RAM’s TRX Proves that Some Things Are Worth the Hype

Photo By: Rick Stowe

What does the R in TRX stand for, rumble? The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 definitely rumbles. Maybe it’s short for ‘right-foot strategy’? That’s because using every single one of the 702 horsepower on tap is one of the better ways to conquer the trail from behind the wheel of the TRX. Or perhaps  the ‘R’ just stands for Rock ‘n’ Roll because, well, this truck is pretty Rock ‘n’ Roll. In the end, the driver can decide what it stands for, just as they can decide how to enjoy the TRX because this truck is a rolling 6,396-pound choose-your-own-adventure.

Image by Rick Stowe

In a time when many trucks and 4x4s can easily be compared with their competitors, the TRX stands apart. Sure, the specifications can be compared with other trucks on the market, like ground clearance, interior volume, etc. However, the power and performance of the TRX is a unique combination that sets it apart. With plenty of off-road prowess, you can easily conquer the trail. But back on the pavement, you can lead the pack.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to test the RAM TRX in the mountains of northern Arizona. A handful of journalists and I met up with some RAM representatives just outside of Flagstaff at the Cinder Hills OHV Area. Our group was guided by certified 4WD Master Trainer Nena Barlow.

A Beast of a Truck

While the TRX is technically a Ram 1500, the body panels and design language ensure it won’t be mistaken for other trucks in the same series. Namely, the TRX is eight inches wider, the fenders are two and a half inches taller, and it sports 18-inch wheels wearing 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain tires, specifically designed for the TRX.

The distinctive hood scoop adds to the aggressive look of the TRX, but more importantly, it’s functional and handles up to 50% of the airflow to the engine.

Ram TRX RamBar and Tire Mount
Image by Rick Stowe

If someone wanted their TRX to further stand out from the pack, a variety of accessories, including a bed-mounted spare carrier, the RamBar, and offroad lights, are available as dealer add-on accessories.

Under the Hood

On the topic of the engine, what truly sets the TRX apart from other factory trucks is the 702 horsepower produced by the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 Hemi Hellcat. This beast of an engine paired with a unique air intake allows the TRX to achieve a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds or less.

The Hellcat’s power is never more evident than when experiencing the Launch Control Mode. When using Launch Control, the TRX displays the ideal brake pressure, followed by the target RPM range, and then notifies the driver when to release the brakes. The RPM range is customizable, but even without experimentation, the Launch Control successfully pushed me back into the seat and shot the truck across the dry lake bed.

Ram TRX Launch Mode

How does Launch Control apply to overlanding? I’m not sure. Should your vehicle bring you joy to a certain extent? Most definitely. Does Launch Control bring joy? Yes. As a matter of fact, it brings joy rather quickly.

All of this power is channeled through the tried-and-true TorqueFlight eight-speed transmission. While crossing ancient lake beds, climbing steep loose slopes, and carving through the ponderosa pines, the transmission never crossed my mind. A transmission that you don’t notice is doing its job and doing it well. On pavement, the TorqueFlight shifted seamlessly, regardless of whether I was cruising backroads or making aggressive progress through the interstate traffic.

Off-road Monster

The TRX isn’t all raw power; when traveling over bumps and berms of volcanic soil, the Bilstein Black Hawk e2 active suspension absorbed shocks and vibrations and allowed me to push the gas pedal a bit further. When slaloming through the pines and over roots, the Bilsteins kept the body roll to a minimum. On pavement, the suspension gave just enough lean to feel the curve without exaggerating the height of the truck.

Ram TRX Bilstein Suspension
Image by Rick Stowe

Speaking of height, the TRX boasts 11.8-inches of ground clearance. This allowed me to ignore all but the largest of trail obstacles. The ample ground clearance partnered with 13-inches of suspension travel helped keep tires on the ground in cross axle sections and provided plenty of give when hitting whoops at speed.

However, all of that power isn’t a one tool solution for off-road conditions. One member of our group did manage to bury his TRX on a particularly soft hill climb. With a bit of sweat equity and a few traction boards, the truck was ready for another run at the hill.

Digging the Ram TRX out of the soft rock of the Cinder Hills.

Ram TRX and MaxTrax

Ram TRX in the mountains of Arizona.

READ MORE: Trips & Trails: The Cinder Hills of Northern Arizona

On the Trail

From the moment I saw the trucks we would be testing, I was impressed with the imposing size of the TRX. Alongside the Power Wagon, there was hardly a perceivable difference in size. In fact, the flared fenders and wide stance of the TRX give it almost ten inches of width over its 2500 series cousin.

Ram TRX Navigating the pines.
Image by Rick Stowe

However, my concerns about the width of the TRX faded away as we transitioned from the wide-open flats to a steep, curve-filled climb through the pines. With plenty of overhanging branches and roots jutting out into the trail, the TRX nimbly carved up the slope avoiding the snags. While the truck is undeniably wide, the steering is nimble and responsive.

An Interior to Match

The interior of the TRX maintains the high standards and high-performance aspects of the truck. The 12-inch vertical touch screen offers intuitive controls for all of the expected systems. More so, it allows the end-user to take a deep dive into the customization of a number of the truck’s features. From selecting one of eight available drive modes to customizing the RPM level for Launch Control, the infotainment system is a great command center for the TRX.

The screen also provides a great view of what the multiple camera options are capturing. In particular, the front-facing camera makes crossing steep rises a breeze and offers an unobstructed view of the obstacles ahead. In tight spots, the 360-degree option makes sure you don’t have any unexpected meetings with hidden trail obstacles.

Ram TRX 360 Camera Mode

Ram TRX front cameras

Ram TRX Auxiliary Switches

Below the display are several auxiliary switches that include hill descent, trailer controls, parking assists, and two customizable switches. I appreciate that Ram has included the ability to wire in accessories easily. There are also ample power supplies to keep your electronics charged.

Even though the TRX is a highly capable off-road machine, it doesn’t forego the more luxurious touches. Amongst the contrast-stitched leather, you’ll find suede on the steering wheel, brushed aluminum detailing, and ample storage worked into the interior design. In particular, the aluminum TRX badge on the center console adds a nice touch of exclusiveness.

Ram TRX Interior Details

Ram TRX Driving Mode Selection

Ram TRX Interior Details

Ram TRX Interior Details

The seating position provides an excellent vantage point for piloting the TRX on- or off-road. The upright leather seats with contrast trim are available with memory settings, ventilation, and heating.

The Whole Package

On-road TRX feels like a sports car. It’s capable in the backcountry. And, at the end of the day, it’s comfortable enough for daily driver duties. On top of that trifecta, it’s just fun to drive. The TRX starts at $70,325, and while that’s a bit more than other high end trucks, none of the others offer this unique combination of on road performance, off-road prowess, and overall capability.

Ram TRX in the mountains of Arizona.
Image by Rick Stowe

Anytime someone asked me how the TRX drive went, before I utter a word of an answer, my grin tells the tale. This Ram TRX is a truck like no other, and it brings a driving experience to match.

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