Tag: silverado

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.

rear hero
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!

2018 Ford F150 First Drive

2018 Ford F150 First Drive

With its predecessor already an award-winning vehicle, what does Ford do for an encore? The 2018 Ford F150 holds tough with a new, bolder grille, bringing it closer in line with its bigger Super Duty brethren. But is that enough to keep this aluminum wonder relevant into the new model year?

With the aluminum bodied F150 already well received, Ford revisits engine configurations and choices, adds more design cues, more safety features, more payload, more, uh, more. Are pickup trucks still sexy? Let’s find out.

What’s New?

Ford flew us to their backyard, in Ann Arbor Michigan, where they displayed a beautifully ancient Model TT truck and a 1950s-era Ford F1 pickup, following the axiom that you need to see where you’ve come from in order to see where you are going.  Even though the brand has been successful with over 26 million F-Series pickups sold to date, the company still tries to push the envelope. Not content with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” ethos, Ford designers and engineers, following their successful redesign in 2015, decided to tweak a few outside appearance items and then go whole hog on the powertrain. That, and the fact they are constantly aware of what is happening with their around-town rivals, the RamTruck Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado / GMC Sierra twins, and the Texas-bred Toyota Tundra.

New on the 2018 Ford F150 are revised C-Clamp headlamps with available LED lighting that help to add some swagger to the twin bar grille. As a result, there’s no mistaking what another driver sees in their rearview mirror. Returning: Ford’s trademark “drop down” side glass is back for an easier sideview of the road. New design cues on XL, XLT and Lariat series trucks mimic that of Ford Super Duty models, while the premium King Ranch, Platinum and Limited series up the ante even more.

Ford F150
Ford F150

New for 2018 is the base 3.3-liter V6 engine, which is smaller, but puts out eight more horsepower and an additional 12 lb-ft of torque than the base 3.5-liter V6 it replaces. In current trim, it’s good for 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.

That engine is joined by a revised second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. It includes port and direct-injection, and now features 325 horsepower and an additional 25 lb-ft of torque, up to 400 lb-ft.

Finally, a revised Five-Point-Oh (5.0-liter) V8 is offered, which like the 2.7-liter V6, now includes port and direct-injection, along with friction-reducing enhancements that boost it up an additional 10 ponies to 395-horsepower and 13 more lb-ft of torque to 400 lb-ft.

Ford F150
Ford F150

Ford, in an effort to keep the entry price low, mates the 3.3-liter exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.7- and 5.0-liter receive a 10-speed automatic gearbox. These and other enhancements help the F150 achieve a maximum gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 18,400-pounds, with a 1,000-pound increase in towing capacity to 13,200 lbs. As far as rocks in the box, you can haul up to 3,270-pounds of cargo in the 5.5-, 6.5-, or 8-foot boxes. Cab configurations start with a regular cab setup, a SuperCab and a SuperCrew cabin for the full E-ticket ride.

Safety First.

The Blue Oval reportedly included a new 12-corner front crush horn to throw off energy in a frontal impact. Ford has determined that it helps to increase occupant safety in such a shunt.

Adaptive cruise control is also in the mix with stop and go measures for truck applications, including towing. According to Ford, the system operates by using radar to bring the F150 down to a complete stop, depending on following distance.

An available Pro Trailer Backup Assist guides drivers in backing up with trailers to boat ramps or driveways. Also on board: an optional Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) which works with trailers up to 33-feet long, causing the system to add in the extra towing length when considering the blind spot. Combine that with the available 360-degree camera system for a total view around your ride.

Behind the Wheel.

Always a competent runner, we found the new 2018 Ford F150 only improving on its legendary abilities. Sufficiently quiet on Michigan back roads, we found normal conversations possible, even from the back seat. When we were in a mood for tuneage, the Bang & Olufsen audio system provided clear and crisp dBs of sound, despite what was emanating from under the hood.

Ford F150
Ford F150

Power from the 5.0-liter V8 was flawless even at high speeds, which saw the new 10 speed automatic transmission trying to get to its top cog in an effort to achieve fuel sipping nirvana. Lower speed jaunts around town found it skipping a gear or two for added efficiency. No matter, as it is probably very easy to get lost within 10 gear sets.

On an impromptu off-road course, the F150 admirably displayed added functionality from such features as the 360-degree Around Vehicle camera system and vehicle sensors. When cresting up a hill, all it took was a flick of the switch to turn on the front-view camera, to see what lie below before descending on the other side.

Plowing through the water hazard was just plain fun and a good indicator of how the F150 will perform under trying conditions. Slip it into 4-low and the powertrain supplied all the grunt needed to pull us up and away from a simulated shallow river crossing.

Add that to the thoughtfully designed tailgate step and other around-truck features, and it’s easy to see why the 2018 Ford F150 will likely continue its dominance in the half-ton pickup truck segment.

2018 Ford F150

Story and Photos by Mark Elias. Additional pics by Sam Varnhagen/Ford.

F150 Specs:

Base prices:

XL: $28,675; XLT, $34,265; Lariat, $41,980; King Ranch, $52,895; Platinum, $55,450; Limited, $61,815.

Engines:

3.3-liter Naturally Aspirated V6

2.7-liter EcoBoost Turbocharged V6

3.5-liter EcoBoost Turbocharged V6

5.0-liter Naturally Aspirated V8

 

Transmissions:

Six-speed Automatic with manual shift mode

10-speed Automatic with manual shift mode

 

Dimensions:

Wheelbase: 122.4-163.7 inches

Length: 209.3-250.5 inches

Width: 79.9 inches

Height: 75-77.5 inches

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