Peters’ Garage: 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 TRX

By Eric Peters

When does 450 horsepower seem kind of … limp? When you’re behind the wheel of something with more than 700 horsepower.

That’s the difference — or one of the differences — between the Ram 1500 TRX and its chief rival, the Ford F-150 Raptor.

What It Is

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The TRX is the answer — in triplicate — to the Ford F-150 Raptor, which, for a little while, was the hairiest half-ton truck on the road. It is powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 450 horsepower.

The TRX is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8.

It is the same V8 that powers the Hellcat version of the Dodge Challenger and Charger — which are the hairiest of muscle cars, only in this case paired with four-wheel drive rather than rear-wheel drive.

Installed in the Ram, this engine delivers similar performance in all weather, with the additional capability you get with a four-wheel-drive truck — one that’s raised 2 inches higher off the ground and riding on 35-inch all-terrain tires, with a heavily modded suspension designed to allow maximum wheel articulation and rock-crawling capability.

Plus, you get the utility of a bed, which can almost carry a Challenger. And the strength to pull one on a trailer, easily. The TRX can tow 8,100 pounds — which is about twice the weight of a Hellcat Challenger.

Also, you get the luxury of a crushed Alcantara suede heated steering wheel and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system for when you tire of listening to the music made by the belt-driven supercharger pumping up the V-8 like Batman’s archrival Bane was fortified by his steroid-infusing mask.

There is literally nothing else like it. Though Ford is apparently working on something more like it, in the form of a V-8 version of the Raptor.

But for now, the king remains unchallengeable.

The base price is $70,095 — a small price to pay to be the king.

On road and off.

What’s New

The TRX is the latest version of the Ram 1500 pickup.

What’s Good

You get Ferrari performance — in a pickup.

It’s half the cost of a Ferrari.

And it carries twice as many passengers.

What’s Not So Good

Limited production means limited haggling; expect to pay full MSRP or more for this one.

The rising cost of gas makes this one expensive to drive.

The stubby running boards are next to useless.

Under the Hood

There is a huge engine under the functionally scooping hood of this Raptor eater. It says 6.2 liters — which is nearly twice the size of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s 3.5-liter V-6.

The net result is a 6,000-plus pound truck that can run a 12-second quarter mile that will also go practically anywhere, given the 12 inches of ground clearance, the monster-footprint 35-inch knobby tires and the real-deal four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing.

The icing on the cake is surprisingly good gas mileage — given 702 horsepower — and given the comparatively poor mileage delivered by the 450-horsepower Ford Raptor.

The Raptor-eater rates 10 mpg city and 14 mpg highway. The Raptor, eaten  by the TRX, rates 15 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. It’s a difference of 5 mpgs in the Raptor’s favor … and 252 horsepower in the TRX’s favor.

On the Road

Unlike practically anything else that can run a 12-second quarter mile, the TRX can also run to Lowe’s and haul home a pallet of cement for the patio you’re constructing. It can also take you to work in a snowstorm, on unplowed roads.

Through and over practically anything.

You feel invincible. Dawdler ahead and not much time or space to pass? That is a problem for ordinary cars and trucks. They can’t do the Millennium Falcon light-speed jump this thing can.

A sport bike can — but it can’t carry five, haul anything and give you a heated suede Alcantara steering wheel, either.

At the Curb

The TRX — unlike ordinary Rams — comes only one way: crew cab, short bed — with a plethora of unique exterior body panels. Those include vented front and rear fender flares and that actually functioning hood scoop, which is fitted with three amber LED lights, just in case no one noticed it.

There is also a special in-bed rack for the extra-big spare tire, which is not a space-saver tire but a real 35-incher knobbie, just like the other four Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires this rig comes with. Other five, actually: There’s one more under the bed, because when you’re going seriously off-road, you might just need more than one spare.

And this is a serious truck.

It comes with locking Dana axles, five skid plates and adjustable Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs and the heaviest duty everything else that you could get in any other Ram 1500.

Plus an additional 2 inches of ground clearance.

The Rest

Is there anything not to like about this truck?

Maybe the narrow running boards — a concession to rock-crawling clearance. That and the price — which puts this gem out of reach for most of us.

The Bottom Line

This may prove to be the last of the V-8 interceptors. If only it had a declutching blower — and a lower price tag.

View the Ram TRX this week.

Eric’s latest book, “Don’t Get Taken for a Ride!” is available now. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at


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