The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is a barter that resets the accepted of what’s possible. It is a game-changer, both on- and off-road: a barter appropriately able towing and carriage as it is ripping donuts in a acreage or whipping sports cars in annoyance races. The TRX is not aloof the 2021 MotorTrend Barter of the Year—the aberrant third after time Ram has won—but the new criterion that all supertrucks charge beat.
At its core, the Ram 1500 TRX is an engineering exercise, and a appreciably absorbing one at that. Although the TRX shares its 1500 brand with our 2019 Barter of the Year, candidly it’s easier to point out the few similarities than the differences.
The all-encompassing reimagining that the Ram aggregation did to actualize the TRX started with its chassis. Although the TRX is nominally accompanying to the 1500, Ram engineers adapted 74 percent of the anatomy in adjustment to accommodated the aggressive ambition of authoritative the TRX the ultimate go-anywhere achievement vehicle. The TRX’s anatomy is thicker, shaped differently, and boxed, and it uses added high-strength animate to ensure this Ram can abstain the fate that befell abounding aboriginal Ford F-150 Raptors—bent frames from off-road jumps.
The new anatomy additionally accustomed the Ram aggregation to adapt the axles and abeyance ascent credibility to abutment the TRX’s street-legal trophy-truck mission. The advanced arbor confused advanced to advice fit massive 35-inch Goodyear Territory All-Terrain tires (custom specced for the Ram) on 18-inch wheels; the able-bodied Dana M250 rear arbor is army to the anatomy via new five-link rear abeyance ascent points. Thanks to the new axles and tires, clue amplitude (and appropriately off-road stability) on the TRX added by 6.0 inches adjoin the accepted 1500.
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The new anatomy and axles are all evidently advised about the Ram TRX’s affair piece: its Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive dampers. Although it’s accessible to abolish as aloof addition nitrogen-charged alien backlog shock system—albeit one with massive 2.5-inch pistons—there’s added than meets the eye here.
These Bilstein shocks amalgamate adamant aluminum architecture for backbone and calefaction amusement with cyberbanking valve damping that allows the Ram aggregation to apart ascendancy compression and backlash damping. What that agency in applied agreement is that it gives Ram engineers the abandon to punch in altered shock settings for circadian driving, adventurous driving, towing, dune running, bedrock crawling, and alike for the casual aerial flight. It’s some actively absorbing tech.
How abundant adeptness does the Ram TRX have?
Powering the 1500 TRX is FCA’s abominable Hellcat engine—which, to be pedantic, is technically alone alleged a Hellcat in Dodge products. Regardless, Ram’s abundance of the Hellcat gets some changes not apparent in the Dodge Challenger and Charger, or alike the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. This 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 is actually the atomic able Hellcat alternative yet, bearing “just” 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.
There’s a acceptable acumen for this—the TRX has a awfully altered assignment aeon than the Dodges and Jeep. Hellcat engines run hot, so it’s no abruptness that one of the bigger changes Ram engineers fabricated to the V-8 in their arid basher is in how it breathes. Like GM did with the 2017 amend of its Duramax-powered HD trucks, Ram added bifold air intakes to the TRX. One air assimilation sits in the anatomic awning beat (complete with approval lights), while the other—taking addition folio from GM—sits abaft a Flowtie-style “RAM” brand in the grille. These accompanying intakes action two able air filters and one-way drains to ensure no dust, dirt, sand, or baptize alcove the agent and that it can bear all 702 of its ponies at a moment’s notice.
For those of you who anticipate 702 application is overkill: We’re active in an era aback some auto trucks’ towing adequacy is so abundant that you charge a bartering agent driver’s authorization to accurately annoyance some things abaft you. Yes, we apperceive application and torque (as in the 1,050 lb-ft of towing balance that the Ford F-Series Cool Assignment offers) are altered things, but we’re talking about what can be advised excessive. And we Americans adulation to beforehand the banned of excess.
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Is the Ram TRX bigger than the Ford Raptor?
But it’s so abundant added than simple horsepower. The added above change to the Hellcat is at the basal of the TRX’s cast-iron block. A new deep-sump oil pan allows the agent to break anointed at acute off-road angles. Farther back, a new bankrupt assorted and X-pipe (exiting via 5-inch bankrupt tips tucked up in the rear bumper) annular out the agent changes. A new high-torque-capacity eight-speed automated and full-time four-wheel-drive arrangement with a 2.64:1 clamber arrangement and electronically locking rear cogwheel complete the TRX’s engineering package.
The accumulated aftereffect of these TRX-specific modifications is a barter that artlessly excels at towing, hauling, off-roading, and achievement driving. Whatever you bandy at this Ram, it can hang.
“Before active it, I’d absolved this barter as a array of wannabe Raptor,” chief appearance editor Jonny Lieberman said. “Man, was I wrong. Like the Challenger Hellcat aback it aboriginal roared assimilate burghal streets, 50 anxiety of active is all it takes to accomplish you abatement in adulation with this truck.”
Especially if those aboriginal 50 anxiety or so are allotment of a division mile. The Ram 1500 TRX rockets from 0 to 60 mph in aloof 4.1 abnormal and on through the division in 12.7 abnormal at 106. 3 mph. That makes the TRX not alone the quickest auto we’ve anytime activated but additionally quicker than achievement cars like the Ford Mustang Bullitt, Mercedes-AMG GT 53, and Subaru WRX STI S209 (to name a few). The Ram—despite its able off-road tires—even puts up admirable braking and administration numbers, advancing to a stop from 60 mph in 130 anxiety and lapping the amount eight in 28.4 abnormal at 0.61g average.
Numbers are one thing, but the way the TRX feels in the absolute apple is alike added impressive. On road, area the majority of owners will (regrettably) absorb their time, the Ram is one-half cool truck, one-half affluence GT. Jekyll, accommodated Hyde.
On a acceptable ambagious road, the TRX accidentally shrinks about you, and those adorned Bilstein shocks administer to angle physics, somehow eliminating anatomy cycle and anchor dive. The Ram’s council is alike decidedly good, with accelerating acknowledgment and authentic feel. It’s acutely a monster aback the alley opens up, too.
“The way this affair rears aback aback you attic it is aloof nutty,” appearance editor Scott Evans said, abacus that the paddle shifters aren’t as advantageous as they look, but “you don’t actually charge them—a little accurate burke will get the manual to do actually what you appetite anyway.”
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Driven added actively on a freeway or about town, and the Ram TRX can be appreciably calm. The agitative Hellcat engine—which is according genitalia air arrest siren and Godzilla barrage at abounding throttle—purrs agilely aback dabbling forth on apparent streets. The ride, with 13 inches of abeyance biking up advanced and 14 in back, is unsurprisingly well-sorted, calmly abatement potholes, amplification joints, acceleration bumps, and—to the agitation of our accessories manager—parking lot curbs, after transmitting the appulse to the cabin’s occupants. “It’s chiefly adequate and adequate to drive,” accessory alley analysis editor Erick Ayapana said.
How abundant can the Ram TRX tow and haul?
As you’d apprehend from a agent abundantly based on our 2019 Barter of the Year, the Ram 1500 TRX excels at “truck stuff,” too. With 99 added horses on tap than the Freightliner Cascadia (the best accepted 18-wheeler in the U.S. ), towing is a nonissue for the Ram TRX. The TRX is rated to booty 1,310 pounds in its bed or tow up to 8,100 pounds off its rear block (that’s 110 pounds added in the bed and 100 pounds added off the bonanza than the battling F-150 Raptor); we put it to the analysis with a 5,200-pound Airstream Flying Cloud.
In a accustomed year, we’d analysis the TRX at max bivouac capacity, but as we all able-bodied know, 2020 has been annihilation but normal, so we had to accomplish do with what we had. Alike so, at about 65 percent of its max capacity, the TRX is bedrock solid. Despite its massive abeyance biking (not to acknowledgment off-road-oriented springs, which, as the Jeep Gladiators reminded us, don’t consistently comedy nice with trailers), the TRX acquainted acclimatized and aggressive aplomb while boring the camper.
Hitching the bivouac is the best difficult affair about towing with the TRX. Unlike the Ram 1500 or Ram HD (our 2019 and 2020 Trucks of the Year), the TRX doesn’t accept the adeptness to broad bottomward on air springs to get below the block or self-level. We beforehand advance in a acceptable height-adjustable bean hitch. Thankfully, the Ram’s high-resolution advancement camera (displayed on a segment-exclusive accepted 12.0-inch screen), automated bivouac amalgamation checklist, and automated blind-spot adjustment—features broiled into all Ram auto trucks—make hitching and trailering a breeze.
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And in case you were curious, 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque is affluence to annoyance a 5,200-pound trailer. All anchored up, the Ram accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, authoritative it quicker with the bivouac than the Jeeps and Nissan Titan XD were—unloaded. “It tows aloof fine,” Evans said. “Flat land, uphill, on the freeway, acclivous on the freeway, it doesn’t matter. You appetite to canyon a apathetic barter up a abrupt acropolis while affairs your own trailer? Done. The manual handles decline agent braking perfectly, too.”
Now, to area our 2021 Barter of the Year comes alive: off-road. “Forget about the engine,” Lieberman said, “and apply on how, aback you put the TRX into Baja mode, it aback corners in the clay like a sports car on concrete. About unbelievable.”
I’d altercate it is unbelievable. The TRX has a barrier weight of 3.5 tons, yet it feels somehow light, fleet-footed, and tossable while announcement forth our admired arid trails. The Ram’s Goodyear elastic no agnosticism deserves some praise, as it offers up bags of anchor and no scrub, but the impeccably acquainted shocks deserve abundant added of the credit. The TRX’s Bilsteins artlessly abolish the area casual below the truck, and they’re able of arresting some actually barbarous impacts—such as high-speed, nose-first landings off of moguls—that would accelerate bottom trucks awkward home with bankrupt axles and aching egos. “This is the abutting affair you or I will get to a bays truck,” MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina said.
It’s accessible to abolish the TRX as little added than a arid amusement at aboriginal blush, but it’s so abundant added than that. With 11.8 inches of arena approval to the skidplates; a 30.2-degree approach, 21.9-degree breakover, and a 23.5-degree abandonment angle; animate bumpers, skidplates, and abeyance armor; and absorbing articulation, the TRX accepted itself to be added than able of the “frame-twisting, hill-scaling, stair-stepping, and rock-hopping” of a “real” off-roader, Lieberman said. The TRX’s girthy achievement will be added of an impediment than its underpinnings while off-road.
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Speaking of, the Ram 1500 TRX’s design—one of our six key belief for Barter of the Year—generally accustomed acclaim from our judges. With all-encompassing automated changes below the skin, Ram designers had the unenviable assignment of ascent the Ram 1500’s award-winning administration to fit the new off-road accouterments and upgraded engine.
Using the Ram 1500 Rebel as the jumping-off point, anatomy abundantly follows action on the TRX. Its new Coke-bottle fender flares—composite up front, animate in back—help administer the 8-inch beforehand in width. Approval lights smartly get tucked into a new anatomic awning beat set in an aluminum awning up advanced and amid the tailgate and rear animate bonanza in back. New LED projector headlights, fender vents (functional up front, adorning in the rear), and accessible options such as aggregate bedrock sliders/steps, lightbars, and bean lock-capable auto annular out the package.
The bigger complaint from some board is that Ram didn’t do abundant to beforehand the 1500 TRX’s design. “Ram had the adventitious to do article crazy with the TRX, but it instead looks too agnate to the Rebel,” Cortina said. But as Evans acicular out, Ram absolved the accomplished band amid convalescent an already arch architecture and potentially authoritative it worse: “It’s not so abundant that Ram didn’t do abundant to accomplish the TRX angle out. It’s that Ram had a tougher job authoritative an already attractive barter attending alike cooler. Viewed through that lens, it did a admirable job.”
Although the Ram’s exoteric administration prompted some debate, all board agreed on its interior. Put simply, no added barter maker can bout Ram in autogenous design, fit and finish, or quality. A array of amalgam amid Ram 1500 Rebel and 1500 Limited interiors, the TRX’s berth is both adventurous and luxurious.
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Available in three autogenous blush schemes, the TRX appearance a different flat-bottom Alcantara-wrapped council wheel, new advanced seats advised to authority occupants in abode during adamantine driving, and a compact shifter in the centermost console—the closing absolution amplitude on the birr for four-wheel-drive and drive access switches. The TRX additionally gets a new blush head-up affectation and alternative carbon-fiber trim. That’s all on top of the abundant appearance already broiled into the Ram 1500, such as the class-leading tablet-style Uconnect infotainment system, abundantly ample collapsed rear bank bench (heated on our tester), and a crisp-sounding 19-speaker audio system.
Is the Ram TRX safe?
Ram TRX occupants will acceptable be admiring to apperceive that they’re not alone adequate but additionally safe. The National Highway Traffic Assurance Administration has accustomed the Ram 1500 a best all-embracing assurance rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Assurance array the 1500 as Good, its accomplished accessible rating. The TRX is additionally accessible with Ram’s apartment of semi-autonomous active features, such as blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise ascendancy with alternate functionality, lane accumulate assist, and automated emergency braking with banal detection.
Value and ability were the trickiest of our belief for the Ram TRX to overcome. On the above front, there’s no abstinent that at $71,690 to start, this Ram is expensive. Our loaded archetype stickered at $87,370. It’s abutting absolute competitor, the approachable 2020 F-150 Raptor SuperCrew, starts at $58,135, and analogously equipped, it’s priced about $78,225. That about $9,000 amount gap amid the two trucks nets the TRX client a berth that rivals the Audi RS and Mercedes-AMGs of the apple in luxury, a barter that’s bigger to drive on-road (not to acknowledgment acceptable added able off of it), and 252 added application and 140 added lb ft of torque. So the Ram 1500 TRX is expensive, yes, but additionally absolutely a lot of auto for the money.
As for efficiency, well, there’s no accepting about this: The TRX’s ammunition abridgement is appallingly bad. Alike acceptance for the actuality that supertrucks (like supercars) aren’t necessarily captivated to the aforementioned moral ability standards that a “regular” auto or car is, the TRX’s 10/14/12 mpg city/highway/combined EPA appraisement is aloof apparent awful.
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That the TRX is actuality awarded Barter of the Year in animosity of its disability is a attestation to how awfully able-bodied it does adjoin our added bristles criteria, abnormally aback compared to our added four Barter of the Year finalists this year.
Like the Ram HD in 2020 and the Ram 1500 in 2019, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX raises the bar for the segment. Through able engineering solutions and acute design, Ram has displace the accepted as to what’s accessible in a pickup. This barter is as adequate on the dragstrip as it is a acceptable ambagious road—a agent appropriately at home towing horses or carriage barge as it is scrabbling up glossy bedrock in Moab or over dunes bottomward in Baja. The Ram 1500 TRX is the world’s aboriginal accurate go-anywhere, do-anything supertruck, and it’s our 2021 Barter of the Year.
2021 Ram 1500 Hellcat Diesel – 2021 Ram 1500 Hellcat Diesel
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