Too much of a good thing?

ram 1500-trx Complete review

What a year it has been! It has now been 16 months Motorcycle trend took possession of our long-term 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. Since that time, well, where did the line come from Annie? It’s been a hard life for our big red truck. Our poor Ram TRX has been stored wet from day one. From towing a 392 Charger to a drag strip, to being (almost) overloaded and forced to drive from Michigan to North Carolina, to traveling 7,700 miles across the country completely off-road, to having his face smashed by an electric truck, to towing horses, to being treated like a sports car, the past 16 months and 27,488 miles have been some of the toughest our long-term drivers have ever experienced. But hey, it’s a truck, isn’t it? It’s built to be beaten up.

One caveat: Our TRX returned damaged from our Rivian/Trans-America Trail adventure. The list of woes was long (although, again, the abuse was heavy), so we took the extraordinary step of returning our truck to Ram for checking. We wouldn’t see our truck again for another four months. Not because the damage was so bad (a dented fender was about the worst), but it had to be repaired at the height of the pandemic-induced supply chain crisis. We waited months for a rear bumper. We’d love to tell you everything Ram fixed on our TRX, but it rejected our accounting requests. Why? No idea. We also never got a full overview of everything that was fixed, so it’s hard to speculate. I estimate the damage was about $20,000, but that’s just a guess.

To defend Ram a bit, 7,700 miles of off-road overland isn’t a normal use case for this truck, and if you’re in the market for a TRX, just put the TAT adventure and subsequent lengthy repair out of your mind. In terms of what it cost us to run the TRX, normal maintenance is not too bad. Only $617.73 for four oil changes, one tire rotation and one cabin air filter replacement. That’s a little more than our old Ram 2500 Power Wagon, which cost us $272.50 over three service visits and nearly 23,000 miles with us. However, the fuel costs are… shocking. Please sit down. We spent $24,839 on gas for the TRX. Take a deep breath; I’ll give you a minute. The TRX averaged 10.8 miles per gallon over those 27,488 miles. This means it cost us $0.90 per mile to run the TRX on gas alone! When we chose the big Ram as Truck of the Year 2021, efficiency was the only criterion that got us thinking. Especially since the Aries didn’t have one.

Here’s the actual crazy part. According to our partners at IntelliChoice, the resale value of this truck is $90,400 even with all miles. The sticker price of our truck? $91,185. Yes, the truck is worth more than 99 percent of what it cost new. Insert an exploding emoji here. That seems absurd to me, especially since the canon for buying cars maintains that your car loses 33 percent of its value if you drive it out of the parking lot. It seems that if we had bought our TRX and just parked it and then sold it, we would have made money. But then you wouldn’t read this, would you?

As for living with the TRX beyond the numbers, it remains the super truck we fell in love with two years ago. You’d never know it by looking, but the Ram engineering team did a fantastic job tuning the suspension. Not only in terms of almost luxurious ride quality, but also in terms of (totally ridiculous) handling. Almost every time I got on board, I figured out a way to corner way too fast, just to experience the feeling of the big Ram crouching down and doing the impossible. After all, the Ram is a giant toy, so the driving fun factor should be higher than usual. Fortunately, that’s all it is.

Aside from burning too much gas, the only real downside we found was that the TRX is a poor horse hauler. Too bouncy for the ponies. The mammoth Ram excelled at off-roading (truly one of the best 4x4s money can buy), was shockingly awesome as a long-distance luxury cruiser, and with its massive cab, it was quite a practical vehicle. For example, I could easily put a week’s worth of groceries on the floor of the back row. And I should say practically, unless the TRX’s absurd 88-inch width puts a damper on your market parking plans. Perfect? No, but man, is the Ram 1500 TRX a great truck.

But has the world moved on? I know, here he goes, Mr. EV is about to ruin everything. I get it, I get it. No one wants electric vehicles shoved down their throats. Although, quite ironically and literally, no one stops and thinks of all the NOx pushed down our collective throats by a gas guzzler like the TRX. Objectively speaking, 10.8 mpg over 27,488 miles is abysmal, and nearly $25K in gas is disturbing. In addition, we are learning that not only are ICE vehicles worse for the environment than we once thought, EVs are much cleaner (even accounting for battery production) much faster in the ownership experience.

Plus, the similarly priced Ford Lightning Platinum hits 62 mph in 4.0 seconds, while the equally capable (if not more so) off-road Rivian R1T smokes the TRX to 62 mph, in 3.2 seconds when rides on off-road tires. versus 4.0 seconds for the TRX. It’s a tenth faster on street rubber. Not to be a fly in the punch bowl, but here we are. If viable EV trucks hadn’t become a thing, I’d be sitting here typing that the Ram TRX is the best pickup ever built, a feeling I had right up until the first time I drove that goddamned Rivian. I guess we can ask this question until Ram launches its electric pickup truck in a few years, because you know an EV TRX isn’t far behind.

Looks good! More detail?

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Specs
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front engine, 4WD
ENGINE TYPE Supercharged 90-degree V-8, iron block/alum heads
VALVE TRAIN OHV, 2 valves/cyl
MOVEMENT 376.3 cubic inches/6,166 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.5:1
POWER (SAE NET) 702 hp at 6,100 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 650 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
RED LINE 5,750 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 9.6lb/hp
TRANSFER 8-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL DRIVE/LOW RATIO 3.55:1/2.38:1/2.64:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR END Suspension arms, coil springs, adj shocks; rigid axle, coil springs, adj shocks
STEERING RATIO 16.3:1
TURNS FROM LOCK TO LOCK 3.1
BRAKES, F; R 15.0 inch vented disc; 15.0 inch ventilated disc, ABS
WHEELS 9.0 x 18 inch cast aluminum
STRIPES 325/65R18 121/118T Goodyear Wrangler Territory A/T
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 145.1 inches
TRACK, F/R 74.5/74.1 inches
Length x WIDTH X HEIGHT 232.9 x 88.0 x 80.9 inches
GROUND FREEDOM 8.0 inches
APPRCH/DELAY CORNER 30.2/23.5 degrees
TURNING CIRCLE 48.3 ft
LARGE WEIGHT 6,760 lbs
WEIGHT DISTANCE, F/R 56/44%
SEATING CAPACITY 5
MAIN ROOM, F/R 40.9/39.8 inches
LEGROOM, FRONT/R 40.9/45.2 inches
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 66.0/65.7 inches
COLLECTION BOX L x W x H 67.4 x 66.4 x 21.4 inches
VOLUME PICKUP BOX 53.9 cubic feet
WHEELHOUSE DEPOSIT WIDTH 51.0 inches
LOAD LIFT HEIGHT 38.1 inches
PAYLOAD 1,040 lbs
TOWING POWER 8,100 lbs
ACCELERATION TO mph
0-30 1.5 sec
0-40 2.2
0-50 3.1
0-60 4.2
0-70 5.4
0-80 6.9
0-90 8.6
0-100 10.5
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.1
QUARTER MILES 12.7 sec @ 107.3 mph
BRAKES, 60-0 MPH 129 feet
SIDE ACCELERATION 0.68g (average)*
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.4 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)*
TOP GEAR SPEED @ 60 MPH 1,450 rpm
CONSUMER INFORMATION
AIR BAGS 6: Double front, front, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 years / 36,000 miles
DRIVETRAIN WARRANTY 5 years / 60,000 miles
BREAKDOWN REPAIR 5 years / 60,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 33.0 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 14-10-12 mpg
EPA SERIES, COMB 396 miles
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium
OUR TRUCK
LIFESPAN 16 months / 27,488 miles
BASE PRICE $72,020
OPTIONS TRX Level 2 ($7,920: leather heated seats, ventilated front seats, park distance and blind spot monitoring, remote start, power tailgate release), beadlock-compatible wheels ($1,895), red interior accents ($1,495), double-glazed sunroof ( $1,495), carbon fiber accents ($1,295), Technology Group ($1,095: Head-up display, digital rear view mirror), Advanced Safety Group ($995: emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist), Bed Utility Group ($845: bed step, injectable bedliner, tie-down hooks), tonneau cover ($695), TRX exterior graphics ($495), Trailer reverse steer control ($495), two-tone paint ($250), Trailer-Tow Group ($195: trailer light check and tire pressure check)
PRICE AS TESTED $91,185
AVG ECON/CO2 10.8 mpg
TROUBLE AREAS No
MAINTENANCE COSTS $617.73 (4: inspection, oil change, rotation; in-cab filter)
NORMAL WEAR COSTS $0
3 YEARS RESIDUAL VALUE** $90,400 (99%)
REMEMBER Backup camera software update
*Skidpad and figure-8 performance measured on a similarly performing TRX
**IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3 years

For more information on our long-term Ram 1500 TRX

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