By on August 18, 2020


There’s no more secrets when it comes to the Ram 1500 TRX. The brand’s brawniest light-duty pickup appeared Monday with a Hellcat V8 nestled between its bulging fenders, ready to tackle high-speed runs across the desert (or Nebraska) for anyone with $71,790 burning a hole in their wallet.

Bragging rights sometimes fetch a steep price, and the TRX’s after-destination sticker only rises from there. Sure, it’s potent and contains all the goodies a sophisticated moonshine runner could want, but what about the truck it’s meant to challenge — and beat?

The Ford F-150 Raptor was happy playing King of the Hill, but its 450 hp and 510 lb-ft pales next to the 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of the TRX. The Ram nearly doubles the displacement of the Blue Oval offering, at least for 2020. Rumors abound about what awaits buyers for 2021. A V8 Raptor seems a possibility; and it’ll have to be, if Ford wants to give its crosstown rival a run for its money.

Power. Money.

One has to ask: in the niche segment of off-road full-size pickups, which is more important?

As of this writing, a gulf of $16,640 lies between the two models. No small gap, that —  you could fit a Versa in there (with booze money left over). As they currently stack up, the Raptor and TRX are too far removed in both power and price to legitimately rival each other — unless capability rules all. Some buyers aren’t constrained by their available funds, but many are. And it’s for this reason that the match-up seems mismatched.

Any sizable increase in power would see the Raptor grow in price, narrowing both gaps, but 702 hp is a high bar. Is it worth challenging Ram on power if it means moving the Raptor out of the price range of a significant number of buyers?

If the same amount of cash flows into Ford’s coffers from a smaller pool of customers, perhaps. Yet there’s appeal in offering more then enough (albeit not segment-leading) thrust in a lower-priced pickup.

Put yourself in the shoes of The Two Jims. Which strategy wins out — beating the overly muscular Ram at its own game and claiming power supremacy, or creating a worthy rival that doesn’t beak the bank quite as much?

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford]

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14 Comments on “QOTD: Power or Price?...”

  • avatar

    Ford will sell a lot more Raptors than FCA will TRXes, if that was the question.

  • avatar
    Michael Silber

    At some point, the power just doesn’t do anything more for you, but since these are essentially supercar versions of trucks (though not the great versions of the 90’s/early 2000’s), guarantee that Ford will come out with something that’s just a bit higher HP as a special version, if only for bragging rights.

    • 0 avatar

      @Michael Silber: “…if only for bragging rights.”

      — Thats about all new pickup trucks are for nowadays. That’s also why they’re so expensive. Status. Bragging rights. Ego.

      Oh, sure. Maybe 25% of them get used for ‘real work’ right off the bat but the vast majority don’t become workhorses until their second or third owner–if then.

  • avatar

    Base price to base price is not comparable.

    Ford offers an extended cab Raptor at $54K, the crew cab is $58K. So $4000 of the difference is gone immediately.

    The TRX appears to come with standard equipment the Raptor lacks, like the big touchscreen and a premium sound system. Not $12K worth, but enough to narrow the gap considerably.

    So if the real difference for comparable models is not $16K, but half of that, it’s much easier to justify the Ram. Personally, I think this stomps all over the Raptor in every way that matters, and the price difference is inconsequential to the type of buyer who actually purchases these things. Tons of Raptors went out the door with $75K stickers and $10K markups. This thing will sell in the $70s and $80s no problem.

  • avatar

    Bragging rights aside, much is overkill? Don’t forget you’re on dirt, rocks, sand, mud, etc.

    Or just offer GT500 power as an “option”. That and a normal 7.3 Godzilla.

    You don’t need 900 HP for the niche, never mind in 4Lo.
    You also might not want to go 150 MPH off pavement (or ever).

  • avatar

    I may like speed, but I don’t like speed THAT much! I didn’t like the fact that pickup trucks with moderate power are priced in the $40K range but pushing up to $70K? FORGET IT!!! I’m quite happy with 300 horses; that’s more than any of my previous vehicles. Strong enough to pull 7000# trailer which is likely more trailer than I will ever pull.

  • avatar

    The TRX will *start* at $93K up here in Canuckistan…..oy vey! And I was floored when the Raptor’s price edged up to starting at just under $80K CAD for a SCrew…and most of them list in the low to mid $90K range…and they sell every one. I guess I’ll have to nurse my ’12 Raptor for a few more years, but I have no doubt that FCA will sell every TRX, even at these sky high prices.

    Ford *has* to put a V8 back in the Raptor….they started this segment and the vast majority of Raptor buyers, including myself, want a V8…..we just do.

  • avatar

    Part of the Raptors entire selling point in 2019 was ‘most powerful truck in it’s class’. They then went on to update the Lincoln to the hipo 3.5 instead of the regular 3.5 and they (Ford Marketing) called it the more potent Ford Raptor engine or something like that. Its always been about power for this kind of goofy overkill- which I am a big fan of even if I won’t lay down my own money for it.

    This truck is beyond niche into being a reasonably useful toy. If the difference in monthly payment means much, then you maybe should be buying a more pedestrian fx4 or rebel which you can pick up under $50 and have higher tow and payload ratings iirc.

    • 0 avatar

      “…Part of the Raptors entire selling point…”

      Part of the time, it works EVERY time.

      No actually it sounds like more of a defense of the V6. But focusing on power output overshadows and ignores what sets the niche apart from the sea of regular 4X4s.

      Except it’s really all Ram has at this point, vs the current Raptor. Of course Ford is scrambling a V8 for the TRX arrival.

      For anyone serious about off road, power output (up to a point) isn’t the number one concern. It would be a total letdown if it had 1,000 HP and couldn’t rotate sideways when needed, or lock the front diff (which the TRX can’t).

  • avatar

    Should we also consider that the Hellcat engine might not be long for this world? Didn’t FCA say the Durango with the Hellcat was only around for a year before emissions rules pushed it out of existence? So the question isn’t whether Ford *can* compete the Raptor with the TRX, the question is whether it needs to, right? If the TRX is only around for a year or two, the Raptor can keep doing what it’s been doing for a decade and not worry about losing place to the TRX…

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know exactly how it works or how the standards are changing, but it’s possible that the Durango Hellcat could be out of compliance while a pickup with the same engine could be ok. Might buy the TRX a few extra years.

    • 0 avatar

      Every year, the CAFE and the CARB become less of an issue for gas guzzlers. Plus (devil) cars are hit harder with emissions/economy fines than “trucks” like the Durango.

  • avatar

    “you could fit a Versa in there”

    Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Good for whoever buys it, and FCA. The real winners are dealers with all the ADM. ka ching.

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