When it comes to the biggest, toughest dog in the full-size US pickup truck world, none have the bark of the Ram TRX, and now it’s available in Australia as a remanufactured RHD offering thanks to Ram Trucks Australia. Trent Nikolic climbs behind the wheel to sample the massive power and torque on offer from the fastest, most powerful truck on the market.
- The monstrous power and torque
- Ride quality is brilliant everywhere
- V8 rumble and supercharger whine symphony
- First delivery is already sold out
- You’ll need off-street parking
- Exploring the Baja DNA means you’ll have to go a long way off-road
This is no ordinary Ram 1500 – and that’s saying something, because in DT guise, the Ram 1500 is no ordinary dual-cab pickup either. But, the 2022 Ram TRX takes things up a notch, in what might possibly be a last glorious salute to the old world of motoring, US-style.
Ram’s parent company (Stellantis, previously Chrysler Corporation) has given the muscle car and truck world many gifts over the years – the Max Wedge engine, the 440 six-pack, the legendary 426 Hemi, tough-as-nails Torqueflite automatic transmissions, and lightweight factory drag pack cars among them – taking the fight right up to GM and Ford since the 1950s. And yet, the new Ram TRX might be the most boisterous attempt at winning the arm wrestle yet.
In 2022, you could be forgiven for thinking that trucks like the TRX were a thing of the past. A distant memory when capacity was king, economy was an afterthought, and more was, well, more. And yet, here we are, about to spend a week with the fastest, most powerful mass-produced truck you can buy.
The TRX’s price sits it atop the Ram Truck range, which now comprises a full set of models in Australia. Granted, the TRX is going to be hard to get hold of, but it’s available if you’re patient. There’s the Express, Warlock, Laramie and Limited, before you move into the 2500 and 3500 Heavy-Duty models, and now the TRX at the top of the pile.
There’s no obvious competitor to the TRX in Australia – not in the way that Ram Trucks Australia goes about its work remanufacturing the TRX for Australian roads. If you want the biggest, baddest truck on the market here, this is it.
While full-size trucks certainly aren’t for everybody, they do work particularly well for people who use them for specific tasks like heavy primary work or towing and regional touring. But, the TRX is a halo model like a 911 Turbo is in the Porsche world. A GTS might be all the 911 you need, but if you can af
ford the Turbo S, you know you’d buy one. Same goes for the TRX in Ram terms.
As with the other models available in the range locally, the TRX has had the same level of attention to detail put into the transition to right-hand drive and the journey to bring it to our market. There’s once again a strong local element in the remanufacturing process, too, with more than 600 locally sourced parts going into the RHD variant.
We’ve got plenty of time behind the wheel to get familiar with it.
|Key details||2022 Ram TRX|
|Price (MSRP)||$199,950 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Granite Crystal Metallic|
|Options||Sunroof – $10,000|
|Price as tested||$209,950 plus on-road costs|
|Rivals||Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Ford F-150 Raptor|
Nothing – not even a 300 Series LandCruiser or Nissan Patrol – can compare to the cabin comfort, space and amenity of a full-size US pickup. Yes, that’s because they are physically bigger, but it’s also because they feature such clever packaging and storage solutions.
First off, the step up into the TRX is a hefty one thanks to the increased ride height. Once in, though, you’re sitting in a driver’s seat that’s more like your favourite lounge chair. It’s supportive, too, which it will need to be given the performance on offer. TRX also gets a heated steering wheel.
The centre console is more like a storage safe than a console, there are clever places to stow smartphones, and charge them, as well as bottle and cupholders that actually work for larger keep cups and the like. The way that Ram has integrated mobile phone storage is especially clever.
The front seats are heated and cooled, and electric adjustment means you’ll find it easy to get comfortable no matter how tall you are. As you’d expect of the high-riding nature, visibility is excellent in all directions.
Into the second row, and it’s limousine-like in terms of passenger leg and head room. You’ll effortlessly carry three adults across the back row, with the outboard seats also heated back there too. Plenty of charging on offer for devices via USB-A and C ports, as well as air vents and cupholders.
The large windows in the back seat of the Ram mean passengers back there also get strong visibility in all directions.
TRX gets a 767kg payload, or a bit less with the optional sunroof, but it’s fair to say this model will be more about towing than load-hauling for most buyers.
|2022 Ram TRX|
|Payload||767kg (743kg with sunroof)|
Infotainment and Connectivity
On of the Ram DT’s strong points – regardless of model – is the quality of the cabin improvements. Chief among them, the infotainment system.
The vertically mounted, 12.0-inch touchscreen is clear and easy to use, and works neatly in regard to being positioned the same way most of us look at our mobile phones. It’s quite intuitive in other words. It runs the familiar Uconnect system, and also features specific TRX performance content.
You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, proprietary satellite navigation, and the ability to split the screen into separate menus so that you can have different things going on at once, and the fact that Ram has also provided regular buttons is a strong point. The driver’s display is a good one, and there’s nothing difficult about any of the controls or functionality, despite how much technology there is within the system.
The 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is standard for Australia, along with easy-to-decipher steering wheel controls, voice recognition, and a configurable driver’s display between the gauges. If you’re familiar with other 1500s in the DT range, you’ll be prepared for the TRX’s system.
The Ram TRX hasn’t been tested by ANCAP as yet, but it is equipped with a comprehensive suite of safety equipment.
First up, there’s a full suite of airbags. Standard also are an electronic park brake, stability control, ABS, traction control, EBD, trailer-sway control, hill start assist, Park Sense assist system, rear-view camera, 360-degree surround-view camera, forward collision warning with active braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path and trailer detection, lane-keep assist, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers and adjustable pedals.
|2022 Ram TRX|
It’s fair to say you’re not buying a Ram TRX if value is a key consideration. However, value doesn’t factor in emotion, connection, or aspiration – all key drivers that drive why we buy the cars we buy. And on those measures, the TRX delivers spectacularly.
To be fair, we speculated that the starting price would be significantly north of 200 grand before final pricing was launched, given the cost of the ‘regular’ US pickup range in this country, and the extra work required to ensure the TRX satisfies our sometimes archaic ADRs.
|At a glance||2022 Ram TRX|
|Warranty||Three years / 100,000km|
|Service intervals||6 months or 10,000km|
As such, and with the first batch of TRX Rams well and truly sold, demand indicates that the Australian market sees plenty of value in the big dog of US pickups. It’s nowhere near as thirsty as we thought it might be either, especially out of city traffic where it rolls into a relaxed cruise with efficient ease.
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||Not provided|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||17.5L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||125L|
The numbers, even on paper, are staggering. Keep in mind also that Stellantis didn’t just jam a Hellcat engine into a stock 1500 either, there’s a lot that’s going on beneath the skin.
Still, the numbers make for impressive reading for starters. 523kW (just past the 700hp mark in the old money), 882Nm, 0–100km/h in a claimed 4.5 seconds, and a quarter-mile slam in just 12.9 seconds. Think about the types of cars that used to boast 12-second quarters not too long ago.
All that from a truck that tips the scales at 3057kg if you option the sunroof. To say the performance is monumental is an understatement. Does it ‘feel’ fast? Yes, but not with the savagery you might expect.
It’s actually quite refined and well-behaved, but there’s a constant reminder that endangering your licence is one errant lean on the accelerator pedal away. You don’t have to drive it that way, though, and that’s the enjoyment of an effortless big V8.
In testing, we matched that 0–100km/h claim, too, on the standard tyres, at factory pressures, doing nothing more than accessing the standard launch-control system. It’s easy to use as well, if you do get to the track and want to test it out.
The TRX is as quick in the real world as it is on paper. To put that into perspective, the TRX would give plenty of fast SUVs a run for their money, and it feels rapid when you launch it from a standing start.
The 6.2-litre, supercharged Hemi V8 engine is a masterpiece of power and torque generation. Crucially, it’s mated to a clever and robust eight-speed Torqueflite automatic, which makes easy work of sending the power to the Goodyear all-terrain tyres.
If you leave the drive system in 4WD Auto, it works out what it’s doing and when seamlessly. The cacophony of sound when you nail the throttle is irresistible. It’s one of the great V8 engines, with a beautiful combination of supercharger whine and exhaust note.
Despite how quick the TRX is, there’s a refreshing lack of urgency or skittishness when you’re behind the wheel. The drive experience is insulated, refined and comfortable. On regular roads around town, it rides effortlessly over bumps and potholes, testament to the quality of the Baja suspension that lurks beneath.
The frame itself is reinforced for this performance application, and the suspension is designed to flex and bend repeatedly over harsh terrain. The 35-inch-tall tyres assist with the ride height and bump absorption, but the key is the Bilstein remote-reservoir dampers and suspension package that allows for 330mm of travel front and rear.
The Ram TRX doesn’t steer or feel like a sports car, of course, but it’s more nimble than you would expect, sharper and more responsive, too, and it handles the urban road network with ease.
On the highway, it rolls into a relaxed cruise, and despite its performance potential, this is where it makes the most sense. Out on our highway network, sealed or unsealed, exploring the countryside, the TRX is in its element. Big truck for a big country might sound like marketing spin, but it really does love the highway miles.
It would take weeks to dissect and explain the changes that take a regular 1500 into TRX territory, but the improvements that make it a beast off-road have also made it more capable and comfortable everywhere else. Crucially for me, every time you take the TRX for a drive, you feel like you’re behind the wheel of something special. As you should for the outlay, but as it should be given the nature of the vehicle itself.
|Key details||2022 Ram TRX|
|Engine||6.2-litre supercharged V8|
|Power||523kW @ 6100rpm|
|Torque||882Nm @ 4800rpm|
|Drive type||Full-time four-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Eight-speed torque converter automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||171kW/t|
|Tow rating||3500kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
If you could easily get your hands on a Ram TRX and the asking price was within your budget, I would urge you to rush out and place an order.
In fact, even with stock restrictions, if you want to get behind the wheel of the apex predator of full-size trucks, with the most brash personality on the market, get your deposit down quick smart. The issue of ‘need’ is irrelevant.
Few of us actually need a truck of this size, but we should be thankful the TRX exists. Like the iconic sports cars we rejoice in, the days of trucks like this are numbered. The motoring world is changing at pace as we know, and engines like the bellowing V8 powering the TRX sit as perhaps the last shining light of pure internal-combustion-powered insanity.