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2021 RAM 1500

2021 RAM 1500

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$32,795 — $70,325 MSRP
267
Photos
Crew Cab Pickup
5-6 Seats
12-26 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 8 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Quiet, smooth ride
  • Spacious crew-cab interior
  • Easy-to-use multimedia systems
  • Plenty of storage, inside and out
  • Limited's stunning interior
  • Impressive acceleration (TRX)

The Bad

  • Lower payload on luxury versions
  • Higher trim levels get expensive
  • Brake pedal feel
  • Chassis shudder on rough pavement (TRX)
  • Dreadful gas mileage of 12 mpg combined (TRX)
  • High cargo-box floor (TRX)
2021 RAM 1500 exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2021 RAM 1500
  • New 702-hp TRX model
  • Rear- or four-wheel drive
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • V-6 hybrid, V-6 diesel, V-8 or V-8 hybrid powertrains
  • RamBox bed-storage system available
  • 12-inch vertical touchscreen available

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2021 RAM 1500 Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

We got up close with the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. Watch the video to hear what we had to say about it and to hear what it sounds like.

By Mike Hanley

The verdict: The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is built to go fast off-road, but on the street, it’s more livable than you might expect.

Versus the competition: More extreme than the already extreme Ford F-150 Raptor, the TRX one-ups its primary competitor with a more luxurious interior and surprisingly friendly on-road driving manners.

The Ford F-150 Raptor has been largely unchallenged in the full-size off-road truck arena, but Ram has gone right for Ford’s throat with the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. Available exclusively as a crew cab with a 5-foot-7-inch cargo box and full-time four-wheel drive, the TRX sees substantial modifications to its frame, suspension and exterior compared with a regular Ram 1500. And that’s not counting what’s under the hood: a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine rated at 702 horsepower and 650 pounds-feet of torque.

Related: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Video: Pickup Truck Has New TRX Up Its Sleeve

The TRX starts at $71,690, including a $1,695 destination charge, which makes it the most expensive version of the 2021 Ram 1500. It’s also considerably more expensive than a 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor, which starts at $55,150 in extended-cab form. (A new Raptor based on the updated 2021 Ford F-150 is expected in the near future.)

The as-tested price of our TRX test truck was a whopping $91,950 due to a long list of technology, convenience, safety and luxury options. It also had a number of Mopar accessories including off-road running boards, a bed-mounted spare-tire carrier and a RamB...

The verdict: The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is built to go fast off-road, but on the street, it’s more livable than you might expect. 

Versus the competition: More extreme than the already extreme Ford F-150 Raptor, the TRX one-ups its primary competitor with a more luxurious interior and surprisingly friendly on-road driving manners. 

The Ford F-150 Raptor has been largely unchallenged in the full-size off-road truck arena, but Ram has gone right for Ford’s throat with the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. Available exclusively as a crew cab with a 5-foot-7-inch cargo box and full-time four-wheel drive, the TRX sees substantial modifications to its frame, suspension and exterior compared with a regular Ram 1500. And that’s not counting what’s under the hood: a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine rated at 702 horsepower and 650 pounds-feet of torque. 

Related: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Video: Pickup Truck Has New TRX Up Its Sleeve

The TRX starts at $71,690, including a $1,695 destination charge, which makes it the most expensive version of the 2021 Ram 1500. It’s also considerably more expensive than a 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor, which starts at $55,150 in extended-cab form. (A new Raptor based on the updated 2021 Ford F-150 is expected in the near future.) 

The as-tested price of our TRX test truck was a whopping $91,950 due to a long list of technology, convenience, safety and luxury options. It also had a number of Mopar accessories including off-road running boards, a bed-mounted spare-tire carrier and a RamBar with off-road LED lights. 

We unfortunately weren’t able to test the TRX off-road due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but we did put it through our typical testing process and were pleasantly surprised with the everyday drivability of this purpose-built off-roader. Once we get some off-road time in the TRX, we’ll update this review or link to separate coverage. 

Muscle-Truck Moves

The star of the TRX show is, undoubtedly, the truck’s supercharged V-8 — and wow, does it perform. Stab the gas pedal when cruising at highway speeds and the TRX lunges forward with a ferocity that’s hard to believe is possible for such a heavy truck (the TRX’s curb weight is 6,350 pounds). But that’s the point of 702 horses, isn’t it? The V-8 teams with a well-behaved eight-speed automatic transmission that makes smooth, unobtrusive shifts when leisurely cruising and firm, quick gear changes in the truck’s Sport mode.

The penalty for all this fun is dreadful EPA-estimated gas mileage of 10/14/12 mpg city/highway/combined. The 2020 Raptor, which is powered by a twin-turbocharged V-6, is rated 15/18/16 mpg. Within the Ram 1500 lineup, the diesel-powered model is rated as high as 26 mpg combined, and even the four-wheel-drive, 5.7-liter V-8 version gets up to 19 mpg.

With a rumbling exhaust note and an ever-present supercharger whine, the TRX makes noises gearheads will love. The 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain tires create some noise at highway speeds, but it’s not excessive. 

The TRX is incredibly wide — it’s 8-inches wider than a regular Ram 1500 — but despite the truck’s substantial width, it was easy to position on the suburban streets and highways we traveled. Credit the steering, which is direct and precise.

Ride quality is firm and there’s some chassis shudder when driving on rough pavement, but body motions are well controlled. The TRX is fitted with Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive shock absorbers, and the truck’s Sport mode firms up the shocks even more. Sport also tightens the steering, directs more engine torque to the rear wheels and keeps the automatic transmission in lower gears for better performance.

Performance Luxury Interior

The TRX is made to get dusty in the desert, but if you select the right options, its interior can have the same level of quality and luxury as its high-end sibling trims that won our 2020 Luxury Car of the Year award. The $7,920 TRX Level 2 Equipment Group and $1,295 TRX Carbon Fiber Package give the cabin a performance-oriented look that includes carbon-fiber accents and an all-black color scheme with red stitching. Standard performance cues include a flat-bottom steering wheel, aluminum shift paddles and a console gear selector instead of the rotary shifter that’s in other 1500s.

It’s a bit of a climb up to the driver’s seat, but it was made easier by the optional low-profile running boards tucked below the doors. Few consumer-oriented vehicles, however, offer comparable forward views; you sit so high that very little blocks your line of sight. Over-the-right-shoulder visibility is good, too, thanks to the crew cab’s large side windows, but the driver’s-side B-pillar restricts over-the-left-shoulder visibility. 

The crew-cab’s backseat is massive, with plenty of space to stretch your legs. An available 60/40-split bench seat flips up, converting the rear of the cab to cargo-carrying duty, and the backrest also reclines. 

All TRXs have a vertically oriented 12-inch touchscreen with navigation that takes up most of the middle of the dash. The system is configurable, letting you customize the home screen and apps that appear in the toolbar at the base of the display. The large screen doesn’t enhance the smartphone connectivity experience, though; both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto use a portion of the screen that’s similar in size to the 8.4-inch touchscreen available on other Ram 1500s. The multimedia system’s native navigation map does use the entire screen, however. 

Cargo

Unlike other crew-cab Ram 1500s that offer a choice of a 5-foot-7-inch or 6-foot-4-inch cargo box, the TRX is available only with the shorter box. The truck’s aggressive, lifted off-road suspension contributes to a box floor that was nearly waist high for me (I’m 6-foot-1), which will likely make loading and unloading certain kinds of cargo more difficult. It makes climbing in and out of the bed harder, too, though an optional retractable bed step makes the process easier.

The bed isn’t big to begin with, and the optional tire carrier and full-size spare tire significantly reduce available space by taking up the center, forward half of the cargo box. The location is convenient if you end up needing the spare, no question, but the truck’s cargo-carrying abilities take a big hit. 

Safety and Driver Assistance Features

Most of the TRX’s active-safety features are bundled in the $995 Advanced Safety Group option. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights and a 360-degree camera system. The $1,095 Advanced Technology Group option adds a head-up display and a rearview camera mirror. Blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors are also optional.

Value in Its Class

For a purpose-built performance off-road truck with more than a foot of suspension travel and 32 inches of water-fording capability, the TRX makes comparatively few compromises in on-road driving refinement and occupant comfort. Its biggest shortcomings — unremarkable cargo bed utility and extremely poor gas mileage — aren’t the deal-breakers they otherwise might be for an ordinary full-size truck. The TRX is the opposite of ordinary — and thoroughly entertaining.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
88 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Diesel

by Jeff from Palmetto Fl on June 10, 2021

DieselDiesels Creek pulling power from my phone Interior is very comfortable I love Display screen crate for four-wheel-drive The car is a dream to drive easy Read full review

(4.0)

Second Ram 1500 and still Love them

by CardsFan618 from Hoffman, IL on June 6, 2021

It rides like a dream. Smoothest riding truck I’ve ever driven. Interior and exterior are very nice. The only drawback is fuel economy. I would definitely recommend to others. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2021 RAM 1500 currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2021 RAM 1500 Tradesman

NHTSA rates vehicles using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Overall
4 Star
Overall Front
4 Star
Overall Side
5 Star
Overall Rollover Rating
4 Star
Driver's
4 Star
Passenger's
4 Star
Side Barrier
5 Star
Side Barrier Rating Driver
5 Star
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
5 Star
Side Pole
5 Star
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
5 Star
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
5 Star
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by RAM

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2021 1500 Stories

See all 2021 RAM 1500 articles

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 1500 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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