We live in a golden age of off-road pickups that you can buy straight from the factory, and the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX are the most high-profile examples. They are similar in many ways, offering full-size truck functionality coupled with exceptional high-speed desert performance. But there are some differences that make each performance pickup unique. Which truck is the better buy? Edmunds’ experts break down the pros and cons of each to find out.
POWER AND ACCELERATION
The F-150 Raptor comes with a turbocharged V6 that generates a respectable 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. But those numbers almost look 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 trucking standards, the Raptor’s engine produces a healthy amount of power, but it simply can’t touch the TRX’s output.
To get an idea of how much more powerful the TRX is, just look at the acceleration numbers of the two trucks. During Edmunds’ testing, the Raptor sprinted from 0 to 100 km/h in a swift 5.8 seconds, but the TRX reached 100 km/h more than a second faster at 4.2 seconds. The TRX also sounds a lot cooler when you hit the throttle.
Both the TRX and Raptor are wide and have relatively long wheelbases, which can make them feel claustrophobic on narrow, boulder-strewn trails. These trucks are best suited to vast deserts where they can stretch their legs and utilize their immense power 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 remote reservoir adaptive shocks designed specifically for off-road use. Reinforced four-wheel drive, skid plates, a locking rear differential and selectable drive modes are also standard on both models.
There are slight 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.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT
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 downside, however, is that those soft all-terrain tires are often noisy and grumbling on the highway. The Ram is roomy, although the seats could use a little more cushioning for off-road use. The Raptor manages to feel roomy despite being slightly smaller than the TRX.
Both interiors will impress with their luxurious appointments and sporty touches, but the Raptor has a slight edge over the TRX when it comes to technology. 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 a little 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 center touchscreen nicely.
Winner: Bird of Prey
FUEL CONSUMPTION AND VALUE
The TRX is easily the most powerful off-road production truck ever made, but if you want bragging rights, 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? It might be for some, but the Raptor’s turbocharged V6 should be more than enough for everyday use while offering the occasional high-speed off-road adventure.
With such a big difference in power, it should come as no surprise that the Raptor gets 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 12 mpg combined thirst.
Winner: Bird of Prey
EDMUNDS SAYS: Both trucks are a ton and a half 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 Edmunds automotive website. Alex Nishimoto is an employee at Edmunds. Follow Alex on Twitter.