Ram TRX — The pinnacle of pickup performance

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(July 18, 2021) Ram has finally built a high-performance full-sized pickup truck to do battle with the Ford F-150 Raptor, up until now the premiere fire-breathing off-road-ready performance truck. The Hellcat-powered Ram TRX is an impressive and intimidating truck and has the Raptor squarely in its sights. It's propelled by another version of the now-famous Hellcat Hemi V-8 engine — this rendition making 702 horsepower.


An imposing hood scoop that tops a black mesh grille, slit-like headlamps, and bulging fenders tell an onlooker this is no ordinary Ram. The fenders envelop 18-inch wheels shod in deep tread Goodyear Wrangler tires. Its body is eight inches wider than the regular Ram 1500 and its off-road capabilities have been enhanced thanks in part to a stronger frame and upgraded suspension.  

The two big takeaways we had during our 250 mile test drive with a TRX Crew Cab 4X4 — it is obscenely fast for a big pickup and it presents a very civilized persona in everyday driving with a pleasant ride and confident handling.

The 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 turns the Ram into perhaps the fastest non-electric production truck currently in existence capable of a 3.7-second 0-to-60 run that stretches into a 12.3-second quarter mile at 110 mph. Impressive is an understatement if you consider that the TRX Crew Cab weighs in at 6,866 pounds. All this power — 702 @ 6,100 rpm and 650 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm — is routed through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Interesting that the Ram doesn't call the TRX a Hellcat because the Hellcat name is dedicated and exclusive to the Dodge branding — Ram split from the Dodge brand in 2009. Even so, virtually every automotive reviewer including us refer to the huge Hemi as a Hellcat.

This Ram is off-road tough for a reason. There’s a new frame that’s stiffer than the garden-variety Ram and reinforced for the Baja type off-road duties it’s called upon to negotiate. Ground clearance is 11.8-inches, and there’s meaty 325/65 standard Goodyear Territory All-Terrain tires mounted on 18” x 9” Beadlock capable aluminum wheels to go along with the 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks with adaptive damping and, a Dana 60 rear axle. There’s a full-size spare under the rear cargo bed and you can opt for the $995 extra bed-mounted tire-carrier and actually have two spare tires.

Along with a reinforced steel frame, the TRX's beefed-up suspension is built to withstand considerable abuse with more than 13 inches of travel. Ram says the half-ton Hellcat can also ford up to 32 inches of water, and every TRX comes with enough underbody plating to protect a military Humvee in hostile territory. Bilstein remote-reservoir dampers, an electronic-locking rear differential, and gigantic 15.0-inch front brakes are part of the package.

There’s a surround-view camera that’s an absolute necessity for off-road especially on inclines where things disappear and all you see is sky and the massive scooped and vented hood line. The cameras keep you from guessing if there’s a trail or a cliff in front of you.

If you don't use your TRX for heavy-duty mud-and-rock off-roading, the TRX is practical for more than just going fast. It's a capable hauler with a payload rated at 1,310 pounds and it can tow most anything a suburbanite needs to tow including travel trailers and large boats, rated at 8,100 pounds.

As you might expect, there’s much more to the crew-cab-only TRX. It carries over everything we like about the regular Ram 1500 including its enormous interior and back seat along with the best-looking and most comfortable interior to be had in any full-sized pickup.

Vertically mounted in the middle of the dashboard on every TRX is a 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The unit boasts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, built-in navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The display can be divided into separate menus so that multiple applications can be open at once, and it also features physical knobs and buttons on the screen's surrounding bezel for more intuitive controls. The truck can also be outfitted with a 900-watt, 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

Unfortunately, the base TRX lacks a lot of safety features that come standard in most vehicles in the Ram's base price range, which starts at $71,690 including a rather steep $1,695 destination charge. Such normally standard features as lane- departure warning, lane-keep assist, blindspot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control are only included as options.

And then there's the matter of fuel economy — there isn't any. But you don't purchase this truck for its gas mileage, you buy it for its incredible performance and off-road prowess. Gas mileage on premium gas is EPA-measured at 10 mpg city, 14 highway and 12 combined.

Our test truck with a very long list of optional equipment carried a bottom line of $91,455. Price and gas mileage aside, the TRX is an extremely impressive truck, a technological tour de force that’s beyond the ordinary in every measurable and emotional way.

2021 Ram TRX


Base price: $71,690; as driven, $91,455
Engine: Supercharged Hemi V-8
Horsepower: 702 @ 6,100 rpm
Torque: 650 foot-pounds @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: 4X4
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 145.1 inches
Length: 232.9 inches
Curb weight: 6,866 pounds
Turning circle: 48.3 feet
Towing capacity: 8,100 pounds
Fuel capacity: 33 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 10 city, 14 highway, 12 combined
0-60: 3.7 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Ford F-150 Raptor

The Good
• Unbelievable performance
• Extremely off-road capable
• Class-leading interior

The Bad
• Massive proportions make parking lots unfriendly

The Ugly
• Horrible fuel economy