Down the Road, Ram Could Offer the 1500 TRX With Less Power For a More Affordable Price

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has taken the world by storm. The specs are mighty impressive, and so is the feature list. Although it is meant to take on the Ford F-150 Raptor, the price suggests otherwise.

A fully-loaded Ford F-150 Raptor costs almost as much the base TRX. That doesn’t mean the product is expensive, but it sure means that the TRX is offering a lot more features than the Raptor. So, how can Ram make the TRX more affordable? Simple. Downsize its engine. The automaker hasn’t confirmed this yet, but it isn’t averse to the idea of a smaller engine either.

Will A Cheaper TRX Have The Same Appeal?

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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The TRX was touted as a Raptor-killer all along. The TRX is a much superior product in most of the aspects, but it doesn’t hurt the Raptor because a fully-loaded TRX costs almost $25,000 more than a fully-loaded Raptor. This isn’t a small amount where customers could take the plunge without thinking twice. While the TRX seems very impressive and is a very competent vehicle, it doesn’t really pose a threat to the F-150 Raptor.

If it wants to share the Blue Oval’s pie, the price needs to be in the same ballpark as the Raptor.
The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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The most logical answer would be to offer a smaller engine in the TRX and price the truck lower so it actually squares with the F-150 Raptor. Automobile Magazine posed the question to Ram and the automaker said, “Not at introduction.” This means Ram is open to the idea, even if it doesn’t happen anytime soon. This is a good thing if Ram wants to capture a larger market share.

How Will A Smaller Engine Help Ram’s Cause?

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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The Ram 1500 TRX is equipped with a 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 HEMI Hellcat engine that makes 702 horses and 650 pound-feet of torque.

The Ford F-150 Raptor, on the other hand, churns out 450 horses and 510 pound-feet of torque. This difference in power figures doesn’t exactly put the trucks in the same category. The Ram is also one whole second faster than the Raptor. This might justify the Ram’s price tag, but a potential customer for a Raptor may not go for the TRX and vice-versa.

Why Won’t Ram Offer An Affordable TRX Anytime Soon?

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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The answer is to recover the research and developmental costs. The automaker unveiled the TRX Concept back in 2016, which means it was working on the truck for the better half of the past decade. The time and money invested in developing the truck need to be recovered and that cannot happen if you offer a smaller engine at a lesser price and reduce the profit margins. Not to mention, it will also hurt the credibility of TRX that’s already unveiled. You cannot have an affordable version of the truck dilute its presence in the market before it even makes a mark.

The 1500 TRX is not just a new engine and suspension system under the standard 1500’s skin. It rides on an upgraded architecture, redesigned suspension components, new stronger body shell, different cabin fittings, a lot more tech features, and so on. So, offering a product that rivals the F-150 Raptor on the same level after developing a beast like the TRX is a big loss for Ram.

Why Has Ram Not Ruled It Out Completely?

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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Even though it was supposed to take on the F-150 Raptor, the TRX is kind of creating its own niche. It is arguably the most expensive half-ton pickup truck ever, with prices breaching $100,000 with optional features and accessories.

Now, if you were to choose between a fully-loaded F-150 Raptor and a base 1500 TRX, what would you pick? Even if your answer is the TRX, Ram would be flattered, but not happy. It isn’t a secret that automakers earn the maximum revenue by selling accessories. By buying just the truck without any accessories, you wouldn’t be making the dealerships or the company happy. Hence, a cheaper TRX is a kind of necessity from this point of view, and the best way to do it is by offering a smaller engine.

What Are The Other Engines Ram Could Plonk In The Cheaper TRX?

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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There are multiple options for Ram here. Best case scenario – Ram would plonk a V-8 itself to have an upper hand over the Raptor’s V-6 (because no replacement for displacement), but offer a naturally-aspirated version, i.e, sans a supercharger.

The engine that comes forth is the 6.4-liter, V-8 that is doing its duty in the Ram 2500 HD. This mill makes 410 horses and 429 pound-feet of torque.

The same engine dishes out 485 horses and 475 pound-feet of twist in the Challenger. So, the engine could be tuned accordingly to counter the F-150 Raptor’s 450 ponies and 510 pound-feet of torque.

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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There’s also the standard Ram 1500’s 5.7-liter, V-8 HEMI that produces 395 horses and 410 pound-feet of torque. If Ram can offer this mill in the base Tradesman trim of 1500 with a sticker price of just $35,430, then it can plonk it in the cheaper TRX and contain the costs. The biggest con here would be the 0-60 time, which, in the 1500, is around seven seconds. An updated version of the same could, however, bring these figures closer to the Raptor’s 5.5-second time.

What If Ford Brings A Bigger Engine To Take On The Ram V-8 TRX?

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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This is one of the possibilities and it could backfire if Ram doesn’t get the timing right with the cheaper TRX. Ford has the option of plonking the Mustang Shelby GT500’s 5.2-liter, V-8 engine in the Raptor. This engine makes 760 horses and 625 pound-feet of torque. The Mustang takes 3.5 seconds to hit the 60 mph mark, so even if it takes a second longer when powering a truck, it is still on par with the TRX’s 4.5-second claim. If this happens, then Ford will be able to nullify Ram’s advantage in the “more powerful” category and it’ll be all back to square one with the standard F-150 Raptor enjoying a monopoly.

Final Thoughts

The Ram 1500 TRX Could Be Offered In More Affordable Form With Less Power Exterior
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Now that we know that a cheaper 1500 TRX will come sometime in the future, we can keep speculating without an end. Perhaps we’ll get to know more about it once the hype for the present 2021 Ram 1500 TRX settles down. What are your thoughts on an affordable TRX? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Source: Automobile Magazine

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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