By ALEX NISHIMOTO, Edmunds
We live in a golden age of off-road pickup trucks that you can buy direct from the factory, and the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX are the most talked-about examples. They are similar in many ways and offer great trucking features coupled with exceptional high speed performance in the desert. But there are some differences that make each performance pickup unique. Which truck is the better buy? The experts at Edmunds break down the pros and cons of each to find out.
The F-150 Raptor comes with a turbocharged V6 that generates a menacingly respectable 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. But those numbers look almost odd compared to what the Ram 1500 TRX is capable of. Its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 delivers an incomparable 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. By normal truck performance standards, the Raptor’s engine produces a healthy amount of power, but it just can’t hit the TRX’s output.
To get an idea of how much more powerful the TRX is, just look at the acceleration figures of the two trucks. In Edmunds’ testing, the Raptor sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 5.8 seconds, but the TRX hit 60 mph more than a second faster in 4.2 seconds. The TRX also sounds a lot cooler when you hit the gas.
Both the TRX and Raptor are wide and have a relatively long wheelbase, which can make them feel claustrophobic on narrow, cobbled trails. These trucks are best suited for expansive deserts where they can stretch their legs and use their massive strength and specialized hardware.
Each truck has ample ground clearance and comes standard with large 35-inch all-terrain tires. Long-travel suspension systems are also standard, with both the Ram and Ford rocking adaptive remote reservoir shock absorbers designed specifically for off-road use. Reinforced four-wheel drive, skid plates, a rear-locking differential and selectable drive modes are also standard on both models.
There are minor differences in how each truck feels when you drive it off-road, but ultimately not enough to make a difference anyway. They are both exceptional.
The combination of large tires with thick sidewalls and a soft-sprung off-road suspension results in a smooth ride for both the Raptor and TRX. One drawback, however, is that those soft all-terrain tires tend to be noisy and throb on the highway. The Ram is roomy, although the seats could use a little more cushioning for off-road use. The Raptor feels roomy despite being slightly smaller than the TRX.
Both interiors will impress with their luxurious features and sporty touches, but the Raptor has a slight edge over the TRX when it comes to tech. The TRX comes standard with Ram’s vertically oriented 12-inch touchscreen. It looks great and the interface is responsive and easy to use. But the Raptor’s 12-inch touchscreen, which is laid out horizontally, is just that little bit better. The graphics are crisp and clear, and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration schemes connect wirelessly to your phone. The Raptor also has a fully digital 12-inch instrument panel, which looks sharp and complements the central touchscreen nicely.
The TRX is easily the most powerful off-road production truck ever made, but if you want that boast, it’s going to cost you. Starting at over $78,000, the 2022 Ram TRX is about $8,300 more than a 2022 F-150 Raptor. Is the Ram’s extra 252 horsepower worth it? For some it may be, but the Raptor’s turbocharged V6 should be more than enough for everyday driving, while providing high-speed thrills for the occasional off-road adventure.
With such a big power gap, it should come as no surprise that the Raptor has better fuel economy than the TRX. With an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in combined city/highway driving, the Ford isn’t a fuel guzzler, but it will save you more at the pump than the Ram with its combined 12 mpg thirst.
EDMUNDS SAYS: Both trucks are a ton and a half of fun. But with the Raptor, you get similar capabilities for significantly less money. And if you need a ridiculously powerful truck in your life, wait for Ford’s V8-powered Raptor R to arrive for the 2023 model year.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the car website Edmunds. Alex Nishimoto is an employee at Edmunds. Follow Alex on Twitter.
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