2021 Ram Rebel TRX Spied! Does It Have What It Takes To Dethrone The Ford F-150 Raptor?

Signs look promising as the production-ready truck inches closer to launch

The earlier trucks we’ve seen have been test mules using the standard Ram 1500’s body, but this looks more like the real deal. Today, we have new spy photos of the upcoming 2021 Ram Rebel TRX in a more production-ready guise. This time around, the truck is sporting some serious camouflage, but there are some important details under those wraps.

[Photos: TFLtruck, unless otherwise noted]

From the front, we see a fairly standard fifth-generation Ram 1500 front end. However, this one has a substantially higher ride height, as well as notable skid plate protection. Moving down from the top of the hood line, though, it looks like this TRX prototype model has a more aggressive grille. Beyond that, we’ll likely see some more substantial cooling for what we all know lies under the hood.

Unlike the standard 5.7-liter Hemi that you can get in the Ram 1500 Rebel, the TRX will almost certainly have a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. If that is completely accurate, then it shares its lineage with the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat, as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The engine’s been around for a few years now, but the numbers are no less impressive now than they were when the powertrain first emerged.

The full fat version packs 707 horsepower and no less than 650 lb-ft of torque, mated to a heavy duty 8-speed automatic transmission. Around the back, we see some substantial dual exhaust outlets, which are promising signs for Hellcat power in this Rebel TRX.

Our spy photographers also report hearing the signature deep bellow and supercharger whine characteristic to the Hellcat, so that’s encouraging as well.

2019 F-150 Raptor
The F-150 Raptor is Ram’s clear benchmark with the Rebel TRX. [Photo: Ford]

What it needs to beat the F-150 Raptor

Naturally, Ram locked Ford directly in its sights in developing the Rebel TRX. So, while we don’t know any technical details on the truck with certainty, we can still benchmark it against what we do know. The 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor is the off-road truck to beat at the moment, and it’s worth looking at the Rebel TRX to see what figures it needs to match or exceed to be a true, blow-for-blow alternative to the Blue Oval’s best offering.

2020 ram 1500 hellcat trx hemi truck
The original Ram Rebel TRX Concept looks awesome, and it seems we’ll get the same sort of look with this new generation. [Photo: Ram]

The original Ram Rebel TRX Concept that emerged at the 2016 State Fair of Texas had massive 37-inch tires on 18-inch Mopar beadlock wheels. From there, it also had 2.5-inch King Off-Road Racing shocks and better suspension travel from the standard Ram 1500 Rebel. The latest DT generation uses Bilsteins instead, so Ram may end up using a beefed up version of that suspension in the TRX. As for the tires, we have Goodyear Wrangler Territory MTs on today’s spied truck. The F-150 Raptor rolls on BFGoodrich KO2s, so fitting off-road tires does show Ram’s intent to benchmark Ford’s beast on rugged terrain.

The Ford F-150 Raptor still packs a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, in contrast to Ram sticking with V-8s. Still, 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque is plenty of shove, but it appears Ram will have Ford handily beaten in the power department. Ford has a 10-speed automatic to Ram’s 8-speed, but that’s still not enough to make up for a 250 horsepower deficit.

2021 Ram Rebel TRX prototype
Even under camouflage, the truck looks menacing, which is a great sign.

Off-roading by the numbers

The 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor also has substantial ground clearance, approach, departure and breakover angles to hack it when the going gets tough. It has 9.9 inches of total ground clearance, which matches the standard Rebel. While the Rebel TRX may not have to worry there, it has to consider maneuverability. With a 30.2 degree approach angle on the SuperCrew Raptor, a 21.8 degree breakover and 23.0 degree departure angle, we’re interested to see how Ram’s high-performance truck fares.

Ford also has technology that’s suited to off-roading, by way of its Terrain Management system. On top of that, newer models also have Trail Control, which is a sort of off-road cruise control for dealing with rugged terrain. Ram takes a more straightforward approach to off-roading, but the new Rebel TRX may well come with front and rear locking differentials for a more mechanical experience. Certain drive modes or a feature like Trail Control are a mystery, but Ram may need to introduce that sort of technology into the TRX to make it a point-for-point alternative for buyers wanting the latest and greatest.

There’s still plenty we don’t know about the 2021 Ram Rebel TRX, but earlier images suggest it will launch in Q3 2020. So, we don’t have too much longer to wait to actually find out the details. Stay tuned to TFLtruck.com for more updates!