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When Dinosaurs Ruled the … Drag Strip? Just How Quick Is the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX?

Black 2021 Ram 1500 TRX 2021 Ram 1500 TRX | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is probably the craziest factory off-road pickup truck you can buy right now, so when we got our hands on one, we did what anyone with that opportunity would do: We took it to a drag strip. A big off-road pickup? A drag strip? That makes sense, right?

Related: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Review: Thoroughly Entertaining

Well, when you’ve got a 702-horsepower, 650-pounds-feet-of-torque, Hellcat-derived supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 under the hood, it’s not really that crazy. Sure, the TRX has knobby 35-inch all-terrain tires, off-road suspension and all sorts of other bits to make it go fast once the pavement ends. But with Ram claiming a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds on the way to a 12.9-second quarter-mile sprint at 108 mph, the TRX is quick, and not just “quick for a pickup truck.” But just how quick is the TRX?

Best Practices

I asked Ram for advice on how to wring the best times from the TRX, and the answers were remarkably straightforward: Keep the tire pressure at the 38 pounds per square inch recommended on the sticker in the doorjamb and set the launch control to 2,200 rpm. That’s it, really. No Contra code of settings and button presses and burnouts to get the best out of the big truck.

With that advice in hand, I pulled up to the line to give it my best shot.

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What It Feels Like

After the TRX squats aggressively at launch, time seems to freeze for a moment and then you take off. You’re planted back in your seat, and the sensation of speed at this seating height is both “this isn’t that fast” and “this is much too fast.” It’s basically an amusement park ride.

You’re going to reach the end of the quarter-mile much sooner than is possible in most vehicles, let alone a 6,350-pound off-road pickup. From there, hauling it down from a stop takes a concerted effort. On my first run, I actually had to use the second return lane exit because I was initially too light on the brakes and missed the first exit.

Driving back to the line was exciting in its own way because I got to look at the timing board and see times and speeds up there that, until now, just didn’t seem possible for a pickup truck straight from the factory.

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The Results

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In just three tries, I had Ram beat: 4.1 seconds from 0-60 mph and a 12.55-second quarter-mile time at just a hair under 107 mph. Our 0-60 mph time doesn’t include a 1-foot rollout calculation (basically a running start) versus the drag strip’s quarter-mile time that does. That run didn’t even use launch control, either, as I wasn’t having the best success getting a clean launch while using it. Simply brake-torquing to around 2,500 rpm and letting it go cut four-tenths of a second off both the factory 0-60 and quarter-mile times. The TRX’s adjustable settings — transmission, steering, stability control and the shift paddles — were all in Sport, save for the suspension, which I left in Street.

And here’s the thing: I’m an amateur at this. With a lot more practice, or with a more experienced driver behind the wheel, I’m certain we could’ve gotten even better times out of the TRX. It’s just that impressive. More time to play with the settings even further — I never did get the suspension out of Street — might’ve resulted in better times, too. Still, even with our limited testing, the TRX bested not only its Ram-estimated 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times, but the times of any pickup we’ve tested in recent memory.

The only possible straight-line challenger to the TRX is the upcoming Ford Raptor R that hasn’t even been revealed yet, so for now, the TRX is the undisputed king of the monsters.

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