The worst kept new vehicle secret for 2020 has to be the supercharged RAM 1500 — the RAM 1500 TRX. But today we know all of the details and we know it’s going to be on sale here very soon.
I have to say this is the new car launch that probably made me smile the most this calendar year. So let’s go through what we know now. The first and biggest thing is that the rumor mills were telling us that we were going to be getting a detuned version of the hellcat engine so rather than producing 700 horsepower or 710 or even 717 horsepower. Most of the rumor mills were telling us to expect about 600 horsepower, but those rumors proved to be wrong because we’re getting 702 horsepower making this easily the most powerful pickup truck you can buy in America right now and with that engine we have some truly insane performance figures we’ll dive into this a little bit more in a bit.
It’s going to go zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds… yes, in a half ton, pickup truck. They’re claiming a quarter mile time of 12.9 seconds at 108 miles an hour with a top speed of 118 miles an hour in a pickup truck. Oddly enough the TRX isn’t just about 0-60 numbers, this is about baja running, very similar, of course, to the Ford Raptor, but this definitely dials the number way up.
There have been some pretty major body changes to the RAM 1500 in order to support the TRX package. The first thing you’ll notice, is that the RAM TRX is wider and it’s not a little bit wider. It’s eight inches wider than a regular RAM 1500. So that puts this in terms of vehicle width somewhere between the average half ton truck and the average one ton dual-wheel out there. This is a really wide machine. It was all done to accommodate a six inch increase in the vehicle’s track, and that is the distance that the wheels are apart from one another. You’ll really notice that up front where we now have some new vents on each side of the headlamp modules.
So a lot of the components are shared with the RAM 1500, but they’re definitely a lot of unique components in order to make the vehicle wider. It doesn’t simply look like they tacked on some tacky fender flare extensions. Instead RAM did something very similar to what we see in the Ford Raptor, where they’ve used some of the same components from the base truck and then widened around them, to give us this different look. It really has sort of a flare side pickup truck look to be honest.
It also has a very large and functional hood scoop with some lights in there, just so you know that this thing is coming down the road and some huge louvers on the hood as well. Now the trx is gon na come only one way as a four-door pickup truck with the five foot. Seven inch bed. So if you want the longer bed or you want a smaller cab, etc, you’re going to have to look at a different version of the ram 1500.
Obviously the trx gets some unique wheels some unique tires. These are 35 inch tires from the factory on this particular model and a ton of aftermarket accessories sponsored by mopar. That’s fca’s in-house performance parts division. Now, let’s talk about what’s going on under the skin, because there’s been some pretty significant modifications to the ram 1500 in order to support the mission of the trx, which again is a little bit unusual, because, instead of simply attacking the ford raptor head-on, they’re giving us A performance pickup truck that is also a raptor competitor, and that really is an unusual twist here.
So again we have that 6.2 liter supercharged v8 engine of the hood 702 horsepower 650 pound-feet of torque, that’s mated to an 8 hp 95 automatic transmission. That is the beefiest version of zf’s 8-speed automatic. We also find that, under the hood of, of course, the hellcat vehicles from the dodge division and a wide variety of european car companies that are giving us twin turbo or quad turbo v12s. After the transmission, we have an all new borgwarner transfer case, the interesting thing about this transfer case and the reason i really hope this makes its way into other ram. 1500 pickup trucks is that this is an all-time four-wheel, drive or all-wheel drive transfer case.
The difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive really is lost in marketing. What’s more important is the way that this transfer case behaves. It’s still a two-speed transfer case, so it has a full-time, lock mode where you can put it into four low and you have a reduction of two point: six four to one, but what’s different about this transfer case versus what we normally find in pickup trucks out There is that, when this is in for auto, it’s not simply going to disconnect the front axle until it’s needed automatically switching it in when you want more oomph up front. This is going to apportion power balance between the front and rear axle, depending on the drive mode that you’re in there’s an auto mode which gives us 60 of the power to the rear, there’s a snow mode which gives us 55 of the power to the rear.
There’s also a tow specific mode which gives us the same power split, but a slightly different algorithm for the way the power is being sent around sport mode sends 70 to the rear, still sends 30 to the front. Clearly, for traction, baja mode is going to send the most power to the rear that 75 to the rear 25 to the front, there’s a 45 55 split for mud and sand and in the rock crawl mode. It’s going to try and split power: 50, 50.. So functionally this transfer case is going to behave much more like the one that we find in the grand cherokee, rather than the regular versions of the ram 1500.
After the transfer case, we have an all new rear axle. It’s going to be a dana 60 axle and it’s going to be available with an open differential, a limited slip, differential or an electronic locking differential. That’s going to be your choice. There ram hasn’t given us any detailed specifications on how much stiffer or how much heavier the frame is than the regular ram 1500, but they have said that almost the entire frame is different.
It follows the same shape and same style and mounting points that we find in the regular ram 1500, but it’s a much heavier duty frame. We also have significantly upgraded suspension components that are going to give us 11.8 inches of ground clearance. Also, an interesting twist is that we don’t find the adaptive air suspension that we find in the regular version of the ram 1500. Instead, we get an adaptive bilstein system here, it’s the bilstein, e2 blackhawk active performance shock absorber system.
This is an electronically controlled system with remote reservoirs, so very much like what we find in some of those other off-road focus: pickup trucks out there, but this one’s going to give us electronic damper control they’ve. Also, given us some other detailed specifications here, approach angle of 30.2 departure angle of 23.5 and a breakover angle of 21.9, all that combined with 11.8 inches of ground clearance with the skid plates included now clearly something like a jeep wrangler is going to be better off-road Than this, but as far as a pickup truck goes, these are some really aggressive numbers. We also have an incredible amount of water forwarding capability, they’re, saying that’s going to be up to 32 inches. Of course, if the water is still, you clearly don’t want to be taking this truck into moving 32 inches of water, i think it’s clear by all these numbers.
That ram is really trying to give us the swiss army knife of pickup trucks here, they’re, giving us incredible, 0 to 60 times baja running ability, more traditional off-road ability and rock crawling ability all in the same vehicle with the full-time all-wheel drive system, the faster to 60 times etc, and although there are going to be rough and tumble versions of the trx, there’s also going to be a luxury oriented version here with a hand-wrapped stitched leather dashboard, very similar to what we find in the upper end versions of the rest of the Ram 1500 line that top-end version is going to give us a leather and suede interior they’re, saying with available red carbon fiber accents. We also have a new flat bottom steering wheel. It’s very similar to the srt steering wheels that we find in the current srt lineup, but this is the newer version of that steering wheel, design that we don’t really find outside the ram 1500 lineup. It has a new paddle shifter on the back.
That is a little bit split, because fca loves to put the radio controls on the back of the steering wheel, and previously that meant that the paddle was just on the top above those radio controls. But this one now has sort of a split yoke design that allows you to have those paddles above and below the radio controls as well. Speaking of the radio, we are not getting uconnect 5 and i am a little bit disappointed in that. The specification sheet here says it’s still going to be uconnect 4 on the 12 inch screen, but they have updated it and it gives us sirius.
Xm, 360 l with personalized stations by pandora, there’s an available 900 watt, 19 speaker sound system. There’s an all new heads up display and they’ve added some additional software to this 12 inch screen that we don’t see in the rest of the ram 1500 lineup. That’s going to give us the same sort of performance pages that we typically find in srt vehicles. The one number that has surprised me on this spec sheet is the tow rating.
I had expected it to be a little bit higher now. 8. 100. Pounds is certainly nothing to sniff at, but you will definitely be able to tow more in the regular ram 1500 and oddly enough, you’ll be able to tow more in the upcoming dodge durango hellcat, which uses the same 6.2 liter engine and is an suv, not a Pickup truck now that mainly has to do with the off-road mission of the trx. Its suspension likely was not set up for towing those heavier weights. It does have a pretty decent payload, but it is lower than some of the other forms of ram 1500 that plays into this towing rating as well. 1 310 pounds maximum.
Now, as always, those payload and towing figures will fluctuate, based on the options that you select in your ram 1500. So if you want everything on your ram, 1500 expect the payload and tow ratings to drop. If you are planning on taking your trx a little bit further off the beaten path than most folks, you’ll appreciate some of these extra touches here, for instance, we have optional full-length rock rails, those are available or you can also get the traditional off-road powder coated. Aluminum running boards, the box on the back of the ram 1500 is kind of interesting because, rather than simply adding some fiberglass add-ons to make the box wider in the back they’ve, given us a unique box, so it’s all steel and it’s one piece, so it doesn’t Have any seams anything funky back there like you’d, find in a dually, for instance, and you’ll, be able to carry two spare tires.
If you want to there’s going to be an available bed mounted spare tire carrier in addition to the standard full-size spare tire that you’ll find underneath the bed, i think the funniest thing about this press release is that it’s clearly very focused on baja running. It will alter engine, speed and torque gear selection, transfer case torque, split, damping rates and other components in order to give you the optimum landing performance, but they also have launch control, which is clearly not a baja feature. This is an on-road performance oriented feature very similar to what we find in the srd lineup. It’s going to manage tire slip while launching the vehicle to give driver consistent straight line acceleration.
You know if you wanted to take your off-road pickup truck to the drag strip. Much like other srt vehicles, this is going to help you manage wheel, slip manage wheel, hop, which is definitely a problem when you have 650 pound-feet of torque driving a solid rear axle in the back, but all that’s gon na be handled for you by the launch. This is one of the worst kept secrets that we’ve seen in the automotive industry. In a long time, everybody knew that we were going to get a supercharged version of the ram 1500.
We just didn’t know exactly what we’d be getting a lot of folks were, assuming that this was going to be strictly baja focused and that’s why it was going to have a slightly lower horsepower tune of the 6.2 liter supercharged engine to compete more directly with something Like that ford raptor, but i think a lot of folks have been surprised that ram is not simply targeting the raptor they’re, also trying to give us the best performance ever in a pickup truck in the u.s 4.5 seconds. 0-60 is mind-blowingly insane for a pickup truck, and this kind of makes me wonder if we’re going to see other extreme versions of the ram 1500 at some point. Clearly, there’s room to make a, for instance, street focused version of the ram 1500. All they would have to do is probably drop the regular ram 1500 suspension back in and tweak it to be a little bit lower and a little bit more on-road focused.