Fiat Chrysler just unveiled a new pickup — the Ram 1500 TRX, a performance truck with a V8 Hellcat engine and more than 700 horsepower.
The pickup is expected to go on sale by the end of the year — starting at $71,690 — as a new halo vehicle for the brand in an attempt to greater differentiate Ram from Chevrolet and Ford, the industry's truck leaders by sales.
"The all-new Ram 1500 TRX is by far the quickest, fastest, most powerful truck in the world," said Mike Koval, head of Ram for Fiat Chrysler North America.
Aside from its performance, the pickup features a more aggressive exterior design than its regular stablemates, including a large functioning hood scoop with LED lights integrated into the vehicle's hood. On the interior, the vehicle comes standard with a 12-inch vertical touchscreen and 7-inch driver information cluster.
A limited "Launch Edition" will start at about $92,000. All pricing includes a $1,695 destination charge.
The truck's 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 engine, better known as the Hellcat engine for Fiat Chrysler's Dodge brand, is capable of 702 horsepower and 650 foot-pounds of torque. Its top speed is 118 mph (limited by its off-road tires) and can reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission.
"We designed this truck bolt by bolt to significantly outperform every other truck," Koval said.
The company expects the pickup to bring new buyers into the brand, assisting in the company's highly profitable pickup sales, Koval said. He declined to discuss sales expectations for the vehicle.
While pickup truck sales have been more resilient than other vehicle segments during the coronavirus pandemic, sales of the Ram 1500 were down 17.8% through the first half of the year as the health crisis caused many dealerships to shutter and consumers to stay in their homes.
The Ram 1500 TRX will be the fourth vehicle to include the automaker's Hellcat engine. The first were the Dodge Challenger and Charger muscle cars, followed by a performance variant of the Jeep Grand Cherokee called the Trackhawk. The company last month also announced a Dodge Durango SUV with the engine, which is expected to go into production early next year.
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is squarely aimed at the Ford Raptor, a highly regarded performance version of the F-150 pickup. The Ford truck features a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo engine rated at 450 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque. A comparable four-door model to the TRX starts at about $58,000.
Koval repeatedly referred to the Ram 1500 TRX as the "apex predator" of the truck market, taking a shot at Ford's Raptor.
"To put that into Jurassic vernacular, the T. rex destroys raptors and it's just what you'd expect from a company committed to being America's off-road truck leader," he said.
Ryan Nagode, chief interior designer for Ram, said the "mission of the truck was creating a halo product for this brand. Something that would really be the top dog in our trim lineup."
He described the interior as combining the ruggedness of an off-road pickup with the performance styling of a muscle car.