Where Ford refused to deliver, the Ram 1500 TRX is only too happy to oblige.
It's not just a matter of power - although that certainly doesn't hurt.
The new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX - Ram's high-powered, dune-jumping competitor to the legendary Ford F-150 Raptor - out-thrusts its foremost competitor by some 250 horsepower, calling upon the same potent supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 that propels FCA's SRT Hellcat models. But in addition to its stratospheric power and torque ratings, the blown 6.2L delivers something else: the sound, sensation, and bragging rights that come with any all-American V8 powerplant.
For the truck's second generation, the Ford F-150 Raptor team settled on a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 for power, drawing some criticism from old-fashioned enthusiasts who are accustomed to viewing anything with fewer than eight cylinders as inferior. Ram wasn't about to make the same mistake.
Ram received "relentless amounts of input saying: 'Build this truck with a V8,'" Senior Brand Manager Carl Lally told Muscle Cars & Trucks in a recent interview. "That was our guiding principle on it."
The latest Raptor's V6 is a sizeable improvement over its predecessor's 6.2L V8, in numerical terms, peaking at 450 horsepower - 39 more than its forebear - with an extra 76 lb-ft of torque. But that alone hasn't been enough to convince everybody, as especially in the US market, V8 engines carry a certain prestige and desirability not extended to engines with fewer cylinders. That's left an opening for Ram to swoop in and poach would-be customers.
"We have a vehicle Raptor customers are looking for," Lally says, not mincing any words. "We have been conquesting Ford and General Motors customers at a high rate the moment we introduced the new Ram 1500."
That's pretty remarkable, considering how fervently loyal pickup truck customers can often be. Lally acknowledges "that loyalty is tough to break at times, but at the same time, when you give them something they don't have today, that's a great opportunity. It puts us in the best position for us to capture those buyers, quite frankly."
The competition might well heat up even more when Ford introduces an all-new iteration of the Ford F-150 Raptor, as prototype sightings indicate that it might just ditch its EcoBoost V6 mill in favor of a V8. We'll just have to wait and see.