2021 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2021 Ram 1500 TRX: Compare Trucks

The Ford F-150 Raptor has been roaming the planet for years, unchallenged and unrivaled. That all changed last year when FCA (now Stellantis) shoved the Dodge Hellcat’s supercharged V-8 engine into a pickup truck to create the Ram 1500 TRX. Ford responded by launching a new Raptor today.

Both the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and 2021 Ram 1500 TRX feature blown engines with lots of power, long-travel suspension, big off-road tires, and the ability to go off-road at high speeds.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

The regular 2021 Ford F-150 and its TCC Rating of 6.5 bests the regular 2021 Ram 1500’s TCC Rating of 6.0 but the Raptor and TRX are different beasts. The concept and most of the execution of morphing the F-150 into a Raptor and a Ram 1500 into a TRX is similar, yet there are key differences.

Both these pickup trucks feature forced induction under the hood to create immense amounts of power, but the two trucks go about it differently. The Ram 1500 TRX is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that generates 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6. Ford hasn’t said how much power the 2021 Raptor makes, yet, but it likely will surpass the 2020 model’s 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. A Raptor R with a V-8 will arrive for 2022 to shake things up and take away the TRX’s cylinder-count advantage.

Both trucks feature full-time four-wheel drive with 2-speed transfer cases and an electronic rear locking differential for sticky situations. But the Raptor takes things one step further, and might just take things further down the trail thanks to an available Torsen front limited-slip differential. The TRX has an 8-speed automatic transmission while the Raptor has 10 forward gears.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

The Raptor doesn’t have EPA fuel economy ratings, yet, but the outgoing model had not so good ratings of 12 mpg city, 18 highway, and 16 combined. The TRX chugs gas with ratings of 10 mpg city, 14 highway, and 12 combined. Turns out having fewer cylinders is a good thing when it comes to feeding the beast. Both like to drink the good stuff, 91 octane.

While the twin-turbo V-6 in the Raptor sounds good, the supercharged V-8 in the TRX will wake the dead. The TRX wins the cylinder count, battle of the (power) bands, and likely the power output, with ease.

The outgoing 2020 Raptor ran from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, according to Ford. Expect the new one to match that or improve slightly upon it. The TRX can run from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. We’ll see if it holds the line against the forthcoming Raptor R.

Around town the TRX is hilariously audacious to drive. It towers over other vehicles. It could scare the neighbors (or tick them off) on cold starts. Mash the throttle and the front end jumps up while the rear end squats on its soft active shocks as it shifts all that 6,350-pound weight to lunge forward with gut-dropping acceleration.

We'll see how the redesigned Raptor compares when it goes on sale later this summer.

TRXs ride on 18-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 35-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires. The Raptor rides on smaller 17-inch wheels wrapped in 35- or 37-inch tires (the latter is optional). Both trucks can be optioned with bead-lock capable wheels and both are going to get you where you want to go.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

The trucks ride on long-travel suspension and a five-link setup with coil springs in the rear. The TRX has an impressive 13-inches of front-wheel travel and 14-inches in the rear, but the Raptor tops it with 14-inches front and 15-inches of rear-wheel travel. Raptors ride on electronic Fox racing shocks while TRXs ride on Bilstein e2 Blackhawk active dampers. The concept with both sets of shocks is the same, using variable compression and resistance to overheating while going over off-road whoops at high rates of speed. In day-to-day driving both will provide a soft ride that mops up the imperfections in the road. We’ll get a better sense of the Raptor’s latest refinements this summer, but there are no losers when it comes to suspension tech here.

Dimensionally the trucks are similar with four full doors and 12-foot wheelbases. The Raptor is slightly wider at 8 feet to the TRX’s 7.3-foot width, but the TRX’s 5-foot-7 bed is slightly longer than the Raptor’s 5-foot-5 bed.

Despite their suspension setups being designed to tackle Baja instead of the job site, the TRX and Raptor are both capable of doing work when duty calls. The TRX hauls a maximum payload of 1,310 pounds and tows up to 8,100 pounds. The Raptor tops that with a payload capacity of 1,400 pounds and towing capability of 8,200 pounds.

The Ram TRX and Ford Raptor both look mean and tower over other large trucks. They are wider, angrier versions of their lesser, more work-oriented selves. When a car or crossover SUV sees a Raptor or TRX coming up on its rear bumper it just might scare the driver into moving out of the way. The TRX and Raptor swallow a Nissan Rogue in their shadows. The F-150 is more brick-like with a blocky, punched-out stance, while the TRX is more swept back with curves.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Inside these trucks seat five comfortably, though the rear seat backs on the Ram recline for even more comfort on long road trips. The front seats in both trucks are oversized and aggressively bolstered to hold occupants still during high-speed off-roading adventures.

Both trucks are filled to the brim with features such as LED lighting, 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment systems, heated and cooled seats, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking. One distinct difference is the Raptor features a 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster while the TRX features an analog gauge cluster with a 7.0-inch digital information screen between the gauges. Old-school vs new-school.

Neither of these trucks are cheap, and Ford hasn’t announced pricing on the 2021 F-150 Raptor. But the outgoing 2020 Raptor crew cab cost $58,135. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX costs significantly more at $71,690 because of the Hellcat motor and the upgrades that go with it. More power, more cylinders, more money.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Of course, both of these trucks are highly capable, fast, and powerful. The TRX is a blunt hammer with all the power, all the brawn, all the cylinders, all the noise, fire, and fury. The Raptor feels like a slightly smarter, more modern, solution with the smaller displacement engine that delivers a truck that is nearly as quick, though far less visceral and angry.

The TRX represents one of the true peaks of an end of an era, and what might become the one of the last of its kind. Ford clearly knows and acknowledges this because the Raptor R is coming next year with a V-8, even if in some weird and twisted way the Raptor seems like the slightly more reasonable and smarter choice today with the twin turbo-6.

Which one is best? We’ll have to wait and see. On paper the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is as capable and well equipped as the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX while likely costing thousands less. But, it has a power—and cylinder—deficit, for now, and for some that matters.

The Raptor finally has a true competitor, and competition makes everyone better.

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