Is the Shelby F-150 More Unnecessary Than the Ram TRX?
For whom the factory Ford Raptor just isn’t enough, the Shelby F-150 is a high-dollar, high-class alternative. Built to look good and play hard, it’s the high school football team captain of the six-figure pickup truck world. Sitting next to the rowdy Ram TRX, it offers an air of elegance against the Mopar’s presumably well-used ashtray. Despite both trucks being exceedingly pointless for standard travel and work, one is more unnecessary than the other.
What is the Shelby F-150?
Shelby American begins the build with a bone-stock, four-wheel drive, Lariat-trimmed Ford F-150. Inside, the company revamps the interior with two-tone leather upholstery, topped with “Shelby” embroidered nicely into the headrests. Carbon fiber and company badges accent the interior trim in and around the sizeable 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, but the real business is on the outside.
|5.0-liter supercharged Coyote V8||10-speed automatic||775||N/A|
The Shelby F-150 adds in a functional ram-air hood, vented front and rear bumpers, powered and lighted side steps with rock sliders, and a tonneau cover keeping the bed rug dry. A BDS lift kit features FOX 2.5 front and rear aluminum body reservoir shocks, internal bypass technology, and adjustable dual-speed controls. Finishing off the truck is front-to-back LeMans-style racing stripes, and everything sits on 22-inch Shelby alloys wrapped in 35-inch BFG KO2 all-terrains.
What is the Ram TRX?
Designed to compete with Ford’s Raptor, the TRX is built on the Ram 1500 platform with extensive off-road modifications. A reinforced steel frame underpins the truck that features Bilstein Black Hawk e² shocks that Ram says are “more sophisticated than the Ford Raptor shock system.” Drivers also gain an electronic locking rear differential, a myriad of skid plates, and 35-inch tires hiding underneath its massive, widened wheel arches.
Inside the cabin, the TRX is well-equipped with features such as a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, leather seats, a digital instrument cluster, and a range of advanced safety features. While the TRX doesn’t have racing stripes, it does come with plenty of exterior off-road goodies.
|6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8||ZF eight-speed automatic||702||650||4.5 seconds|
Looking at the two trucks, they’re relatively well-matched, albeit unnecessary. Each combines power, luxury, and look-at-me charm in a single package. Realistically, however, the Shelby F-150 and Ram TRX won’t be pulling up to a construction site with a trailer in tow just as the sunrise hits the morning dew. No, these are for whoever’s name and phone number is on the side of the V6 fleet runarounds hustling three-wide in a single cab.
Nevertheless, one of these boisterous pickups is a bit more unnecessary than the other. Here’s why.
The Shelby F-150 has a short range
Given the forced induction, both trucks suffer from laughably poor fuel economy. The Ram TRX has an EPA-rated consumption rate of 10 mpg in the city and 14 mpg on the highway. Since the Shelby F-150 is effectively an aftermarket truck, they don’t send their figures to the government agency. But the EPA rates the Raptor R—which has 75 horsepower less—at 10 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway.
The difference may not seem so bad if you’re cruising while listening to AM radio on the way to check on your subcontractors. But the Ram TRX’s 33-gallon will take you further compared to the Ford’s 26-gallon supply. With both trucks sucking gas through twin-screw superchargers, don’t forget the extra pain at the pump. Owners must put 93 octane into the Shelby F-150 to get those power figures, whereas the Ram only needs 91.
For the Shelby F-150, though, the supercharger is optional. But if you’re going to drive a truck with 19 feet of racing stripes, you know it’s essential.
Ram takes care of the TRX for longer
Ram has carried on Dodge’s tradition of offering the most seemingly unnecessary form of transportation they can get away with. Despite the TRX’s ability to blend in with materiel support for the Battle of Medina Ridge, it has a respectable factory warranty. Owners enjoy the following:
- Three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty
- Five-year, 60,000-mile drivetrain warranty
- Five-year, unlimited-mile corrosion warranty
- Five-year, 60,000-mile roadside assistance service
The Ford F-150 features the same guarantee minus roadside assistance. While that can be supplemented with a third-party subscription service, the factory warranties are voided once Shelby American gets a hold of the truck. The company provides a three-year, 36,000-mile guarantee, including the powertrain, but two years and 24,000 miles is a high price for 73 horsepower extra.
One Shelby F-150 for the price of two Fords
You’re probably wondering why MSRP hasn’t been mentioned yet. This, above all, is the most significant difference between the two trucks. The Ram TRX has a starting MSRP of $86,450, which is a lot. But compared to the Shelby F-150, it’s a bargain.
|Shelby F-150 without supercharger||$127,350|
|Shelby F-150 with supercharger||$135,850|
You might be able to justify additional spending on fuel, repairs not covered beyond three years, or the frankly subdued look matched against TRX. However, the price—whichever way you look at it—is silly. Including the destination charges, the 2023 Ford F-150 Lariat 4×4 donor truck comes in at $63,810. Even without that drool-inducing blue powder-coated Whipple supercharger, you’re paying double for some off-road capability.
But why would you want to scratch those lovely stripes? Even though the suspension is set up to take a beating, it’s more relegated to looking good parked next to a pile of gravel—at least, that’s what the press images indicate.
Which truck is more unnecessary?
These trucks are toys and darned expensive ones at that. Though if you’re cashing in on years wrangling a three-truck contracting crew, you’ll want some value in your purchase. Ram says the TRX is “an exercise in excess,” but it’s an impressive truck mixing the surplus amounts of comfort and performance, and compared to the Shelby F-150, it’s a steal.
Oozing with technical goodies like launch control, off-road cruise control, a head-up display, a Dana 60 rear axle, and proprietary suspension algorithms make the TRX able to essentially conquer the Dakar Rally off the production line. The Shelby F-150 can’t boast 13 inches of suspension travel like the Ram, but it’ll be seen crawling the mall more than Moab.
Even the TRX’s alpha attitude is welcomely intoxicating, like an outdoorsman that could erect their own three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom house from sticks and leaves. Whereas the Shelby F-150 is the suburban neighbor standing just far enough away to comment but not get involved with arms folded, looking suspiciously through a pair of white Oakleys. The TRX may be a cultural cliché for those who start their mornings off with a cold Mountain Dew, but it’s still more reasonable than piloting a Shelby F-150.