Competition fuels the automotive industry, pushing automakers to one-up one another to deliver bigger and better models that satisfy the needs of drivers and exceed their expectations. This competition, albeit fierce, is healthy because it constantly propels the industry forward. For example, America’s beloved pickup truck continues to improve as Ram, Chevy, and Ford work to outdo one another to build the better, more popular road warrior.
One of the most recent examples of this rivalry and its impact on the automotive industry is the introduction of the Ram 1500 TRX in 2021. The TRX is a power-hungry road warrior that you’ll find on your search for a Ram dealer near you, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a symbol of the evolution of the American automotive landscape as drivers demand more power and capability than ever before.
Ford seemingly answered this demand with the F-150 Raptor in the early 2010s, but the TRX leaves the Raptor in the dust like a real-life scene from Jurassic Park. Steven Spielberg would undoubtedly be proud. As the fastest and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world, the TRX sets a new benchmark in the segment and proves that a four-wheel powerhouse can satiate your need for speed and your penchant for adventure. It’s incomparable and challenges everything you know about the truck segment. Here’s why.
Living up to Its Namesake: The TRX and the Roar of the Beast
Once you put your foot to the floor in the TRX, you’ll discover the truck doesn’t mess around when it comes to power. Instead, the TRX roars to life courtesy of its supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 engine. The TRX’s HEMI takes everything you know about the HEMI powerplant and improves it, guaranteeing the TRX delivers uncompromising performance in any condition. Part of this innovative design is the TRX’s dual-path air induction system and the truck’s functional design features that work with it to prepare the four-wheeled beast for every situation and terrain.
The TRX’s induction system relies on the truck’s front hood scoop and unique grille components to direct air from the outside toward a 29-liter air box. The hood scoop sends air to the bottom rear of the box, while the grille sends air to the bottom front of the box. The system filters out water, dirt, and other debris with the air at the bottom. So, what’s innovative about this design? The TRX’s airbox constantly purifies the air, evacuating water even when the truck is in motion. Dust and dirt are also continuously eliminated via a 198.4-square inch filter, which gives the TRX four times the dust trapping capacity of any competitor.
With only clean, cool air routed to the engine, the TRX’s supercharged 6.2L HEMI is constantly performing its best regardless of the condition. Ram matches the engine’s performance with a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission renowned in the industry for its crisp gear changes and high-torque capacity. This combination is why the TRX is an exceptional performer the moment you engage the accelerator. Standard features like Launch Control enhance that performance, giving you straight-line acceleration that will take your breath away and leave a smile on your face.
Causing a Commotion: The TRX’s Impact
Until the TRX debuted in 2021, truck lovers thought they had it all with the F-150 Raptor that took America’s best-selling truck to the next level. However, the TRX put everything in a different perspective with its 702-horsepower engine. Suddenly, the Raptor didn’t look so powerful or exclusive. Instead, it looked as meek as the raptors that fell victim to the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. But, of course, painting that image is precisely what Ram intended. Needless to say, the TRX has caused quite the commotion in the truck segment.
The TRX doesn’t just threaten to steal Ford’s coveted title as the king of the segment; it grabs it and takes several victory laps. In all fairness, Ford debuted the Raptor in 2010 and had 12 years to design a heartier road warrior. Instead, the automaker replaced the first-generation Raptor’s V8 engine with a 3.5L EcoBoost V6, leaving many Raptor fans scratching their heads. Sure, the EcoBoost proved itself on the Ford GT but only added 39 horsepower to the Raptor for a total output of 450 horses. Couldn’t Ford do better?
That question took on new meaning in 2021 with the debut of the Ram 1500 TRX. For years, the Raptor set the standard for power, performance, and capability, even with an EcoBoost under its hood. However, the TRX proved that Ford could do better but had not, and that action alone sent the truck segment into a commotion. The shock was palpable as many tried to recall a time when a Ford was left eating the dust of a rival.
Demanding an Answer
The TRX’s innovative engine design and sheer capability demand an answer from Ford, pushing the automaker back to the drawing board in a desperate attempt to keep up the pace. The big question is if Ford will make the most obvious change and outfit the Raptor with a bigger, more powerful engine. After all, it’s not like Ford doesn’t have a flat-plane crank 5.2L in its wheelhouse that, supercharged, can easily match the TRX’s hearty rumble. But will Ford do it?
Rumors suggest that Ford might venture back into V8 territory with a future Raptor R variant, but until then, Ford isn’t ready to give up the EcoBoost. As Car and Driver explains, Ford’s logic is simple–the Raptor has to learn how to expertly manage the 450 horsepower it currently delivers before it can venture into bigger, beefier territory. Ford already has several ideas on how to do this, starting with replacing the Raptor’s rear leaf springs with coil-over shocks. Unsurprisingly, coil-over shocks aren’t new to the Ram lineup, with the automaker ditching the old-school leaf spring set up long ago in exchange for better handling and ride quality. Once again, Ford is late to the game.
Ford made several other adjustments to the Raptor and modified the truck’s geometry to improve handling for the 2021 and 2022 models. However, the modifications appear futile, with Car and Driver calling the TRX the clear winner yet again. So, what does this mean for the future of the Raptor and the TRX?
Competition at Its Finest
The Ram 1500 TRX is incomparable; it stands alone in the truck segment because there’s simply no other truck as capable or powerful. Comparing it to models like the Ford F-150 Raptor is seemingly unfair, but it sheds a brighter light on what propels the automotive industry forward. Moreover, it reveals the true nature of healthy competition and rivalry among some of the world’s greatest and most innovative automakers.
This type of rivalry has characterized the automotive industry since the early 1900s, propelling it forward with innovative ideas, one model at a time. In this case, the Raptor that once set the status quo of a rugged road warrior has been stripped of its title courtesy of the most powerful mass-produced truck in the world–the TRX. Ram’s legendary TRX has upended the truck segment in all the right ways, returning the industry to its roots and challenging Ford and every other automaker to do better, dream bigger, and deliver. That’s how legends are made.