Can This New Off-Road Machine Send The Raptor Back To The Paddock?

The rumors were true, after all. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX closely resembles the 2016 concept, and it came in with nothing less than a rumbling V8. The recipe seems simple, really, which gave us second thoughts on why Ram took this long to breathe life into a production-model TRX. Nevertheless, it’s all worth the wait.

Don’t get us wrong, though, because the Ford F-150 Raptor is still in its heyday, and it has been a glorious reign. But sooner or later, something bigger, badder, and stronger will appear to question the hierarchy. So yeah, the Ford F-150 Raptor is still king of the hill. But the new Ram TRX is seriously threatening its existence.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Reveal

What Is The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX?

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is a full-size pickup on an all-meat diet. In the process, it grew some bulging muscles and knobby tires. And to improve the gene pool, the TRX was given some Hellcat DNA. This means a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 producing 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque. You can’t have a manual, but FCA’s standard eight-speed automatic is not too shabby of a deal.

Ram says it does zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and reaches 100 mph in under 10.5 seconds. Likewise, the Ram TRX smothers the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 mph. Push hard enough and it’s good for a top speed of 118 mph. It also has paddle shifters, launch control, and a sport mode, all of which means you can take it to the dragstrip.

Remember now, just because you can doesn’t mean you should (think of Jeff Goldblum’s famous line in Jurassic Park). But if you do, it’s good to know the Ram TRX can handle your hooligan fantasies like a champ. Max towing capacity for the Ram TRX is 8,100 lbs., just in case you want to take your “toys” with you on any adventures.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX.
The 2021 Ram TRX’s frame is composed of thicker, strategically placed high-strength steel that uses low-torsion attributes to increase durability and stability. Sections of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy, reducing the need for welding, and the side rails are fully boxed. The front rails use high-strength steel and hydroformed sections to set a strong foundation to better handle the front suspension load. Galvanized frame components provide improved corrosion protection. Photo: FCA US LLC.

Serious Underpinnings

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a Hellcat V8, so it can technically rule the asphalt with nary a complaint. But Ram’s Tyrannosaurus Rex (yes, the TRX moniker means precisely that) prefers sand dunes, dirt roads, grasslands, and overlanding destinations as its natural habitat. All of this sounds like a job for old-school leaf springs, but Ram has other things in mind.

Ram shifted to coil springs in 2009, and the same holds true underneath the TRX. While the Raptor merrily hums along on its rear leaf springs, the TRX has four-corner coil springs and bespoke Bilstein Black Hawk E2 shock absorbers with a massive 2.5-inch remote reservoir.

The new TRX employs an electronic locking rear differential, and a Dana 60 rear axle (3.55 ratio) featuring full-floating hubs and an axle-hop damper. When combined with the five-link coil suspension (with forged aluminum front upper and lower control arms), the Ram TRX allows for over 13 inches of wheel travel at all four corners.

However, coil springs have certain drawbacks. For example, the Ram TRX’s payload capacity is at 1,310 lbs. Still good enough, but the Raptor is slightly better at 1,366 lbs., but all of this might be meaningless given the TRX is not exactly a work truck. But with three zones of progressive bottom-out control and dual electronic proportional valves that continuously adjust damping forces in reaction to various road surfaces, the Ram TRX has a considerable advantage for both on-road and off-road ride comfort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *