We, as people, tend to forgive a lot of flaws when we fall in love. I know I’ve spent many a night ignoring red flags because I was distracted by how someone made me feel. Now, I fear I’m experiencing that willful blindness yet again, this time with a vehicle: the 2022 Ram 1500 TRX.
I skippered this truck – this behemoth – up and down the northeast on a recent long weekend, racking up nearly 640 miles in the process. I drove my little sister to Washington, D.C. in it. I shuttled family members around the Capitol. I drove it to meet friends who I hadn’t seen in months, and even raced it against the New York City subway in the height of weekday traffic. On top of all that, I may or may not have devised a scheme to jump it over the U.S. Capitol building. At no point in my hundreds of miles of driving was the TRX the right vehicle for any of these jobs. I simply did not care.
(Full Disclosure: Stellantis loaned me a Flame Red Ram 1500 TRX with a full tank of gas to use for a week. Damn, was I grateful for that full tank.)
We’ve already written a conventional review of the TRX, including impressions of how it does off-road. What we hadn’t done, until now, was evaluate Ram’s overpowered monster truck as a daily runabout or a road-trip machine. I wanted to know how the TRX felt eating up highway miles or milling around town, because like it or not, that’s how most TRX owners will use these trucks.
I learned a lot in my week with the truck. Let’s start with the good.
First of all, this giant pickup is the closest you can get to a literal couch on wheels. The front seats provide excellent support, even on long highway trips. My brittle and ruined spine didn’t hurt once in 400-plus miles of highway testing. Backseat room is actually insanity. I’ve never been in a vehicle where you could measure the rear-passenger leg room in feet. That’s a perk of any four-door full-size pickup, but it’s a rarity in anything with over 700 horsepower.
The TRX’s driving position is second-to-none. Forget Range Rovers, Suburbans and F-150s — with its gargantuan off-road tires, in the TRX you sit higher than anyone else on the road. From the driver’s seat of this Ram, you look down on any vehicle smaller than an 18-wheeler like it’s an insect on the ground. When you’re in the driver’s seat of TRX, you win. No one is going to be taller or more commanding than you, and if you’re considering a TRX, that’s probably important to you.
The truck’s ride is so smooth. It just rolls over bumps and broken pavement like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve gotta chalk a lot of that up to the TRX’s beefy suspension and Bilstein dampers. This rig is meant to jump, so it easily handled the worst Midtown Manhattan had to offer.
But that could be true of any softly-sprung off-roader. The whole reason the TRX exists is acceleration. Launch control is insane — it makes enough noise to restart someone’s heart, that 6.2-liter V8 roaring against the brakes, the supercharger howling as it crams atmosphere into the cylinders. Four-wheel burnouts, I’m told, are totally possible. Ram says this 6,3000-pound vehicle will do 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. Top speed is limited to 118 mph, which means the TRX can achieve more than half of its maximum velocity in less than 4 seconds. I don’t know why I love that fact so much, but I do.
Stellantis has really set the gold standard for truck interiors. Everything feels well put-together, something you couldn’t always say about Mopar products of the recent past. To me, the best thing about Ram’s interior is the center screen.
The latest version of UConnect is in a class of its own when it comes to infotainment. The huge vertical screen was quick to use, easy to read and immediately intuitive. I’ve been in many a car, and this is just about the best infotainment system I’ve ever used (BMW’s iDrive is a close second). It’s got CarPlay and Android Auto, of course, and like every SRT model, it even has some fun performance pages with all sorts of timers and gauges to show you how many finite resources you’re consuming in the name of speed.
Elsewhere in the TRX’s interior, you’ll find all sorts of nice-feeling leather and Alcantara, and thanks to how wide this thing is, even if your passenger has COVID, you probably won’t get it.
Inside the center console, there’s a cheeky easter egg that shows a Tyrannosaurus rex, a TRX, a Ford F-150 Raptor, and a human in a jaunty cowboy hat, all to scale. Under the hood is another, more direct easter egg: Take the plastic cover off the engine, and you’ll see a depiction of a T-Rex eating a Raptor. Damn, Ram loves dunking on Ford.
If there was one thing I didn’t love about the interior, it was the piano black plastic surrounding the center screen. Glossy interior trim always gets grotty and covered in fingerprints in no time.
It’s big. It’s red. It’s scary to look at. The bed isn’t really big enough for truck stuff, and it’s basically three stories off the ground. Thankfully, it has a handy little fold-away step for getting into the bed. It would be nice if the TRX I drove had running boards. I am reasonably tall, and I still had trouble getting in — the best method I came up with was to swing myself into the seat using the driver’s-side grab handle.
Because the truck is so big, it has clearance markers — amber up front, red in the rear. The first-gen Raptor originated this trend; like the Raptors, the TRX is more than 79.9 inches wide, so the U.S. government requires it to carry marker lights initially intended for heavy-duty commercial vehicles. I think the TRX’s look great, particularly the front markers tucked into the giant hood scoop.
Well, let’s just get this out of the way. The gas mileage is horrible. Worse than horrible, even. In my 640 miles of testing, the majority of which were highway miles, I averaged 10.8 mpg. Fun fact about the TRX: creeping along at idle, the dashboard estimates you’re getting 4.7 mpg. The EPA rates it at 10 mpg city, 14 highway, 12 combined. That’s not just bad, it’s appalling. That high-performance supercharged engine demands premium fuel, and the 33-gallon tank is a blessing and a curse. It cost me $163 to fill it from nearly empty. I almost cried.
Now, I understand that if you’re buying a 702-horsepower truck that costs nearly $100,000, you probably don’t care about fuel costs, but think about what this thing does to the planet.
You can’t get away from the gas mileage. You also can’t get away from the fact that this truck is huge. It’s bigger than any metaphor I can come up with. In a standard-size parking spot, the tires touch the stripes on both sides. This thing is 88 inches wide — 8 inches broader than the regular Ram 1500. Thank goodness the mirrors fold in.
This truck is far and away the most anti-social, anti-community and anti-environmental passenger vehicle you can buy today. It embodies every unrefined, childish urge you’ll ever experience in the depths of your craven mind. Any time Europe wants to make fun of America for being a rude, selfish nation, all they need to do is point to the TRX. I am shocked that an automaker can sell something like this to regular people.
If I had $90,000 in my pocket right now, there is nothing else I’d buy. I don’t know how this reflects on me.
Driving the TRX in the cramped cities of the Northeast feels absurd. Would it be different if I lived in wide-open rural Texas, or if I spent all my weekends off-roading? Sure. But only a small subset of TRX owners will fit those descriptions.
It was indescribable fun mashing the gas pedal and hearing 702 horses roar to life. A part of me felt terrible every time I did it. Despite its flaws, its red flags, I love the TRX. I’m happy it exists. In today’s world, though, I’m just not sure that it should.