Tag: Raptor

THE RAM 1500 TRX: A BEAST IN STREET CLOTHING

THE RAM 1500 TRX: A BEAST IN STREET CLOTHING

The RAM 1500 TRX is FCA’s entry into the Battle of the Pickup Truck Monsters. It’s not just the Silverado vs. F150 vs. RAM 1500 battles, either. While the F150 Raptor is already on the road, the Silverado ZRX is still in dress rehearsals. We can’t call the TRD Tundra anything more than a sticker car, even when sold as the Tundra TRD Pro. That leaves us with today’s topic, the RAM 1500 TRX.

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The 2021 RAM 1500 TRX

Is it a RAM 1500 TRX or a predator T-Rex? Yes.

And above all else, it doesn’t eat its young like some in the animal world. In the case of the RAM 1500 TRX, it eats its old. Hear us out: They tell us that oil, petroleum and gasoline are fossil fuels made from decomposing plants and animals found in the Earth’s crust. Since these are likely the result of long-departed dinosaurs and other animals from prehistoric times, and since the TRX needs petroleum fuel to run, you can see how the RAM 1500 TRX is consuming its forefathers. Yes, we know it’s a stretch but trust us at Mark Elias Media for this once!

What is the RAM 1500 TRX?

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RAM TRX 6.2-LITER HEMI

The new RAM 1500 TRX is the latest member of the RAM lineup but one of the most powerful and fastest pickup trucks on the road today. A Hellcat-powered half-tonner, the TRX is now the boss in these pickup wars until Ford and GM step up their game. The RAM 1500 TRX is powered by the same 6.2-liter supercharged V8 found inside the Challenger and Charger Hellcat models.

This mill makes 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. It is matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. A fuel-sipper, this is not. Instead, figure this beast does its best Super Big Gulping to the tune of 12 mpg combined, with 10 city/14 highway. Bilstein remote-reservoir dampers and an electronic locking differential round out the package…almost. Add in the 35-inch beadlock-capable wheels and you have quite the off-road-ready dune buster, ready to take on the Baja 1000 or the Dakar Rally! As equipped, the RAM 1500 TRX can haul up to 8,100 pounds. Of course, it can “haul the mail,” too. But you knew that.

INTERIOR DECORATING

RAM 1500 TRX interior front
The Front and Rear (Below) view of the interior of the RAM TRX.
Ram Rear

With enough black leather to make a biker crowd proud, the TRX displays an understated yet subtly aggressive look that manages to inject just enough sportiness into the mix. Well-bolstered seats keep the driver and front passenger firmly in place, although we don’t suspect you’ll take the RAM TRX to the track for a day of corner-cutting. Still, they offer a comfortable ride that matches what you’ll get from the Bilstein shocks at all four corners. There’s a leather and microsuede-covered steering wheel with a flat-bottomed lower quadrant. A pair of paddle shifters take the place of a row-it-yourself shift lever, which is okay since the TorqueFlite 8HP95 8-speed gearbox will shift faster than you are humanly capable of doing.

Arm rest TRX
Builder’s plate of the RAM 1500 TRX

A huge armrest sits between us in the front, but it’s large enough to swallow a laptop and some camera gear if pressed. A builder’s plate with the RAM’s sequence number holds sway on the lid if anyone doubts its provenance.

The second row features limo-like legroom and seats that flip up for extra storage. It’s a good thing, too, because the RAM 1500 TRX is only available in crew cab configuration with a relatively small 5-foot 7-inch box.

RAM TRX Dash
The center console with 12.0-inch display screen.

If the sound from the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 weren’t enough, our test vehicle was equipped with a 12.0-inch Uconnect 4 system featuring a 19-speaker Harman Kardon 900-watt audio system complete with SiriusXM Radio as well as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

How does it look?

Ram hero
A beast, ready to eat its old.

With wild add-on bodywork details like hood scoops flared fenders and the widest stance from a standard half-ton pickup truck, the RAM 1500 TRX is pretty intimidating in its own right. Blacked-out grille trim adds to the intimidation, as do the black cladding that stretches around the vehicle. It’s a badass vehicle.

Behind the wheel.

Hit the starter and the supercharged HEMI roars from its slumber. It whirs to life thanks to the Roots-style supercharger atop the big V8. Once underway, a grumble manages to work its way into the interior despite the well-insulated cabin. But in many ways, it’s still music to our ears.

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At Okeeheelee Park Equestrian Center.

Under normal conditions, the TRX acts like a docile (!) run-of-the-mill pickup truck. But stomp on the skinny pedal, and you unleash the beast in what can best be described as a Jekyll and Hyde fashion. This monster rears back, pushing us into the seats like a dropkick to the chest by a WWE wrestler. When it finally realizes what you want from it, it thrusts itself forward, ticking off 0-to-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The RAM TRX tops out at 118 mph, thanks to an electronic governor. Why? We are clueless as to the reasons.

Especially when this brute with the heart of a Devil is yearning to breathe freely!

2017 Ford F150 Raptor

2017 Ford F150 Raptor

We were all set. I was even contemplating an appointment with a chiropractor to follow my week in the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor. The Raptor is essentially an ultra high-performance version of the Ford F150 pickup truck that is nearly race-ready, minus a few necessary safety features. The fascinating thing is that I don’t really believe in the benefits of Chiropractic.

The few days prior to the Raptor’s arrival were spent obsessing over whether there was a need for kidney belts that hold your guts in place to prevent your innards from getting beat up. By week’s end, it was clear I would need to find another way to meet my medical insurance plan deductible.

It’s a Trophy Truck…almost.

2017 Ford F150 Raptor
2017 Ford F150 Raptor

It’s an impressive truck. Starting with what is essentially a Ford F150 pickup truck, Blue Oval engineers have utilized the latest in military-grade aluminum alloy as seen in other F150s, and placed it on a modified boxed-steel frame chassis designed specifically for the Raptor.

Power for the Ford F150 Raptor comes from a Ford EcoBoost twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, which is the basis for the somewhat tamer version found in the Ford SHO Taurus and Ford Police Interceptor vehicles. In the case of the Raptor, it offers 450-horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque in its High Output configuration. Power gets to the rear or all four wheels via Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters to flick your way through, should you think your brain is more adept at quick changes than the millions-per-second from the Raptor’s CPU.

2017 Ford F150 Raptor
2017 Ford F150 Raptor

From there, it heads to an AWD/4WD transfer case whose function varies according to sensors that provide torque on-demand between the front and rear wheels, as well as a 4×4 Hi and 4×4 lo locking differential.

Ford’s Terrain Management System makes the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor behave essentially like a Land Rover, because it is similar to the TMS developed for the English-brand while their were under Ford stewardship. With it, drivers can select between two, four and All-Wheel drive modes with protocols built in for specific driving conditions ranging from street to snow to gravel to nearly everything in between.

The Killer.

If looks could kill, the 2017 Ford F150 Raptor would be on Death Row. Featuring a wider face with bold Ford lettering, twinkle running lights, and a six-inch wider gait thanks to the special issue BFGoodrich on/off high performance meats all around, it’s clear this is a purpose-built vehicle. In fact, the only difference between this and the Raptor that competed in the 2016 Baja 1000 was the addition of a full roll cage and other safety equipment as dictated by the off-road corporate racing honchos at SCORE. When all is said and done, the Raptor looks like an off-road Trophy Truck, as seen running down the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.

2017 Ford F150 Raptor
2017 Ford F150 Raptor

The ten speed automatic transmission never sent us on a hunt for the proper gearing and still managed to turn in the minimal EPA mileage expectations of 15 city / 18 highway with an actually observed 18 mpg average.

But wait! What is going on here? This ride is surprisingly plush! What we were truly expecting was a jarring, teeth-rattling drive whether on-road or off. Instead, what we got was a floaty-boaty cruiser heading down to Miami thanks to the Fox-branded High Performance shocks developed in conjunction with Ford Performance. Growing half an inch from 2.5 to 3.0-inches in diameter over the shocks from the previous Raptor, they offered a ride that even the spousal unit loved. Still, her love of high heels was likely the cause of grumblings about the high step in required to enter our truck. For those with a larger brood, the Raptor can be ordered in the larger SuperCrewCab option.

Daddy’s Money.

The new grille had a big bad-assed look to it with the aggressive FORD grille up front and minus the racerboy RAPTOR stickers all around the rear. To see the Raptor in plain view would have you think you were looking at a standard, but higher-riding version of the F150, modified with a liberal dusting of “Daddy’s Money.”

2017 Ford F150 Raptor
2017 Ford F150 Raptor

Interior-wise, our Raptor SuperCab had newly bolstered front seats with the requisite Raptor embroidery, and a bin under elbow that was large enough to store the latest MacBook Pro. Ford’s Sync3 system worked flawlessly, offering great tuneage through the Raptor’s high-end audio system. In the cheap seats, there was enough room to carry photography gear for several photo shoots, thanks to the flip-up rear bench seat. Tossing the seat bottoms into their upright and locked position meant you could actually store a 50-inch wide flat screen TV from Costco, on one of those secret-right-before-the-Super Bowl binge buys, only to return it the Monday after. By the way, anything over 50-inches could be carried in the step-equipped cargo box behind the cab.

We were surprised the Raptor did not include a telescoping steering wheel. At first glance, we thought we would be subjected to a week of contortionistic moves while trying to find a comfortable seating position. That was until we found the adjustable foot pedal switch that allowed us to move the pedals forward or back for an optimal driving position. The ventilated seats helped keep our backsides comfortable, which was essential during the peak of Hurricane season which starts with a feeling that once you leave an air conditioned dwelling, its as if you have become blanketed by a, uh, warm, wet blanket.

The 2017 Ford F150 Raptor is not for the meek of heart, or those who don’t wish to attract attention from others. Thankfully our example did not include the big screaming decals on the rear flanks that yell “look at me, look at me, I’m a Raptor!” Instead we were treated to a subtle yet aggressive vehicle that manages to talk softly but pack that extra wallop that appears once you step on the skinny pedal.

Sure, it’s not as eardrum piercing as the spawns from the Mother of Dragons on “Game of Thrones,” but this Raptor is a Mutha in its own right.

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Story and Photos by Mark Elias

Base MSRP: $48,325. As Tested: $61,685.

Includes Equipment Group 802A, $9,345; Tailgate Step, $375; Raptor Technology Package, $1,950; Spray-in Bedliner, $495; Destination and Delivery, $1,195.

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