With the debut of the Ram 1500 TRX, FCA has left no question as to which company dominates the off-road truck segment. While the Ford F-150 Raptor may have ruled over the dunes and trails for over a decade, the TRX has been specifically tailored via customer input to meet the desires left unchecked by the Blue Oval. According to Ram 1500 Senior Brand Manager Carl Lally, this input from customers goes right down to the Hellcat V8 engine found under the hood.
“What it boils down to is what the customer is looking for,” said Lally in a one-on-one interview with MC&T. “There’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the way this truck is set up…. Relentless amounts of input saying ‘build this truck with a V8.’ That was our guiding principle on it.”
Ever since the Raptor ditched its glorious 6.2L V8 engine for a twin-turbocharged V6, the truck has been missing a bit of its original character. The EcoBoost simply doesn’t sound as good as a V8, and it doesn’t offer the same feel as an old school eight-cylinder. As a result, the value of the first-generation F-150 Raptor has been kept at a premium, with very few well-kept examples dipping below $30,000 on the used market.
“The never ending desire for a V8-powered machine in the off-road truck segment seemed like a perfect launching pad for FCA’s success. The 6.2L supercharged unit found across other SRT Hellcat models just so happens to be one of the most entertaining powertrains you’ll find anywhere, and it is tremendously more capable than Ford’s EcoBoost V6 engine. With 702 horsepower under the hood, the Ram 1500 TRX is more powerful than every Ford model except the GT500, which is impressive indeed.
Recently, a 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor was spied on public roads. Its exhaust note certainly sounds different than the currently EcoBoost-powered model, but the verdict is out as to whether or not it’s packing eight cylinders under the hood. We know Ford listens to its truck customers just as well if not better than anybody, so it can be assured that whatever ends up powering the next-gen Raptor will be a very deliberate and conscious decision based on myriad of input from multiple angles.
It’s not just the engine that makes the Ram 1500 TRX a true alternative to the Raptor either. The Ram 1500 is a great truck in standard form, and continues to tempt buyers from both Ford and GM. The TRX takes this platform and packs it with unique touches and off-roading hardware that should fit any buyers trail-related needs. It’s a truck that’s been designed to beat Ford at its own game, which is something FCA is confident it will do.
“We have a vehicle Raptor customers are looking for,” said Tally. “We have been conquesting Ford and General Motors customers at a high rate the moment we introduced the new Ram 1500… it gives us a lot of confidence… that loyalty is tough to break at times but at the same time when you give them something they don’t have today, that’s a great opportunity. It puts us in the best position for us to capture those buyers, quite frankly.”
We’ll have to wait for the release of the next-gen F-150 Raptor to know for sure, but we think that FCA has brought a serious contender to the segment Ford birthed back in 2010.