for high-speed sand runs.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX interior
Despite the hard-core off-road nature of the Ram 1500 TRX, the interior uses premium materials and plenty of tech, both of which have become Ram trademarks. Every TRX comes with Ram’s 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen, which is where you will find off-road and performance information. The flat-bottom steering wheel has paddle shifters that control the 8-speed automatic transmission.
The TRX uses a floor-mounted transmission shifter instead of the dash-mounted dial found throughout the Ram 1500 lineup. The example we saw has a stylish black interior with red accents along the seats’ bolsters and on the doors, but you can choose Graphite accents instead of red. There’s also a badge that has your truck’s VIN and engine data on it.
The TRX comes standard with the TR interior, with cloth and vinyl seats and 60/40-split rear seats. Move up to the TR1, and you get heated leather seats and a heated steering wheel. The TR2 adds cooled seats, reclining rear seats, and the availability of other options packages. TR1 and TR2 interiors are available with a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) storage system. This is on the back of the front seats, and you can use carabiners or hooks to secure smaller items.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX exterior
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX comes in one body style: Crew Cab with a 5’7″ bed. The TRX is 8 inches wider than the Ram 1500 at the front and the rear and has a 6-inch wider track. Because of the added width, there are LED clearance marker lights on the hood scoop and in the front fender flares. The fender flares are made of a composite material, and the hood is aluminum. The front end is unique to the TRX, with more aggressive design than the rugged Ram Rebel model, done in black. Accents are either body color or black, and there are four tow hooks on the truck. The truck rides on 35-inch tires with 18-inch wheels.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX standard features
The list of standard features is impressive, as it should be for a $70,000 truck. This Crew Cab Ram is powered by a version of the parent company’s supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat engine, which puts out 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. All 1500 TRX models have a 5’7″ bed, 4WD, and 18-inch wheels and 35-inch tires with a full-size spare. Inside the black and red interior, you get vinyl and cloth seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel with aluminum paddle shifters. Ram’s Uconnect infotainment system with a 12-inch touchscreen comes standard, as does a 10-speaker audio system.
Because of the high-performance engine, you also get launch control, a shift light, after-run cooling, and performance engine cooling – similar features to what are in Hellcat-powered cars.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX options
You can opt for 8-way power heated and cooled leather seats, a dual-pane sunroof, 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio, and a 360-degree surround-view camera. Other add-ons include a digital rearview mirror and blind-spot monitoring, which also detects vehicles on either side of your trailer.
The advanced safety group includes features like forward-collision mitigation, pedestrian detection with emergency braking, and lane-keep assist. Integrated electronic trailer reverse steer control lets you back up your truck and trailer with a dial instead of the steering wheel, which makes backing up a trailer easier.
Additional choices include a power tailgate release, memory seats, bed lighting, wireless smartphone charging, performance, and off-road screens in the gauge cluster and the 12-inch touchscreen, head-up display, a bed-mounted tire carrier, and a RamBar light bar.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX engine
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine. This is a version of the Hellcat engine found in top models of the Dodge Challenger and Charger. The Ram version puts out 702 horsepower instead of 707. That minor power loss is because of a different exhaust manifold and the use of a deep sump oil pan. The engine is backed by a stout 8-speed automatic transmission. All Ram 1500 TRX trucks come with 4-wheel drive.
- 6.2-liter supercharged V8
- 702 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
- 650 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
- EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
2021 Ram 1500 TRX safety technology
Blind-Spot Monitoring with Trailer Detection: This feature is part of the advanced safety group, which is an option package for the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. Not only does this system alert you when there’s a vehicle in your truck’s blind spot, but it lets you know if there’s a vehicle on either side of your trailer.
Adaptive Cruise Control: This is also part of the optional advanced safety group. Adaptive cruise control keeps the vehicle at a set speed and can speed up or slow down your truck while keeping a safe distance to the traffic ahead.
Integrated Electronic Trailer Reverse Steer Control: Backing up a trailer can be confusing. You have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction of what your instinct tells you to do. Ram’s optional system is designed to make backing up a trailer much easier. You use a dial, turning it left when you want the trailer to go left, and right when you want it to go right, and the system does the steering for you.
People also ask
Is the Ram Rebel TRX concept going into production?
Yes. Ram Truck first showed its Ram Rebel TRX concept in 2016. That concept was powered by a 575-horsepower V8, had a wider track, and had unique off-road-inspired styling. Much of the concept’s ideas made it into the production model, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, and there’s even more power – 702 horsepower – under the hood.
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What does Ram TRX stand for?
TRX is a nod to the T. rex dinosaur, which emphasizes its Jurassic rivalry with the Ford Raptor. In addition, the TRX name already existed within the company, as the TRX4 used to be the name of an off-road package on the Dodge Ram 1500 in the 2000s.
How fast is the 2021 Ram TRX?
The Ram TRX has an estimated 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and can go from 0-100 mph in 10.5 seconds. It has a top speed of 118 mph and completes the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 mph.
Where will the Ram TRX be built?
The Ram TRX will be built at Ram’s Sterling Heights assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.