After four years of waiting, the Ram 1500 TRX with the supercharged Hellcat Hemi has arrived, and it is everything that we expected. Compared to the rest of the Ram 1500 lineup, the TRX is unique outside and out, from top to bottom. It has a strengthened frame with a longer wheelbase, a wider body, a high tech suspension system, gigantic brakes, tires made specifically for this truck and – of course – the supercharged Hemi.
With 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is the most powerful production truck in the world. Even though it rides on huge off-road tires, it can cover the quarter mile in just 12.9 seconds with a speed of 108 miles per hour, dashing from a stop to 60 in 4.5 seconds while running u to 100 takes it 10.5 seconds. Those figures all make it the quickest production truck in the world. The off-road tires limit the top speed, but in being capable of reaching 118 miles per hour, it is the fastest production truck in the world.
Those are all impressive numbers for a four-door, half-ton pickup, but keep in mind that this Ram 1500 wasn’t engineered for on-road use. It shines brightest in an off-road setting, while also being the quickest and fastest truck in the world on paved roads.
Best of all, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX with the supercharged Hellcat Hemi starts at just $69,995, not including the $1,695 destination fee. At that price, you get all of the on- and off-road performance, with the option list focusing mostly on interior luxury and dress-up bits. In other words, for just under $72,000, you can have the quickest, fastest and most powerful production truck in the world.
“The all-new 2021 Ram TRX sets the benchmark for extreme performance pickup trucks and solidifies Ram Truck’s position as the off-road truck leader,” said Mike Koval, Head of Ram Brand, FCA – North America. “Ram has a strong history of high-performance trucks and TRX adds to that while expanding the light-duty lineup with the segment’s best combination of performance, capability, luxury and technology.” Here is a look at everything that makes this truck the most menacing half-ton performance pickup ever.
Hellcat Hemi Power
The heart of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi that is known as the Hellcat in the Dodge lineup. The Ram brand doesn’t use the Hellcat name, but this is the same engine with a unique intake setup and unique exhaust manifolds. The result of those unique components is a supercharged V8 that delivers 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Those are the highest power numbers of any half-ton truck ever, easily besting the 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 SRT10, which offered 500 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque.
The key competitor for the Ram 1500 TRX, the Ford F-150 Raptor, is powered by a twin turbocharged V6 that delivers 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, so the TRX packs 252 more horsepower and 140 lb-ft more torque. Also, the Ram TRX offers the sweet soundtrack of a monster V8 while the Raptor sounds like a V6 with loud exhaust.
The key concern for installing the Hellcat Hemi in the Ram 1500 was making sure that it was being fed enough air. To achieve this, the TRX uses a system that pulls 50% of the air through the grille and 50% through the big hood scoop. The air then travels through a massive filter box that removes any water and debris from the trailer before being compressed and jammed into the hungry Hemi.
The power from the supercharged Hemi is sent through the 8HP95 8-speed automatic transmission and a full-time active Borg Warner transfer case. That transfer case features upgraded internals when compared to the rest of the Ram 1500 lineup, along with a 2.64:1 low gear. A Dana 60 rear differential with a 3.55 ratio and full floating axle shafts, 18-by-9-inch wheels and Goodyear tires that were developed specifically for the TRX put the power to the ground.
Those new tires measure 325/65/18, or nearly 13 inches wide and 35 inches tall, and they can be paired with option bead-lock wheels as well. Those tires will allow the TRX to climb over and through just about anything, but as an off-road tire, they have a relatively low speed rating. That is why the Ram 1500 TRX is electronically limited to 118 miles per hour, but that is still faster than any truck on the market today.
As mentioned above, this drivetrain configuration allows the Ram TRX to sprint from a stop to 60 miles per hour in just 4.5 seconds and 100 in 10.5 seconds. It will run the quarter mile with a 12.9 at 108 miles per hour, with the huge off-road tires. We can guarantee that with some more appropriate tires for drag racing, the TRX will get down the quarter mile a whole lot quicker than 12.9.
In any case, while the Ram 1500 TRX is the quickest and fastest production truck ever, this isn’t just another Ram 1500 with a big engine and tires. Just about every other aspect of the TRX is unique from the rest of the lineup, from the frame to the body to the cabin.
The changes underneath the TRX begin with a new frame that uses extensive amounts of high strength steel from front to rear to be the strongest frame ever in a half-ton Ram. The side rails are fully boxed and some portions are hydroformed, removing the need for some welded seams.
Next, the front suspension setup of the Ram TRX features new forged aluminum upper and lower control arms along with uniquely-tuned 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive dampers. These dampers offer the greatest level of performance in any setting, allowing the driver to pick between a smoother ride or incredible off-road capabilities. The front axles is shifted forward 20-millimeters, making the wheelbase of the TRX longer than the other Ram 1500s and allowing the 35-inch tires to move freely. In fact, this truck has 13 inches of wheel travel at all four corners.
Out back, similar dampers are integrated into the segment-exclusive five-link coil spring system, including the longest coil springs in the consumer segment. With the help of the Ram brand’s Active Terrain Dynamics suspension management system, there is no more capable suspension system on the market today.
This chassis and suspension setup affords the Ram 1500 TRX 11.8 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 30.2 degrees, a breakover angle of 21.9 degrees, a departure angle of 23.5 degrees and the ability to drive through 32 inches of water. For comparison, the Raptor has 11.2 inches of ground clearance, the same approach angle, a breakover angle of 21.8 degrees and a departure angle of 22.9 degrees. The TRX offers greater off-road capabilities in every key measurement shy of approach angle and water fording, both of which are equal.
In addition to making the TRX remarkably agile off-road, the chassis and suspension setup combine to lead to some impressive working abilities. This supercharged Ram 1500 can haul up to 1,310 pounds and tow up to 8,100 pounds. Five skid plates protect all of the key components in the roughest conditions.
Finally, to get all of that weight stopped when pulling a trailer or roaring down a narrow dirt path, the Ram 1500 TRX features the biggest braking setup in the segment. The front and rear rotors all measure 15 inches, with dual-piston calipers up front and single-piston units out back.
Big, Aggressive Body
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX features a variety of unique body bits, including the front fenders, the bedsides, the hood and front bumper. The TRX is 8-inches wider than the rest of the half-ton models in the brand lineup, with composite fender flares up front and unique steel bedsides out back. As mentioned above, the hood scoop feeds the engine, as does the large grille, with a unique RAM flow-through logo spread across that grille.
The Full LED Adaptive Front-lighting System and premium LED taillights are standard, as are the LED clearance lights in the hood scoop and bumper flares. The headlights have functional air curtain inlets, which allow air to pass through the fenders and improve aerodynamics at high speed. The front and rear end are both fitted with oversized tow hooks, while 5-inch dual exhaust tips poke from under the steel rear bumper.
Exterior options include hood and bedside graphics, rock rails, aluminum running boards, beadlock wheels, the bed-mounted tire carrier, the rollover bar and a dual pane sunroof.
Big, Premium Cabin
The star of the TRX interior is the standard 12-inch UConnect infotainment screen, which includes access to the Drive Mode system, the Off-Road Pages performance metrics, navigation, the stereo system and the rest of the interior controls, including the new Heads Up Display system. Speaking of the stereo system, the 19-speaker Harman Kardon speaker system is another feature that cannot be rivaled by the competition. Like the other premium Ram trucks, the TRX has a 7-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster. There is also a knob on the dash for the brand’s new trailer backup control.
Next, the TRX comes with unique cloth sport seats with the deepest bolsters ever offered on a Ram truck. The base form, which includes those cloth seats, is the “TR” trim level. At one point, many outlets reported that the TR would be a lower-performance model, but it is just the base trim designation. The TR1 trim level adds heater leather seats, a heated steering wheel, the Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment / Pouch Attachment Ladder System (MOLLE/PALS) storage system on the front seatbacks. The TR2 trim level adds ventilation to the front seats along with the ability to recline the rear seats.
The flat-bottomed SRT steering wheel makes its first appearance in a Ram pickup with the TRX, featuring new, enlarged shift paddles. Beyond that sporty wheel is the dedicated Drive Mode console, with the TRX custom setting button and the ability to toggle through the 8 different pre-programmed settings. These settings adjust things like the suspension activity, power steering feel, throttle response, transmission shift schedules and the four-wheel-drive system function.
There is also a new center console with a leather-wrapped shift handle; no shift knob on this beast. On that center console, there is a metal information plate with the details of this special pickup.
Price, Availability and Launch Edition
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a starting price of $69,995 plus the $1,695 destination fee and orders for this supercharged super-truck open tomorrow, August 18. Production will begin early during the fourth quarter and the first units will be delivered before the end of 2020.
For those who want an even more unique TRX, there is the Launch Edition. Limited to just 702 units, these trucks are painted Anvil Gray and come loaded to the hilt with the TR2 trim level, including carbon fiber interior trim, the dual pane sunroof, the beadlock wheels, the 19-speaker sound system, special badging and body graphics. This limited edition package has an MSRP of $88,570 plus destination.