Review update: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX marks peak truck

You know that scene in the “Jurassic Park” movies where the T-Rex rears up and roars in the visitor center or on the helipad to show everyone it’s king?

This is that moment in truck history.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has reared up and roared, and we’ve hit peak truck. With a Hellcat engine, a long-travel suspension, and looks meant to menace, the TRX drips in excess everything. Nobody needs a TRX, but it’s not hard to understand why some people want one.

I spent a week climbing hills and doing donuts in the snow, running errands, and taking my kids to school in the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. Here’s what I learned about where Ram’s monstrous truck hits and where it misses.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX I Photography by Allex Bellus Photography

2021 Ram 1500 TRX I Photography by Allex Bellus Photography

2021 Ram 1500 TRX I Photography by Allex Bellus Photography

2021 Ram 1500 TRX I Photography by Allex Bellus Photography

2021 Ram 1500 TRX I Photography by Allex Bellus Photography

2021 Ram 1500 TRX I Photography by Allex Bellus Photography

Hit: It’s fast

With the Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 under its hood, the TRX produces 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, which goes to all four wheels at all times. Ram quotes a 0-60 mph run of 4.5 seconds. That feels about right by the seat of my pants, and it’s insanely quick for a vehicle that weighs 6,350 pounds. It’s also ’s half a second quicker than the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor, but the experience is vastly different, and it comes down to weight and drama. The Ram TRX weighs 653 pounds more, is much louder, and has launch control. Floor it and the feeling of acceleration drops your gut and makes your insides feel funny as all that weight shifts and lunges forward. Performing this feat a few times in a row might make some people sick.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Miss: Expensive to feed

Hellcats aren’t known for fuel economy, but the TRX is laughably insatiable. A colleague achieved 11 mpg in mostly highway driving in the TRX. That’s bad. During a frigid week in Minnesota with temperatures dipping to 20 below, I averaged 8.0 mpg over the course of 351 miles of mixed driving. That’s horrendous. The TRX has EPA fuel economy ratings of 10 mpg city, 14 highway, and 12 combined. Those seem a little optimistic. Your mileage may vary, but don’t expect it to vary on the high side of the ratings.

Hit and miss: It’s heavy

Carrying all that weight, the TRX feels more substantial than a Raptor, like it was cut from a block of steel, which instills confidence that this thing is built to take a massive beating.

That heft does it no favors for handling or efficiency. It drinks gas like a college kid at a frat party, and the TRX is never light on its feet whereas the Raptor feels a bit lighter than it is. Extra weight is also a detriment when performing off-road jumps. The TRX and Raptor are technically designed for such antics.

Hit: Roars loud and proud

Editorial Director Marty Padgett once said Hellcats are “grandma’s screaming on cell phones loud.” If that’s true, the TRX is an entire nursing home screaming at the TV screen loud. The exhaust note could wake the dead upon cold start, and boy does it sound angry. Ram revised the air intake compared to all other Hellcat models to keep dust and dirt out of the engine and to accommodate water fording. This actually enhances the supercharger whine, which is always present and always loud. Hope your neighbors can stomach loud trucks.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Miss: Raptor’s more imposing

The TRX looks mean. If it came flying up in your rearview mirror you’d have every right to be nervous, but the Raptor looks meaner. The reason is width. The Raptor is 8 feet wide and looks like a Baja truck on the street thanks to its punched-out, squared-off fenders. The Ram’s 7-foot-3-inch width is immense, but the curved, flowing fenders give it a softer look.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Hit: People like dinosaurs

It didn’t matter whether I was filling up the TRX (a frequent activity) with 91 octane or parking at Fleet Farm, people knew what the TRX was. It gets them excited, and they want to see its suspension, look inside it, and ask you questions. Kids love it. They want to ride in it, climb into it, and hear the supercharger whine.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Hit: Float like a butterfly

The powertrain stings like a bee but the off-road suspension floated over broken Midwest pavement in the middle of winter. The adaptive Bilstein Black Hawk e2 shocks and rear coil springs make the TRX a supremely comfortable truck around town with the ability to smother anything they roll over. The only other half-ton pickup that is this comfortable pounding the pavement is the Raptor.

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2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Miss: Dinosaurs aren’t practical

The TRX doesn’t like to, or want to, be contained in small spaces. It comes only as a crew cab model with a 5-foot-7-inch bed, so it’s long as well as wide. Parking at the grocery store isn’t fun. Three-point turns are frequently needed. Know what you’ll be living with and your tolerances for such things before committing to a TRX.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Miss: Crazy expensive

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX costs $71,890, which is a crazy expensive truck, and that’s not even the TRX you want. It lacks heated front seats, LED bed lighting, blind-spot monitors, and automatic emergency braking. The TRX you want is probably closer to $87,000 while my well-equipped tester had a sticker price of $91,205. It featured everything from bead-lock capable 18-inch aluminum wheels and rock ralis to carbon-fiber trim and a head-up display.

The Ram TRX is peak truck. It’s breathtakingly expensive, with ludicrous power and capability. It’s so absurd that it makes adults feel like kids.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

This is the end. The TRX is about as powerful as a gas-powered truck will get. Sure, the 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor R is coming. It’ll likely have the supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500 with slightly more power than the TRX. Maybe the TRX will get the Hellcat Redeye’s 797-hp engine to counter the Raptor R. But it won’t matter because at that point it’s just a game of one-upmanship.

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX plants its flag and roars as the ultimate predator, but this is the end. By the end of the year, there will be at least one, if not more, electric pickup trucks that can do 0-60 mph in 3.5 or even 3.0 seconds. They’ll be quicker and far more efficient, and they’ll soon make dinosaurs like the TRX extinct.

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2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Base price: $71,890
Price as tested: $91,205
EPA fuel economy: 10/14/12 mpg
The hits: Fast, loud, comfortable off-road suspension, feels solid, people love it
The misses: Heavy, ponderous, thirsty, expensive, overkill defined

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