Back in the day when the Dodge Hellcat range was first unveiled, I joked that it was only a matter of time before that giant supercharged V8 made its way into every vehicle its parent company built. While my hopes of a Chrysler 200 Hellcat have been sorely disappointed, that weepy lump eventually found a strange bedmate in the Ram 1500 pickup. The result is the file. 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, and while it defies common sense, I had too much fun to notice.
- It goes like a spit
- Exaggerated aesthetics
- Great cab technology
I do not like
- Starting at $ 70,000
- He has a problem with alcohol
Modern pickup trucks already look sculpted from solid testosterone blocks, but somehow the TRX manages to amplify it even more. The Ram is nearly 2 inches wider, about 2.5 inches taller, and has 0.3 inches more ground clearance than Blue Oval’s Big Boy Baja, the F-150 Raptor. In my quaint, quiet neighborhood, the TRX looms over my driveway – well, mostly on my driveway, as it’s so wide the passenger side tires bleed onto my neighbor’s lawn. Not that my neighbor would dare say anything, because the fat bumpers and copious black accents make the truck look ready to beat you just for looking at it the wrong way.
When it comes to capability, the Raptor and TRX are fairly evenly matched, but the Ram screeches forward with thin edges. The TRX can tow 8,100 pounds, a hundred more than the Raptor can muster, and will carry 1,310 pounds in bed, 110 more than the Ford. Ram also gained the advantage in breakover and exit angles (21.9 and 23.5 degrees, respectively) albeit a few tenths of a degree, while the approach angle is equally matched at 30.2 degrees. Both trucks also boast a foot or more of front and rear suspension travel, which matters less on the road than dirt.
Although I know this truck is very capable, as our Antuan Goodwin proved, chances are many of them will never see that kind of intense off-road action. But it’s not like the TRX shines like a garage queen either. In fact, it’s one of the dumbest and most grinning experiences I’ve had in months, and it has left me wanting more every time.
Under the hood is the same 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 as every other Hellcat-based product out there, and in this case, it’s tuned to produce 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. When I put my right foot into the firewall, the standard all-wheel drive system pushes me forward with astonishing speed – a 4.5-second run at 60 mph isn’t quick in the grand scheme of things, but when it’s in a pickup truck of the crew cabin which weighs nearly 6,400 pounds, it almost feels like rewriting mechanical physics. Combine that almost unnatural feeling of speed with the loud whine of the compressor and the low deep roar coming from the tailpipes at the rear, and makes for a rather immersive sensory experience. The only way to miss a traffic gap is to overcome it. The V8 may hum a bit at highway speeds, but the people in it for the sound and fury probably won’t care.
The ride quality is … truck driver. With suspension travel of up to 14 inches and 325 / 65R18 Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires, things are smoother, with the usual body-on-frame movements being an integral part of all pickups. But the TRX is anything but a sprawling mess, thanks to Bilstein adaptive dampers on every corner. In its standard auto setting, the truck is fairly well balanced and throwing it into Sport adds some stiffness while increasing throttle response. Snow, tow, rock, mud and sand, and Baja-style blasting modes are all standard as well. Braking is surprisingly good given the weight of the thing, but it’s hard not to be fully aware of the momentum I’m bringing in at all times.
Just make sure you’re good at staying in your lane, because the TRX is pretty much the cut it lane, so there is not much room for detour.
The only thing that really sucks about the TRX is its fuel economy, which, as you might expect, is pathetic. The EPA couldn’t do better than 10 miles per city gallon and 14 mpg on the freeway – and even reaching those numbers requires a lightness of foot that flies in the face of the Hemi mantra. After a couple of hundred miles of urban and highway driving, I barely get double digits. Yikes.
The latest iteration of the Ram 1500 boasts one of the best and most luxurious interiors in the light pickup segment, especially compared to the Raptor, which still uses the latest generation Ford bodywork. My TRX tester is fully equipped, thanks to a $ 7,920 equipment package that includes ventilated leather front seats, a leather dash and door panel trim, adjustable pedals, a heated steering wheel, the full nine meters.
Whether it’s for people or things, there is a file tonne of space in here. The rear seats are extremely roomy, which helps carry things you don’t want in the bed, while the door and armrest pockets gobble up everything from bags to tablets and anything else I carry with me. The 12-volt socket at the top of the dashboard is a nice touch for fans of radar detectors, and there they are ten USB ports (five USB-A, five USB-C) scattered inside, plus a wireless device charger just below the infotainment screen.
Ram’s parent company continues to improve on its already outstanding cabin technology and Ram TRX offers some of the newest and most eye-catching kits on offer. Standard equipment includes a 12-inch vertical infotainment display running the automaker’s Uconnect system, which boasts, and performance pages, which allow me to select and choose settings for different parts of the vehicle, as well as monitor things like wheel articulation and steering angle. I like that the screen can show multiple angles of the system at the same time, be it audio, navigation, or Sirius-based weather maps. Controls are large and legible, for easy use with minimal distraction. A large display in the instrument cluster can show pretty much anything the main screen can, with super-simple steering wheel controls for scrolling through tire pressures, transmission temperatures and a variety of other information, all packed into this high-tech design. robust look that keeps the robust TRX theme alive.
Some tougher vehicles avoid the usual panoply of active and passive safety systems, but most of the good stuff is available in the TRX. In addition to the standard front collision warning, my tester has a $ 995 package that adds emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, and lane keeping assistance. The $ 7,920 equipment package also throws parking sensors into the mix, because trying to fit this thing into a typical parking space takes a little more effort than usual.
Stellantis’ high-powered offerings aren’t cheap, and the 2021 TRX Ram is no exception. Its starting price of $ 71,690 (including $ 1,695 per destination) outperforms the Challenger and Charger Hellcat twins and, with a hefty dose of options, my tester plays at $ 87,370. You could buy a real sports car for that long.
But there is nothing like the Ram TRX. Hellcat’s 6.2-liter V8 has always been something special, but throwing it in a pickup truck results in a vehicle that exceeds the sum of its parts, delivering equal doses of high performance and hilarity. It’s a blast.