June 16, 2024


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2021 Ram 1500 TRX is ridiculous, ludicrous and pure awesomeness

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, affectionately called the T-Rex and with Easter egg graphics to encourage that moniker, boasts 702 horsepower (523.4 kW) and a 0-60-mph (0-96.5-km/h) sprint of about 4.5 seconds. In a full-sized pickup truck. Ridiculous? Yes. Ludicrous? Yes. Awesome? You bet.

The TRX takes the Ram 1500, already a well-done pickup truck, and adds in a Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 702 horses and 650 lb-ft (881 Nm) of torque. Aimed at the off-road crowd and cheerily labeled a “Raptor killer” by Ram Truck and its public relations team, the T-Rex adds wide-body fenders, 35-inch tires, a sport-tuned off-road suspension, reinforced framing, and a two-inch (5.08-cm) lift. Easter egg graphics under the hood, behind the center console storage cover, and elsewhere show a Tyrannosaurus rex munching on a Velociraptor in etched detail.

The aim of the Ram 1500 TRX is clear: put the Ford Raptor in its place. The goal is well met, on paper, and is pretty well executed in real life. The T-Rex has a lot more power, strong capability, and extreme speed. All of those things romp the capabilities of the Ford Raptor by wide margins. Where it gets tricky is in real-world truck use and in some types of hardcore off-roading, such as climbing rocks or traversing difficult terrain. The articulation of the Raptor is hard to beat and the TRX seems a little shy in that department.

The articulation of the 2021 Ram TRX is good, but not quite as good as that found in the Ford Raptor
The articulation of the 2021 Ram TRX is good, but not quite as good as that found in the Ford Raptor

Aaron Turpen / New Atlas

Still, the point of the Ram TRX is to go really, really fast while emitting very satisfying engine growls and exhaust snarls as it does so. In that, it excels. On the street or out in the bush, these sounds and the butt-rumble they create through the seats is viscerally engaging. Many might bemoan the muscle car as going the way of the dodo and the dinosaurs it burns, but for many, there is no replacing the rumble and feel of a truly opened up big block. Those formerly known as Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis, thanks to a Peugeot merger) understand this phenomenon and are happily shoving the 6.4-liter and 6.2-liter V8s at their disposal into everything capable of receiving them. The Ram 1500 TRX being the latest.

The 2021 Ram TRX is based on the Ram 1500 Limited package, the top-end package for the Ram 1500 pickup truck. The Limited features a 12-inch touchscreen for infotainment, a truly luxurious interior experience with premium leather, and a lot of technology. The TRX makes a lot of modifications, however, becoming a completely separate truck.

The two-inch lift comes with Bilstein adaptive dampers with remote reservoirs, all-terrain 35-inch tires, bigger brakes to accommodate the huge engine output, a Dana 60 solid rear axle to take the torque, an electronic locking rear differential, five underbody skid plates (similar to the Rebel model), launch control and infotainment track/performance data on demand, and that hugely muscular 6.2L supercharged V8.

This comes at a price, of course. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a starting price of about US$70,000 before delivery and quickly approaches the $100,000 mark when all of the available goodies are added. The upgrades to the TRX to give it all that power and performance mean that payload capacity is reduced to 1,404 lb (636.8 kg) and towing to 8,100 lb (3,674 kg). For comparison, the maximum towing capacity of the Ram 1500 lineup is 12,570 lb (5,701.6 kg) and the Rebel model’s maximum tow is 11,340 lb (5,143.7 kg). So the capability of the Ram 1500 takes a big hit with the performance-oriented TRX model. Never mind fuel economy, which is rated at a mere 14 mpg (16.8 l/100km) on the highway.

Bilstein shock absorbers with separate reservoirs are part of the 2-inch suspension lift the off-road-oriented Ram TRX includes as equipment
Bilstein shock absorbers with separate reservoirs are part of the 2-inch suspension lift the off-road-oriented Ram TRX includes as equipment

Aaron Turpen / New Atlas

On that last point, however, we can beg to differ. In our week with this monster truck, we achieved slightly above 19 mpg (12.38 l/100km) without trying very hard to “hypermile.” Our advantage was high altitude (6,400 ft, 1,951 km) for less air interference, a relatively flat roadway, and an 80-mph (128.7-km/h) speed limit. The supercharged engine helps make up for the lack of engine intake airflow most other vehicles experience here. With daily driving around town, on the highway, plus off-road use, though, our average was only 11.3 mpg (20.8 l/100km) overall.

Despite all of this, it’s hard not to fall fast for this truck upon startup. Nearly everyone who sees it thinks it’s the greatest thing they’ve seen in years. Having driven it, it’s clear that the Ram TRX is an instant icon for its beastly looks, powerful drive experience, extreme capabilities, and rumbling good times.

Few things are as satisfying as something like this truck. It might be a purely American thing, but I suspect that it’s a visceral part of being human. Powerful things are often our favorite things. Like a Tesla owner will brag about how much torque and power their car might push to the ground via its electrons, a TRX owner will tell you how much muscle its 6.2L engine will grunt to the wheels. Unlike coal rolling for the sake of burning dinosaurs, this is dino-power used for power’s sake. And it’s intoxicating.

Some might cavil at the “use” for a truck like the Ram 1500 TRX. Those people are missing the point.

Product Page: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX