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2021 Ram 1500 TRX vs. Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ram 1500 TRX vs. Ford F-150 Raptor

The F-150 Raptor has finally found a worthy contender in the all-new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

From the day Ram revealed the TRX Concept, people have been calling it the Raptor-killer. The concept TRX came with loads of off-road accessories, a big engine, and a star factor that made people believe that it could dethrone the Ford F-150 Raptor. Four years later, the company revealed the production-spec 1500 TRX, and it retained almost everything displayed in the concept truck. At the onset, the 1500 TRX is very impressive, but can this new entrant take on the veteran F-150 Raptor with the DNA of the company that has been ruling for decades together?

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The 2019 RAM 1500 Fires Back at GMC's Multipro Tailgate With Something Simple And Useful

The 2019 RAM 1500 Fires Back at GMC’s Multipro Tailgate With Something Simple And Useful

Is this the new flashpoint in the pickup truck wars?

The more utility you can add to a pickup, the better it becomes. That’s a given, but how do you improve on the formula? It seems as though GMC found a way with its Multipro Tailgate and 2019 Sierra, which offers multiple configurations for improved access to the box, extended holding capacity, and a second-tier loading height. Now Ram is getting in on the action with its own take on the configurable tailgate concept, offering up something it’s calling the Multifunction Tailgate on all seven trim levels of the 2019 Ram 1500. Granted, GMC was the first in this space, but we think Ram might have the better tailgate this time around.

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Duel of the Dinos: Ford F-150 Raptor vs Ram TRX Concept

Duel of the Dinos: Ford F-150 Raptor vs Ram TRX Concept

Ford’s light and nimble Raptor goes against Ram’s heavy hitting TRX Concept

The Ford F-150 Raptor has been the high-speed off-road champ since its introduction in 2010. That all might change should Ram green-light the TRX Concept it debuted at the 2016 Texas State Fair. This beast is Hellcat-powered, boasts 37-inch tires, and a suspension system that rivals the Raptor’s underpinnings.

Both trucks have upgraded engines above their average counterparts. The Raptor boasts a high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, while the Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept sports a detuned version of the famed Hellcat V-8. Don’t let the “detuned” term fool you – this engine still makes 575 horsepower.

Both trucks also wear unique bodywork that differs from their mundane counterparts. Unique front fascias, hoods and bumpers are found on both trucks, as well as wider fenders that cover each trucks’ expanded track. Both also feature knobby tires mounted on beadlock wheels (an option of the Raptor).

Nevertheless, there’s still plenty that separate these two prehistoric beasts. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading for the full review.

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Off-Road Shootout – Ram Rebel VS Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: Video

Off-Road Shootout – Ram Rebel VS Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: Video

Which off-road truck is king?

The pickup truck segment is red-hot these days, especially in the off-road niche. Two of the biggest players come from Toyota and Ram. These trucks are upfitted with special equipment and features not found on lesser-level trucks. But which one is better suited for the dirt? Well, the guys over at Off-Road.com pitted the contenders together to find out.

Up first, the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro comes motivated with the venerable 5.7-liter iForce V-8 backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. By checking the TRD Pro option box, the Tundra then gets a fantastic-sounding dual exhaust system, TRD-branded coil-over shocks with remote reservoirs, and an extra two inches of ground clearance. What’s more, the TRD Pro brings a unique front grille, bespoke interior trimmings, and a cool TRD Pro stamping on the cargo bed.

Also powered by a 5.7-liter V-8 is the Ram Rebel. But the Ram’s Hemi is no high-tech DOHC engine. Nope, it’s a good ole-fashioned cam-in-block, pushrod V-8, though it does have cylinder deactivation. It pumps out an impressive 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, out-classing the Tundra’s 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. Controlling the Hemi’s power is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Both trucks come with part-time 4WD systems with electronic engagement and low range gearing. Neither truck, however, offers a selectable locking rear differential, though limited-slip diffs in both offer more traction than a conventional open differential.

Setting the Ram apart is its air suspension system. It gives the driver the option of a standard and off-road ride height. When in its highest position, the Ram matches the Tundra TRD Pro’s ground clearance. And thanks to the air suspension’s self-leveling feature, the Ram offers a flatter ride when hooked to a tongue-heavy trailer. The Toyota just goes nose up.

These trucks are awesome and all, but both command premium price tags. The Tundra TRD Pro edges out the Ram, carrying an as-tested price around $46,000. At round $53,000, the Ram Rebel is more expensive, but as this video review points out, it offers more features commonly favored among modern truck buyers.

So which is better in the dirt? Well, I can’t spoil the review, so check it out above.

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Heavy-Haulin' Half-Tons

Heavy-Haulin’ Half-Tons

Need to haul fireworks? The F-150 outshines Chevy & Ram

It’s America’s Independence Day – the day we celebrate the original Brexit when America declared her independence from Britain back in 1776. It’s also the day we replicate the nighttime scene witnessed by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812. “The rocket’s red glair, the bombs bursting in air…” Check your citizenship if you don’t know the story. Anyway, folks typically buy plenty of fireworks for the July 4th celebrations, so that lead me to wondering what pickup would best haul an arsenal’s worth of explosives.

Turns out it’s the Ford F-150.

The F-150 can haul an impressive 3,280 pounds when properly equipped. But what’s that mean? Well, specing a pickup for maximum payload or towing is like cooking with Gordon Ramsay – a laundry list of factors has to be just right. In the 2016 F-150’s case, it’s as follows:

Regular cab and eight-foot bed, the 5.0-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission with RWD, and the “Heavy-Duty Payload Package” selected. That last add-on includes a beefy 9.75-inch gearset in the rear differential with a 3.75 ratio and electronic locker, along with upgraded springs and an auxiliary transmission oil cooler. This setup can also tow an impressive 11,100 pounds.

Since you’re limited to the regular cab and long bed, trim level choices are restricted to the XL and XLT lines. Lucky for your fireworks budget, the base XL trim starts at only $29,525 when equipped with the Heavy-Duty Payload Package. Opt for the somewhat swankier XLT trim with the HD payload package, and the base price jumps to $32,500.

But who buys a base pickup? This is America – the land of choices and excess! Thankfully the F-150 comes with more options and accessories than your sister’s Barbie. But I’ll cover that down below.

Continue reading for the full F-150 payload run-down

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2016 Ford F-150 vs. 2016 Ram 1500

2016 Ford F-150 vs. 2016 Ram 1500

America’s top trucks square off

The Ram pickup has long been a major player in the full-size pickup segment, though it usually trails the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 in overall sales. Nevertheless, the Ram continues to push innovation, design, and interior development within the segment. Likewise, the F-150 has been highly competitive with those criteria, introducing its all-aluminum body, EcoBoost line of engines, and a large number of useful technologies.

Ram’s laundry list of innovations includes the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, the eight-speed automatic transmission, and its multi-link coil spring rear suspension. Both trucks have far more to boast about, but these are the ones most often seen in advertisements.

Of course, brand loyalty plays a huge role in pickup sales. Customers fiercely defend their purchase decisions, backed by automaker’s quibbles over tow ratings, fuel economy, and “other mines-better-than-yours” talking points. However, there are plenty of customers who don’t have an established brand loyalty. That’s who we’re targeting here – the undecided buyer wanting to know all the options between the Ram and F-150.

Let us know what you think of the two trucks in the comments below. You can also check out our comparison between the F-150 and the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 here.

Continue reading for the full review.

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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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EcoDiesel vs EcoBoost

EcoDiesel vs EcoBoost

So much of life is about choosing the right tool for the job – or at least, knowing what that job is before you choose the tool for it. Take the hammer, for instance. In theory, it’s just a weight on a stick, used for bashing things. But there’s a big difference between a ball peen and a sledge, between a recoil-less claw hammer and a deadblow. Not every hammer will do every job every time.

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EcoDiesel vs EcoBoost

EcoDiesel vs EcoBoost

So much of life is about choosing the right tool for the job – or at least, knowing what that job is before you choose the tool for it. Take the hammer, for instance. In theory, it’s just a weight on a stick, used for bashing things. But there’s a big difference between a ball peen and a sledge, between a recoil-less claw hammer and a deadblow. Not every hammer will do every job every time.

When Ford introduced its EcoBoost engine in 2009, the stated goal was replacement of all larger-displacement engines with smaller, cleaner, and more fuel efficient turbo powerplants. In some ways, they’ve succeeded; compared to ye olde sledgehammer diesel, the EcoBoost is a slick, high-tech, high-speed nail gun. It’s quick, easy to use, and as sophisticated as anything else that ever did the job.

But the EcoBoost design didn’t come out of nowhere – just the fact that we’re comparing these two very different tools should say something about how much of their designs they owe to each other. These two hammers are starting to look a lot alike. Even so, there’s still a difference. The question today isn’t so much "Which one is the right tool for the job?"

It’s "Which job?"

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Crowning the Winner: The 2015 Truck of Texas

Crowning the Winner: The 2015 Truck of Texas

I’ve already given the introduction to how much Texans love their trucks and how every year the Texas Auto Writers Association gathers to crown the winner; the coveted “Truck of Texas” award. Now let’s get down to some results.

Besides the main award, there were 17 other categories that each of the 75 vehicles fell into. These consisted of titles like “Midsized Crossover Utility Vehicles” and “Luxury Pickup Trucks.” Awards were also given for best connectivity, best powertrain, and best technology.

Each vehicle was subjected to a battery of tests that measured its ability to perform its intended function, whether that be towing, going off road, surrounding its occupants in luxury, or proving a great all-round family hauler. The vehicles were all competing within their respective category for the win.

So which truck, SUV, or crossover took home the Truck of Texas award? Continue reading to find out.

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The 2015 Truck of Texas Competition Preview

The 2015 Truck of Texas Competition Preview

Not much goes together quite like Texas and trucks. It’s the U.S.’ largest truck market by a long shot and it’s plain to see as you peruse any given parking lot. Texans love their trucks. That’s why the Texas Auto Writers Association crowns a Truck of Texas winner every year after an extensive evaluation process.

As a member of TAWA, I spent the better part of a week in the dusty hills outside San Antonio testing 75 contenders vying for the prized top spot. Eighteen automakers from around the world were in attendance, the majority bringing more than a handful of vehicles.

Ground zero for testing was the famed Knibbe Ranch, with hundreds of acres of sprawling across the Lonestar state. Muddy creek crossings and rocky hill climbs, combined with twisty country roads and newly paved highways provided the test beds. Those trucks, SUVs and crossovers brave enough to tackle the off-road section were subjected to rock-strewn dirt roads that punished suspension parts and underbody skidplates. More road-biased crossovers were thrown around narrow roads and up steep hills. The new pavement along the Texas highway was still covered in loose asphalt with orange caution cones proving a tempting (yet highly illegal) slalom course. Thankfully no one attempted that obstacle.

The 60 journalists judging the event had a huge decision to make. What truck, SUV or crossover would be crowned the Truck of Texas? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out. We’ll announce the top winner and the winners of sub-categories on Wednesday.

Click past the jump for a full photo gallery

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