The venerable pickup truck has been a staple of American motoring for more than 100 years, and over the years people have used their trucks for just about every purpose you can imagine. For most of the automotive century, pickup trucks were low-cost workhorses, designed to move cargo and pull trailers. They still do that, but trucks are now decidedly upscale, and they're no longer inexpensive.
Since the 1970s, automakers would occasionally come out with a hot rod performance truck. These models were produced in low volumes, and carried names like the Ford SVT Lightning or the GMC Syclone. But now high performance trucks have become a stable niche in the industry with models like the Ford F-150 Raptor, Chevrolet Silverado 6.2, and now the Ram 1500 TRX, cavalierly known as the "T-Rex."
The Ram TRX is a special model, carrying the same 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 found in the Dodge Hellcat series of cars and SUVs. In the Ram truck, this engine is rated at 702 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. Together with an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, the TRX has taken the title of the quickest, fastest and most powerful mass-produced half-ton pickup truck in the world. This truck will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, run a standing quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 mph, and hit a top speed of 118 mph.
There's a price to pay for all that speed, and you'll find it in the fuel economy ratings. The Ram TRX returns just 10 MPG in city driving, and 14 MPG on the highway. The truck is big, weighing in at 6,350 pounds, has fat tires, and is about as aerodynamic as a brick. The other price to pay for the TRX is the sticker price, which starts just shy of $70,000.
What you get for that price is pretty good, however. All TRX models come with four-wheel-drive, and the TRX is always a full crew cab pickup. The interior and technology packages are among Ram's best, although you'll have to plus up the truck with an option package if you want luxury features like heated leather seats.
Even though it's an unapologetic hot rod, the TRX is still a pickup truck. Towing capacity is rated up to 8,100 pounds and the TRX has a maximum payload capacity of 1,310 pounds. You can also use it off-road, with up to 32 inches of water fording capability and Ram's standard 4X4 system. Ram has a lot of experience with previous off-road monsters like the 3/4-ton Ram 2500 Power Wagon, so there should be few places the TRX can't get to.
One place the TRX can't go, however, is through a narrow drive-through lane. Or at least, it'll be a squeaker to get it through. If the TRX is your first big truck, you'll have to get used to roaming the outskirts of parking lots.
On the road, the TRX performs just exactly the way you would expect: It's fast if you put your foot down, and while the suspension is firm, there's a lot of travel designed into it for off-road work. No one would call the truck nimble, but it's been well-engineered.
The Ram 1500 TRX is not a vehicle for everyone. The sticker price alone limits its accessibility, but for those who can afford it and want the most powerful truck, the TRX represents the state of the art, at least for now.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Base price: $69,995
Price as tested: $87,020
Type: Full-size pickup
Engine: 6.2-liter supercharged V8 (702 hp, 650 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 10/14
Overall length: 232.9 inches
Curb weight: 6,350 pounds
Final assembly: Sterling Heights, Michigan
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