Ram’s new 702 horsepower terrain pickup can jump, can sprint to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, and can still handle well.
Left foot on the brakes. Because you have to hold back the Hellcat V-8 supercharged 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft. Right foot to the floor. The 1500 TRX 2021 Ram has boot control, complete with an adjustable boot loop, but that’s not really a factor on a high-grip paving surface. After the engine speed accelerates, drop your left leg, which leads to the TRX doing the first of many things that asteristerist us: accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, followed by overtaking a quarter of a mile in 12.3 seconds at 110 miles per hour. That makes the exotic TRX the fastest pickup we’ve ever tested and only 0.3 seconds to 60 miles per hour slower than the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, although the large Ram weighs an astonishing 1600 pounds.
Welcome to the wild world of TRX, which Ram created by taking our favorite full-size 1500 pickup truck and swapping in an inflated 6.2-litre Hemi, Comprehensively strengthens its chassis and gives it serious off-road capability by fitting the Bilstein adaptable tire management reducer that runs all-terrain Goodyear Wrangler Territory in more aspects than a foot of suspension (precisely 13.0 inches ahead and 14.0 inches behind). Providing a rear-wheel-drive to quickly ignite the rear tire seems to match TRX’s superiority, but its two-speed motion gearbox is a four-wheel-drive system at all times, offering only 4WD Automatic Settings, High 4WD or Low 4WD.
HIGHS: Mega V-8 thrust, V-8’s highest noise level, impressive sophistication on the road.
What’s shocking about the giant TRX — it’s 3.3 inches taller, 5.9 inches wider and about 1,100 pounds heavier than the Ram 1500 team cab it relies on — is how well it works on paved roads. The loyal accumulation of driving efforts and safety dynamics on the road makes this huge pickup truck easy to get into place, even on two winding lanes. Sports mode plays down the shock reduces significantly, but despite the long journey suspension, there’s no float or wobble you’ll get in the Ford F-150 Raptor, TRX’s top competitor. The maximum traction when cornering is only 0.70 g, but TRX allows you to easily exploit as much as you like. The brake pedal has some initial calls and a lot of calls after several stops at high speed. It posted a reasonable 189-foot stop from 70 miles per hour. But from 100 miles per hour, that distance increased to 418 feet and dimmed dramatically, although the front 14.8-inch brake rotor and 14.9 inches behind were quite large.
While the 6,866-pound TRX has the power and structural consolidation to hide its enormousness, there is a serious fuel economy penalty to pay. The EPA figure is 10 mpg in the city and 14 mpg on the highway, the worst compared to any light pickup, and there, Bugatti Divo and Bentley Mulsanne are on the list of the least efficient new production vehicles. We averaged 9 mpg overall.
LOW: Huge thirst, no rear-bridge movement, large footprint on the road.
TRX is only for the crew to maintain all the good of the usual Ram 1500, including the most beautiful interior in a pickup-dom and a spacious back row. The maximum required to load is 1310 pounds, but our well-equipped test truck can only carry 934 pounds before exceeding the vehicle’s total weight rating. And it is that without the optional panoramic sunroof window, what will surely erode its capabilities further. Scissors were an 8,100-pound object; get that Ram SRT10.
Although TRX’s $71,790 base price seems high compared to the $55,150 starting price for a Raptor taxi, Ram is a relative bargain among all-wheel-drive Hellcat-powered machines. Dodge Durango Hellcat has a starting price of $82,490 and the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has a starting price of $89,165. For $89,365 as tested, our test truck loaded with a $7920 Level 2 Equipment Group offers all the gadgets from the usual Ram 1500 Limited model: heated and ventilated electric front seats with leather upholstery, heated second seats, no entry key required upgraded interior decoration and more. There are also 18-inch wheels capable of mounting $1895 beads, $1295 carbon fiber interior decoration, a $1295 top-mounted display and rearview camera mirror, and $995 below the threshold (not very useful when running boards on high-end TRX).
Our example also has a full-size spare that costs an optional $995 in addition to the spare that hangs underneath the container, which means we’re carrying two more 103-pound wheel and tire clusters — another reason for the big chance. How can you not send in full with two parts on board? We found a lot of thrills (and airtime) on the dunes in Silver Lake State Park, located on the coast of Lake Michigan in the west of our home state.
We’re not going to try to convince you that the best place to experience TRX isn’t the driver’s seat, but a second close by is standing outside it as it tears through Silver Lake’s 450-angst sandbox. Hellcat is a very suitable name for cracks and lacerations when waking to spew from TRX exhaust pipes. We also try to put three or four feet of air under its tires, the leaps that it has achieved. Activating the Baja driving mode eased the suspension significantly and despite its enormous weight, it remained stable as we overcame big blows as fast as we dared. Soft and has a huge power drain effect, which makes the ponies of TRX 702 feel less over-felt than on the street. However, the supercharged Ram has been honored as the first production car we drove in the deep sand without feeling an incredible lack of power.
We must commend Ford for leading the way in the new era of high-performance terrain pickups, which eventually prompted Ram to create something that could challenge the Raptor’s uncontrollable dominate in the segment. The impressively fast TRX also made us wonder if it produced more energy than hellcat-powered stabilized products. But aside from comparative tests and technical analysis, even a short drive in TRX is enough to confirm that it’s simply great in almost every way a pickup truck can get.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX
front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
PRICE AS TESTED
$89,565 (base price: $71,790)
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
376 in3, 6166 cm3
702 hp @ 6100 rpm
650 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Suspension (F/R): control arms/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 14.9-invented disc/14.8-invented disc
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler Territory AT, LT325/65R-18 121/118T M+S
Wheelbase: 145.1 in
Length: 232.9 in
Width: 88.0 in
Height: 80.9 in
Passenger volume: 132 ft3
Curb weight: 6866 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.7 sec
100 mph: 9.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.2 sec
1/4 mile: 12.3 sec @ 110 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 118 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 189 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 418 ft
Road holding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.70 g
Standing-start accel times omit a 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 9 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 12/10/14 mpg