Stereotypes on cars are a hard thing to shake. Hyundai has tried to shed its cheap persona, to varying degrees of success. Take a look at Cadillac, and its now undeserved reputation as a Sunday driver for old men. But sometimes, stereotypes are a welcome thing. This Ram TRX portrays every macho persona a pickup truck can, and it makes for one hell of a ride.
The 2022 Ram TRX overview
Just as you might have a list of requirements to build the ultimate track car, so too might you have one for off-roading. Ram basically took that list and built a truck around it. A supercharged 700-horsepower V-8 from the Dodge Hellcat? Check. Enormous 35-inch off-road tires? Correct. Heavy-duty Bilstein shocks? Most definitely. Plenty of room for your entire life? That’s here too.
Now before you ask “Why do I need a utilitarian pickup truck with all that?”, I will direct you to a BMW M5. While an M5 might be overkill to drop off the kids at school, isn’t it awesome to do so in one? And when you do want all that capability, it’s there. So it is with the Ram TRX. And least you think this is a reborn Ram SRT-10, the V-10 Viper-powered pickup from the early 2000s, this is far beyond that. But like that truck, it’s not for everyone.
Performance Score: 10. Here comes the boom.
We start with the nuclear reactor under the hood. Superchargers might be going the way of the Dodo, but somehow this is the third press car I’ve received with one bolted to the top of a V-8. Each one has had a distinct sound and power delivery, and the TRX is no different. Here, torque comes on instantly and pretty much never ends, like a tidal wave pulling you under and never letting go. TRX does not care if you drown. 702 horsepower has no issue with the 6,400 lbs of weight saddled on this pickup, and it accelerates as fast as a BMW M3 Competition.
Yes, there is launch control, and it’s hilarious to use. The height of the truck makes it feel even faster still, exaggerating all the body motions. Take your foot off the gas, and it feels like someone tossed a boat anchor out of the bed. Aerodynamics are in full effect.
From the rear, it really does sound like a T-Rex is coming for you. Combine the whine of the charger with the afore mentioned launch control, and you’ll entertain yourself endlessly from stoplight to stoplight. Throttle tip-in is progressive and never jumpy, so even when you’re off-road, everything happens in a smooth and controlled manor. I will mention that the Ram TRX can only tow 8,100 lbs, but come on, you weren’t going to use it to tow your boat down the highway anyway.
There’s nothing exotic here; it’s a regular 8-speed automatic. On the steering wheel are gigantic paddle shifters (that are actually 2 pieces, upper and lower), and thankfully a center console-mounted shifter. Shifting can sometimes feel a bit sluggish, but I’m ok with that. This was a vehicle designed for off-roading first, and you do not want a snappy set of shifts out on the dunes.
This transmission sends power to all four wheels with a torque split, and you can select from a myriad of different drive modes such as Street or Baja. It all works together seamlessly, giving you a lot of confidence to handle any terrain. The TRX is expert mode for off-roaders, and knowing the terrain you’re on will go a long way in helping to remain unstuck. In other words, you can’t just switch drive modes on the street and have your butt dyno tell you “Hmm, this feels firmer”.
While the engine might get you cheesin’, the chassis is what makes the TRX so special. A full set of Bilstein dampers work with long-travel springs to provide 12 inches of ground clearance. The rear suspension can travel up to 14 inches, which is a huge amount. This all connects to 35-inch Goodyear tires designed specifically for the Ram TRX.
That’s a lot of running gear, and we can look at this two ways. Taking this thing off-road is a hoot. Whatever conceivable situation you can cook up, the TRX can handle. Just as heading into a turn on a race track in a capable sports car gives you confidence, so too does the Ram in any dirt situation. The way the suspension articulates around rocks and hills is amazing to behold.
However, turn the nose back to pavement and issues arise. The suspension on the TRX is bouncy, regardless of the drive mode you put it in. It’s acceptable to live with on a daily basis, but it’s annoyingly always there over every bump in the road. A bit like putting on your combat boots, bullet proof vest and rucksack to go to the food store, you’ll be well prepared for the unknown but a little tired and sore when you get to your destination. While the ride is typical of pickup trucks, the hardware in the TRX magnifies it.
The wheels themselves are only 18 inches, and the brakes are truly crammed into a tight space. No matter, as they feel great and inspired enough confidence to haul this monster down without much concern. Perhaps the pedal could be firmer, but again, keeping the entire driving experience smooth and easy to modulate is key.
Combine all the components of a TRX, and you get a truck that excites you like any other high performance machine would. Its shortcomings are livable, because you know what your signing up for.
Utility: 7. Big boy.
If we were in a vacuum, the Ram would score a 10 here. The bed is a generous size, and the crew cab layout gives you an interior fit for an entire platoon.
But we’re not in a vacuum, so while the Ram might be usefully big, it’s still…big. Getting in and out is a step up, even for my 6’1 frame. It does not fit in my garage. Lanes on the highway are suddenly a little tighter than they were yesterday. The side mirrors are huge. It will not fit in a standard parking space, so plan on walking a lot further.
“Stop it Mike, this is a truck named after a Tyrannosauruses Rex.” Yes it is, prepare accordingly.
Efficiency:1. Tiny arms.
The Ram TRX has so far been a story of numbers and size. So let’s run two more by you: 33 and 10.
10 is for the distance you’ll go for one gallon of dino juice, a number that’s probably out of reach if you drive the TRX the way it should be driven. Expect closer to 9. This is all made more hilarious by the display Ram gives you, which scrolls through the numbers for range left like the Price is Right wheel.
The other number is for the size of the fuel tank. I’ve never had to fill up a vehicle with 33 gallons of fuel, but I can assume it’s not a pleasant experience. Still, if you’re about this lifestyle, you know what you’re getting into. Electric trucks might be just as powerful and much more efficient than a Ram TRX, but where will you charge it when you’re out in the dirt? I’d stick with ICE power here.
Features and Comfort: 9. Toy-saurus Rex.
Despite its utilitarian mission as a pickup, the TRX has many toys that reflect its as-tested price of $91,725. The most prominent being a huge touchscreen in the center of the dash that controls infotainment. While most screens are wide, this one is tall like your cell phone. It looks great, matching the size of the truck, and most of the buttons on the dash give way to functions on the screen. But despite its size, the main menu’s functions are on the bottom of the screen, causing you to look waaay down and away from the road. My advice here is to familiarize yourself with Ram’s UConnect system while parked in your driveway, least you find yourself accidentally climbing up a mountain.
Moo cows and trailers
Speaking of climbing, you definitely climb aboard, and are instantly greeted by a swath of black leather that feels a bit on the artificial side. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing – this is a truck that should be easy to clean out on the inside, and softer leather will wear quicker. Aside from the tall driving position, you feel like you’re in a normal car. There’s a beautiful 19-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo, heated and cooled seats (rear too!), even a flat-bottom steering wheel with an Alcantara grip. It’s hard not to feel like the king of the road. You look down at everything and everyone, and the seats are wide and plush, perfect for a long cruise. Even the pedals are adjustable.
The TRX comes with all the goodies for towing too, from split tow mirrors (very helpful for parking as well), to integrated Trailer steering and brake control. And it being a Ram, there’s plenty of useful cargo-hauling gear.
The Ram TRX is a monster truck that escaped the zoo.
You know what I kept thinking about while driving around in the TRX? The SCG Boot.
The four-door Boot costs over $300,000, and aside from its exotic looks, I think the TRX makes a much better monster truck toy. Drive the TRX for a day, then hop into the Boot and ask yourself if it provides a driving experience even on par with the Ram. It’s not a knock on the Boot so much as praise for how good the Ram is. Just as supercar performance has become more accessible for the every man, so too goes the Ram in regards to off-road capability.
Will you feel slightly ridiculous as you pummel pavement on the way to pick up the kids from day care? Maybe, but who cares? This is a Tonka Truck that’s been hit with one of Ant Man’s particle discs. I dare you to not to smile from behind the wheel.
Special thanks to Kyle Walsh for assisting with shooting the TRX!
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