Truck Yeah: Mental 523kW/880Nm Hellcat-engined Ram 1500 TRX breaks loose

2021 Ram 1500 TRX front 3/4 in motion

The Ford F-150 Raptor finally has competition in the form of this insane Hellcat-engined (6.2L V8, thank you very much) Ram 1500 TRX.

The Ford F-150 Raptor has had everything all to itself when it comes to being fast off-road. Not anymore. This is the Ram 1500 TRX and it’s arrived with everything the Internet wants in a fast fourby.

Yep, under the bonnet is the same supercharged 6.2L V8 that normally resides in a Dodge Hellcat. That engine makes 523kW and 880Nm of torque and it’ll get to 96km/h in 4.5 seconds and smash the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 172.8km/h. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX front 3/4

The 1500 TRX is eight inches wider (in the body) than a regular Ram 1500 and six inches wider in the track. The wheels themselves are wider too, up from eight inches wide to nine inches and the front axle needed to be moved 20mm further forward to fit them in; stretched fender wells and composite flares cover the wider 18-inch beadlock ready wheels and 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory 325/65/R18 All-Terrain tyres.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX rolling chassis

Like the body changes, there have been some functional changes to body as a whole, like the bonnet scoop which is responsible for sucking in 50% of the air entering the engine, and there are air curtains ahead of the headlights to relieve pressure on the front corners and channeling air through the fenders to cool the brakes.

As if the 1500 TRX didn’t already look wildly different from the rest of the lineup, it gets a unique R-A-M badge, front grille, bonnet, skid plates and steel bumpers. All-black premium LED headlights, including twin bi-functional projector headlights, are standard. TRX buyers can choose an optional full-length rock rail for added body/sill protection or traditional off-road powder-coated aluminum running boards.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX front 3/4

Ram TRX features new box outers made of steel and are wider than that of a traditional Ram 1500. A bed-mounted spare tyre carrier is available in addition to the standard full-size spare tyre that sits underneath the bed. LED tail lights are standard on TRX and the bezels allow for the Blind-Spot Monitoring system to see around the extended box outers. Clever.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX in motion

Ram TRX features three interior options, including premium cloth and vinyl, premium wrapped leather and suede, or premium wrapped leather and suede with available red and carbon fiber accents. Ram TRX features new front seats with enhanced upper bolster support and embroidered logos. Depending on the trim selected, buyers will get a Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment / Pouch Attachment Ladder System (MOLLE/PALS) on the seatback that enables bags and other equipment to be weaved in place.

And, being a performance vehicle, there’s a new SRT-signature flat-bottom steering wheel, with enhanced hand grips wrapped in leather or cost- optional suede and carbon-fibre accents. Aluminum paddle shifters stretch above and below the steering wheel spokes, allowing the driver to grab a gear with just their fingertips. 

2021 Ram 1500 TRX interior

The Drive Mode selector has been integrated into the dashboard above the transfer case switches and offers different modes of operation, indicated by a TRX pictogram for select environments: Normal, Wet/Snow, Off-road and Baja. A Launch Control button is easily within reach of the driver.

An all-new Head-up Display unit can show up to five different content areas at once, including Lane Departure, Lane Keep Assist, adaptive cruise control, turn-by-turn navigation, current speed, current gear and speed limit. The Head-up Display is a full-color unit accessible through the massive 12-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX suspension

To handle high-speed humps and thumps, the 1500 TRX gets a thicker chassis with sections of the frame hydroformed for increased strength and accuracy, and the side rails are fully boxed. The front rails use high-strength steel and hydroformed sections to better handle the front suspension load. Five skid plates have been fitted underneath to protect vital components from being bashed off-road. Rock sliders are a cost-option.

The 1500 TRX runs a different front suspension system with active dampers (Bilstein Black Hawk e2) while, out the back, five-link coil system (also featuring active dampers) was chosen because of its ride and durability. The frame’s hard points for the five-link suspension system differ when compared to a standard-issue Ram 1500 and allow the Dana 60 rear axle to travel up to 330mm. Overall, rear-wheel travel is increased to more than 330mm from the standard 228mm, or more than 40 percent when compared to the rest of the Ram 1500 lineup.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX water fording

The Ram TRX boasts a ground clearance of 300mm due in part to a 50mm ride height increase when compared with the rest of the 1500 lineup, along with 35-inch tyres. Water fording is 800mm. The Ram TRX is equipped with a new BorgWarner 48-13 full-time active transfer case. Ram TRX features a low range of 2.64:1 for rock crawling and can be flat-towed while in neutral.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX front 3/4

The engineering that went into the new 1500 TRX is impressive and so is the testing regime behind the development of the thing. RAM built a new high-speed desert test track and pounded the thing around if for thousands of kilometres. 

It’s unlikely we’ll see the 1500 TRX in Oz but if you live Stateside and have been hanging for the thing since the 2016 concept was revealed then, Merry Christmas.

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.