By Jade Brasher
When you can’t wait to open the door and pull yourself up onto the seat with the grab handle; when your heart starts racing after you buckle in the driver’s seat, and when your adrenaline kicks in at the push of the “Start” button, that’s when you know you’re in for something special.
A pickup from Ram that offers 702 hp simply refuses to be categorized as “your daddy’s truck,” and dare I say it adds a completely new dimension to light-duty pickups altogether? I’m talking about none other than the Ram 1500 TRX. This is the truck you’ve heard all the motorheads talk about that features the Dodge Hellcat engine and goes from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds (yes, a pickup truck). And that’s not even the beginning.
POWER OF RAM
As stated earlier, the Ram 1500 TRX features the Dodge Hellcat engine. The engine is popular in the brand’s muscle cars—the Challenger and Charger. Certain models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango have also seen a Hellcat engine, but the Ram TRX is by far the largest vehicle with a Hellcat under its hood.
Ram touts this particular truck as being the “most powerful production street-legal half-ton pickup” ever built. I don’t know about all that, but I do know I could feel the power beneath me as I was driving it. The 6.2-L Supercharged HEMI V8 SRT engine gave this truck a whopping 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, and the 8-speed automatic 8HP95 transmission it was paired with really did allow the truck to go from 0 to 60 in around 4.5 seconds. I could keep up with certain sports cars with ease as we were coming off a traffic light. The surprised look on other drivers’ faces still makes me laugh. And that take-off was without using the truck’s Launch Control with Launch Assist. This feature regulates RPM and monitors wheel slip feedback to give the fastest acceleration rate.
As for work truck aspects, we do get a trailer brake controller in the TRX, and a Trailer Reverse Steering Control system is available. There are multiple power ports for phones, tablets, and laptops. The center console is also quite spacious with the capacity to hold devices as well.
It’s safe to say I’ve been around and inside a few trucks. And it seems for many models, what used to be known as a cut-and-dry workhorse has become a luxury vehicle on a pickup platform. Many models have certainly embraced a more techy and—yes, I’ll say it—fancier interior. The Ram TRX follows suit, just as one might expect from a truck of this caliber.
The driver and passenger in the front seat will rest their bottoms on performance-bolstered front seats that are designed to keep you in place when traveling off-road or at high speeds. The interior of the Ram 1500 TRX also features premium materials such as refined leather and brushed metal as well as suede and carbon fiber.
A prominent aspect of Ram trucks’ interiors is the foot-long infotainment screen. This screen can be divided multiple ways to display what matters to you most, whether that’s your music, climate control, navigation system, or Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. In the TRX, the infotainment screen features performance and off-road pages to keep you informed of how your truck is handling. And speaking of performance, there is a transfer case switch bank located just below and to the left of the infotainment screen. This bank is exclusive to the TRX and allows easy access for driving modes and launch control.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
I’m not sure the exact intent behind the design of this truck, but I would guess that because of its multiple terrain driving modes, its beefy shocks, and its launch mode, that it’s meant to tackle any terrain at crazy high speeds. That’s good news for fleet owners who often travel to remote worksites and want to look good and feel good doing it.
Let’s begin exploring the Ram 1500 TRX’s off-road capabilities with a few numbers. The truck features a ground clearance of 11.8 inches. That’s almost a foot of clearance to tread boulders and ford through streams. You’ll experience 13 inches of front suspension travel before the suspension is fully compressed. And finally, the rear suspension will travel 14 inches before it is fully compressed. That’s a lot of smooth movement for a pickup.
Speaking of smooth, Ram equipped the TRX with Bilstein Black Hawk e2 shocks. These bad boys give the TRX one of the smoothest rides I’ve experienced in a pickup—seriously. These Bilstein shocks feature dual-valve technology, high-pressure stainless steel braided hoses, remote reservoirs, and ZoneControl jounce cut off that engage a secondary piston to prevent bottoming out as the shock absorbers approach full compression after a hard landing.
Additionally, when in off-road modes, a performance page found on the infotainment display shows Vehicle Dynamics to allow the driver to hone in on the best steering angle, lock axles, or modulate transfer case gearing.
I have to admit, I liked driving this truck. I liked the sound it made when I pushed the ignition button. I liked the way I felt when I was walking toward it in a parking lot. I liked having heads turn my way as I drove down the street. And I very much appreciated its handling and the quality of ride. One thing I wasn’t happy about: the fuel economy. It’s estimated to receive 10 mpg in the city and 14 on the highway, but I’m not sure I ever got up to 9 mpg the whole time I had it. Although I didn’t drive many highway miles, and I sure enjoyed rolling hot off the line at traffic lights—which very likely impacted the fuel economy.
With the fuel economy and the price tag in mind, this truck might not be best suited for work truck applications—but that isn’t because the truck isn’t capable. With what Ram put on this 1500 TRX, I believe you could travel just about anywhere.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jade Brasher is the editor of Modern WorkTruck Solutions magazine. A graduate of The University of Alabama, Jade resides in Kennesaw, Georgia, and enjoys writing about her town, travel, and of course, work trucks. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about the Ram 1500 TRX, visit www.ramtrucks.com.