There are pickup trucks then there are super pickup trucks. And by that I don’t mean Super Duty type trucks. No, Ram has the distinction of having the only super half-ton pickup on the market.
Why is it super? Well, because it not only has the capability of a rugged bona fide 4WD off-road hauler and towing machine, but Ram powered it with their hot and potent 707-hp Hellcat supercharged HEMI V8 with 650 lb/ft of torque for a 0-60 acceleration time of a quick 4.5 seconds. Impressive for a 6,350-pound truck. That same engine also resides in Dodge’s Challenger and Charger muscle sedans and new Dodge Durango SUV.
The Ram 1500 TRX Crew Cab 4X4 is hell on wheels. It’s exciting to drive, and does it ever grab eyes with its bold front end, functional hood air scoop, higher stance and wide oversize tires.
The best part comes when pressing the TRX’s keyless ignition on a cold morning. The engine/exhaust combination deliciously shocks the senses and even shook my house. And the whine of the supercharger when cranked up is music to a gear-heads’ ears. It offers head snapping acceleration and even has a launch control mode to increase its sure-footed quickness. So too are the 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission shifts. It’s doubtful a power shift with a manual transmission could be quicker. Shift points under hard acceleration are merely a tone change, and not felt. They’re that quick, and positive.
Of course, all this high-performance has its price. The powertrain garnered EPA mileage ratings of 10 city, 14-highway mpg. Now you didn’t really expect miserly mileage for all this exciting performance, did you?
But the powertrain isn’t the only difference the TRX possesses over regular 1500 Ram 4WD pickups. Ride height was jacked up two inches for 11.8 inches of ground clearance and has 13 inches of wheel travel over all fours enabling the TRX to climb over brush, rocks, through deep snow and mucky mud. It can also ford up to 32 inches of water. A true outdoorsman’s truck. Along with that it has 30.2 degrees of approach, 21.9 breakover and 23.5 departure angles all of which allow acute off-roading. And to protect the underbody during serious and nasty off-road jaunts, Ram TRX comes with five skid plates.
With this higher stance comes a higher step-in of 18 inches to the step rails or a giant step of 27 inches directly into the cabin. Once in you’re treated to all the comforts and technologies and then some of a luxury sedan including real carbon fiber trim. Ram’s huge 12.1-inch touchscreen that has a drag and drop feature, is an iPad of sorts with its array of operating information, controls plus Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. It offers five outside views including overhead and hitch views. And below the screen is a wireless phone charger.
A flat-bottomed heated steering wheel with paddle shifters adds extra sportiness to the cockpit as do the front perforated heated/cooled leather bucket seats with sueded inserts that also adorn the console box top. Atop the box is an engraved metal emblem showing Vin number, engine description, horsepower and twin-screw supercharger boost.
Selectable via the touchscreen are Snow, Tow, Sport, Baja, Rock, Mud/Sand, Custom and Normal driving modes. This is in addition to Ram’s 4WD system of 4WD Auto, 4WD High, 4WD Low and Axle Lock, the latter adds extra traction by locking the rear wheels to get out of a stuck situation.
We especially liked the power adjustable pedals that accommodate short, medium and long-legged drivers.
A color driver information display nestles between the speedometer and tachometer that shows selected modes, features, functions and alerts. A full cockpit of the latest technology that combined with Ram’s capabilities garnered it Four Wheeler Magazine’s Four Wheeler of the Year and the third consecutive year for Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year honors.
Ram TRX’s heated/cooled seats can seat three adults with gobs of leg and headroom. They fold up against the bulkhead and expose a full-length bin beneath them to stow small items. But the really nifty bins are hidden under the floor mat at the outer edges of the rear floor. They’re 8 inches deep and can stow items like ammunition if you’re a hunter, camera gear or other smallish items.
Ram’s dampened/lightened tailgate, that has a tall 30-inch liftover, can be released via a dash switch, keyfob or gate handle. The cargo bed itself has four adjustable tie-downs and the test truck came with an optional spare tire secured atop it. One though is standard and is lodged beneath the bed. There’s also a rear bumper pull-out side step to assist ingress into the bed.
With heavy-duty shocks and 5-coil rear suspension, TRX rode surprisingly smooth and gripped the road with tenacity shod with huge 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires. It’s big, heavy so sharp turns exhibit virtually no body lean - but how could it with all this rock hopping stability.
Now all this extraordinary super truck comes with a super price. It carried a base price of $69,995 with an abbreviated list of standard features including full-speed collision warning, ParkView rear back up camera, front/rear performance shocks, Uconnect infotainment and many more safety systems. In reverse and when sensing an object or an accident is imminent, the brakes automatically employ. It’s a shocking when it happens and when it’s not expected which occurred while backing onto my driveway and the system sensed a snow pile five yards to the rear.
On the options side, and there are many and many not on the test truck. For example, the paint job adds $200, Customer Package 29Y ($1,095) includes a long amenity list; then there’s the Trailer Tow Group ($195); Advanced Safety Group ($995) is worthy as it includes pedestrian/cyclist emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist); Bed Utility Group ($845); lower two-tone paint ($250); Carbon Fiber package ($1,295); TRX Level II Equipment Group ($7,920 is the most expensive that has a lengthy list of must-haves plus lots of nicety items); rear mounted tire carrier ($995 that unless you’re doing Baja, it’s not needed). Add delivery ($1,695) and the hot TRX takes you to $87,670. Yes, it’s a lot of money but the competition that have models breaking the $100K mark.
Have you heard the latest country song entitled “I love my truck?” It certainly applies to the TRX. It’s one awesome half-ton pickup and if you can swing it, get one before they’re all gone which happened to Dodge’s hot Hellcat-powered Durango AWD SUV. And Dodge is not making more.
This is one truck I hated to return to Ram as it has everything and then some.
Incidentally, Ram TRX comes with a 5 year/60K powertrain and 3/36K basic warranties.