A truck that the FCA corporation has been teasing for a long time and had enthusiasts at the edge of their seats waiting to see its glory has finally taken off its covers, revealing a buff and an all-American persona. I can say that the things I imagined it to be are what it has delivered and I’m talking about a Hellcat V8 engine under the hood wrapped in an aggressive styling with insane performance stats and it staying true to the pickup truck image. The TRX is RAM’s performance badge as what Raptor is to Ford’s F150 and the additions are immense performance upgrades.

It is based on the existing RAM 1500 and what they did on the TRX is overhaul the suspension and fit in new components that should be good for rough off-road terrain whilst providing a smooth ride on a cruise. The Ford Raptor is known for tackling the Baja race course without breaking a sweat and that is what RAM was going for with the TRX, it may not be entirely about going for a throne in that race but to challenge Ford and show the world that they can also do.

Engine

They swapped out a 5.7-litre V8 engine and installed something I did not expected, FCA’s latest exciting engine which is a 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI V8 that chunks out 702 hp (523 kW) & 881 Nm of torque going to all four-wheels, enough to take it from 0-97 km/h in 4.5 seconds with the top speed at 190 km/h and don’t be confused, it’s normal for it to flat out at this speed. The engine is hooked up to an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission ideal for handling that much torque and it is quick to respond and to deliver crisp gear changes.

The new air induction is said to be much effective and it feeds air into the engine through the front grille and functional hood scoop which by the way has cleverly placed LED clearance lamps on it, giving the front a much cooler look. The engine’s performance is optimised to work well with five unique driving modes which include Auto, Sport, Tow and Snow and all are self-explanatory with Custom mode giving the driver the ease of personalizing the driving dynamics.

For off-roading, three modes are integrated for Mud/Sand, Rock and the most special one which is Baja and what that means is it calibrates the four-wheel drive system, the electronic stability control and the suspension to give the best possible performance when off-roading and that is perfect for reaching 161 km/h just on rough terrain, not even breaking a sweat.

Suspension

The suspension has been reworked to include new parts ideal for the purpose of handling the most punishing conditions that not many production pick-up trucks can’t handle. They fitted an all-new front independent suspension with active damping and it is strengthened to overcome the pressure it will endure. The front suspension also has new front upper and lower control arms made of forged aluminium which should be lighter yet strong to do the work.

The rear suspension also features active damping system along with a five-link coil system, including Dana’s solid rear-axle for improving axle control when off-roading and an electronic-locking rear differential is incorporated in that concoction of parts. There are new front and rear 2.5-inch Blisten Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks which are said to have unbeatable damping capability. Listen, from what I read on the press release, you can actually take the TRX up and down a desert, mountain climb or simply drive hard at a rough track without worrying that you might break it.

Exterior

There is so much to say about the outside of the TRX and I am just going to put it into one sentence, I like it. This is as close as it gets to being as aggressive and good looking as the Ford Raptor which is mainly its competitor and RAM spared no cost at designing the beauty out of it. The front has a big R-A-M badge and so does the rear-end, the hood features a huge roof scoop, the composite fender flares are 203 mm wide to give it a potent look. It features LED adaptive headlights which can change direction at a 15-degree angle in accordance with the steering output.

The tyres are massive and are specified in 325/65/R18 All-Terrain configuration made exclusively for the TRX. To accommodate those tyres and the upgraded suspension, the ride height is increased by 50.8 mm and that affects the ground clearance giving it a better 299.7 mm overall. There are additional accessories to add to the TRX like a roof light, skid plates and steel bumpers. To show that this is the special edition TRX model, you will notice it simply by the side decals with the TRX writing.

It has a maximum payload of 594 kilograms and it is capable of towing a maximum load of 3674 kilograms of weight.

Interior

This is not a cheap truck so you’d expect most of the equipment to come as standard which include the Uconnect 4C NAV system integrated on a 12-inch touchscreen and a 19-watt Harman Kardon audio system. There is a wireless dock for smartphones with a wireless charging feature but don’t worry, it still comes with five USB ports consisting of Type-A and Type-C. You can choose three different interior trim finishes: cloth, or leather and suede, or premium leather and suede with red and carbon fibre accents.

The fin on the roof of the truck accommodates a camera for the digital rear view mirror which has a 9-inches-wide LCD monitor. The centre console is filled with buttons like the transfer case switches, drive mode selector and a launch control button which is surprising but this truck is dubbed as the fastest of its kind, so that feature is needed. You can option for a Trailer Reverse Steer Control system if ever you may find it hard to park with a hitched trailer.

There are various safety features included like Parkview rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, electronic stability control, blindspot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, ready-alert braking and collision warning system.

The price for the TRX is $100 835 and it has a lot of people asking whether this might skew away customers. But that’s not the case because such trucks at this catalogue don’t come at a low price. If it were to come to South Africa, we would be coughing out around R1.8 million or even more given the exchange rate and additional charges.

Source: 2021 RAM 1500 TRX Press Information