Ram takes its 1500 pick-up truck to the next level with insane supercharged TRX
By ROBBIE WALLIS
One of the most recent crazes to sweep the automotive world has been the concept of the enhanced pick-up truck, with multiple car-makers taking their workhorses back to the drawing board to create something skewed far more towards play than work.
Models like the Ford Ranger Raptor, Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior and Toyota HiLux Rugged X have been given both mechanical and styling upgrades to increase the appeal and capability of their donor models, and have been met with a generally positive reception.
However a new contender has shown up that blows all of the aforementioned pick-ups out of the water, with Ram Trucks taking the upgrades to a whole new level to create the savage, range-topping TRX.
While the one-size-smaller Ranger, Navara and HiLux have concentrated on offering increased off-road performance, the Ram has significantly boosted both its off- and on-road performance, the latter of which has been made possible by the monstrous engine waiting under the bonnet.
Current Australian examples of the 1500 can be had with a 5.7-litre V8 producing 291kW/556Nm, however the TRX replaces that mill with a 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8 capable of punching out a massive 523kW/880Nm.
Those enormous numbers would place it among the most powerful vehicles currently on sale in Australia, with most taking the shape of a track-honed coupe, not a full-sized, dual-cab pick-up.
Mated to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, the 1500 TRX sends power to all four wheels, with the big ute able to launch from standstill to 60mph (97km/h) in a brisk 4.5 seconds, on to 100mph (161km/h) in 10.5s, and then on to a top speed of 190km/h.
Drivers can select from five different drive modes – Auto, Sport, Tow, Snow and Custom – while for those who want to take the TRX off the tarmac, three off-road modes are on offer, comprising Mud/Sand, Rock and Baja.
Launch mode is also available to help the big hauler be the first off the line at the traffic lights.
In order the help the big Hemi engine achieve its monstrous outputs, Ram engineers have fitted a new dual-path air induction system which evenly splits air flow between the unique, angry-looking bonnet scoop and the traditional front grille.
To help provide constant air flow and maintain consistent, reliable power delivery, air is channelled through a 29-litre air box that Ram claims provides unrivalled filtration ability, be it for dirt, sand, debris or water.
The aggressive hood scoop is only one of multiple visual enhancements Ram has made for the TRX, with other exterior cues including a larger, flow-through grille badge, functional air curtains sitting outside the LED headlights, chunkier fender flares and massive five-inch dual exhaust tips.
Compared to the standard 1500, the body of the TRX has been widened by eight inches with a six-inch-wider track, while the front axle has also been moved forward by 20mm.
Combined with a 2.0-inch suspension lift, the changes have been made to accommodate the chunky 35-inch Goodyear Territory all-terrain rubber, wrapped around 18-inch beadlock wheels.
Buyers can choose from full-length rock rails or powder-coated aluminium running boards, while side and hood graphics can also be optioned.
Like the Ranger Raptor and Navara N-Trek Warrior, the 1500 TRX has been made to be more capable in the rough stuff, with a thicker steel frame, five separate skid plates, a new independent front suspension system with adaptive damping, stronger control arms and upgraded components, and a new five-link coil rear suspension set-up with a Dana 60 rear axle.
Payload capacity is rated at 594kg, while braked towing capacity comes in at 3674kg.
Off-road performance is further aided by the fitment of a rear locking differential and a low-range transfer case with a 2.64:1 drive ratio.
Moving inside the cabin, the TRX can be had with three different upholstery options consisting of cloth/vinyl, leather/suede and leather/suede with red and carbon-fibre accents.
An SRT flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters adds a sporty touch, while infotainment duties are taken care of by a 12-inch touchscreen, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 900W, 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Over 100 advanced safety and securing features come with the TRX, while a full suite of Mopar accessories are also available.
While the 1500 TRX is yet to be locked in for an Australian arrival, conversations between Ram Trucks Australia and its US head office are “progressing well”, with the company hopeful of securing the monster off-roader here albeit with no secure timeline in place.
If it were to come here, the Ranger Raptor and Navara N-Trek Warrior would surely have to concede that there’s a new sheriff in town – here’s to hoping some good news from Ram Australia comes sooner rather than later.