THE RAM 1500 TRX
RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD 6.2
If looking for proof of a divided society, look no further than the automotive landscape. In Northern Virginia (my current zip code) Tesla’s Model 3 is ubiquitous, while in my previous mailing address – Southlake, Texas – the ½-ton pickup was viewed as a viable grocery getter. And few pickups will get those groceries faster than the Ram 1500 TRX. With 702 horsepower propelling its 6,900 pounds, the Car and Driver team reached 60 miles per hour in under 4 seconds and covered the ¼-mile in just over 12; driven responsibly – as if, you know, you own it – might take you five to 60, and 15 over that same 1320 feet…
Now in its third year on the market, the TRX is the tit (all caps? TIT!) for the Ford Raptor tat. Built for extreme off-road driving and racing, where you’ll submit to a breathalyzer test before getting behind the wheel, the TRX combines all of the RAM design team’s accumulated knowledge from their desert excursions, along with an additive supplied by the marketing team’s nighttime emissions.
In building on – and building out – its Ram 1500, the Ram brain trust begins with what has become the cream of the light duty crop, with a class-leading platform combined with expressive sheetmetal and an upscale interior treatment. Of course, to do what the TRX is intended to do there’s a host of mods made to the platform beyond its 700+ horsepower. Its steel frame is reinforced, an upgraded suspension provides 13 inches of travel, and 35-inch all-terrain tires (as tall as your 10-year old!) are mounted on 18-inch wheels. If it were a boat, the combination of suspension lift and tall tires would be its freeboard, but rather than navigate a choppy sea the TRX is designed to negotiate a choppy surface, a veritable moonscape with no discernible path except the one created in its dust by the truck and its pilot.
On top of all that – or more correctly, below all that – is underbody plating to protect the mechanical bits, Bilstein remote-reservoir dampers, an electronic-locking rear diff and pizza pan-sized front brakes. In short, when you pull into a gas station (which you’ll be doing daily) the predictable questions you’re asked can be answered with the complete certainty that if any specific upgrade was needed, the product team provided it.
In its sheetmetal, the TRX sports the obligatory bulges, but the design team took a wholly adult approach to its execution. The result is one helluva lot more integrated than its pre-historic namesake; think Rambo (RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II) hanging by his wrists, while wearing John McClane’s (DIE HARD!) wifebeater.
The necessary ground clearance is achieved via an abnormally high step up into the cab. Given its Ram roots, we’ll assume the standard, $85K TRX would meet your needs, but our TRX was fitted with $10K of Level 2 Equipment Group, which provides leather-trimmed front seats, ventilated front seats, upgraded front door trim panels and a full-length premium upgraded floor console.
There’s also heated and ventilated rear seats (split 60/40), an impressive amount of tech and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Ram parent Stellantis reported a huge uptick in earnings last year, and a significant portion of those profits was provided by Ram. In sum, our nation’s income inequality does indeed provide a payoff.
To its credit, this huge footprint drives smaller than its overall length of almost twenty feet would suggest. In fact, it seemed more tossable than the Toyota Sequoia I reviewed in February, despite the Ram’s bulked-up persona. And there is nothing – NOTHING – that feels better than those 700 horses in front of you, and few things more frustrating than not being able to use but a small percentage of them.
Of course, the supercar market exists in large part by its perceived capability; anyone making a serious attempt to use a Lamborghini’s 200 miles per hour on public roads invariably lands in jail or on a funeral home’s website. The super truck is something newer, and while on one hand it’s perhaps harder to grasp (you spent $100K on a truck?), its performance is also more accessible; you won’t hesitate to drive it in the rain, snow or a what-the-hell hurricane. The Ram TRX is your Chariot of Fire, 24/7.
If I could spec a truck, I’d put a light duty diesel (Ram has one) under the hood, reduce ground clearance by a couple of inches and cut a half-ton from the claimed curb weight. Ram calls it a Rebel – and I find it a reasonable alternative to the dubious logic of 700 horsepower and 10 miles per gallon.
But when you want to play, guys…you gotta’ pay.