2021 Ram 1500 TRX Revealed: 702-HP Hellcat-Powered Raptor-Stomper
You know the scene in the original Jurassic Park. Our human protagonists are pinned down between two raptors when out of nowhere, the T-Rex appears, saving the day and tossing those two six-foot turkeys around like ragdolls.
It’s safe to say Ram remembers that scene too.
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is in no way subtle. Not in its looks, not in its stats, and certainly not in its name. Ram is clearly targeting the Ford F-150 Raptor here, and the company has left no stone unturned in that goal.SEE ALSO: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat Brings 710 HP to the 3-Row SUV
It starts with the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8. The TRX is the fifth FCA model to feature the devilish powerplant: here it produces 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, hooked up to a standard-fit eight-speed automatic. No, the Hellcat isn’t losing ponies as it ages: Ram engineers fit the TRX with a heartier air filter and a high-mounted air box, sacrificing a bit of power for the ability to run in harsher conditions. According to the company, the TRX “far exceeds any competitor in the amount of time it can ingest dirty air and debris before performance is diminished.”
Even if it’s built for high-speed desert running, the TRX is still hella fast on the black stuff too. Ram is quoting just 4.5 seconds for the dash to 60 mph, and 12.9 seconds to complete the quarter-mile. Crossing the 1320, the TRX will already be clocking 108 mph, not far off its top speed of 118 mph. Standard launch control should make it easier for owners to match these times too.
A host of under-the-skin improvements make the TRX better suited to tackling baja dunes. The frame itself is new, with thicker, high-strength steel versus the regular pickups. Compared to those other Ram 1500 models, the TRX sits two inches higher, for a total of 11.8 inches of ground clearance. 35-inch tires contribute to the increase as well, coming wrapped in specially-developed 325/65R Goodyear All-Terrain tires. To accommodate the huge wheels and six-inch track increase, the TRX gains composite fender flares.SEE ALSO: 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Review
Bilstein developed unique Black Hawk E2 adaptive shocks for TRX duty. They should be able to handle both around-town duties and your best Dakar stand-in. Selectable drive modes include Auto, Sport, Tow, Snow and Custom, in addition to three off-road options: Mud/Sand, Rock, and Baja. All tailor the TRX’s four-wheel drive system, paddle shifters, transmission, power steering and suspension settings for the task at hand. Ram has even thrown in a jump detection feature that minimizes drivetrain damage whenever the truck leaves terra firma.
A Dana 60 solid axle with five-link setup sits out back, while the independant front axle gains new forged aluminum control arms. A full-time active transfer case from BorgWarner features upgraded internals for added durability. The TRX also features a 2.64:1 low range.
Add all of this together and the TRX sounds ready for serious punishment. Ram quotes 32 inches of water fording ability, plus approach, breakover, and departure angles of 30.2, 21.9, and 23.5 degrees, respectively.
The Ram TRX isn’t a bare-bones desert stormer either. Ram has loaded up the truck with every tech toy it has, including the 12-inch portrait-orientation Uconnect 4C system. It’s also the first FCA vehicle to feature an optional head-up display, which shares Uconnect’s focus on customization. Drivers can select which five data points are displayed. A 900-watt Harman Kardon sound system, with 19 speakers in total, is also part of the package. Performance Pages, which appear on other Hellcat-powered vehicles, is here too, allowing users to quickly access stats like acceleration times and g-forces. A new Off-Road Pages feature adds even more info, such as ride height, pitch and roll, and the transfer case’s position.
An available front-facing camera and digital rear-view mirror both offer computerized spotters for when the trail gets tough. Trailer Reverse Steer Control is also a standalone option for those so inclined, as the TRX is rated to a max of 8,100 lb for towing. You’re also going to need to pay extra for things like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
Speaking of price, how much will you need to cough up to claim this dino? The 2021 Ram TRX will start at $71,690, including destination. If you’re the sort of person that prefers limited-number special editions, then Ram will point you towards the $92,010 Launch Edition. That one, with an exclusive Anvil Gray paint and requisite interior badging, will be limited to just 702 units in the US, and 100 in Canada. Trucks will arrive in dealers before the end of the year.
Will Ford have a powered-up new Raptor to answer to the TRX? We know one’s coming, based on the new 2021 F-150, but whether it enters into a power war with the TRX is unknown for now.
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Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.
More by Kyle Patrick