A little-known fact about Superman is that his creators first envisioned the character as a villain. The original story was about a mad scientist who picked a random drifter and gave him telepathic powers. With his new powers, the wanderer begins to take over the world. Obviously, that version of Superman was replaced by the overly friendly alien.
However, I feel that Stellantis (formerly FCA) knew about Superman’s original story, as it has done something similar with the Ram 1500. It has taken the Ram 1500, which has struggled with the likes of the Ford F- 150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and superpowered it to make the 2022 Ram TRX. Those powers come in the form of a 702-horsepower supercharged V8 with Baja-style suspension.
The first time you engage the launch control and feel and hear the raw power of the Ram TRX, you almost have to laugh. Who the hell would make this up? It seriously feels like it’s not from planet Earth because it’s ferocious and unforgiving. It’s also hilariously fun.
Ford may have created the high-performance off-road pickup segment with the Raptor, but the Ram TRX is a different creature altogether. It’s so big, so powerful, so outrageous that it makes no sense. At the end of the day, you don’t have to, because Aries has created something so unique it’s hard to comprehend.
Design & Interior
Pickups are often huge, but the TRX feels and looks like it’s bigger than life itself. A medium-sized dog could curl up into a ball for a nap in the TRX’s massive fenders, and the hood scoop is big enough to suck in unwitting bunnies. The pickup also sits 11.8 inches off the ground, thanks in part to massive 35-inch all-terrain tires. The test vehicle Ram provided also has a spare tire in the bed, which is incredibly inconvenient, but gives the pickup a trophy truck suit.
While the TRX looks like a growling beast, its design isn’t as outrageous as you’d expect from a deranged pickup. In fact, everyone on the road thinks you’re just another stereotypical pickup truck owner in a lifted, obnoxiously loud truck. The only thing missing is a questionable bumper sticker to complete the look. In Aries’ defense, form really follows function and looks like an angrier version of the Rebel. Its competitor, the Raptor, is nothing like the F-150 on which it is based.
Ram makes the best interior of any pickup money can buy, so the TRX is every bit as plush, luxurious, and high-tech as its stable mates. Of course, Ram gave the TRX its own unique sporty touches, such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel, large paddle shifters, heavily padded seats, push button start and a TRX-labelled drive mode controller. Buyers can also get real carbon fiber accents as part of a package that puts the material in can’t-miss places. These features and materials may seem out of place at first glance, but the TRX is a performance vehicle first and a truck second.
The TRX’s 12-inch tablet-style touchscreen is an unexpected highlight in the interior. It has sharp graphics, is easy to use and is better than almost any other infotainment system available today, despite the fact that it includes the old Uconnect 4 infotainment system. Between the speedometer and tachometer is a 7-inch screen, which allows the driver to keep an eye on useful information such as how much range is left – very important as the TRX drinks fuel like an addict. A fully digital instrument panel would be nice, but the Hellcat’s familiar gauges are nice to see.
With a 702 hp supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine, you expect the TRX to deliver a lot of performance. But there’s really no way to anticipate the raw brutality. Launch control gets the TRX to 60 mph in an automaker’s claimed 4.5 seconds, but other outlets have timed the truck to do the sprint in just 3.7 seconds. The nose of the TRX lifts, the rear crouches down slightly, and the truck takes off. Then there’s the sound. Getting to 60 mph in the same time as a sports car is one thing, but the guttural sound the V8 makes is intoxicating. The whine, oh that sweet, sweet supercharger whine. For unsuspecting passengers and drivers on the road, it’s terrible.
Unlike other Hellcat models where the engine dominates the conversation, it’s just part of the package in the TRX. The rest includes some trick suspension with 14 inches of rear travel, Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs, nine riding modes, including Baja, and knobby all-terrain tires. Surprisingly, for such a big, top-heavy pickup, the TRX handles well in Sport mode. The mode tightens the dampers considerably, resulting in a much less floaty feel, but the truck still rolls and wallows, because that’s what a 6,300-pound vehicle is going to do.
While the TRX will impress in a straight line on the road, it really needs to be taken off-road to enjoy it. And not to an off-road park, but to a sand dune or the desert where you can jump the thing and let the V8 unwind. Going way above the speed limit on a small trail in Baja mode seems brutal. The truck knows it has more to offer. It will be a tough task to find a place to release him, not only because of his size, but also because he is so capable.
With multiple riding modes, the TRX can weave through anything in its path at any speed. It really feels unstoppable, like an apocalypse is the only thing that will bring the TRX to a halt. That or another fuel crisis. The EPA claims the TRX is capable of getting up to 12 mpg combined, but that’s a bad April Fools joke.
Between a mix of light off-roading, city driving and long highway trips, we saw an average of 8 mpg. Depending on how hard you drive – and you won’t be driving light – you’re looking at single-digit mpg numbers. If that sounds bad, premium fuel is mandatory. If the truck’s high MSRP doesn’t cause heartburn, filling up at the gas station will, because you’ll want to spend $200 for a tank on a regular basis.
Should you buy one?
As much as it pains me to say, the answer is no. Unless you live in the middle of the desert or have access to some off-road facility where you can actually exploit the TRX. If you do, invite us. Seriously, this thing is a niche product based on its performance alone. Then there’s the insanely high $72,020 starting price tag with destination. Our tester came equipped with quite a few extras and cost $87,570.
Nothing beats the TRX. No one else has made such a package in a pickup truck. It’s equal parts insanity and hilarity. The TRX is the first supertruck that consumers can actually buy, as long as they have the cash. Ford may have created the segment with the Raptor, but Ram turned the segment and the world upside down with the TRX. After all, the TRX was a mightier dinosaur than the Raptor.