Ram has just pulled a (massive) sheet off the burly 2021 1500 TRX pickup. We’re absolutely salivating to put it through its paces, but that’ll come later—and you’ll want to read about it. But we can draw some serious conclusions about how the new Ram might fare against its only real rival—the Ford F-150 Raptor—out in the desert and on a muddy trail just by looking at the two trucks’ specifications. And we’re not just talking about what’s under the hood, or in between the wheels, either. Let’s take a deep look at how these off-road trucks fare in a number of categories.
Which Is Bigger—Ram 1500 TRX or Ford F-150 Raptor?
We’re going to compare apples to apples when considering external dimensions. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is only available in the four-door Crew Cab bodystyle, which is comparable to the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew. Both have two sets of normal-sized, conventional-opening doors. The Raptor also offers a shorter-wheelbase SuperCab, which is also nearly a foot shorter overall than the SuperCrew and has stubby, rear-hinged aft doors.
In terms of overall length and wheelbase, the TRX and Raptor are very close—the TRX is an inch longer (232.9 inches) on less than an inch shorter wheelbase (145.1 inches). Call it a draw. Both are wide enough to require clearance lights (the Raptor is 86.0 inches wide and the TRX 88.0), thanks to swollen fenders accommodating increased track widths that are within an inch of each other. Expect both to collect their fair share of pinstripes bashing through narrow trails or desert scrub.
These are trucks, so let’s quickly touch on cargo capacity, towing, and payload. The TRX has a 67-inch box with 53.9 cu. ft. of room, compared to the Raptor’s 65-inch box with 52.8 cu. ft. inside. Despite its additional heft, the TRX has a slight edge in towing and payload, too, at 8,100 and 1,310 lbs respectively.
Which Is Bigger Inside—Ram 1500 TRX or Ford F-150 Raptor?
Again, we’re only comparing crew cab models here. And as with external dimensions, the picture inside is mostly the same. Neither truck has a clear edge, although the TRX offers a smidge more rear leg room (45.2 inches) and the Raptor has a considerable 3.0 inches more front leg room (43.9 inches). Both offer nearly 41 inches of headroom (or hat room) up front and a generous amount of shoulder room. Of course, the Ram 1500 in general has earned our admiration for its interior beyond the specs, setting the bar for everyone else to aspire to. The TRX adopts the 1500 Rebel’s interior, sprinkled with Limited trim upgrades.
Ram 1500 TRX vs. Ford F-150 Raptor: Off-Road Capability
How are these trucks going to handle the rough stuff? The numbers tell a tale, which may be that the Raptor was the benchmark for the TRX. Their off-road stats are, by the numbers, a wash. Overall ground clearance is more than 11 inches, with only a few tenths of an inch separating the two. Nearly identical approach, breakover, and departure angles also indicate that most obstacles that a Raptor can climb over won’t faze a 1500 TRX.
One thing we can’t quantify here is how much of a difference the 1500 TRX’s five-link rear suspension and coil springs will affect off-road performance compared to the (current) Raptor’s more conventional solid axle and leaf spring arrangement. It certainly hasn’t held the Raptor back in its class of one, but the TRX’s arrangement will draw serious scrutiny.
There are less drastic differences in the running gear. The TRX is offered with a 3.55 axle ratio compared to the Raptor’s shorter 4.10 rear end. And the Raptor has 10 gears to row through, compared to the TRX’s eight, although the ratio spread is otherwise similar. More pertinent to off-roaders is the crawl ratio (determined by multiplying the ratios of first, low range, and axle). Both offer 2.64:1 low-range ratios. Doing the math, the TRX’s crawl ratio is 44:1, and the Raptor’s is 50.7:1. Slight edge to the Raptor, but note that these are well shy of the crawl ratios offered by more dedicated off-road vehicles like the upcoming Ford Bronco (up to 95:1 thanks to its ultra-low first gear) and the Jeep Wrangler (84:1).
Ram 1500 TRX vs. Ford F-150 Raptor: Power and Weight
Other than at the rear axle, where the TRX and Raptor diverge the most significantly is under the hood. While the first-generation F-150 Raptor featured a V-8 (a smaller 5.4-liter originally, and a 6.2 that quickly became standard), the second-generation models adopted a smaller twin-turbo V-6. For 2020, that EcoBoost engine makes 450 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 510 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm.
But the TRX, as far as specs go, blows that V-6 out of the water. The V-8 underhood displaces 6.2 liters, and on top of that it’s supercharged—just like all of the Hellcat and Trackhawk versions of this same basic engine. The TRX has 702 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm—both offered at higher revs than the Raptor’s power peaks, but much more overall.
We expect the TRX to be a monster in a straight line—think 4.5 seconds to 60 mph and a 12.9 second quarter mile time—despite its likely heavy curb weight. The Raptor, not a slow truck by any stretch, does those deeds in 6.0 and 14.7 seconds, respectively—way, way off the TRX’s mark. There’s no replacement for displacement, it seems. That’s despite the Raptor’s torque-happy power delivery, with little turbo lag and lots of thrust—helped along by the Ford’s two extra cogs to help ensure the truck is in the right gear for maximum go.