We knew it was coming – Ford didn’t exactly make it a secret – and yet the wait was still intolerable; but, at last, we have our first concrete details about the upcoming Ford F-150 Raptor. Although we don’t have every spec and detail just yet, what Ford has released is definitely impressive and has me ready to hit the trail right now! To get a sense of just how impressive this all is, however, let’s do a quick comparison of, oh let’s say, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor vs 2021 Ram 1500 TRX.
The Ram 1500 TRX is one of the best off-road pickups around, just as impressive as the Jeep Gladiator in my book. So this is a great place to see how well the Raptor will really thrive – or if Ford has missed some steps with this new truck. I’ll save you a little bit of suspense: Ford has knocked it out of the park, and the Raptor is set to dethrone the Ram TRX as a favorite choice for taking a full-size pickup off-road.
But you don’t have to take my word for it, see for yourself…
Wheel and Tire Options
So, we’re going to mostly focus on what these two trucks are really all about: going off-road. If you’ve ever hit the trail before, then I don’t have to tell you how important the wheels and tires on your vehicle are. Since these are the actual points of contact with the trail, the right tires and wheels can make a huge difference – and this is the first of many places where the Ford Raptor comes out on top.
You see, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has 18-inch beadlock-capable wheels available, which are good, and these come with 35-inch Goodyear, Wrangler Territory All-Terrain tires. Definitely a solid choice for going off-road. The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor has 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels – no 18-inch option here – but it can come with 35-inch or exclusive 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires. These 37-inch tires look like an absolute game changer and have a tremendous impact on other aspects of their off-road performance. For example…
Clearance and Angles
Even with 35-inch tires on both of these trucks, the Ford Raptor still comes out on top, but with the available 37-inch tires, it absolutely dominates the Ram TRX. As you know, clearance indicates the distance between the underside of your vehicle and flat ground, while the various angles discussed in going off-road involve approaching, going over, and departing from an object on the road. These are very important if you like rocky trails and areas with lots of potential for fallen trees and logs.
The Ram TRX has a ground clearance of up to 11.8 inches – while the Ford Raptor has a clearance of 12 inches with the 35-inch tires or 13.1 inches with the 37-inch tires. See what I mean? Better to start, and with the larger tires, it’s not even close.
Similarly, the Raptor offers better angles. The Ram TRX has an approach angle of 30.2 degrees, a departure angle of 23.5 degrees, and a breakover angle of 21.9 degrees. With its 37-inch tires, the 2021 Ford Raptor has an approach angle of 33.1 degrees, a departure angle of 24.9 degrees, and a breakover angle of 24.4 degrees. Even with the 35-inch tires, the Raptor’s numbers are better – but the difference is more significant with the larger tires.
Engine and Transmission
I like the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor, but I’m not about to pretend like the Ram 1500 TRX’s engine is garbage because it’s very impressive. The TRX comes with a 6.2L Supercharged HEMI V8 engine that delivers up to 702 hp and up to 650 lb-ft of torque. My only real complaint about this engine is that it’s only available on the TRX and not on any other Ram 1500 model. Well, I have a second complaint: it comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The full specs on the Ford Raptor’s engine haven’t been released yet, but so far, we know it will have a twin-turbocharged High-Output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine. Apparently, Ford’s engineers are still tuning it, so they haven’t told us what to expect in terms of horsepower or torque. For now, Ram has the advantage simply because it’s a known quantity. The Raptor will come with a 10-speed automatic transmission, however, which should make for a smoother drive overall.
Suspension and Shocks
As I’m sure you know, suspension and shock absorbers are very important when going off-road, so it’s good to see that both trucks have focused on delivering here. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX features a coil spring suspension with Bilstein shocks in the front and rear, making it perfect for handling rough terrain. In terms of suspension travel, the Ram TRX has 13 inches of suspension travel in the front and 14 inches of travel in the rear.
With the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor, however, you will get high-output, gas-pressurized FOX Racing Shox absorbers that offer incredible off-road performance. The Raptor has a front suspension travel of 14 inches and 15 inches of rear travel. As you can see, that’s a full inch better both front and back, allowing it to be more flexible and handle rough terrain better.
Software and Basic Tech
Both the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX feature software to help you with terrain management when you’re on the trail. This kind of software is great and makes your life a lot easier when you need to be able to switch quickly from sand to rocks and then to mud. Although both models’ terrain management systems are comparable in some ways, there are also some key differences.
The Ram TRX has eight available terrain modes, including Sport for quick shifting times, Snow for wintery conditions, Mud/Sand for areas with difficult traction, and Rock mode for handling boulders. With the Ford Raptor, you get seven selectable drive modes with its Terrain Management System, including Slippery, Sport, Off-Road, Baja, and Rock Crawl modes. Pretty comparable, right?
I should mention, however, that the Raptor also has a four-mode exhaust system that lets you choose sound quality from Normal, Sport, Baja, and Quiet. Plus, the Ford Raptor will include over-the-air updates for its SYNC 4 system and software, which means that adjustments can be made more easily in the future if needed. This gives you greater peace of mind in knowing the system will always be up-to-date.
Advanced Off-Road Tech
Although the Ram TRX does have some other helpful off-road technology, the all-new Ford Raptor really does blow it away. With the TRX, you can get customizable performance and Off-Road pages on its settings software, as well as a high-performance exhaust. But that simply falls short of what the Raptor has to offer.
For starters, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will include a Trail 1-Pedal Drive mode that lets you use a single pedal for both throttle and brakes while at low speeds. This is perfect for rock crawling and navigating rough terrain without the effort of using both pedals. You will also get an all-new Trail Control system, which is essentially cruise control for the trail! Just set your speed, and the Raptor will maintain it for you, letting you focus on navigating rough situations and tight spots. Best of all: both of these systems are standard on every Raptor model.
Honestly, even without all of the final specs, the Ford Raptor looks like it’s going to retake its place as the best off-road full-size truck on the market. And I didn’t even mention that it comes with a 12-inch Infotainment display and 12-inch driver display, its available Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, and so much more. Ram is going to have to scramble and get some new things going if they want to keep up with the Raptor.