Is there a new truck benchmark?
The number of off-road trucks named after dinosaurs has just doubled with the introduction of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX (pronounced T-rex). Besides concept models, the TRX is the first truck to pose a serious threat to the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor, which has established dominance as the best off-road truck in the world.
With an all-new 2021 F-150 on the way, Ford has yet to reveal the next-generation Raptor. While it is a bit unfair to compare the TRX to the current Raptor, this is the best comparison we have at the moment. Here's how the new Ram TRX stacks up against the current king of off-road trucks.
There is a reason why the Raptor became so iconic after only two model generations. Ford nailed the styling. The Raptor looks so much different than the standard F-150 with its unique grille, off-road wheels and tires, and fender flares. It's so iconic that many F-150 owners even attempt to copy the Raptor styling on their trucks. Fiat Chrysler is no stranger to outrageous design with its Hellcat series of Dodge vehicles, so the Ram TRX looks appropriately aggressive to take on the Raptor.
Like the Raptor, the TRX features chunky off-road tires under wide wheel arches and a distinctive front end with marker lights signifying its imposing width. Other performance enhancements include a functional hood scoop, steel bumpers, and full-length rock rails. The Raptor's design holds a slight advantage due to its iconic status, but after a few years on the market, we believe the TRX will capture a cult following of its own.
Until we see the next-generation Raptor, the Ram TRX holds the advantage inside the cabin. There's nothing wrong with the Raptor's interior, but compared to the TRX, it feels outclassed. The TRX packs in the best features from the Ram lineup including a massive 12.3-inch infotainment system. Buyers can opt for a lower trim TRX, but upper trim packages will include nicer materials such as leather and suede. Ram equipped the TRX with specific sporty touches like a flat-bottom steering wheel, bolstered seats, head-up display, and floor-mounted shifter.
The Raptor has its own performance-oriented cabin with a sport steering wheel and bolstered seats, though the cabin now feels a generation behind the Ram. There are too many plastic surfaces and not enough soft touch materials, like the ones found in the Ram. The Raptor will need a new generation in order to be competitive on the interior.
No manufacturer has dared compete with the Raptor's class-leading performance. A 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 delivers a whopping 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, suitable for a 0-60 mph time of only 5.1 seconds. Though these figures placed the Raptor at the top of the performance charts for pickup trucks, its time as the king has now ended. The TRX's 6.2-liter supercharged V8 blows the EcoBoost out of the dirt with 702 hp and 650 lb-ft.
With its Hellcat power, the TRX takes just 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph and will clock the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds, leaving the Raptor behind by a full second. When the pavement ends, the TRX calls on Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks rather than the Fox Racing shocks used by the Raptor and other trucks. The TRX also boasts a new Jump Detection feature, which should help to go toe-to-toe with the new Raptor in an off-road race.
The Ford F-150 Raptor holds a significant price advantage over the Ram 1500 TRX, starting at $53,455. Few customers ever opt for a base Raptor, however, and many dealerships still charge a markup for their Raptor inventory. Most shoppers spend well over $70,000 on a Raptor, putting it right within the territory of the more powerful TRX.
Ram says the TRX starts at $69,950, though pricing goes up significantly from there with options. A base TRX costs significantly more than a base Raptor, but does include plenty of additional horsepower to justify the price. If rumors are to be believed, the next-generation Raptor could go back to a V8 engine, which will make this a much tighter competition.