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Ram 1500 TRX 2023 review


The RAM TRX is the definition of super-sized – the fastest, most-powerful mass-production truck ever, pumped to the outer limits in every possible way

Good points

  • Insane supercharger wail
  • Huge dynamic bandwidth
  • Enormous cabin space and comfort
  • Unashamedly in your face
  • Vast standard equipment list
  • Brilliant stereo

Needs work

  • Humongous turning circle
  • Intimidating size
  • Insatiable fuel thirst
  • Insipid headlights
  • Knobbly tyres limit handling and speed
  • Expensive to buy and run

When you derive the name of your new flagship truck from the largest, most ferocious dinosaur ever to walk the earth – the Tyrannosaurus Rex – you know someone’s having a laugh while making a key point. 

And the 2023 Ram 1500 TRX full-size pick-up is indeed capable of stirring emotion, producing both mirth and a degree of fear in those who drive it. 

The irony in naming a three-tonne, six-metre-long behemoth after a dinosaur surely isn’t lost on anyone. But if this steroid-injected truck is to be one of the last petrol-guzzling performance pick-ups ever made, then it may as well play it straight.

The Ram TRX is massive in size, costs a shedload, weighs close to a tonne more than a regular dual-cab and sounds like a screeching monster when giving its all, which is plenty.

You would think something this outrageous and expensive would be light on rivals but, in North America at least, the Ford F-150 Raptor R offers healthy competition, while the V8-powered Jeep Wrangler 392 and Australia’s locally designed Ranger Raptor offer similar plug-and-play chaos in a slightly different form.

Built in North America but remanufactured for right-hand drive in Melbourne, the TRX resides at the very top of the Ram 1500 line-up and has been significantly altered in both bodywork and mechanical hardware to suit its all-terrain, Dakar-inspired role. 

Its bespoke mudguards and wheel arch extensions expand its overall width by 203mm, with its tracks swollen to a massive 1892mm up front and 1882mm at the rear – matching its enormous 3686mm wheelbase for a dimensional stance that would dwarf Big Foot.

The TRX also gains 50mm in ground clearance – now a staggering 295mm – and its entire front end is pretty much unique, including the grille, bonnet and steel front bumper, with the functional bonnet scoops feeding 50 percent of the air volume required for engine cooling.

Even its front axle has been moved forward by 20mm to accommodate clearance for the vast new tyre package – 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory 325/65R18s developed specifically for the TRX – though these knobbly tyres do limit top speed to just 159km/h…

As for the rest of the package, it’s hardly what you’d call limited – apart from availability. 

Bespoke suspension architecture with an array of effective drive modes, as well as an extensive standard equipment list and a serious $219,950 price tag (before on-road costs) elevate the Ram TRX to its rightful place as the king of serious dual-cabs/pick-ups.

With Ram sales in Australia going gangbusters (4534 sales to the end of July – up 51 percent year-to-date compared to 2022), the first batch of 300 TRXs is already sold out, though a second right-hand-drive allocation is imminent.

Beyond the substantial asking price, however, it might be a wise idea to make sure you can also afford to fuel, service and insure a Ram 1500 TRX.

What are the TRX’s features and options for the price?

Aside from choosing between three colours – grey, red and blue – the 2023 TRX is a no-options proposition, meaning all the following equipment comes standard for $219,950 (before on road costs):

  • LED headlamps and tail-lamps
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual-pane panoramic sunroof with electric blind
  • Power tailgate
  • Keyless entry/start
  • Electric rear cabin window
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Bilstein Black Hawk adaptive dampers
  • Leather-wrapped dashboard and door tops
  • Leather/suede upholstery and steering wheel
  • 8-way electric front seats with electric lumbar and driver’s memory
  • Heated/ventilated front and outer rear seats
  • Dual-zone climate control with rear-seat air vents
  • 7.0-inch digital driver’s display
  • 12.0-inch portrait touchscreen
  • Harman Kardon 900-watt sound system with 19 speakers
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Five USB-A ports and four USB-C ports
  • Reclining 60/40 rear backrests

Standard accessories include front and rear floor mats, a tray bedliner and a tow bar.  

How does the TRX drive?

With eight available drive modes (Auto, Sport, Tow, Snow, Custom, Mud/Sand, Rock and Baja) governing suspension damping, steering tune, throttle sensitivity, all-wheel-drive system and chassis electronics, the dynamic band width of the Ram TRX is considerable.

We started off in Auto given that is what most people would do, though the TRX’s light steering and somewhat floaty and pattery freeway ride didn’t quite feel right.

Switching to Sport, however, significantly enhances the TRX’s body control and firms up its steering, meaning this is the setting everyone should probably use.

Or perhaps Custom mode, with the dampers set to Sport and the steering in Street (the middle setting between super-light Rock and much firmer Sport).

As for the three off-road settings, we didn’t test them out of respect given that our press TRX was already sold to a private customer. So we’ll just have to take the word of others in saying that the TRX can be mighty off-road. After all, that is what it’s designed to do – hence the serious 295mm of ground clearance.

It even features Jump Detection, which modifies engine speed and torque, gear selection, transfer-case torque split, damping rates and other powertrain and suspension components when your TRX is airborne and during the landing to “deliver optimum performance”, which is both reassuring and hilarious.

On first acquaintance, driving the TRX in the city feels intimidating. It’s a huge vehicle – measuring almost 6m long and 2.5m wide (if you include the mirrors) – with one of the largest turning circles I’ve ever experienced (14.7m) and 3.1 turns lock-to-lock, which often makes it seem lumbering.

Around straight ahead, the Ram’s steering can feel quite precise, though it’s a big vehicle that ultimately requires big inputs for serious direction changes. Yet the further you drive and the faster you go, the greater the TRX’s dynamic rhythm … providing it has the real estate to move.

On tight, curvy roads there’s no disguising the TRX’s bulk, and if you push too hard in low-speed bends and don’t trail-brake to tuck its nose into a corner, its knobbly Goodyears relinquish their grip as the front-end runs wide…before the whole truck drifts wide.

But if you set it up cleanly – always in Sport mode – the TRX can be guided briskly through bends.

Surprisingly, it’s actually quite fluent and pointable. You can also feel the tail step out a bit when exiting a corner under acceleration, even though it’s full-time four-wheel drive.

The heart of the matter – which sounds ever-present at all speeds – is Chrysler’s thunderous 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8.

Punching out 523kW (or 702hp) at 6100rpm and 882Nm of torque at 4200rpm, and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with unique-to-TRX paddle shifters, this ’roided 3057kg Ram is rambunctious enough to reach 100km/h from standstill in a claimed 4.5 seconds.

It was quicker still at our test track, punching out a grin-inducing 4.31sec best.

That’s mainly down to surprisingly tight lower gearing, with a short first gear punching it off the line (in conjunction with launch control, if you like), and second and third following in quick succession. And all backed by a roaring V8 soundtrack mixed with gratuitous supercharger whine.

Ram also claims a standing 0-400m time – 12.9 seconds at a 173km/h terminal speed – however the Oz-spec TRX’s off-road tyres are speed-limited to just 159km/h. The US TRX achieves a claimed top speed of 190km/h.

Yet the TRX isn’t just about its accelerative thrust. It’s also a super-torquey freeway hauler, capable of comfortably pulling eighth gear from just 1200rpm, underpinned by a lazy V8 burble.

Hauling the TRX up is a decent set of brakes – 378mm ventilated front discs and 375mm ventilated rear discs – though much like its over-keen first-gear throttle response, they do require a degree of delicacy to operate smoothly at low speeds.

It stops surprisingly well. Our track test best of 40.01m puts it at the top of the heap of most pick-ups and ute we’ve ever independently tested. And almost in defiance of mud-kicing rubber and its circa-three-tonne heft.

As for its other pick-up stats, the TRX’s braked towing capacity is 3500kg, its payload is 743kg, and it can tackle water up to 812mm deep.

What is the TRX’s interior and tech like?

Filling the TRX’s utterly vast cabin full of equipment is a bit like furnishing a McMansion – there’s so much space that you just keep throwing stuff in there, simply because it fits.

In terms of finish, you’d never know this right-hand-drive TRX had been re-engineered for our market.

The high-quality materials and build quality evident in its enormous interior are very impressive for a ute – particularly the leather and suede upholstery covering its superb seats and generous door trims, complemented by a leather-stitched dash top.

The TRX also features a huge 12.0-inch portrait touchscreen dominating its dashboard centre, which fulfills an array of easy-to-access functions and combines with oversized switchgear in other areas to make the TRX dashboard a friendly (if fairly busy) place to navigate.

There’s a wireless changing pad at the lower dash that’s almost vertical but requires your phone to lie on its side, which is unusual, plus five USB-A ports and four USB-C ports throughout the cabin.

The TRX also features wireless Apple CarPlay (we didn’t test the Android Auto function), which mostly works well but its processing speed can be tardy … and the screen itself froze on several occasions before accepting an input.

The stereo is brilliant, however – a thumping 19-speaker, 900-watt Harman Kardon system that’s an easy match for the engine’s soundtrack volume. And it sounds particularly great from the centre-rear seat, which is arguably the most roomy and comfortable centre-rear seat ever!

Indeed, the entire back seat is lounge-like for comfort and available space – matching the excellent support of the front buckets – and the cushions can be flipped up, Honda style, to create a huge storage area on the rear floor.

There’s also ample bottle-storage room in its lower front door bins (enough for three bottles!), as well as a huge centre-console bin, another dashboard cubby for the front-left passenger, and under-floor storage in the rear as well.

So for carrying families and their paraphernalia about, the TRX scores big time.

Aside from restricted over-the-bonnet vision, the TRX’s interior also feels very airy, with huge glass areas and a massive dual-pane sunroof opening up the sky.

The centre-rear window behind the back seat can also be opened electrically – magnifying the exhaust rumble from the Ram’s five-inch dual outlets.

As for the tray area, it features a standard TRX bedliner but doesn’t come with a tonneau cover so any luggage duties will require an optional hard- or soft-folding tonneau type as a factory accessory.

The tray itself is quite large – 1711mm long, 1295mm wide at the wheelarches and 543mm deep – and features a power-opening tailgate. There’s also a full-size 18-inch alloy spare wheel under the floor.

Is the TRX a safe vehicle?

The only global safety organisation to independently crash-test the Ram 1500 is the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) in the US, which rated the Ram its ‘top pick’ for a full-size pick-up.

This included a five-star rating in seven out of 12 categories (and four stars in the remaining categories) for frontal crash-test safety, and ‘good’ (the highest score) for most categories in frontal-offset impacts.

Only the headlights received a ‘marginal’ rating – a factor confirmed in our testing, where the TRX’s high bonnet line significantly inhibits forward vision when using low-beam (though high-beam rectifies this).

The Ram also received a ‘marginal’ rating for child-seat anchors and seatbelt reminders.

In our extensive testing, the adaptive cruise control worked well and maintained a set speed effectively, though the Ram also allows you to switch to a non-adaptive version, which many users (particularly in Australia) may appreciate.

The TRX also includes lane-departure warning and a competent lane-keep assistance system, which is useful given the sheer size of the vehicle on Australian roads and can easily be disabled by a button at the top of the centre stack.

Safety equipment fitted standard to the TRX includes:

  • Six airbags
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • 360-degree surround-view camera
  • Rear-view camera
  • Forward-facing off-road camera
  • Forward AEB (all-speed) with pedestrian detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Switchable adaptive/non-adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Trailer sway control
  • Tyre-pressure monitoring
  • Automatic headlamps

Only from a passive-safety aspect could the TRX be considered a compromise, given the off-road nature of its tyre tread, and the considerable size and mass that a driver must learn to acclimatise to when driving the TRX dynamically.

What are the TRX’s ownership costs?

The Ram 1500 TRX’s official combined fuel consumption figure is 19.6L/100km, which underscores just how big, heavy and powerful this vehicle is.

Our overall test average was close to that figure (19.2L/100km), with a best of 16.2L/100km driving from Sydney to Newcastle and back on the freeway mixed with some urban driving, and a worst of well over 20L/100km in the city.

The TRX’s recommended minimum fuel is 91 octane regular unleaded. The tank is a huge 125 litres.

Service intervals for the TRX are every six months or 10,000km, which is relatively restrictive in 2023, though perhaps expected for a vehicle such as this. In comparison, a Ford Ranger Raptor twin-turbo V6 only requires servicing every 12 months or 15,000km.

Ram does not offer capped-price servicing on the TRX – it’s determined by the individual dealer.

Ram’s warranty is a slim three years/100,000km – below the current standard for vehicle warranties in Australia – which includes roadside assistance for the same period.

The honest verdict on the Ram 1500 TRX

The TRX version of the strong-selling Ram 1500 is about as niche as you can get for a full-size pick-up. The breadth of its abilities extends well beyond the comfort zone (or the general needs) of most drivers and families, so it ultimately only makes sense if you use it for what it was designed for.

As a ballsy, brash, and ballistically quick all-purpose performance ute, it can be quite spectacular – particularly its off-road credentials and its superlative acceleration.

Yet it’s also an excellent five-seat pick-up, offering the space, cabin finish, seating comfort and all-round airiness and refinement that elude so many smaller, commercial-oriented dual-cabs.

In that respect, the Ram 1500 TRX feels worth the considerable money that importer Ateco is asking for it.

Buyers need to remember, however, that this is not simply a top-spec version of the Ram 1500 – it’s a whole different ball game in terms of size, dynamic focus, and even fuel thirst.

It’s purpose-built for the extremes of vehicle use, so relegating it to a town-based ‘showpony’ role – something it’s also quite capable of – is somehow missing the point.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Below average
Overall rating
Running costs
Below average

Variant tested TRX (4x4)

Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

6166 cc
523kW at 6100rpm
882Nm at 4800rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
125 litres
5929 mm
2235 mm
2055 mm
Unoccupied weight
3033 kg

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