2021 Ram TRX

INDIANAPOLIS — Stellantis has been installing its Hellcat supercharged V8 engine in anything that can take it from the Dodge Challenger to the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  There’s been one notable omission until now:  The Ram pickup.  Not only is the 2021 Ram TRX the brand’s most off-road capable pickup, but it is also the fastest.  You can think of it as the Devil’s chariot. It looks like somebody thoroughly peeved it off.  Its snarling hood scoop tops a black mesh grille, slit headlamps, and painted panels that all appear to have melted around twin tow hooks. 

Bulging fenders envelop 18-inch wheels shod in deep tread Goodyear Wrangler tires.  A simple step bar gets you inside without catching too much mud and muck on the trail.  Around back, a small deployable step helps you get in the bed where you’ll find the spare tire.  No crawling in the mud underneath this truck to change a flat.
Befitting a vehicle costing nearly six digits, the interior brings a design studio of luxury and technology.  The dash, doors, and console are all wrapped, stitched, and accented with legit carbon fiber.  Hands grip a thick leather- and suede-wrapped heated steering wheel.  More suede tops the deep console.  Comfy leather seats are heated and ventilated up front, heated in the rear.  Harman Kardon audio, twin-panel sunroof, and stretch out rear legroom add sins.
Beyond obvious indulgences, most eyes will be drawn to the tall tablet-style touchscreen.  It’s beautiful, but employs intuitive icons for audio, climate, phone, and navigation.  Redundant buttons on the sides handle basic climate functions while proper volume and tuning knobs are convenient when flipping through stations in traffic.  Wireless charging, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto seamlessly connect devices.  Safety is enhanced with a digital rearview mirror, adaptive cruise, forward collision mitigation braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, and rear cross path detection.
Stomp on the throttle to unleash the chorus of a thousand banshees.  The name “Hellcat” seems appropriate as a demonic howl shrieks from the front while a ferocious growl rumbles out the back.  Hedonistic pleasures increase as the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 unleashes an unholy 702 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque to the four-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed automatic transmission.  Employ electronic launch control to flash 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 12.9-second seconds at 108 mph.  Fuel economy of 10/14-MPG city/highway is disgusting, but there’s no resisting supercharger’s siren song.
Given all of its on-road shenanigans, you almost forget the TRX is a seriously capable truck.  Adaptive Bilstein shocks pulverize rocks, logs, and bumps as it floats over all but the roughest terrain.  A drive mode selector configures the powertrain for varying conditions like snow, mud, and “Baja”.  Press a button to put it in 4x4 low to crawl over almost anything.   And if you want to pull an RV or boat, the TRX can move up to 8,100 pounds. of trailer.
With the Ram TRX, Chrysler has thoroughly burnished its muscle car legacy in large format, but this debauchery will not last forever.  Tesla’s Cybertruck will likely thrash it on the drag strip, but the silent acceleration of a ghostly hyper truck will never equal all of the bottled evil that is the Ram TRX.  The TRX starts at $69,995, but came to a lofty $91,205 as-tested.  Competitors include the Ford F-150 Raptor, GMC AT4, and Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss…but, not really.

— Casey Williams  (MyCarData)