Crack open the popcorn folks, this is the 702hp Hellcat-engined 1500 TRX – the first major competitor that the Ford Raptor has had to deal with in the history of ever. And it’s got what all those Raptor naysayers want: a big ‘ol thirsty V8 with a supercharger whacked on top – not some sissy twin-turbo V6. Their words, not ours.
This absolute anvil of power (and biggest flex at Jewsons possible) follows on from the news that every single model in Dodge’s range can have a Hellcat-powered, 700+ horsepower SRT version. But FCA’s truck brand wanted in on the looney asylum, so has followed suit, by dropping the familiar 702hp and 880Nm supercharged 6.2-litre V8 in a crew-cab pick-up.
That’s not all though, as there are some rather comprehensive upgrades. So what do you get? Well, it may not look like it, but it is actually a RAM 1500 underneath. It’s just grown a bit. Quite a bit. The arches are a whopping eight inches wider than standard, to hold a track width increase of six inches. But to be able to not bend like a banana at Full Send, the frame and suspension have been beefed up – just like a Raptor’s.
Underneath there’s new suspension, with an independent front axle and new forged aluminium control arms up front. Out back, there’s the standard Dana 60 solid axle but with a new five-link setup while Bilstein has developed chunky 2.5-inch remote-reservoir dampers all round for when you pound the sand. And make no mistake about it, the TRX has been designed to run hard and bait out that blue oval.
That’s why Ram engineers have fitted that monster 6.2-litre engine with a new airbox (mounted above the engine so it’s not rattled to death) fed by the grille and the hood scoop, so the motor can breathe through massive filters so it gets a clean supply even during high-speed desert running. There’s also a new oil pan and a new alternator, mounted higher up to increase wading depth to 32 inches.
Or navel height for most people, if you need some dubious scale. Ram even went to the extent of moving the front axle forward to give the TRX 13-inches of suspension travel front and rear, plus a ground clearance of 11.8-inches, a near three inch growth spurt.
Flattering the Raptor, there’s also a “Baja” mode. This doesn’t mean a lot to us You-row-pee-ans, but it basically means that with one press of a button the truck is set up to smash across a slither of Mexico thanks to a special desert calibration for the four-wheel drive system, stability control, engine and transmission maps.
We’re sure it’d work in Bedfordshire too. If the mahoosive truck could fit down the lanes, that is. But because ‘Murica’, Ram has also developed the truck to run on tarmac. Well, sticky drag strip bitumen.
Weirdly, Ram is very proud of having produced a pick-up truck that can not only beat up the Atacama, tow 3,600kg and swallow 600kg of whatever in its bed, it can also tear up the drag strip.
Equipped with a dedicated launch control button secreted in the dash, once activated, Ram claims the TRX will hit 95km/h in 4.5secs, 160km/h in 10.5, and it’ll run the quarter-mile in 12.9secs with a 173.8km/h trap speed.
It’ll run out of puff shortly afterwards, with the top speed being 190km/h. But only because all those numbers have been run on knobby 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory All-Terrain rubber. Which is crazy.
Inside, a TRX is very similar to all the other Ram trucks. Which is no bad thing, as they’re the most car-y trucks on sale. There’s a Tesla-esque 12.0-inch portrait centre touchscreen, plush seats and paddles to play around with the ZF 8spd automatic ‘box it comes with.
So, if you’ve been waiting out for a TRX since the concept in 2016, your dream has come true. Mainly because they’ve given you a couple of hundred more horsepower on top of that. But would you have one of these over a Ford Raptor? Let us know in the comments below.
STORY Rowan Horncastle