RAM 1500 TRX heads down under

The all-new RAM TRX full-size pick-up truck has officially arrived down under. Built on America’s most awarded light-duty pick-up truck, the RAM 1500 platform, TRX features a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 HEMI has a top speed of 190km/h and runs the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 173km/h.

“The TRX sets new benchmarks for extreme performance trucks and confirms the Australian market as a true success story for RAM Trucks,” said Neville Crichton, Executive Chairman of the Ateco Group, the owner of RAM Trucks Australia.

“From nothing seven years ago to more than 13,000 happy owners now and the largest, most diverse full-size pick-up truck range on offer, what RAM Trucks Australia has achieved is impressive.”

TRX features an aggressive stance, a wide, muscular body and composite flares and fender wells that cover aggressive 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory 325/65/R18 All-Terrain tyres. The truck is 203mm wider than the standard RAM 1500 line-up, and the flares help compensate for a 152mm increase in track width. Normally, RAM 1500 features a wheel 203mm wide, but the TRX design team had to accommodate a wheel 228mm wide.

The front axle was shifted 20mm forward to accommodate the 35-inch tyres that were designed exclusively for TRX.

The hood scoop is responsible for 50 per cent of air entering the engine while the other 50 per cent enters through the grille. Design elements, like the functional hood scoop, are complemented by secondary details, such as the functional air curtain just outboard of the headlamps, relieving high pressure zones at the front corners and allowing air to pass through the fenders.

A unique R-A-M badge is bigger than the rest of the RAM 1500 line-up and features a new ‘flow-through’ design that assists with airflow. All-black premium LED headlamps, including twin bi-functional projector headlamps, are standard.

RAM TRX features new box outers made of steel and are wider than that of a traditional RAM 1500. A bed-mounted spare tyre carrier is available as an accessory in addition to the standard full-size spare tyre that sits underneath the bed, between the rear axle and trailer hitch. Premium LED taillamps are standard on TRX and the bezels allow for the blind spot monitoring function to see around the extended box outers. Closing out the rear of the truck, a large R-A-M badge stretches across the tailgate.

The new aesthetic includes oversized tow hooks, found at the front and rear of the truck, and integrated 5-inch dual exhaust ports.

The interior design team chose premium textures, colours and material, including premium wrapped leather, suede and carbon fibre accents. The TR2 Equipment Group provides an interior based on the luxurious RAM 1500 Limited and features an all-black colour scheme with leather and suede to give TRX a unique feel. Heated and ventilated premium Natura Plus leather and suede accents cover the front bucket and rear bench seats. The TR2 Equipment Group comes standard with medium Greystone stitching, Graphite Metallic accents, and carbon fibre accents.

TRX also features new front seats with enhanced upper bolster support and embroidered logos. TR2 Equipment Groups feature a Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment/Pouch Attachment Ladder System (MOLLE/PALS) on the seatback that enables bags and other equipment to be weaved in place.

A new SRT-signature flat-bottom steering wheel, with enhanced hand grips wrapped in leather with optional suede and carbon fibre accents, enables performance driving. New aluminium paddle shifters stretch above and below the steering wheel spokes, allowing the driver to choose the proper gear with their fingertips.

There is also a console mounted performance floor shifter, which includes a cast metal main grip wrapped with semi-perforated leather. Both the console and paddle shifters mark the debut of each in a RAM truck.

The drive mode selector has been integrated into the dashboard above the transfer case switches and offers different modes of operation, indicated by a TRX pictogram for select environments: normal, wet/snow, off-road and Baja. A launch control button is easily within reach of the driver, sitting to the right of the transfer case switches, and is standard on TRX.

A custom specifications plate on the console lid lists details such as engine, supercharger, boost output, horsepower and the vehicle-specific vehicle identification number (VIN).

The truck uses a large, 29-litre air box that filters out dirt, sand, debris and water. Air entering the grille flows to the bottom front of the air box, guided by tailored panels while the hood scoop ducts air to the bottom rear of the air box via ports that seal to the hood when it is closed. An air box support bar is mounted in the engine compartment during vehicle assembly to ensure the hood intake seals to the air box ducts to prevent engine-heated air from entering the system.

Directing incoming air to the bottom of the air box helps dirt and water settle out before the air reaches the filter elements while a one-way drain in the bottom of the air box evacuates water even when the vehicle is moving. Intake air is drawn upward from the box through twin, heavy-duty air filters that provide 198.4 square inches of filter surface area, four times the dust trapping capacity when compared to the closest competitor, to remove any residual dust or sand before the air is ducted. Unfolded, the filter surface medium covers 13.3 square feet.

The entire intake system is engineered to minimise power-robbing air restrictions. Industry-standard testing shows that TRX far exceeds any competitor in the amount of time it can ingest dirty air and debris before performance is diminished. TRX’s air box is mounted at the top of the engine, making it easy to access should the owner choose to field-clean the high-performance filter elements.

To best match gear selection and shift points to the driver’s demands, the TorqueFlite 8HP95 transmission monitors inputs, such as engine torque gradients, throttle kick-down, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, detection of friction, downshifts and road grade. The transmission delivers quick acceleration and precise, crisp, quick gear changes, enhancing ride quality to luxury car levels with consistent performance and drivability.

Launch control is standard and manages tyre slip while launching the vehicle to give the driver consistent straight-line acceleration. Wheel speed sensors watch for driveline-damaging wheel hop at launch and, in milliseconds, provide inputs to the powertrain control module to modify the engine torque to regain full grip.

The truck is also equipped with jump detection, which uses wheel-speed and ride-height sensors and accelerometers at each corner to identify when the vehicle is airborne and acts to prevent driveline-damaging power spikes. Acting in milliseconds, jump detection modifies engine speed and torque, gear selection, transfer case torque split, damping rates and other powertrain and suspension components through the landing to deliver optimum performance.

TRX uses performance-tuned software to pre-configure and distinguish five dynamic modes – auto, sport, tow, snow and custom – enabling drivers to choose a vehicle setting that ideally meets their requirements and ambient conditions. The drive modes separately control the four-wheel-drive system, throttle response, transmission, paddle shifters, suspension and the electric power steering. All modes use active slip control that prevents binding and excessive slip from front to rear.

Custom mode allows the driver to personalise the vehicle’s performance with a selectable driving experience, offering a multitude of vehicle system combinations.

Separately, TRX features three dynamic off-road modes – mud/sand, rock and Baja – enabling drivers to choose a setting that best fits the terrain around them. Like the on-road modes, the off-road drive modes control several systems, including the four-wheel-drive system, throttle response, transmission, paddle shifters, suspension and steering.

TRX’s frame is composed of thicker, optimally shaped, strategically placed high-strength steel that uses low-torsion attributes to increase durability and stability. Sections of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy, reducing the need for welding, and the side rails are fully boxed. The front rails use high-strength steel and hydroformed sections to set a strong foundation to better handle the front suspension load. Galvanised frame components provide improved corrosion protection.

The truck has a ground clearance of 295mm due in part to a 50mm ride height increase when compared with the rest of the 1500 line-up, enabling it to clear surface obstacles easily and at high speeds.

To protect critical components, including the front axle, transfer case, transmission pan and fuel tank, TRX employs five skid plates. A separate skid plate sits at the bottom of the front fascia, mitigating potential damage, and doubles as a belly pan. Heavy-duty gauge steel rock sliders are an available accessory.

The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminium closures, including the hood and tailgate, help reduce weight and boost fuel economy. TRX also uses aluminium engine mounts, front axle centre section, front suspension and transmission cross-members, front upper and lower control arms, front skid plate, transmission skid plate and steering system gear.

An all-new independent front suspension system with active damping uses high-strength aluminium to maintain overall strength and durability.

TRX uses an all-new rear suspension system with active damping and an exclusive five-link coil system for improved ride and durability. The frame’s hard points for the five-link suspension system differ to a standard-issue RAM 1500 and allow the Dana 60 rear axle to travel up to 330mm. Overall, rear-wheel travel is increased to more than 330mm from the standard 228mm, or more than 40 per cent when compared to the rest of the RAM 1500 line-up.

The truck also uses a five-link coil suspension configuration which provides better articulation over obstacles than a leaf-spring system. This suspension design reduces friction in the spring system and weighs significantly less than a comparable leaf spring system. At 600mm in length, the robust rear springs are the largest ever applied on a non-commercial production vehicle. The robust coil springs can handle a maximum payload of 767kg and 3.5-tonnes maximum braked towing.

New Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks use precision-machined, single-piece construction comprised of rigid aluminium to reduce and dissipate heat and continuously adjust damping forces for optimal body control and terrain isolation. The adaptive performance shocks feature robust corrosion protection with a durable finish and directional-machined cooling fins aligned with air flow for more effective cooling.

Dual electronic proportional valves continuously adjust damping forces for precise, independent control of compression and rebound damping. A nitrogen-charged remote reservoir uses a hot-formed, zero-leak tube closure to ensure maximum durability during extreme on- and off-road events.

A pressure-activated triple rod seal has been field-tested for long-lasting durability against contamination and leaks. TRX uses stainless steel braided high-pressure hose to combat corrosion and abrasion while being able to resist up to 5,800 PSI. A high-strength, lightweight rock shield defends the piston rod against incoming rubble with a custom-moulded escape path for debris.

The Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks have been tuned to demonstrate optimum balance between on-road handling and class-leading off-road capability. Ride comfort, body roll control and handling are significantly improved with the RAM-proprietary Active Terrain Dynamics suspension management system, new shock tuning, hard points and body mount strategy.

In addition to a standard urethane jounce bumper, the internals of the Bilstein adaptive performance shock feature a jounce cut off to create three zones for progressive bottom-out control during extreme compression events. All modes can reach peak compression damping for the most extreme events.

To clear the elevated benchmarks and performance figures that TRX presents, a Dana 60 rear axle with full floating axle shafts is standard equipment and handles the increased torque output, rear electronic locking differential and 35-inch tyres. The Dana 60 rear axle uses an axle hop damper that gives improved traction and axle control on rough surfaces. A new rear axle centre section provides balanced performance and a locking differential for increased off-road performance.

TRX is equipped with a new BorgWarner 48-13 full-time active transfer case that enables passage through any off-road obstruction or weather condition. This modified transfer case features upgraded internals for improved strength and durability. The truck features a low range of 2.64:1 for rock crawling and can be flat-towed while in neutral.

Off road, TRX will race to 160km/h with ease, and the segment’s largest brakes bring the TRX to a composed halt. TRX relies on a four-wheel disc brake system and a hydraulic compensation unit to enhance brake pedal feel and performance during emergency manoeuvres. Up front are two-piston monoblock calipers clamping down on 15-inch inverted hat (outboard venting) rotors for improved cooling. The rear uses single piston calipers with 15-inch rotors to provide incredible stopping power. An electronic parking brake holds the truck steady when applied and is standard.

TRX engineers found that maximising capability required a 35-inch tyre. Developed exclusively for TRX, 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain 325/65R/18 tyres, featuring an aggressive tread and sidewall with D-load rating, are assigned the task.

An approach angle of 30.2 degrees, breakover angle of 21.9 degrees, departure angle of 23.5 degrees and a ground clearance of 295mm allow TRX to “go anywhere.”

Designed to be the most technologically advanced pick-up ever, TRX has an array of innovative features, including the award-winning fourth-generation Uconnect 5C NAV 12-inch fully configurable touchscreen.

The class-exclusive portrait touchscreen can house one application, such as the navigation map, across the entire 12-inch screen or can be divided in half for viewing different applications at the same time via the reconfigurable split screen. A multifunction switch bank sits below the touchscreen, giving physical control of specific features.

An audiophile-quality sound system is offered to immerse passengers in the ultimate sound experience, including a class-exclusive 900-watt premium Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers, including a 10-inch subwoofer – the most powerful audio system available in a pick-up truck.

TRX uses a 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster that is exclusive to the model and features a lit TRX badge, and unique TRX colours and graphics with reconfigurable gauges. The same graphics also appear on the 12-inch Uconnect 5C touchscreen. This is the first time that drive modes and off-road performance pages are displayed on the 12-inch Uconnect 5C screen.

Performance pages give drivers the tools necessary to become familiar with their vehicle’s performance. Real-time vehicle performance information includes timers (0-100km/h elapsed time), g-force, gauges and engine performance.

Off-road pages show ride height, the transfer case’s position, the pitch and roll of the vehicle and accessory gauges. The app is accessible through the 7-inch TFT cluster or Uconnect 5C NAV with 12-inch display.

TRX marks the first time performance pages and off-road pages are available on a RAM.

As part of the available 360-degree Surround View Camera system, a forward-facing off-road camera allows obstructions ahead on the trail to be easily seen. The front camera sits under the crossbar that dissects TRX’s grille and can be accessed through the available off-road pages.

TRX underwent extreme environmental testing at various sites, including the scorching Arizona heat, the blistering cold of northern Michigan and Minnesota and thousands of feet above sea level in Colorado for weeks at a time. Additionally, the truck scaled sand dunes, crawled rocks in Moab, Utah, and traversed two-lane tracks all over the United States.

An all-new high-speed desert durability test track was developed for TRX to far exceed the standard pick-up truck requirements. Engineers subjected development trucks to thousands of miles of desert off-road testing to ensure TRX has the strength, durability and reliability that extreme off-road customers expect and demand.

TRX then underwent the same Australian design, homologation, and re-manufacture processes that all previous RAM variants took part in – more than 50,000 hours of pre-build development hours, 80,000kms of rolling road testing, 50,000km of real-world road driving, and a 20,000km full vehicle durability test.

TRX truck is priced from $199,950 RRP, with the only option to be a full-length panoramic sunroof, at an additional $10,000 RRP.

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