The Ram 1500 TRX is the most powerful production pickup ever.
The Ford F-150 Raptor was the undisputed off-road and power King.
The Raptor is still tough, it’s just short 252 horsepower…
Rumours, tales, and stories of the Ram 1500 TRX have circulated for at least four years and finally, we now have the details. And they are quite clear: The new TRX is out to get and crush the Ford Raptor with power and a serious dose of off-roading equipment. FCA’s exact words are: “2021 Ram 1500 TRX, the apex predator of the truck world, is engineered to handle the most punishing conditions with extreme capability and durability, significantly outperforming every other truck.” They’re not talking about every other truck; they are pointing the finger at the Raptor.
Even though the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor is “down” somewhat, it is anything but out. For the last decade, it’s patrolled the urban jungle, the jungle, and sand dunes as the unmatched and undefeated out-of-the-box super truck and quite frankly, it’s had a good run. The all-new 2021 F-150 will bring a new Raptor before long and we’re thinking Ford’s just dialed up the engine’s output a tad to compete with the TRX.
In the meantime, let’s line up these two super-trucks (hyper-trucks?) and see how the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor measures up against the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX.
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
Pricing for the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor starts at $76,699 in Canada, $53,455 in the USA. With a few choice options, pricing will reach above $90,000 in Canada. In the US, the amount rises to just over $70,000. The Raptor is available for purchase at this very moment.
If you’re curious about the 2021 Raptor, we think Ford will release more information about it before year’s end and it should hit the sand dunes sometime in 2021.
The list of standard features is quite comprehensive as the Raptor is the or one of the top trims for the F-150. It includes an 8-inch screen, SYNC3, satellite radio, FordPass Connect with Wifi hotspot, heated power front seats, and a number of active safety features including lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring.
In the US, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX will start at $69,995. In Canada, the base price will be set at $93,995. There will be a launch edition and will sport a $90,315 sticker price in the US, and $114,995 in Canada.
The RAM 1500 TRX will include Uconnect 4C with navigation, a 12-inch touchscreen, an available head’s up display, and loads more including safety elements such as Lane Departure, Lane Keep Assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Which Has The More Powerful Powertrains?
Of the many reasons to buy a 2021 Ram TRX, the supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V8 engine could very well be the most compelling. With no less than 702 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, the TRX is now the most powerful production pickup of all time.
With its 8-speed automatic transmission and full-time active transfer case, the TRX will hit 60 mph (96 km/h from a standstill) in only 4.5 seconds, reach 100 mph (160 km/h) in 10.5 seconds, cover the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 mph and top out at 118 mph (190 km/h).
The 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor is no slouch but it’s no longer quite a match spec-wise. The twin-turbocharged high-output 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 puts out 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque (on 93-octane fuel). Ford hasn’t recently published any sprint data for the Raptor but it’s quick enough, just not as quick as the TRX.
Which Offers The Most Standout Off-Road Features?
The new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is not a decal package, it’s the real deal.
It’s got a unique suspension system with active damping which features front and rear 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks, a five-link rear coil suspension, more than 13 inches of wheel travel at all four corners, 11.8 inches of ground clearance, 32 inches of water fording capability and that summarizes the suspension.
It’s also got a Dana 60 solid rear axle with electronic locking, with a 3.55 ratio, that full-time active transfer case, new 18×9 aluminum wheels (standard or beadlock-capable) with exclusive Goodyear Wrangler Territory 325/65/R18 All-Terrain 35-inch tires, as well as Drive Modes and Off-Road Pages.
Out-foxing the 2020 Ford Raptor here would be very difficult to do. The Raptor is fitted with FOX live valve monotube shocks with internal bypass technology which continuously adjusts damping in real-time, 13 inches of wheel travel up front, 13.9 inches in the rear, and 11.5 inches of ground clearance.
It rolls with an electronic-locking rear differential with 4.10 gearing, a 4.10 front axle with TORSEN differential, a TORQUE-ON-DEMAND transfer case, 17-inch wheels (beadlock optional) with 315/70/R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires as well as the Terrain Management System with seven selectable drive modes.
Both are immensely capable all-terrain and off-road vehicles.
What About Styling?
Both the Ram TRX and Ford Raptor represent extreme pickups where most of the visual changes over their more pedestrian versions are entirely functional. Unlike most other production vehicles that are flared out for looks, these trucks are swollen to fit massive tires, wheels, brakes (15 inches in the front on the TRX), and other hardcore performance components.
The Raptor has always looked the part, and from the get-go. The front fascia sends a clear message that it’s the real thing despite numerous owners never taking their trucks away from the pavement. It’s got the wheels, the decals and much more.
The TRX has a leg-up aesthetically over the Raptor if mostly because the Ram 1500 is far more attractive to start than the F-150. The TRX includes the same type of upgrades as the Raptor (wider grille, flared fenders and wheel arches, aggressive bumpers, powerful hood, and more but the Ram’s got more going for it. Props need to be given to the functional hood scoop and its integrated LED lights.
While on the subject of the Ram, FCA’s knocked it out of the ballpark. The list of improvements over the regular Ram 1500 includes steering-wheel-mounted full-size paddle shifters (!) and an actual shifter (!!) over the often disliked half-paddles in other FCA trucks and the rotary type shifter. The steering is flat-bottomed and there are three different interior trims including a ready-to-get-dirty vinyl setup. The dashboard’s layout is phenomenal with the 12-inch screen, and other unique touches.
The Raptor’s cabin, by contrast, is a far more regular affair. The Ford’s dashboard is less glitzy overall and again, this has much to do with the donor vehicle. It does offer Recaro seats, paddle shifters, unique trim pieces, and all but it’s not quite as special.
Now, if we were betting people, and despite the 2021 Ford F-150 still “good” exterior styling, the next-generation Raptor will, at the very least, deliver a stronger more enticing cabin – this is one design element that has been thoroughly revised in the new truck.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
In both cases, we are looking at flagship vehicles for the car companies and more.
We all know that the Ford F-150 is Ford, or nearly all of Ford. Perhaps it will have to share some of the spotlight with the Bronco and Mustang Mach-E but the F-150 will remain the king among Fords. And the top trim, the one you’ll find on a poster, is the Raptor and not a Limited. Among its trucks, this is Ford’s aspirational truck, which says quite a bit.
The story is more or less the same for FCA and Ram. The 1500 is boss and now the TRX slots in at the very top as the ultimate Ram. However, FCA does offer a number of other high-profile SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the SRT, the Dodge Durango SRT, and Hellcat, all of which sit unchallenged among American makes. And we are expecting a 392 Wrangler before long.
Ram and FCA are on a high and riding high on power, but Ford won’t let them get away without all-out warfare. It’s a good time to be a truck fan.
Our thoughts on the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX and 2020 Ford Raptor
As we’ve just said, it’s a great time to be a truck fanatic. We are including, in this statement, the fact that a number of start-up and established manufacturers are about to join the truck market with some seriously potent weaponry. This is why we’re unlikely to see an internal combustion rebuttal from GM.
If we’re honest, these massive petrol-guzzling full-size pickups will sooner than later be replaced by even more powerful, faster, and more capable electric trucks so best that we all enjoy them while we can.
While we’ve driven the Raptor, we’d still opt for the Ram TRX based solely on the looks, both inside and out, and the supercharger’s whine.