I’m a firm believer that given the right time and place you could have as much fun driving the 2022 Ram TRX as you could any supercar. It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving 200mph in a Porsche on a Sydney Runway, scooting around Sydney in a Mini Cooper SE, or exploring some hidden lookouts in the Land Rover Defender 90. Because given the right combination, there’s fun to be had up and down the car spectrum, it’s why we’re deemed ‘petrolheads’ in the first place.
We could argue all day long, but there’s no denying that my time in the 2022 Dodge Ram TRX resulted in some of the most fun I’ve had in a vehicle this year. A trip to the beach, some dunes, and 702HP of Supercharged V8 under my right foot were the perfect ingredients for the occasion.
Insert the big American wallop. I first covered everything you need to know about the 2022 RAM TRX when it was announced for Australian shores back in June of this year. Since then, I’ve been itching to get behind the wheel of what is arguably one of the most obnoxious vehicles ever made. Power figures of 523kW (702HP) and 882Nm do most of the talking, but what I wanted to find out was how the overall package worked in the environment it was made for. The dunes.
In this article, I’ll break down my first impressions – including street driving and interior appointments – before taking a trip up the M1 Motorway where I measured real-world highway fuel economy. Finally, I’ll get the king of utes on the sand and test the driving modes and performance. Let’s go.
First Impressions of the 2022 Ram TRX
We throw the phrase “jump behind the wheel” around often, but how often do you literally need to “jump behind the wheel”? Whether you like it or not, you’ll be doing it every time you jump into the Ram TRX. Just walking up to the thing and you’re impressed by the size, particularly the ground clearance that measures in at 295mm (50mm increase over the standard 1500) and 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires. Oh, you thought your lifted 79 series on portals was a big truck? It pales in comparison to the TRX.
It’s a sign of things to come because the Ram TRX is so big it takes less than 10 minutes of driving to realise it’s not made for Sydney roads. The figures state the TRX is 88.0 inches wide (or 1.5-inches wider than a Hummer H1) and that leaves less than 40cm of space on each side of the vehicle for most Sydney roads (feels like 10cm). It’s a nightmare to drive around the city, you just wouldn’t do it unless you absolutely had to. I’ll throw one more comparison out there, it’s 12-inches wider than a new Ford Ranger Raptor. That left me looking around the cabin for a lane departure button, thankfully I found it.
What’s the Interior Like in the Ram TRX?
It takes maybe 6km of driving to get accustomed to sitting on the lane markers and avoiding passing trucks on B-roads at all costs. Eventually, I paired my phone with the Apple CarPlay (full-screen) and Android Auto (a third of the screen) via the 12-inch Ram Uconnect 5C NAV system and cranked up the 900-watt 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system for my journey home. It’s the kind of unit you could play around with for weeks, but considering I had only a few days I didn’t get stuck into it too much.
I did take advantage of the off-road pages displaying ride height, transfer case position, pitch and roll of the vehicle on the dunes. While the performance pages display real-time information such as timers (0-100km/h elapsed time), g-force, gauges and engine performance through the different menus.
Your passengers are instant fans of the truck with a giant ‘Ram Charger’ wireless charging location that can charge two phones simultaneously. You’ll also find around 400 USB-A and USB-C ports in the front and back and around 200 cup holders for drinks the size of Texas. Yeehaw, this is what Ram ownership is all about people. Did I mention there’s a stash spot under the rear seats and an additional stash bucket in the floor? Let’s not forget the giant glass panoramic roof that spans the length of the cabin.
Long Distance Driving in the 2022 Ram TRX
Now for the scary part. Long-distance driving in the TRX wasn’t something I was looking forward to and with a 140km push up the M1 Motorway on Saturday morning, my wallet was already crying out for help.
The TRX is equipped with a 125-litre fuel tank, and with fuel prices skyrocketing at the time of test, a full tank of petrol (98 RON) would cost around $270 AUD. It could quite literally send you broke if you’re driving the truck around town where I averaged around 21 litres/100km.
Ram TRX Fuel Consumption Test
In an effort to conserve some fuel (and money) before dune driving, I decided to test the fuel consumption of the Ram TRX by sticking it on cruise control, leaving the aircon on, and taking over the gearing for uphill stretches and overtakes where I could force the truck into a higher gear for lower RPMs. I’ll also note that our test vehicle didn’t have a cover on the tray, increasing drag.
The result blew my mind. After digging through forums I anticipated around 17 litres per 100km of driving on the freeway. They even mentioned using ‘Snow Mode’ for the economy, however, I managed to get this down to 14.7 litres/ 100km (in normal mode). I was shocked, the figure could have been bested if I turned off the AC, managed descents better, and covered the tray. When you consider the TRX is powered by a Supercharged V8 engine producing more than 700HP it’s astonishing. Less astonishing is sand driving where fuel consumption jumped into the high 30s. Giddy-up!
2022 Ram TRX Performance on Sand
At last, I arrived at the sand dunes where I’d finally be able to put the Ram TRX through some proper testing in a controlled environment. And while the thought of launching the truck off a few dunes – and taking advantage of its Jump detection system – sounded like a great idea in my head, the thought of wrecking a $200,000 ute doesn’t seem so appealing.
The Ram TRX comes with five different drive modes and three off-road-specific modes. On-road modes include Auto, Sport, Tow, Snow and Custom but I wouldn’t be using these on the sand. Instead, I flicked the TRX into Baja mode where the vehicle’s Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shock absorbers are put into full damping mode and the gearbox shift times are reduced by 68% for maximum attack. This also turns off invasive systems such as ESC and Traction Control that mitigate wheel slip on the tarmac.
You can see from the video above how lively the TRX is with the systems all switched off. Loaded up with people and gear it’s a 3500kg truck that turns into a ballerina on the sand. I cannot describe in words the sensation of burying your right foot at 20km/h, waiting 2 seconds for traction, hearing the supercharger wine, and taking off faster than most hot hatches accelerate on the tarmac. The TRX eats sand dunes for breakfast, I couldn’t find a dune steep enough to trouble the truck with more than 700HP.
Should You Buy the Ram TRX in Australia?
It’s at this point that I don’t want to hand the keys back.
The question of “sh0uld you buy?” in this instance is flipped to “who should buy?” because only those with deeper pockets will be able to afford the truck that’s priced from $199,950 AUD before on-road costs.
Is it supremely capable offroad? Yes. Is it efficient around town and a nice daily driver? Not in Australian cities. Should you buy one if you have four cars and are on the hunt for a weekend beater with a supercharged V8 and more than 700HP? Absolutely. Does the price matter to you? Probably not.
It’s also here that I’ll highlight how Ram Trucks Australia are providing jobs for Aussie locals and reviving some auto manufacturing Downunder. More than 600 locally sourced new parts are involved in the left-to-right-hand drive conversation for the Ram TRX. It’s what makes the truck so expensive in the first place, but it’s one that’s almost flawless. You’ll only notice small niggling issues in the conversion such as steering rack feedback (or lack thereof) and lack of space for those in the passenger seat.
So back to the question at hand, should you buy the 2022 Ram TRX in Australia? My answer is yes. To bring it back to food analogies like I always seem to do, it’s like saying yes to a burger for lunch, you probably shouldn’t and you know it’s not the best decision in the world, but man oh man if that smashed beef patty isn’t the best thing on earth.
Every Ram Trucks Australia truck is offered with a comprehensive three-year/100,000 km warranty (whichever comes first) and is backed by the brand’s authorised nationwide dealer network, as well as by Australasia’s largest independent vehicle distributor (ATECO). Service intervals are every six months or 10,000km. For information, including terms and conditions check out the official website linked below.