The battle for the best high-performance pickup truck just got interesting now that the 702-horsepower 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has entered the arena.

The Hellcat-powered half-ton has the Ford F-150 Raptor squarely in its sights, but until its Blue Oval rival adds more power and steps up its interior game, the Ram rules.

Rivalry aside, the TRX is an impressive and intimidating machine and one that we named to our 2021 10Best list and gave an Editors’ Choice award.

Its body is 8 inches wider than the regular Ram 1500, and its off-road capabilities have been transformed. This is thanks to a stronger frame, and even more sophisticated suspension, and myriad other enhanced characteristics.

ENGINE AND IMPLEMENTATION

2021 Ram 1500 TRX: Hiding between the TRX’s bulging fenders and below its scooped hood is a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. More popularly known as the Hellcat engine, this specific version produces 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX truck has been our top-rated light-duty pickup since this latest generation debuted in 2019. It has set the bar for the class in terms of technology integration, interior materials quality, and ride comfort while providing stout towing and hauling capabilities.

For 2021, however, the competition is significantly tougher: The 2021 Ford F-150 has been fully redesigned.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX isn’t just giving up its crown without a fight. This year’s 1500TRX gets new optional tech features such as a driver head-up display, an available digital rearview mirror, new performance, off-road readouts via the 12-inch touchscreen, and a trailer reverses control system that steers the truck for you as you direct your trailer into your parking spot.

Small potatoes, you say? OK, how about the all-new Ram 1500 TRX? It features a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 thumping out 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of russets. Ram says the TRX can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds — an astonishing figure for a beefy pickup truck like this.

But that’s not all. The TRX also gets wide-body fenders, 35-inch tires, a specialized suspension, a reinforced frame, and a 2-inch chassis lift, all for enhanced off-road high-speed performance. Along with a reinforced steel frame, it boasts a beefed-up suspension that’s built to bend and bound with more than 13 inches of travel.

It rolls on a set of massive 35-inch all-terrain tires mounted on 18-inch wheels that contribute to the truck’s 11.8 inches of ground clearance. Ram says the half-ton Hellcat can also ford up to 32 inches of water.

Every 2021 Ram 1500 TRX comes with enough underbody plating to protect a Brink’s truck, Bilstein remote-reservoir dampers, an electronic-locking rear differential, and gigantic 15.0-inch front brakes. What’s more? The monstrous Ram has already dethroned the reigning king of high-performance pickup trucks, the F-150 Raptor

ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG

The EPA estimates the TRX will earn a lowly 10 mpg in the city and a not-much-better 14 mpg on the highway. Those figures are significantly lower than the 2020 Raptor, which has ratings of 14 mpg city and 18 highway.

Once we have the chance to run the Ram on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg.

INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH

Ram has redefined expectations for truck interiors with its latest half-ton pickups, which deliver rich-looking materials and impeccable insulation from outside noise.

That level of luxury and refinement looks to continue on the TRX, which is offered solely as a crew cab with a short cargo bed. Inside, the base model’s cloth upholstery and standard equipment are based on the Ram 1500 Rebel.

However, the optional TR1 and TR2 packages make the cabin look and feel significantly snazzier thanks to leather-covered surfaces and a mix of microsuede and carbon-fiber accents.

The TRX’s flat-bottom steering wheel features a pair of prominent paddle shifters, but there’s also a floor shifter located on the center console. The TRX’s top options include a digital rearview mirror, a head-up display, and heated and ventilated front seats.

IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT AND INTERCONNECTIONS

Vertically mounted in the middle of the dashboard on every TRX is a 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The unit boasts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, built-in navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The display can be divided into separate menus so that multiple applications can be open at once, and it also features physical knobs and buttons on the screen’s surrounding bezel for more intuitive controls. The truck can also be outfitted with a mighty 900-watt, 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

PROTECTION AND DRIVER-ASSISTANCE ASPECTS

The 2021 TRX hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Ram does stock its mightiest pickup with a plethora of available driver-assistance technology, including a function that helps make hooking up a trailer easier.

PHOTOS

 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

FULL SPECIFICATIONS

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup

PRICE AS TESTED
$89,565 (base price: $71,790)

ENGINE TYPE
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
Displacement
376 in3, 6166 cm3
Power
702 hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque
650 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm

TRANSMISSION
8-speed automatic

CHASSIS
Suspension (F/R): control arms/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 14.9-in vented disc/14.8-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler Territory AT, LT325/65R-18 121/118T M+S

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 145.1 in
Length: 232.9 in
Width: 88.0 in
Height: 80.9 in
Passenger volume: 132 ft3
Curb weight: 6866 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.7 sec
100 mph: 9.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.2 sec
1/4 mile: 12.3 sec @ 110 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 118 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 189 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 418 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.70 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rolloutof 0.2 sec.

C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 9 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 12/10/14 mpg

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