- Photo by Kevin McCauley | Capture the Machine

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is a Master of All Trades

I got to test drive the all-new 702hp Ram TRX on the Street and Off-Road and its the most fun I've had in 2020.

12w ago

Driving the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX at the 2020 Texas Truck Rodeo

At this year's 2020 Texas Truck Rodeo, organized by the Texas Auto Writers Association, I had a chance to drive the highly anticipated 2021 Ram 1500 TRX on the street and tackle an off-course at the Star Hill Ranch in Bee Cave, Texas. After writing about the TRX all summer, I was chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel of this Hemi powered muscle truck.

On paper, the Ram 1500 TRX reads like a vehicle Europeans assume all Americans drive. A pickup truck that can do zero to 60 in under five seconds wears 35-inch tires as standard, breathes through a functional hood scoop, and has a picture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex eating another dinosaur under the hood. If this truck were anymore Murican, the seats would have football cowskin leather, a gun-rack that doubles as a bicycle rack as standard, and feature the song "Fortunate Son" in its ad campaign.

Kevin McCauley | Capture the Machine

Kevin McCauley | Capture the Machine

The TRX doesn't lean to one side politically because it's a pickup truck. This vehicle speaks to the righteous confidence born from a "USA! USA!" chant. You don't need to be a straight-party ticket voter to enjoy a 702 hp supercharged V8. My only concern is that one of these future TRX owners will eventually slap-on a political decal and ruin the truck's character by making it too serious. The Ram TRX is built to make people smile, laugh, and slap the Ford F-150 Raptor across the tailgate with a white dueling glove.

Driving the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX while sporting a black cowboy hat and mustache, I couldn't help fantasizing about a Smokey and the Bandit reboot. A movie where a red TRX jumps over bridges, pancakes police cars, co-staring an electric semi-truck hauling 800 cases of cold-brew IPA's.

Kevin McCauley | Capturing the Machine

Kevin McCauley | Capturing the Machine

Past the 4,000 rpm mark, the TRX roars like it's about to storm a beach. A full-on battle cry as it charges forward, pulling you back in your seat as you fight your flight response to ease off the throttle. The reward for your bravery is a supercharger instigator whining for you to keep going – don't lift. But when flashing blues or blinking red lights appear and you need to throw out the anchor, the TRX dives forward to slow down. I like that the brakes were not overly sensitive, allowing for a threshold. You can slow down this truck smoothly like any regular vehicle and feel the face-pulling stopping power of performance disc brakes when it matters.

The TRX is the first Ram truck to have launch control, with launch assist. I know what you're thinking, and yes, you can use launch control off-road. Apart from launching off the line at any given Sunday, the TRX features eight different drive modes: Sport, Snow, Custom, Mud/Sand, Rock, Baja, Auto, and Tow - no Eco mode. It also includes a valet mode that limits the amount of horsepower available. Each setting changes how the power is delivered to the wheels. The Ram TRX has a max towing capacity of 8,100 lbs and a payload rating of 1,300 lbs. Plenty of muscle to carry or tow a weekend adventure.

Off-road, I rarely needed to touch the gas pedal as the TRX used its Hemi-power to crawl over rocks with ease. A big toe's worth of throttle input was required to give the TRX push it over steep inclines. Front-mounted cameras allowed me to see where the front wheels were pointing to help improve steering input. 35-inch tires, ground clearance of 11.8-inch, and up to 14-inches of suspension travel can make the Ram TRX a trailblazer in any terrain.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Interior

Inside, the cab's red details serve to remind the driver that this is pure temptation on wheels. A red ignition button, red rings in the instrument cluster, a launch control button, and a bespoke plague on the suede center console that reads "702 Horsepower."

One interior feature I found pleasantly surprising is that rear passenger seats are ventilated and heated as well. My favorite interior detail on the 2021 Ram TRX is the center-mounted shifter. Using a standard dial gear selector would have ruined the truck's magic. Like biting into a cookie and then realizing they are raisins, not chocolate. You need a real shifter when starting up a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi, a lever to pull back and unleash the Hellcat from its cage.

The starting price for the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is $71,690, and if you manage to find one at any price under $80k, then your name must be on the side of the dealership. You better believe dealerships will be adding their mark-ups to this truck as soon as they hit the showrooms. The Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition starts at $92,010, which sold out in days. A unique Anvil grey color code is available only on the Launch Edition and comes fully-loaded.

Available options on the Ram TRX include a Level 2 equipment package that adds TRX exterior graphics, red interior accents with carbon fiber trim, and Beadlock-capable 18-inch wheels. Additional optional accessories include a Baja style bed-mounted spare tire carrier and a RamBar light bar.

To sum it up, is the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX fun to drive? Is it a capable off-roader? Does it look cool? Yes, across the board! Ram gave this truck everything but the kitchen sink to create a master of all trades. A truck that can accelerate like a muscle car, hold car seats like an SUV, off-road like a Jeep while towing weekend toys to the nearest track, lake, or campground.

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is a Bad-A** truck!

Kevin McCauley | Capturing the Machine

Kevin McCauley | Capturing the Machine

Special thanks to Kevin McCauley for providing some photos featured in this article. Follow his automotive photography at Capture the Machine.

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Comments (2)

  • Why did it take so long for the "off-road pre-runner" type of high-performance truck to take off? The old V8 F-150 Raptor came and went basically uncontested in its time in the sun, and only now in the EcoBoost V6 generation has it met direct competition with the TRX and indirect challengers with the SR2 Bison and Toyota's TRD Pro.

      2 months ago
  • I think the white glove is slapping the grille right between the headlights....I want one

      2 months ago