RAM’s 1500 TRX – an abbreviation for Tyrannosaurus rex – lives up to its moniker, because it’s the biggest, baddest truck on the planet. For pure laugh-out-loud fun, it’s hard to beat a hulking pickup that kicks out more than 700 horses and towers over everything else it encounters on the road. Even Nissan Patrols and Toyota Land Cruisers look puny next to it.
Size does matter
That TRX suffix is hugely significant, as one of the key ingredients it brings is a snarling, screaming 6.2-litre supercharged V8 that thrashes out 712hp and 881Nm. These gobsmacking outputs are sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic box with paddle-shifters; the TRX is the only RAM model with the latter feature.
The 1500 TRX is massive in every sense of the word. The behemoth tips the scales at a gargantuan 2,880 kilograms, and measures 5,916 millimetres from bumper to bumper and 2,235mm across the bows.
Even so, the sheer grunt of the supercharged V8 enables it to sprint from standstill to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.5 seconds. Added drama is provided by the banshee howl from the supercharger and thunderous bark from the dual drainpipe exhausts.
Apart from that thumping supercharged V8, the TRX stands clearly apart from other RAM 1500 models via pumped fenders that are flared by 203mm to accommodate its wider track. The wheel arches are filled by 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tyres, wrapped around gloss-black 18-inch cast aluminium wheels.
Peer under those arches and you’ll see the TRX features a bespoke suspension set-up with class-exclusive Bilstein Black Hawk adaptive dampers. RAM’s boffins also comprehensively re-engineered and strengthened the chassis to cope with the TRX’s extreme performance potential.
The TRX isn’t just a hooligan’s delight; there’s utility on offer, too – the big truck has a towing capacity of 3,674kg and a maximum payload of 594kg. There are various drive mode settings you can choose from once you get off the beaten track, and these include Sport, Snow, Custom, Mud/Sand, Baja and Rock, with each of these tailoring the four-wheel-drive system, throttle response, transmission, suspension and steering optimally for the terrain.
The first surprise with the brutal TRX is how comfortable and refined the juggernaut is. The supercharged V8 doesn’t bombard your eardrums when you’re pooling around town or cruising on the motorway, while the cabin is sumptuously trimmed and equipped with every possible mod-con.
Needless to say, the RAM 1500s hulking dimensions earn you plenty of road respect, but its XXL scale counts against it when you need to park the thing in a shopping mall car park or even parallel to the kerb in many instances. A large glasshouse makes for good visibility in traffic, but you’re perched so high that you often can’t see even the roof of a car that’s driving alongside. What’s more, the bonnet slopes downwards towards the front, so from the driver’s seat you can’t see where the nose ends.
Get it out in the dunes, though, and the torque-laden RAM makes easy work of getting over and across whatever stands in its path. The massive grunt of the V8 means you can effortlessly charge up dunes. The knobby Goodyear tyres (325/65R18) also play their part here, clawing into the sand with tenacity, while the Bilstein Black Hawk dampers serve up excellent ride quality.
However, the TRX’s approach and departure angles (30.4 degrees and 25.0 degrees respectively) are nothing to write home about, and the vehicle’s sheer size counts against it in some situations. Our progress came to a grinding halt when the vehicle beached itself at the front and rear in a narrow V-shaped valley, with the left-rear wheel dangling about a foot off the deck. The TRX was, however, able to drive out under its own steam. All it took was a little bit of digging, engaging the rear axle lock, and then doing some vigorous steering-wheel wriggling while applying judicious doses of throttle.
The RAM 1500 TRX is a classic embodiment of American excess, but for pure rambunctious fun and barroom bragging rights, it dwarfs the opposition.