The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor aims to pound across the desert than its predecessors. However, it is challenged by an off-road contender. Dodge Ram 1500 TRX is another mean machine that traverses the badlands.
The third-generation Raptor is one of Ford’s models of F-150. The blue oval-badged automaker sits on the throne for being the best-selling brand of factory off-road pickup trucks. But can Dodge dethrone Ford with their Ram 1500 TRX? Who will be the apex predator among these off-road beasts? Let’s check out and compare their features.
When the battle began
Both pickup trucks have impressive features, as well as aggressive and tough-looking exterior designs. Many people have been impressed by the Rebel TRX concept, especially the V8 lovers. The concept was made with a 575 horsepower 6.2L supercharged V8. It seemed extremely similar to the Hellcat but it’s tuned differently with a completely different transmission.
When it comes to pickup trucks, the suspension is a key component, especially in off-roading. Both trucks have about 13 inches of travel. The 2017-year model of Raptor comes with 3-inch front and rear Fox Racing Shocks that come with rear leaf springs and an independent front. For the newly launched Rebel TRX concept, it has 2.5-inch king bypass shocks and independent front suspension but it uses coils instead of leaf springs.
Since the Ram Rebel was just a concept back then, the winner for the best off-road truck goes to the early model of the Ford Raptor. But the battle did not end there. Dodge made their Rebel concept come to life and released the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX.
The name of these two pickup trucks sounds like Mesozoic beasts. Ford named one of their F-150 model truck with “Raptor” while Dodge named their one of their Ram with “TRX” (which sounds like T-Rex).
Ever since Dodge introduced the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, it has impressed many pickup truck enthusiasts. It also won MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year award. Ford has been rattled and pressured to up the ante with their third-generation 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor.
Both the Raptor and TRX feature incredible engines with lots of power and the ability to go off-road at high speeds. Under the hood, these trucks have forced induction to create immense amounts of power but they go about it differently. The Ram TRX has a 6.2-liter Hellcat engine with 702 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft of torque, while F-150 Raptor has a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine with 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft torque.
In comparison, the Ram 1500 TRX has way more displacement with its 6.2-liter V8 engine than the Raptor’s 3.6-liter V6 twin turbochargers. There is no denying that the Raptor has a disadvantage in cylinder count.
Body and suspension
As for the body, both trucks have a few differences compared to their brand’s other variants.
The Ram TRX is 8 inches wider than the other variants of Ram 1500, while the Raptor has a bulkier body that is double the size of the regular F-150.
Ram 1500 TRX
- Has a stronger frame that’s made of high-strength steel.
- The five-link coil springs work well with the forged steel Panhard bar for greater rear axle travel.
- To handle the front suspension, the front rails and some parts of the frame are hydroformed. The hardpoints for the rear suspension are also reinforced.
- The Dana 60 rear axle is mounted to the chassis through the five-link coil-spring suspension mounting points.
- Provides improved traction to send power to the rear wheels, as well as give stability to the truck laterally.
- Even though it doesn’t have an independent rear suspension (IRS), it is made with coil springs that are lighter than any leaf spring setup
- Has a five-link coil-sprung rear suspension setup to get the torque to the ground without the axle pitching.
- The five-link coil springs allow putting bigger wheels and tires
- The suspension design provides better articulation over obstacles and reduces friction.
- The front is made up of nice ball joints, control arms, knuckles, and 14 inches of front suspension travel
- Has extra-long trail arms and coil springs with 15 inches of rear suspension travel.
Features and safety ratings
Beauty can be subjective but we can say that both the Ford Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX look amazing. They got the top-notch style yet look aggressive when you drive it on the road or the trails.
Ram 1500 TRX
- Although the base version of the truck lacks some features, the level 1 package lets you get a heated steering wheel and heated front seats
- Has a 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with built-in navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio
- If you want an upgraded infotainment unit, you can get a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system
- For more intuitive controls, the physical buttons and knobs on the screen surround the bezel
- Storage compartment under the rear seat and leather-trimmed seats that matches the interior
- Cargo-box lighting that’s great for organizing your stuff in the truck
- Comes with a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in microsuede
- Comes with a bed-mounted spare-tire carrier
- Body-colored beadlocks-capable rims that add beauty to the truck
The 2020 Ram 1500 has been rigorously tested to handle extreme conditions with tremendous capability and durability. It received a high overall rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) because of its innovative use of safety technology. Dodge made sure that their 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has enhanced safety features as well.
- Airbags equipped in driver and passenger side, as well as front head, rear head, and front side
- Lane-departure warning
- Lane-keeping assist
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Adaptive cruise control
- Child safety locks
- Cross-Traffic Alert
- The steering wheel has a laser-etched logo with a race car-style orange mark
- Includes a fully digital gauge cluster
- Has a cool shifter design that folds flat into the center console
- Has a 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Amazon Alexa, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
- You can choose optional bolstered Recaro front buckets and carbon-fiber interior accents
- The audio system is designed with physical volume and tuning knobs to complement the steering-wheel controls
- For an upgraded audio experience, you can opt for the 18-speaker B&O sound system
- Comes in a selection of 17-inch rims and a standard set of 35-inch tires
- The truck can be equipped with a useful 2.0-kW mobile generator mounted in the cargo bed so that it can run power tools and other equipment
Both IIHS and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have not yet released their safety rating for the new Raptor. Here are the following safety features of this pickup truck:
- Trail Control and Trail 1-Pedal Drive assist you so that it’s easier to tackle the trails
- Has a low-speed cruise control for difficult off-road situations
- Standard forward-collision warning
- Automated emergency braking
- Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Airbags in the driver and passenger side, as well as the front head and front side
- Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
The TRX can’t tow as much compared to other Ram models. However, it can still pull a substantial amount of up to 1310 lbs. of payload. It has a maximum towing capacity of 8100 lbs. The standard Raptor can tow more weight than the version it replaces. The maximum payload and conventional tow ratings have increased to 1400 lbs. and 8200 lbs.
The Raptor can kick the TRX and tell it to “go big or go home.” You don’t have to worry about getting an aftermarket lift kit because you can fit up to 37-inch massive all-terrain tires on the Raptor. This setup can be seen often on built off-road rigs and not in factory pickup trucks.
In fact, the 37-inch BFGoodrich tires are part of a whole system. The ground clearance increases from 12 to 13.1 inches. The five-link coil-spring rear suspension is designed to accommodate a 37-inch spare tire that is mounted under the bed.
The standard Raptor comes in 35-inch tires but without the modified frame to fit the spare. But if you choose an upgraded one with the 37” tires, it makes a huge difference in the specs. The bigger tires provide a better approach, departure, and break-over angles. The upgraded system also includes the wheels, different shock hardware, as well as different overall tuning.
However, the battle isn’t over yet because the TRX can still give a punch to the Raptor. The tires may be 2 inches short than the Raptor. But the set of 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain tires is mounted on a nice set of 18-inch wheels. The TRX is equipped with Bilstein remote-reservoir dampers that work exceptionally well with the electronic-locking rear differential and huge 15-inch front brakes.
There’s no wrong or right if you want big tires for your truck. However, if you compare the wheels and tires to put on the Raptor and TRX, then you’ll see the difference.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and the Dodge Ram 1500 TRX are running toward the finish line neck and neck. A lot of automotive industry news states that the F-150 is still the best-selling pickup truck in America, especially in 2019—but Ram is quickly catching up.
Both their names are good references to the Jurassic-loving pickup truck enthusiasts. In terms of who’s the real winner, it may be too early to tell who’s the ultimate beast of the road. If you’re planning to buy a new truck this year, which one would you choose?