5 things to know about the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

It’s acceptable to call the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX the Hellcat pickup truck. The Hellcat Ram. Ram’s Ford Raptor rival. It’s equally acceptable to just call it bonkers. 

Ram and team FCA showed off the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX at a traveling road show that stopped in the Chicago suburbs last month, and though no driving impressions were granted, Ram acquiesced to a cold-engine start on a chilly fall morning. The 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 Hellcat engine used in other Hellcat applications across the lot in the Dodge Challenger, Charger, and even the 2021 Dodge Durango three-row SUV, instantly warmed the heart and soul.

The Hellcat makes more sense in the Challenger muscle car or the off-road rallying TRX pickup than in a family sedan or SUV, but Dodge is known for having lost its mind when it comes to practicality. While Ram has emphasized practicality and comfort in turning the excellent 2021 Ram 1500 into an equally capable family vehicle, it drinks the Dodge crazy juice with the TRX. But it doesn’t get drunk.  

Here are some things to know about the TRX:

1. It’s wider

The TRX is 8.0 inches wider than the 1500, with a front track that is 6.0 inches wider and fenders 2.5 inches taller to accommodate 19-inch wheels and 35-inch tires. But the added width is seemingly to suck in as much air as possible. At 88 inches wide, it must have three clearance lights by law, like the Ford Raptor. Those three lights are mounted in the massive hood scoop that sucks up 50% of the air for the Hellcat to breathe. 

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2. It has Hellcat breath

The other 50% comes through the flow-through grille. It enables the air intake system to breathe in through the radiator and from the top. Below the hood scoop are two separate 8-by-12 inch filters, with a section underneath the filters that collects debris. That’s four times more filtering than the competition, chief engineer Jeff Roselli of the TRX said. What must be fed, must be expelled. Twin heat extractors flank the scoop, vents beside the headlights help cool the engine.

3. Same bed, new bones

The TRX uses the frame of the 1500, but 74% of it has been changed to accommodate a suspension on a truck that can travel at speeds up to 118 mph in the desert. The cross members and standard bed are the same, but the suspension travels 13 inches in the front and 14 inches in the rear. The TRX uses an independent front suspension with longer, stronger control arms and a five-link coil spring in the rear controlled by Bilstein adaptive damping. That rear coil spring is 23.6 inches long, which Roselli called the longest in the world for a non-commercial truck application. The system constantly adjusts compression and rebound, so if you get air it’ll switch up dampers for a plush landing, or damping can be manually switched from eight drive modes, such as Sport and Baja, plus a valet mode. Roselli says overall the ride is more consistent and less jittery. 

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

4. It has Hellcat power, too

The 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 Hellcat engine makes 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque with an 8-speed automatic transmission from the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and a 2-speed transfer case as well as an electronic locking rear differential. It can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, or tow up to 8,100 pounds. 

The Ford Raptor uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that makes 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. It uses a 10-speed automatic to help get it to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds or tow up to 8,000 pounds. 

The TRX out-specs the Raptor everywhere, especially on price. It starts at $71,690, including destination. The Raptor starts at $55,150. 

5. It wears TRX branding

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

There are eight TRX badges on the outside, on the engine cover, on the inside, and even a graphic on start up. In case you forget mid-jump.  

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