2021 Ram 1500 TRX Yearlong Review: Absolutely Filthy
Most arrivals to the MotorTrend long-term fleet are quite different from our brand-new 2022 Ram 1500 TRX’s. Normally, you would be reading something like, “We went with the optionless base model because it’s the volume player; but we picked the unloved brown paint because it reminds us of our mother’s eyes.” I can assure you that no one on staff has a mother with Flame Red eyes, and this particular TRX is as far from base as pickup trucks get. Clock all that power! And let’s be honest: Normal is boring.
A bit of history before we get into it: The Ram TRX was voted our 2021 MotorTrend Truck of the Year. In the wake of that win, it was time to spend a year with one to see how well it holds up to even deeper scrutiny. The job of stewarding our pet TRX for 12 months has fallen to me, even though I’d previously sworn off monster trucks due to the limited parking at my home in the hills of Los Angeles. Alas, the allure of a 702-hp rocket sled pickup was too much for yours truly. Fun fact: A Hummer H1 is 86.5 inches wide. Ram TRX: 88.0 inches. Yes, it’s wider than a freakin’ Humvee and I don’t have much space to spare. Did I mention I’m not very smart?
Back to not normal, the loaner TRX first showed up at our Detroit office, where it was received by our technical director, Frank Markus. Uncle Frank, as he’s known to all of us, weighed it, tested it, towed with it—all the usual MT jazz. But he also loaded it up with half a ton of gear, putting the TRX slightly over its 7,800-pound gross vehicle weight rating when two people are aboard. With just a driver, the TRX squeaked under. Why all the tents, chain saws, folding chairs, MaxTrax, refrigerators, and whatnot? Because our brand-spanking-new long-term TRX was about to spend 43 days acting as our photo/video support vehicle on the Trans-America Trail. Senior editor Aaron Gold then flew to Michigan and drove the fully loaded beast to Nags Head, North Carolina, the start of the TAT.
If you missed it, MotorTrend and Rivian joined forces to pull off the world’s first North American off-road crossing with an electric vehicle. Two EVs, actually: white and gray Rivian R1Ts. But lurking just out of frame every single mile of the 7,700-mile adventure? Our TRX, or Clifford the Big Red Truck, as the drivers of the first leg of the TAT called it. By the second leg of the journey, after approximately 3,300 miles of deep Southern dirt, we rechristened the TRX “Pig Pen.” Trust me, that’s a much more accurate name, especially because as far as anyone could see, Pig Pen was no longer red, and no one was cleaning out the interior. For some weird OCD reason between waves two and three, Uncle Frank decided to wash Pig Pen, returning it to Clifford status. That state of cleanliness lasted approximately 3 hours. Pig Pen it shall be.
As for the details of our newest long-termer, it’s pretty stacked. As a 2021 model, the base price is $72,020. (For 2022 that number climbed to $75,175.) Because of a few key options, the total price for our TRX is $91,185. Yes, that’s $19,165 in extra goodies, but most are necessary, specifically the $7,920 Level 2 Equipment Group, which includes everything from a trailer hitch to blind-spot monitoring to heated rear seats. Also, the gigantic, $495 “TRX” Exterior Graphics by Mopar stickers on the bed are key. Hey, if you got it, flaunt it. Right? And how.
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