The Ram 1500 TRX will go undisputed in 2021. That may change in 2022 with the V8-powered Raptor R.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will undercut the TRX price-wise but won’t go toe-to-toe power-wise yet.
Some Raptor fans might be disappointed but we’re convinced Ford won’t let them down for long.
Even though the northern US and most of Canada are under a considerable layer of snow, we can all feel the heat. The glowing-red battle between Ram and Ford for super-truck supremacy is about to hit its stride only to then become an all-out war. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is undoubtedly the truck of 2020 despite Ford launching the all-new 2021 F-150. Ford’s pride may have taken a hit but they’re not going to take this assault sitting down. Enter the new 2021 Raptor.
This duel is about nothing less than bragging rights, being king of the hill, and who has the biggest toys. The Ford Raptor was essentially unchallenged for a decade but the times have changed. Everyone saw the Ram TRX coming, Ford included, but for some reason, I think no one expected that the TRX was going to literally bully the Raptor with such ease.
FCA left nothing to chance and loaded the 1500 with everything. And by everything, we do mean power, luxury, technology, capabilities, and noises. Ford’s two-part plan tells us that the Blue Oval was potentially not as ready as they want us to believe as the portion of the new Raptor’s story that everyone really wants to know about isn’t quite ready to be shared yet.
In the meantime, we can still measure the two against each other and take this opportunity to speculate a little on what the Raptor R might bring to the sandbox.
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
Base pricing for the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX starts at $94,395 in Canada, $70,095 in the US. With little effort and a few choice options, the TRX will shoot above $100,000 in Canada and beyond $85,000 in the US.
Pricing for the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is not yet known. We can assume that it will increase slightly over the 2020’s $76,699 in Canada, $53,455 in the USA. As for the Raptor R, its pricing should hover around TRX numbers, so $70,000 in the US, $90,000 in Canada.
The list of standard features for both trucks is complete. The Raptor will gain mush from the all-new F-150 including a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12-inch central touchscreen, navigation, SYNC 4, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more including future over-the-air updates.
The RAM 1500 TRX features Uconnect 4C with navigation, a 12-inch touchscreen, a head’s up display, and loads more.
In both cases, the emphasis was put on premium materials, luxurious touches, as well as comfort features which are at odds with what these trucks are. For both, the list of interior and exterior options is or will be extensive.
Which Has The More Powerful Powertrains?
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is still boss (meant it) for the moment. Its included supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V8 engine is a dominant force of nature and excess. With all of 702 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, the TRX is the most powerful production pickup of all time.
It’s also the fastest. Its 8-speed automatic transmission and full-time active transfer case will send the TRX to 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 2021 Ford Raptor marks the continued use of the well-known twin-turbocharged high-output 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. For the moment, the specifications are “to be determined” but we expect that they will be greater than the 2020’s 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque (on 93-octane fuel).
It is disappointing to learn that the new 2021 Raptor does not offer a V8 however the follow-up Raptor R will, as confirmed in a Tweet by Mark Levine, Ford North America Product Communications manager. Rumour has it that it will get the Mustang GT500’s supercharged 5.2-litre V8, albeit in a de-tuned state. In the ‘Stang, it produces 760 horsepower but all the Raptor needs are 703 or more ponies to mark its spot.
Which Offers The Most Standout Off-Road Features?
It’s not news to anyone however let’s make it perfectly clear: These two trucks are as serious as the pandemic about off-roading.
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX includes a unique suspension system with active damping with front and rear 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks, a five-link rear coil suspension, up to 14 inches of wheel travel at all four corners, 11.8 inches of ground clearance, 32 inches of water fording capability.
It’s also got a Dana 60 solid rear axle with electronic locking, with a 3.55 ratio, a 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.
The 2021 Ford Raptor matches the TRX pound for pound. It is fitted with next-generation FOX Live Valve internal bypass 3.1-inch shocks with electronic control technology which enable up to 15 inches of wheel travel, a five-link rear suspension, 12 inches of ground clearance, and so on.
It rolls with an electronic-locking rear differential with 4.10 gearing, a 4.10 front axle which can optionally be swapped out for a limited-slip TORSEN, 17×8.5 wheels (Beadlock optional) with 315/70/R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires.
The Raptor is the first truck to offer factory optional 37×12.50R17LT BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. With these installed, ground clearance increases to 13.1 inches however wheel travel decreases to a maximum of 14.1 inches. With these specific tires and wheels, the Fox dampers are revised with thicker rod diameters.
What’s interesting here is that despite both truck’s incredible built-in off-road abilities, on-road comfort was also a focus for the manufacturer. The Ram TRX is impressively civil on pavement and based on the specs, the Raptor should be as well.
What About Styling?
The Raptor, despite always looking the part, suffers from the same timid visual upgrades as does the new F-150. Ford talks about the new Raptor being inspired by “another” Raptor, in this case, the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Although the hood and fender vents might remind one of the F-22, the new Raptor still commands attention.
The front fascia is massively wide where the grille and its clearance take up most of the real estate. The power-dome hood and aggressive front fenders leave no doubt that this is a serious truck but it’s all a little too familiar to be special.
Perhaps this is because the Ram 1500 TRX is so over the top. Even though the F-150 is all-new, the Ram 1500 is still more attractive to start. The TRX gargantuan grille, wide flared fenders and wheel arches, aggressive bumpers, powerful hood with hood scoop and clearance lights, still give the Ram a visual edge.
From a certain point of view, and very much in line with FCA’s psycho SRT vehicles, we get the impression that Ram is having fun with the TRX while Ford is taking itself far too seriously with the Raptor. Perhaps this is because they are now playing catch-up in a game they created.
Like the ride quality, both of these trucks are fitted with plenty of luxury touches such as leather, carbon fibre, suede, contrast stitching, and more. The 2021 Ford F-150 did see its cabin and interior’s quality and design climb a few notches and these improvements are clear and present in the Raptor.
Finally, both of these trucks feature an exhaust note that can be heard, felt, and seen. Ford has gone out of its way to make the V6 sound good whereas Ram simply enables the big V8 to breathe.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
The fact that we are still looking at flagship vehicles for both companies continues to apply. The reception will be different, we think.
Seemingly overnight, the Ram 1500 TRX has become a YouTube darling. The visibility and attention it has and continues to receive is immense. And will do loads of good for all of Ram. The seriously capable TRX has endured insane abuse at the hands of these people who are huge on the internet, and it will only shine a brighter spotlight on the truck and the brand.
The TRX is not only Ram and FCA’s poster-boy but it’s become a brand unto its own, much like Raptor.
The 2021 Ford Raptor will attempt to hog the spotlight back but its advantage is that it already has a devoted and fanatic fanbase.
Our thoughts on the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX and 2021 Ford Raptor
We suspect that critics and enthusiasts will not be entirely happy with Ford’s decision to launch the new 2021 Raptor with the EcoBoost V6 only, even if the Raptor R will soon put the TRX on guard.
The Ford Raptor does have a few pros which are borrowed from the F-150. For one, the interior work surface is an option where the shifter folds into the center console enabling a fully-flat surface for laptops or writing. As well, the Pro-Power onboard generator is also offered as an option. This makes the Raptor an ideal tool for both work and play.
In conclusion, the winner of this comparison is the Ram TRX. Yes, we’ve driven it so that might be an unfair benefit for the Ram but we made the same call before testing the TRX but having reviewed the previous Raptor.
We are very much looking forward to finding out more about the Raptor R as it will be the real TRX-killer. Or so we want to believe.