Publisher's note: Normally, the cars you read about here at MikeHagertyCars.com are loaned to us by the press fleets of the various manufacturers for several days. Seven is typical. Occasionally, we'll get a longer period of time, and sometimes it'll only be three or four days. Our "30 Minutes With" series features cars we spent half an hour driving during the just-concluded Western Automotive Journalists Media Day in Half Moon Bay, California.
Needless to say, these are quick drives and brief impressions that we hope to be able to flesh out with a full review of the vehicle at some point in the near future.
Media Days is a driving program, with journalists taking cars from the staging area at our host hotel, the Aristocrat, down Highway 1 to Highway 84, onto Stage Road (named for the former stagecoach stop still---but barely---standing on the corner), past the historic (since 1889), socially-aware and only-in-Northern-California funky San Gregorio General Store, through some marvelous twists and turns that lead back to Highway 1 and ultimately back to the hotel.
At the hotel, support teams from Page One Automotive and DriveShop sanitize the vehicles as they return while journalists choose their next vehicle from a total of 27 cars, trucks and SUVs provided by their manufacturers. This goes on for eight hours on day one, minus a 90-minute lunch break, and for three hours on day two. For me, that was enough time to drive 11 vehicles that I hadn't driven yet.
My second drive of the second day and my tenth overall was in the 2021 RAM 1500 TRX.
The 2021 RAM 1500 TRX is RAM's answer to the Ford Raptor. A big, brawny and power-packed off-road truck.
Under the hood is a 6.2-liter Supercharged HEMI V8 SRT engine. It cranks out 702 horsepower and 650 pounds per foot of torque. Depending on who you ask, it can go from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds (Car and Driver) or 4.1 (Motor Trend). Either figure makes it the quickest pickup truck on the market.
It's mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and it should come as no shock that the EPA fuel economy average is 10 miles per gallon city, 14 miles per gallon highway. The standard 33-gallon fuel tank keeps cruising range from being ridiculously low.
Despite the Hellcat-level power and the pickup-on-steroids stance, the RAM 1500 TRX is remarkably user-friendly. This could be a daily driver, assuming you're okay with the fuel bills. It's not by any means the best car I drove on the twisty stretch of Stage Road during WAJ Media Days---in fact, it probably was the worst at that---but it didn't feel uncomfortable or hazardous---just eager for the next straight.
The base price of the 2021 RAM 1500 TRX is $69,995. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the standard equipment list for yourself.
Our test vehicle had $17,675 in options, most of which were luxury items that made this brute remarkably civilized. Again, the window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the specifics. With $1,695 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2021 RAM 1500 TRX is $89,365.
Very nearly 90 grand for a pickup truck is a lot of money by anybody's standard. But RAM and its stablemate Dodge don't play by typical rules. Anyone who wondered what would happen if you whipped up a Hellcat pickup truck now has their answer.