"Hellcat all the things" is a rallying cry for enthusiasts who love Dodge's sinister supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. With output above 700 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, this powerful engine has made its way into the Challenger coupe, Charger sedan, and a couple SUVs. Now, for the first time, there's a Hellcat-powered pickup truck: Introducing the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, which we love so much that we named it our 2021 Truck of the Year.
But there's more to the 2021 Ram 1500 lineup than just the headline-stealing TRX. For the 2021 model year, Ram's popular pickup is available with two cab sizes, two bed lengths, four engine choices, and many trim levels. The previous-generation truck is also still available as the Ram 1500 Classic.
With its impressive mix of on-road manners, off-road adventurousness, and work-ready capability, the Ram 1500 earned MotorTrend's 2019 Truck of the Year award.
Even in base trims the Ram 1500 feels high-quality, and range-topping models are legitimately luxurious. Technology features like the available 12.0-inch infotainment impress, and the new-for-2021 head-up display and trailer reversing steering control should make this truck even more usable. The reconfigurable center console and available underseat storage highlight Ram's clever approach to packaging.
The 1500's ride and handling make it an easy everyday driver. But it's still ready to get to work, as we found out over a year with this truck in our long-term test fleet. The available mild-hybrid eTorque V-8 was plenty capable, although its fuel economy disappointed considering the electrified assistance. Efficiency improves with the available turbodiesel V-6, but that engine isn't as quick. However, the new supercharged TRX model delivers ridiculous acceleration and mighty off-road performance.
Nice to drive, work with, and look at, the Ram 1500 has well-rounded appeal in any specification.
Regardless of engine, all Ram 1500 models use an eight-speed automatic transmission. RWD is standard, and 4WD is available.
The 1500's standard engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 supplemented by Ram's eTorque 48-volt mild-hybrid system. It generates 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. MotorTrend testing measured 0-60 times ranging between 6.5 and 7.5 seconds for trucks with this engine. EPA-rated fuel economy is 20/25 mpg city/highway for RWD models, and 19/24 mpg for 4WD models.
An available 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 churns out 260 hp and 480 lb-ft. In MotorTrend testing, a turbodiesel Ram 1500 Rebel equipped with 4WD accelerated to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 22/32 mpg with RWD, and 21/29 mpg with 4WD.
A 5.7-liter V-8 is offered with or without eTorque 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance. In either case it produces 395 hp and 410 lb-ft, although fuel economy is better with eTorque: 17/23 mpg with RWD, or 17/22 with 4WD. Without eTorque, economy measures 15/22 with RWD, and 15/21 with 4WD.
For 2021, the legendary supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8 lives under the hood of the TRX model. This engine produces 702 hp and 650 lb-ft, which makes the TRX the quickest truck we've ever tested—0-60 acceleration takes 4.1 seconds. Fuel economy is predictably abysmal.
No, it's not "Tee Are Ex." TRX stands for "T-Rex," and that's what you're supposed to call it. It's a not-so-subtle dig at the TRX's main target—the Ford F-150 Raptor.
Before that giant meteor hit and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the Velociraptor (the Ford's namesake) was a carnivorous predator that used speed and agility to take down prey. Then there was the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex. Upwards of 30 feet long and 20,000 pounds, the T-Rex dwarfed the Velociraptor, and indeed any pickup truck.
Ram doesn't want you to forget how its TRX compares to Ford's Raptor. It reminds you every time you open the center console. Inside, there's an Easter egg liner imprinted with a 1:60 scale image of a human, the TRX, a Tyrannosaurus, and a Velociraptor, which shows just how puny that raptor was. It's an overt indication of how Ram sees the TRX in the pickup truck food chain.
Side note: The original reason the Ram team chose the name TRX didn't actually have anything to do with dinosaurs, but the automaker has definitely leaned into the story. Learn more in this Automobile story.
At the drag strip, the TRX posted a 4.1-second 0-60 time and 12.7-second, 106.3 mph quarter mile time. That makes it the quickest pickup truck we've ever tested, mighty impressive considering the TRX rides on knobby all-terrain tires and weighs about 7,000 pounds. For the truly brave, Ram says the TRX's top speed is 118 mph. With all this power and capability, the 2021 Ram TRX is a legitimate supertruck.
The TRX is packed with hardware that makes it an off-road beast. It has a full 11.8 inches of ground clearance, along with 13 inches of front wheel travel and 14 inches of rear wheel travel. That's thanks in part to the front aluminum lower and steel upper control arms, with massive 23.6-inch suspension springs. Track width is 6.0 inches wider than the basic Ram 1500. It rides on Bilstein Blackhawk E2 active adaptive dampers with 60-mm pistons and remote reservoirs, behind 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain tires.
Approach angle is 30.2 degrees, departure is 23.5 degrees, and breakover is 21.9 degrees. The TRX's ramp travel index rating is a whopping 605. Of course, there's a locking rear differential. It's equipped with several off-road driving modes, including snow, mud/sand, rock, and Baja. Although the TRX's sheer size could occasionally be a limiting factor, it's immensely capable—and always fun—on all types of terrain.
Like all vehicles with a Hellcat engine, the TRX is expensive. Even so, you're getting a lot of horsepower for the money. The TRX's base price is $71,690—more than double the price of a standard, bare-bones Ram 1500 Tradesman. That sum is before options, and options are plentiful. A $90,265 Launch Edition has dark gray paint, custom graphics, a panoramic sunroof, and an upscale interior with ventilated front seats, suede-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded speaker system, and more. A wide range of Mopar accessories lets you trick out your TRX however you like.
The Ram 1500 earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). When rated by the IIHS for 2020, the 1500 earned the top Good score in all six crashworthiness tests. However, its LED and halogen reflector headlights earn a Marginal score, the second lowest.
For 2021, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking becomes standard on all models except the Tradesman and Bighorn trims, where it's optional. Other available driver-assist and active safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and trailer sway control.
Front-row headroom measures 40.9 inches in the Ram 1500, which compares to 43.0 inches in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Second-row headroom is 39.2 inches in the Ram, a bit less than the Chevrolet's 40.1 inches. Front-row legroom is 40.9 inches in the Ram, much less than 44.5 inches in the Silverado. However, second-row legroom in quad cab models is 45.2 inches in the Ram, better than the Silverado's 43.4 inches.
The Ram 1500 is available with a 5-foot, 7-inch bed, or a 6-foot, 4-inch bed. With the 3.6-liter V-6, payload ranges from 1,210 pounds to 2,300 pounds. With the 5.7-liter V-8, payload is as low as 1,680 pounds, and as high as 1,970 pounds.
Maximum towing is achieved by the RWD quad cab, long-bed Ram 1500. With the 3.6-liter V-6 towing maxes out at 7,730 pounds. Choosing the V-8 with eTorque increases maximum tow rating to 12,750 pounds.
The 1500 is available with three infotainment touchscreens: an entry-level 5.0-inch display, an 8.4-inch middle option, and 12.0-inch unit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on the larger two screens; built-in navigation is available on the midsize display and included on the largest screen. A semi-autonomous parking assist system and 360-degree view camera system are among notable tech features on higher-end models. A six-speaker audio system is standard, and 10- and 19-speaker premium setups are available. USB type-A and type-C ports are available in both rows.
|$0||0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - FCA announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||0% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - FCA announces Stand-Alone APR rates on select models when financed through Chrysler Capital. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$0||2.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - FCA announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$750||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models for customers financing through Chrysler Capital. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models for eligible Military personnel.||01-03-2022|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models to customers currently leasing an FCA vehicle.||02-01-2021|
|$1500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models to customers who own or lease a Honda vehicle. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$750||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models to returning lessees. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer to consumers currently leasing a competitive vehicle who will be purchasing or leasing a new select model. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models when financing or leasing through Chrysler Capital.||02-01-2021|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$1500||FCA announces Customer Cash on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models for current FCA owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$750||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models to current FCA owners/lessees. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$1000||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models to current owners/lessees of a non - FCA vehicle. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$1000||FCA announces a Lease Bonus Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$2900||FCA announces a Lease Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$1500||FCA announces a Retail Bonus Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$2500||FCA announces a Retail Bonus Cash offer on select models.||02-01-2021|