After years of waiting, the TRX is here! While some may call RAM’s latest performance off-roader the “T-REX”, this truck was built to be the apex predator of the pickup truck food chain as RAM likes to point out. But what makes this truck so unique and different than your run of the mill 2021 Ram 1500 and is it worth the money? Let’s take an in-depth look at the latest offering from RAM.
For the past several years, the Ram Truck brand has been transforming its off-road lineup to offer the best off-road lineup of pickups than any other automaker. It originally kicked off with the most capable off-roading pickup, the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. While the Power Wagon is an amazing machine off-road as we have seen on our sister site HDRams.com, it isn’t even in the same category as the new TRX. RAM’s Rebel, offers rugged looks while adding more capability to the standard Ram 1500. But the TRX amps up the testosterone of the Rebel to “11”.
While the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is still considered a “DT” platform pickup, the TRX’s frame is made of thicker, optimally shaped high-strength steel to add more durability and stability than the standard Ram 1500. According to RAM, sections of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy, reducing the need for welding, and the side rails are fully boxed. The front rails use high-strength steel and hydroformed sections to set a strong foundation to better handle the front suspension load. Galvanized frame components provide improved corrosion protection.
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX also uses an all-new independent front suspension system. The TRX-specific front suspension system features new front upper and lower control arms made from forged aluminum. The longer, beefer upper and lower control arms are made of 80 ksi high-strength steel and were designed to focus on additional wheel travel and the added axle width of the TRX.
At the rear, the rear suspension required special attention from RAM engineers in order to fit packaging barriers including reducing the capacity of the bed. The all-new rear suspension uses active damping and a completely new five-link coil system. Compared to the standard 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel that has 9 inches of travel, the TRX frame’s hard-points for the five-link suspension are different to allow up to 13 inches of travel with the Dana M250 rear axle. That is an improvement of 40% when the TRX is compared to the Rebel.
The new TRX-specific Bilstein Blackhawk e2 adaptive performance shocks are made from a single piece construction of aluminum to help dissipate heat and continuously adjust damping forces for optimal body control and terrain isolation. The adaptive performance shocks feature robust corrosion protection with a durable finish and directional-machined cooling fins aligned with airflow for more effective cooling. The Blackhawk e2 shocks allow for an amazing ride both on and off-road at high speeds.
But while the suspension has been designed for high-speed desert running, the TRX can even feel at home in most rock crawling situations. Using a BorgWarner 48-13 full-time transfer case, the TRX features a low range of 2.64:1, allowing for the 702 horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 to take most rock crawling obstacle with ease. RAM has added armor to the transfer case, front axle, transmission pan, and gas tank. An aluminum skid plate was added under the front fascia which doubles as a belly pan. Mopar is even offering heavy-duty steel rock sliders like those found on the Jeep® Wrangler, as an accessory for those who are looking to take their TRX to some of the most punishing trails.
The suspension is one part of the TRX equation. Under the hood, the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI HELLCAT V8 is rated at 702 horsepower (523 kW) and 650 lb.-ft. (882 Nm) of torque. The HELLCAT is paired with the robust 8HP95 8-speed automatic transmission, the same unit found on the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. The 8HP95 has an adaptive electronic control, via the center console shifter or the aluminum paddle shifters located on the back of the steering wheel. Using the standard 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen or by using the buttons located above the electronic transfer case buttons. The 8HP95 features 6 unique drive modes, Sport, Snow, Tow, Mud, Baja, and Auto, which dramatically alter the performance of the transmission.
The drive modes also allow the TRX’s full-time four-wheel-drive (4×4) system to alter its performance depending on the mode selected. In Auto mode, the TRX features a 40/60 torque split front and rear. When placed in Snow or Mud/Sand the system alters the system to use a 45/55 output, Sport mode features a 30/70 output, Baja mode allows for a 25/75 output for high-speed desert running, and in Rock mode the system evenly splits torque 50/50 in 4-Lo.
When it comes to performance, the TRX doesn’t disappoint. While some people may laugh that this truck only has a 118 mph top speed, it was designed to do 118 mph on the rowdiest of desert backroads where the pavement doesn’t exist. It doesn’t mean, it can’t be fast on pavement either.TRX’s full-floating hubs and axle-hop damper add improved traction and launch control settings make sure the big off-roader gets out of the hold quickly. The TRX has a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and will get up to 100 mph in 10.5 seconds. Not bad for a truck tipping the scales at 6,350 lbs. The TRX will do the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds @ 108 mph, which is faster than the iconic 2004 to 2006 Ram SRT-10 Regular Cab, which did it in 13.6 seconds @ 106 mph, and weighing 1,250 lbs lighter.
When it comes to the exterior styling of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, the RAM design team really outdid themselves. The truck looks completely different compared to any other Ram 1500 in the lineup, while still holding many of the standard Ram 1500 styling elements. The TRX isn’t just a widebodied Ram 1500. Instead, there isn’t much shared with the standard truck.
When parked next to a standard Ram 1500, the size difference is immediately noticeable. The TRX is 8-inches wider than the 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel. While it does feature a Rebel/Power Wagon themed grille, designers took the grille and made it wider to accommodate the cooling needed for the HELLCAT V8. They also incorporated a larger R-A-M badge with flow-through letters, which looks obnoxious in pictures, but once you see the truck in person it fits the personality perfectly. LED headlamps similar to those found on the 2021 Ram 1500 Limited Night Edition are tucked between the new grille and functional air curtains on the widebody fenders. A beefy aluminum front skid plate also adds to the front styling’s toughness.
The TRX exclusive ram air hood features a functional hood scoop and heat extractors, to assist with cooling that big supercharged HEMI HELLCAT V8. The new hood design allows 50% of the air for the HELLCAT. Because of the added width of the TRX, three of the five federal mandated clearance lights are located in the hood scoop, while the other two are located down on the front bumper, giving the TRX a different look that doesn’t mimic its F-150 Raptor archrival.
From the side of the truck, the truck looks quite different than the standard Ram 1500 Crew Cab. Due to the box sides having to be redesigned to incorporate the widebody fenders, the rear of the truck looks quite different. Big squared-off fender flares also add to the more bulky look of the TRX. Massive 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory 325/65/R18 All-Terrain tires are wrapped around either 18-inch x 9-inch black painted and polished aluminum wheels or optional 18-inch x 9-inch Beadlock-capable aluminum wheels with color-matched rings from Mopar and enforce the off-road capability of the truck.
Going back to the box, while the floor of the pickup box is the same, the steel widebody sides are all-new. Even the squared gas filler door has been changed to a circle styled one to fit the design of the widebody. The bed can be fitted with an optional bed-mounted spare tire carrier from Mopar, giving the owner the ability to carry two full-size spare tires as the standard full-size spare tire still sits underneath the box.
Looking at the rear of the TRX, the performance off-roader carries a lot of Rebel cues with the large R-A-M badge across the tailgate, darkened themed taillamps, and black-painted exhaust tips. Those exhaust tips are a massive 5-inches in diameter, however, next to them are tow hooks which in my opinion are useless for most situations. This is because of their placement so close to the exhaust and if you find yourself on the trail or in a situation where you have to pull or be pulled on an angle, it would be easy to bang up those massive exhaust tips.
RAM made sure that the LED taillamps which are standard, could use the blind-spot monitoring system without the extended box side getting in the way. Of course, the federally mandated marker lights are incorporated on the rear as well, with corner lights housed in the fender flares and the center lights being tucked between the rear and tailgate. Those center lights are the same marker lights found on the Ram Heavy Duty models.
For those who are looking for even more stylish looks, Mopar has several different graphics that are available for the TRX. This includes the TRX logo on the box sides that looks similar to the ones found on the concept. There is also a hood graphic available, which we found actually gives the truck a more aggressive front look thanks to its dark accented appearance.
Mopar also has owners covered when it comes to getting in and out of the TRX better, with a pair of off-road styled pair of running boards. If running boards aren’t your thing, as we said before, Mopar does offer a set of rock rails for those who are looking to protect their truck over rocky obstacles.
Inside, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX looks like a Rebel on steroids. Much of the design is familiar to the standard truck in terms of layout. The biggest change from the standard truck is the addition of the center console-mounted gear shifter instead of the traditional rotary dial. This is to allow the TRX to mount its dynamic mode selector and launch control button in the space used for the rotary knob. The only disadvantage of the console shifter that you lose the ability to side the console for easier access inside.
On top of the center armrest is the custom specifications plate that stouts the horsepower, boost output, and the vehicle’s VIN number. It gives a really nice premium touch to TRX’s interior. We did have a laugh when looking at the badge due to the text saying “Designed by FCA” when the merger with Groupe PSA is in the foreseeable future and will create a new identity named Stellantis. Makes us curious to see what it will look like for the 2022 model year.
There are three interior levels when it comes to the TRX. The first is the TR Equipment Group, which gives you cloth and vinyl accents outlined in Black and Dark Ruby Red surfaces. The optional TR1 and TR2 Equipment Groups are based on the Limited model, featuring an all-black color scheme with leather and suede accents. Heated and ventilated premium Natura Plus leather with perforated suede accents cover the front bucket and rear bench seats.
If you opt for the TR1 Equipment Group, your TRX will get body-colored door handles, leather-wrapped driver and passenger assist handles, front door accent lighting, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, pickup box lighting, 8-way passenger driver and passenger seats, power-adjustable pedals, a premium wrapped instrument panel, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, rear under-seat storage, rear window defroster, illuminated vanity mirrors, and a universal garage door opener.
The TR2 Equipment Group, adds blind-spot and cross-path detection, driver-seat memory, exterior mirrors with memory, heated second-row seats, ParkSense® front and rear park assist with stop, remote keyless entry, remote start, remote tailgate release, rear 60/40 split reclining rear seat, surround-view camera, trailer brake controller, ventilated front and rear seats, and the RamCharger wireless charging pad to the TR1 group.
TRX also gets a new front-seat design featuring enhanced upper bolster support and embroidered logos. Trucks equipped with the TR1 or TR2 groups feature Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment / Pouch Attachment Ladder System (MOLLE/PALS) similar to the one found on the 2020 and 2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn Built To Serve Edition trucks on the seatbacks.
The new TRX-signature flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel provides an amazing grip. It can also be optioned with suede and carbon fiber accents for those who are looking for a premium look, but we would save our money if it was us as this wheel is great just the way it is. On the back of the new wheels are massive aluminum paddle shifters which wrap around the traditional audio control buttons.
While the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is expensive, you do get a lot of truck for the money. Its powerful engine, outstanding high-speed off-road performance, rock-crawling capability, design, creature comforts, and ability to tow up to 8,100 lbs., ensures that the TRX is one of the best all-around pickups on the market. While the TRX might not fit everyone’s budget, the TRX ensures that their a RAM off-road package for everyone when it is paired up with the likes of the Rebel and Power Wagon.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX Image Gallery: