The new RAM TRX is a beast. Admittedly, it’s a deceptively calm, well mannered, easy-to-handle beast with impeccable manners and a smooth demeanour, but don’t be fooled.
Story Mark Muller and Peter Pap
The 6.2L V8 Hemi’s 702 horses (523kW and 882Nm) is capable of catapulting the TRX from 0–100km/h in 4.5 seconds. The fact that it does so in such a composed fashion is equally deceptive. Sure, it’ll blow your hair back, but not out of fear. If you like power, the silky whistle of superchargers, a seriously commanding view of your surrounds, the ability to go almost anywhere (space permitting) in exceptional comfort then you’re going to love the TRX. Depending on which side of the equation you sit, it’s either ungodly or divine, in a ‘see you in Valhalla’ kind of way.
This is the most powerful 4-door ute for sale in Australia and it’s certainly proving popular – with the circa-$200,000 asking price no barrier to buyer commitment. The TRX started selling in the US just over two years ago, and RAM Australia started fielding orders straight away. As of October, 140 had been delivered to dealers around the country, with a total of 345 orders to be filled (including 50 into New Zealand).
Since it launched here in 2015, RAM has built a substantial footprint, with more than 13,000 sales across the range, and an expanding dealer and service network. The TRX is now the brand’s halo offering – an apex predator of a ute. Inside the bin-like storage area between the front seats is a handy graphic that shows you the dimensions in relation to a human and a Tyrannosaurus rex – just in case you get confused. If you don’t have a T-Rex handy, the TRX stands at 2055mm high, 2235mm wide and 5814mm long. It’s big, but surprisingly easy to drive, provided you have the space to drive it. This truck is well-suited to long distance, back roads travel, where it eats the distance in exceptional comfort. The cabin is spacious, well-appointed, well-built and insulated from the elements. Despite its weight and power, the TRX returned a relatively economical 14.7L/100km across OUTBACK’s week of mixed driving in both the city and bush.
The 8-speed transmission does a great job of putting power down to the specially designed 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory All-Terrain tyres. These work in conjunction with the independent front suspension system with active damping, and rear suspension with 5-link 600mm coil spring system and active damping, affording the Dana 60 rear diff with full floating axle shafts up to 330mm of travel. This combines with 295mm of ground clearance, approach angle of 30.2 degrees, departure angle of 23 degrees and a breakover angle of 21.9 degrees to make for a very agile vehicle. Braking is excellent, courtesy of the TRX’s huge 15-inch discs and calipers. Basically, it stops hard when you need it to, without locking up or feeling like you’re throwing the anchors out on a battleship.
The total package is impressive. Well-honed and calibrated suspension and handling means you’re not fighting the substantial weight and size and the active dampers bring magic to this package as they constantly work in the background to keep damping ideal. Off-road, it feels planted and confidence inspiring, soaking up bumps with no jarring, while on the road it’s a smooth, balanced cruiser. The TRX puts the power down perfectly on bitumen (it feels more biased to the rear) and there’s no spinning or feeling loose – it just grips and catapults forward. Traction control is spot on and the beautiful, flat-bottomed steering wheel enhances the steering, which feels amazing. The electronic rack is perfect in calibration – you can feel the front tyres loading up during cornering, and during directional changes there’s a fantastic feel for grip – one of the highlights of the driving experience.
A 12-inch (30cm) touchscreen provides a logical and clear navigation system to control various aspects of the vehicle, including 8 different drive modes. But there are still enough physical buttons and knobs to keep things simple and easily accessible when you need them. There’s a 900-watt premium Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers, including a 10-inch (25cm) subwoofer, that delivers great sound in the cabin, and the phone hook-up is excellent: call recipients saying it sounded like calls were being made from a quiet room. The only complaint about the system was that Apple CarPlay kept on dropping out, whether connected by Bluetooth or a physical cable. This was frustrating, but may be restricted to the test vehicle.
There’s no doubt that RAMs of any stripe require a particular taste – one that leans towards large American steel. This is doubly so for the TRX, which is a phenomenal vehicle, but one that certainly makes a statement. If you’re comfortable with that – and obviously many people are – then it’s fair to say that the TRX is absolutely without rival in its class.
This story excerpt is from Issue #146
Outback Magazine: December/January 2023