2021 RAM 1500 TRX water fording

RAM 1500 TRX ‘Destroys Raptors’: 702HP Pickup Aims to Crush Off Road

Today, RAM unveils the TRX. Pronounce that ‘T-Rex,’ like the dinosaur. And if its specs prove to hold true, it will probably eat Ford Raptors for lunch.

The Ford Raptor has dominated the high-performance pickup truck market for a decade. But while the tricked out F-150 has earned legions of faithful since it launched in 2010, it just might be about to meet its match.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX front head-on
2021 RAM 1500 TRX front head-on

The RAM TRX boasts mind-boggling stats outside of the muscle car realm. Think holy-smokes acceleration of 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and running the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 mph.

Think wheel travel of more than 13 inches at all four corners, more than 40% compared to the rest of the RAM 1500 lineup. And consider that RAM intends this vehicle to run at 100 mph over off-road terrain and literally tests it to jump.

And these are factory specs!

2021 Ram 1500 TRX front 3/4 in motion
2021 RAM 1500 TRX in motion

Yes, this is going to give potential Ford Raptor buyers something very compelling to chew on. It does, however, come at an eye-watering price. We’ll get to that in a bit. But first, let’s check out the goodies.

RAM 1500 TRX: Under the Hood

The RAM 1500 TRX packs a crazy punch of 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. That whopping power comes at the end of a 6.2L supercharged Hemi V8 that drives power to the wheels with a high-torque-capacity TorqueFlite 8HP95 eight-speed automatic transmission.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX chassis with brakes
2021 RAM 1500 TRX chassis with brakes

To manage all this power, RAM needed to engineer all kinds of new parts. From a dual-path air induction system to deliver a steady supply of cool air to the engine through the front grille and functional hood scoop, to a RAM TRX-specific oil pan system to control oil flow during extreme off-road driving, the powertrain of the TRX is remarkable.

RAM executives gave us a sneak peek at the RAM TRX last week, and they didn’t pull punches. “TRX destroys Raptors,” said one presenter.

RAM 1500 TRX: Behind the Wheel

The TRX has so much wallop, RAM thoughtfully gave drivers a lot of technology to manage all the ponies.

Launch Control is standard in the TRX, which puts it on par with newer Raptors. It optimizes vehicle performance by coordinating engine, transmission, driveline, and suspension for consistent straight-line acceleration.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX side-by-side
2021 RAM 1500 TRX side-by-side

Then, of course, there’s Jump Detection. This uses wheel-speed and ride-height sensors and accelerometers in each corner to identify when the vehicle is airborne, enabling the powertrain control system to minimize driveline-damaging power spikes. It also limits the top speed to 118 mph, the top speed rating of its all-terrain tires.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX baja terrain screen
2021 RAM 1500 TRX Baja terrain screen

But let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us won’t be launching a crazy-expensive pickup off too many sweet jumps. It’ll take trips to the grocery store too, and maybe park by the soccer field for a kid’s practice.

RAM TRX Interior

Inside, the TRX is a sporty but luxurious space. Available in three different themes — TR, TR1, and TR2 Equipment Groups — it takes cues from the RAM 1500 Rebel and Limited models but adds unique features, materials, and colors.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX interior
2021 RAM 1500 TRX interior

Expect premium materials like hand-wrapped leather instrument panels, suede on touchpoints, and lots of modern conveniences like five USBs, including Type A and C ports.

The driver gets an SRT-signature flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in leather with optional suede and carbon fiber accents. Aluminum paddle shifters stretch above and below the steering wheel spokes. The center console includes a new performance-oriented floor shifter. TRX integrates transfer case switches into the dashboard along with Drive Mode selector and launch control.

RAM 1500 Off-Road Chops

OK, if you’ve read this far, you might be itching to hop in one of these and get some mud on the tires. And that’s exactly what RAM designed it for, with 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory 325/65/R18 All-Terrain tires, designed specifically for the TRX loaded from the showroom floor.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX wheel articulation
2021 RAM 1500 TRX wheel articulation

Those connect to the truck with one of two different wheel designs that are available on TRX, including an 18 x 9-inch optional beadlock-ready wheel from the factory.

RAM TRX uses a Dana 60 solid rear axle with a 3.55 ratio. This has full-floating shafts and an axle-hop damper for improved traction and axle control on rough surfaces. It has a standard electronic locking rear differential, and controls slip on the front wheels through the anti-lock braking system.

The TRX uses front and rear 2.5-inch Bilstein adaptive performance shocks for “fast reaction time, unbeatable damping and improved heat dissipation.” This, the brand claims, is designed for traversing harsh terrain at speeds greater than 100 mph. A five-link coil suspension wraps up an impressive suspension.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX suspension
2021 RAM 1500 TRX suspension

The RAM TRX sits 2 inches higher compared with the RAM 1500, providing 11.8 inches of ground clearance. It touts a 32-inch water fording depth.

All this combines to give drivers one heck of a capable vehicle. It seems it’ll come down to driver skills to master such a powerful, capable machine.

RAM 1500 TRX Price, Availability

OK, this all sounds pretty lovely. So, the big question: How much does a 2021 RAM TRX cost?

The RAM TRX price starts at $69,999 plus $1,699 in destination charges. It will be available before the end of 2020, and RAM will take orders beginning on August 18. It’s also offering a limited run of the TRX Launch Edition and will build 702 units in honor of 702 horsepower. It comes in Anvil Grey paint for a hefty $88,570!

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition front 3/4
2021 RAM 1500 TRX Launch Edition

So what do you think? Looks like the RAM 1500 TRX will likely be the hottest pickup on the planet — if you’ve got a thick wallet and want a four-door with a 5’7″ bed that can launch off jumps.

We know we’d take it for a spin around the block. And maybe never look back.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX front 3/4

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.