QOTD: Power or Price?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd power or price

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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  • FerrariLaFerrariFace FerrariLaFerrariFace on Aug 18, 2020

    "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.

  • Menar Fromarz Menar Fromarz on Aug 18, 2020

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

  • Lou_BC "They are the worst kind of partisan - the kind that loves their team more than they want to know the truth."Ummm...yeah....Kinda like birtherism, 2020 election stolen, vast voter fraud, he can have top secret documents at Mar-lago, he's a savvy business man, and hundreds more.
  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. https://insideevs.com/news/598046/toyota-global-leader-solid-state-batery-patents/Of course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
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