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Auto review: It's a bird, it's a plane … it's the 702-horse Ram TRX supertruck

By Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Flying at over 65 mph in a 2021 Ram 1500 TRX — four feet off the ground — is when you realize that there's not much pickups can't do anymore. Hold that image, and let me catch you up.

The 702-horsepower TRX — pronounced T. rex — is the most powerful truck made.

But it's much more than a rocket-sled. It's like the recent crop of insane high-performance supercars I've tested — McLaren GT, Porsche 911 Turbo, Chevy Corvette C8 — that defy the laws of on-road physics while surrounding you in luxury. The TRX is an off-road weapon with the interior of a Bellagio Hotel suite.

This remarkable versatility has made pickups the new halo vehicles for brands — as desirable as luxury performance cars. Call them supertrucks.

I punished the TRX on Nevada's off-road trails, rocky terrain and Wild West Motorsports Race Track. Yes, the Wild West Motorsport Park. Wild West, for the uninitiated, is home to serious off-road racing. It's a twisted, four-turn torture chamber that puts Baja 1000-capable racers to the test with extreme jumps, slippery turns and severe drops.

OK, back to that flying truck ...

 

Dropping seven stories down the ski slope-shaped Turn 4 — the supercharger screaming over the roar of the 6.2-liter V-8 — I pushed 70 mph and launched the 6,350 pound-beast into the sky over the main straight jump. My body tensed for the impact ...

WHUMP! The behemoth landed with remarkable composure, its underbelly skid plate armor slapping the dirt. With 14 inches of suspension travel, TRX's specially tuned Bilstein shocks rebounded with poise, sparing my helmeted head from going through the roof. Another 1.2 miles of drifting turns, punishing jumps and high-speed straightway followed. The Ram begged for more.

Not only did the pickup emerge unscathed after four laps, but so did I. No bruises. No back trauma. No kidding.

The United States is awash with club tracks (see M1 Concourse in Pontiac) catering to the owners of Corvettes, Porsche 911s and Ferraris who want to push the limits of their supercars in their natural habitat. Maybe they'll build off-road club track for trucks like the TRX one day. Like supercars, its capabilities can't be truly realized unless you've taken it off-road.

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