2025 Ram 1500 RHO Preview

Jeff Wilson
by Jeff Wilson

Bob Broderdorf, Ram’s Global Operations Officer, made it clear the company is looking to increase its market share in the pick-up segment and that the sport truck line-up is going to play a big part in reaching that goal.

Off-road-ready sport trucks are big sellers these days and with the Rebel being Ram’s top selling trim last year, it’s no surprise the Stellantis truck division is looking to build on that with a dolled-up Rebel X, a value-entry Warlock trim, and their new halo sport truck called the RHO.

From Hemi to Hurricane

Much of the 2025 update across the Ram line-up revolves around the replacement of the famed Hemi V8 engines with the new turbocharged inline-6 dubbed the Hurricane. While some traditionalists surely bemoan the demise of their beloved V8, there’s no arguing the Hurricane’s numbers that climb to 420 hp and 469 lb-ft of torque in the standard output found in the Warlock and Rebel.

But it’s the sport truck range-topping RHO that really grabs attention with its High Output Hurricane (would that be a Category 7?) delivering 540 hp and 521 lb-ft of twist. Ram claims that’s enough to let the RHO rip a 4.6-second 0-60 time, and while that falls almost a second behind the TRX, that Hellcat-powered pick-up is done after this year. Short of the mega-bucks Raptor R or Rivian R1T quad motor, the RHO claims top power bragging rights.

It’s not just about the power either, since the high output version also benefits from a dual oil pick-up (front and rear) to ensure even when the truck is flung into all sorts of gnarly angles, it’s never starved of its lifeblood. That hood scoop is functional, too, feeding air to the conical filter that can be quickly removed and tapped free of sand after a day in the dunes.

The RHO slightly improves workload capabilities versus the TRX by being able to tow up to 8,390 lbs and hauling a 1,520-lb payload in the 5-foot-7 box. Those needing their off-road truck to tow bigger loads might consider a Rebel HD that’ll tow 15,000 lbs.

While nobody buys these wild off-road trucks based on their fuel frugality, it's safe to assume the smaller inline-6 will be appreciably more miserly than the boosted V8 from the TRX (official figures have yet to be published). And anyway, Ram’s spokespeople were adamant that the RHO is not meant to replace the TRX, strongly hinting that while now isn’t the right time for a true TRX replacement, we shouldn’t be surprised to see one at some point in the future.

Serious Suspensions

Although not a next-gen TRX, the RHO nevertheless gets most of that wildest Ram’s underpinnings. The Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive shocks with their remote reservoirs and braided steel lines have been specifically tuned for the RHO with the intention of balancing the ability to manage serious off-road abuse, while maintaining on-road comfort and composure. This, along with new hard points and body mounts, plus updated Active Terrain Dynamics management systems hold promise for an impressively capable rig. Ram’s Chief Vehicle Synthesis Manager, Doug Killian emphasized how the lighter Hurricane engine takes more than 150 pounds off the front axle, appreciably improving the handling feel and balance of the RHO compared to the TRX. All of this should make for a new truck that’s more fun to fling around on-road or in the dirt.

Riding on its standard 35-inch tires, the RHO sits 2-inches higher than the rest of the 1500 line up, giving it 11.8 inches of ground clearance, and there’s 13-inches of wheel travel up front, with 14-inches in the rear. For those already planning their tire swap to 37s, note that they will rub when the wheel is cranked, so score one point to the Raptor for wearing bigger boots if that matters to you.

Form, Function, and Features

The clearance lights nestled in the RHO’s snoot and rear fender flares aren’t just for style, they’re required for the truck’s 88-inch width – half-a-foot wider than the Rebel. The boxed-out fenders, flare over the rubber wrapped around 18-inch bead lock-ready wheels and give the RHO its hourglass shape. The hood is not only scooped and bulged, but vented and decorated with a matte black decal featuring the RHO badge. Ram’s latest re-do with its slimmer headlights and larger grille already looked pretty good on the other 1500s, but this muscle truck has all the right bulging proportions to flex next to the Raptor.

Inside, Ram sought to put better materials, better functionality and more tech in their sport trucks, and that certainly appears to be the case. The RHO gets special, heavily bolstered sport seats with 12-way power adjustment, heating and ventilation, and even a massage feature. Leather and suede-like finishes are accented by carbon fibre and an optional red accent package that includes seat striping and stitching and speaker grille accents. Leave it to Ram to affix a special badge on the arm rest boasting the RHO’s power output, VIN and a graphic depiction of a charging rhino (RHO – rhino, get it?)

Ram’s Uconnect system has long been an industry favourite for its ease of use and the latest iteration of the system is employed here in the vertically-oriented 14.5-inch central touch screen. The system is said to be five times faster than the last generation, making it more responsive to user inputs and there are a pair of wireless phone chargers and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

The driver faces a 12.3-inch gauge display that can be configured through more than 20 different menu options, but if that’s not enough visual stimulus, there’s also a 10-inch head-up-display that’ll show things like driver assist settings, tachometer, gear selected, speed limit and turn-by-turn navigation instructions. Not to be left out, the front seat passenger can also have an optional 10.25-inch touch screen to keep tabs on what the driver’s up to, or to watch or listen to media via HDMI plug-in.

Ram has even equipped the RHO with its latest Level 2+ automated driving capability enabling hands-free driving on specific highways. The system slows the truck for tight curves and automatically resumes control after a driver intervention.

Bang for the Buck

Ram’s spokespeople proclaim the new RHO the best value in the off-road performance truck segment. With a starting price of $69,995, the RHO does indeed undercut the Raptor, the Silverado ZR2 and Toyota’s Tundra TRD Pro by at least a few grand, while offering more power than all of them, and more off-road capability than all but arguably the Raptor. We expect Ram will have no trouble selling every one of these with ease.

Unfortunately, Canadian buyers aren’t so lucky where the RHO’s $112,945 MSRP makes the Ram costlier than all of its immediate competitors, and in some cases, nearly twenty-grand more, despite equipment groups being essentially the same in both markets.

Ram is now taking orders for the 2025 RHO, Rebel and Warlock models with deliveries expected to begin in the third quarter of 2024.

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Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson

If there’s anything better than a good road trip through the desert, Jeff probably hasn’t heard of it. He’s got a propensity for buying less-than-perfect sports cars like a well-worn Boxster, an M Roadster and an MR2, but has applied a lifetime of passion to more than a dozen years of automotive and motorcycle reviews. He’s even collected several awards in the process including recognition for Best Automotive Review and Best Published Photography from the Automobile Journalists of Canada in 2023.

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