This is not just ridiculous Hellcat fun. It’s also a great pickup truck.
This week I did something I never thought I could do: master the technology and muscle of the most powerful truck on the road, the Ram 1500 TRX pickup. This $69,000 truck — fully loaded it comes in at $95K— harnesses the power of Dodge’s Hellcat engine with 702 horsepower.
I was pretty sure this was a truck beyond my capabilities. But, I’m willing to learn new things, so I took a deep breath and said yes to the opportunity.
I will admit, I got a slow start. When I first got into the Ram 1500 TRX it was a lot to take in; the cabin looks like a space shuttle with a lot of screens and technology. It’s an imposingly sized truck, even for a large man, let alone a 5’3” woman. I would head out on the drive route alone, though the Ram’s interior is large enough that I probably could have social distanced with another person. The Ram team set the navigation for me and I was so scared I’d break something I didn’t even change the radio station on the first half of the drive.
It was intimidated to drive this truck, the fastest pickup truck ever built.
Then, there was launch control mode. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it terrified me.
And then, this happened.
Holy cow, right? And, then, besides the experience, there’s the truck itself. If you haven’t been inside a pickup truck lately, you’re in for a surprise. Gone are the days of a slippery bench seat and a three-on-the-tree gear shifter. Pickups have gone upscale with all the swank interior features that were once only found in European luxury sedans.
The Ram 1500 TRX has luxe leather seats, a huuuuge infotainment screen and literally every luxury, safety system, storage component and tech feature you can think of. There’s more about the Ram 1500 interior features, very similar to the TRX, here.
And while all that is impressive, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX takes it all a leap further. It hangs its hat on the Hellcat engine and is the fastest street-legal production truck on the market, a record previously held by the Ford F-150 Raptor with 450 horsepower.
Who the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is for:
- Horse girls, boat girls, ski girls, shopping girls. It can tow 8,000 pounds and haul 1,310 pounds in the bed. That’s a lot of Home Goods runs.
- Mountain girls and desert girls. You will never get stuck spinning your wheels in snow or mud.
- Short girls and tall girls. Ram is one of only two truck brands that offer adjustable gas and brake pedals.
- Girls who want to get there without the crawl that off-roading can often be.
- Girls with other off-roading fans in the family who will also appreciate this truck.
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What Driving the Ram 1500 TRX is Like
The TRX was built for on and off road performance. I get that it can go fast—702 horsepower will do that. But the the off-road track it was life-changing. I jumped the truck. Yes, jumped. And I crawled up a rock wall. And when I finished at the track and they said, “Now you go to the drag strip.” NOW YOU GO TO THE DRAG STRIP.
You can see what it’s really like to drive the TRX here:
You’d think this would have shaken my teeth from my head, but no. The TRX’s engineers created an entire shock system that makes highway driving as smooth as a sedan and jumps much less jarring than you would imagine. It also controls for “high lateral Gs” like when you’re whipping off the interstate and your passengers slide into the window because of the centrifugal force you’ve created. It also promises to protect the underside of the truck during “extreme compression events,” like all the times I’ve driven over curbs and bicycles that I didn’t see. Or up a rock wall.
In the driver’s seat the Ram 1500 TRX was much easier to manage than I’d have guessed. This truck is more than seven feet wide at 88”; compared to the Cadillac Escalade at 81.1” and the standard Ram truck at 79.9”, it truly is a beast. Oddly, once you’re in the cabin though, it doesn’t feel any larger than any other full-size trucks I’ve ever driven (and yes, I’ve done that; I’m not new to trucks). The TRX sits a little over 11 inches off the ground and even the tires are oversized at 35″ and designed specifically for this truck, yet I found climbing into the Ram cab easier than climbing into some other trucks.
For drivers who need tow and haul capability, the Ram 1500 TRX excels there, too. Considering that an empty horse trailer is around 2,300 to 3,900 pounds empty 7,000 to 8,000 pounds with a horse or two, this is fully manageable by the TRX. And new optional smart trailering system will help you guide you both in connecting your trailer to the hitch and in backing up; it allows you to guide the trailer with just a dial.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX Is Not Just a Cool Looking Truck
Truck fans have been waiting for the TRX, anticipating a beast that is beefy, imposing and intimidating. After all, the TRX stands for Tyrannosaurus Rex—because what else could challenge the Raptor? And it lives up to the considerable hype.
The Ram 1500 TRX is 6” higher than the standard 1500 and has a new look; it’s not just a pretty Face. The truck’s grille still leads with the RAM logo, but it’s made for air to pass through to power the Hellcat engine underneath. Its framed by a more resilient blacked-out bumper, fog lights and tow hooks, and there’s a functional hood scoop that does more than look cool, it actually take in air. And because the truck is wider than 80 inches, it can accommodate cool LED lights nestled in the hood scoop.
Around back is a standard 5’7″ truck bed capable of holding 1,310 pounds. And because you might need your spare tire if you’re off-roading, there is an optional bed mount for the spare tire or a full-size spare can be stored underneath the bed.
Life: Changed. Thank you TRX
The girl that left the track that day was a100% different than the girl who got into the truck that morning. It felt like the first time you put on a new set of skis, hop off the lift and look down the mountain. That first-glance feeling can be terrifying but after a few runs you can go 10 times faster because you know and trust the skis. And when you get to the bottom of the hill you’re filled with adrenaline and you feel like you can conquer the world.
I left the track that day with a swagger and on the drive back I was on top of the world. And I’m still there. A Hellcat engine in a Ram truck will do that to you.
Disclosure: I was Ram’s guest for this test drive. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions – and screams, squeals and shouts – are my own.