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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. Ram 1500 TRX: Specs compared

Ford's latest F-150 Raptor finally faces some stiff competition thanks to Ram's Hellcat-powered 1500 TRX.

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Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
5 min read
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor jump

Those mammoth tires? 3 feet high and rising.

Ford

The Ford Raptor has ruled the high-speed off-road roost for over a decade now, but it finally got some real competition this year, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX. The Hellcat-powered rival from Stellantis is a targeted shot across the Raptor's bow. I mean, it's called the "T-Rex" -- you know, the dinosaur that wrecks the velociraptors at the end of Jurassic Park? Exactly.

Now, Ford is striking back with its new 2021 F-150 Raptor, which debuted Wednesday. And while the Blue Oval still has some blanks to fill in on the Raptor's spec sheet, its new light-duty 4x4 looks to be more than capable of competing with Ram's Helltruck. Let's see how these two titans compare on paper, spec for spec.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor has bigger feet than Sasquatch

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Exterior dimensions

For this story, we're comparing the Raptor SuperCrew with the TRX Crew Cab, partially because they're comparably scaled, but mostly because the Raptor's shorter SuperCab body style was discontinued. Metrics for the Ford are incomplete at this time, but we've got enough to compare, pointing out the educated guesses as we come to them.

The Raptor's 145.4-inch wheelbase is within a few tenths of an inch of the Ram's 145.1 inches. And while the Raptor's overall length of 232.6 inches is just a touch longer than the standard SuperCrew, it's still about three-tenths shorter than the TRX's 232.9 inches. The F-150's height depends on the tires equipped -- which we'll get back to in a bit -- but ranges between 79.8 inches and 80.7 inches, still short of the TRX's 80.9-inch roof.

The Ford is also a slightly narrower truck than the Ram, with an overall width of 86.8 inches versus 88 inches. The Raptor's 74-inch front and 73-inch rear tracks reflect this difference, but aren't too far off of the TRX's 74.5-inch and 74.1-inch, respective, front and rear tracks. Ford told us the Raptor will weigh about 600 pounds less than the TRX, so let's estimate 5,750 pounds versus the Ram's 6,350.

Exterior dimensions


2021 Ford F-150 Raptor2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Length 232.6 in232.9 in
Wheelbase 145.4 in145.1 in
Width 86.8 in88.0 in
Front track 74.0 in74.5 in
Rear track 73.0 in74.1 in
Height 79.8 in80.9 in
Weight 5,750 lbs (est.)6,350 lbs

2021 Ram 1500 TRX hits the dirt and flies high

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Power, towing and payload

The new F-150 Raptor features an updated version of Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Horsepower and torque numbers aren't yet available, and while we expect a slight bump, the new specs probably won't be dramatically higher than the 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque this V6 makes in today's Raptor. Ford's 10-speed automatic transmission returns, as well, linking the EcoBoost engine to the standard four-wheel-drive system.

The TRX, meanwhile, continues the Stellantis tradition of cramming the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 under the hood of everything that can handle it. The TRX produces an ample 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, which should beat the Ford by a substantial margin. The Ram's eight-speed automatic is two ratios short of the Ford's transmission, which should hurt it a bit with fuel economy, not that efficiency is a big concern with either of these bad boys.

But while the TRX might be up on power, the Ford can do more truck stuff. The Raptor takes the lead with both payload and towing capacity, as you can see in the chart below.

Oh, it's also worth noting that Ford is working on a V8-powered Raptor R, which should close the power gap. The Raptor R is rumored to get the Shelby GT500's 760-hp V8, but it won't arrive until 2022.

Powertrain


2021 Ford F-150 Raptor2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Engine 3.5-liter twin-turbo V66.2-liter supercharged V8
Power 450 hp (est.)702 hp
Torque 510 lb-ft (est.)650 lb-ft
Transmission 10-speed auto8-speed auto
Towing 8,200 lbs8,100 lbs
Payload 1,400 lbs1,310 lbs
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor
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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

This thing can definitely Baja blast.

Ford

Suspension hardware

The TRX rides atop an adaptive suspension with Bilstein Blackhawk E2 shocks with 2.5-inch-diameter dampers with remote reservoirs, a double-wishbone setup up front and five-link coil-spring system out back. Electronic control can adjust compression and rebound damping with a reaction time of just 20 milliseconds, and Ram claims up to a ton -- 2,000 pounds -- of damping force absorption per corner when landing a big jump.

Meanwhile, the new Raptor features a revised Fox Live Valve electronic-control suspension, also with remote reservoirs, and with larger 3.1-inch-diameter dampers. This year Ford ditches the Raptor's old leaf springs, moving to a five-link coil-spring rear suspension to match its double-wishbone front. The Raptor's electronic damping control is slower than the TRX's, with an 80-millisecond reaction time, and its claimed max damping force of 1,000 pounds per corner also comes up short. However, the Raptor is also a lighter truck, so maybe it'll all work out.

The Raptor does have the advantage of overall suspension travel, boasting 14 inches of front axle travel and 15 inches of rear axle travel when rolling on 35-inch tires, compared with the TRX's 13 and 14 inches, respectively. Trading blows back and forth, this category is too close to call based on numbers alone. Let's call it a draw.

Suspension


2021 Ford F-150 Raptor2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Damper type Fox Live ValveBilstein Blackhawk E2
Damper diameter 3.1 in2.5 in
Damping force 1,000 pounds/corner2,000 pounds/corner
Damping response time 80ms20ms
Front suspension Double-wishbone, coil springsDouble-wishbone, coil springs
Rear suspension 5-link, coil springs, solid axle5-link, coil springs, solid axle
Front suspension travel 14.0 in13.0 in
Rear suspension travel 15.0 in14.0 in
2021 Ram 1500 TRX
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2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Might as well jump.

Ram

Off-road geometry

Both the Raptor and TRX come standard with 35-inch tires and beadlock-capable wheels, but the Ford can also be fitted with 37-inch tires from the factory. Technically, the Ram can also be fitted with 37s, but that's an aftermarket upgrade that the automaker doesn't officially support or list specs for.

The TRX's 30.2-degree approach, 23.5-degree departure and 21.9-degree breakover angles are impressive, but are all edged out by the Raptor's numbers. The Raptor also beats the TRX in ground clearance.

These are small advantages to be sure, but when the Raptor is optioned with 37-inch tires, its advantages over the TRX are further boosted. Ground clearance grows to 13.1 inches and approach, departure and breakover angles increase to 33.1, 24.9 and 24.4 degrees, respectively. Apples to apples or not, points for this category go to the Ford.

Off-road specs


2021 Raptor (35-in tires)2021 Raptor (37-in tires)2021 TRX (35-in tires)
Approach angle 31.0 deg33.1 deg30.2 deg
Departure angle 23.9 deg24.9 deg23.5 deg
Breakover angle 22.7 deg24.4 deg21.9 deg
Ground clearance 12.0 in13.1 in11.8 in
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor
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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The Raptor's cabin gets a big tech upgrade.

Ford

Extra features

Backing up the hardware are software and features that help these trucks and their drivers tackle a variety of jobs, terrain and conditions. Both trucks feature multiple drive modes controlling the suspension, powertrain and four-wheel-drive parameters. Both feature some form of sub-5-mph low-speed crawl control for off-road use: Ford calls it Trail Control, while Ram has Selec-Speed Control. Both also boast some form of hill-descent control and both feature massive touchscreen displays that allow drivers to customize their performance.

The Raptor has a unique feature inherited from the Bronco called Trail One-Pedal driving, which maps both acceleration and braking to the gas pedal. Depress the pedal to move forward but then just lift it to brake -- kind of like one-pedal driving in an EV.

These trucks probably have similar water fording depths, but the TRX features a specialized intake for the job that can also sift out dust and sand when blasting through the desert. It's not exactly high-tech, but it's still a clever bit of engineering.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
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2021 Ram 1500 TRX

The Ram packs a ton of great infotainment tech, too.

Ram

Pricing

We don't know how much the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will cost, but it'll certainly be a hell of a lot less expensive than the Ram TRX. The current Raptor starts at $58,135 (including destination) for the SuperCrew. We expect the updated 2021 model to have a price bump considering all the new features and technology, but it probably won't be too far off. The Ram 1500 TRX, on the other hand, starts at $71,790 (including destination) -- over $13,000 more than today's Raptor SuperCrew -- and can balloon to more than $95,000 with all of the option boxes ticked.

There can only be one king, however, and right now, it's looking like the less powerful, but perhaps more capable Ford F-150 Raptor could take the cake. This certainly won't be the last time these giants go toe to toe -- we're still learning more about the new Raptor every day -- and we'll be updating this story with more details as they emerge.