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What’s the origin of the TRX name? In Ram truck vernacular, this designation signifies the high-powered, 702-horsepower half-ton pickup truck made to challenge the Ford F-150 Raptor R. Some might take the TRX to mean T-Rex, a meat-eating dinosaur to challenge the Raptor name, but that’s not where this trim designation came from. The first TRX was a Dodge Dakota, offered in two flavors. Let’s see what the first TRX brought to the table.

Dodge took a unique approach to the midsize truck class

Red Dodge Dakota TRX4, midsize pickup truck parked.
Dodge Dakota TRX4 | Dodge

Instead of leaving V8 engines in the full-size truck market, Dodge brought this feature down-market to the midsize Dodge Dakota. In 2005, the Dakota and Mitsubishi Raider were the only two midsize trucks offering a V8 engine option.

In 2006, Dodge introduced a new version of the Dakota, made to take on the rough terrain of the wilderness playground and called it the TRX. This new off-road-focused truck went up against the Chevy Colorado Z71 and Nissan Frontier Desert Runner.

What did the Dodge Dakota TRX offer?

The Dakota TRX was available in two versions: regular TRX and TRX4. The regular TRX was the lighter version, adding the TRX package to the SL, SLT, or Laramie trims with the 4×2 Club or Quad Cab configurations.

The TRX package gave owners:

  • Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels
  • Limited slip differential
  • Tow hooks
  • TRX decals on the bed

The TRX4 package offered real off-road goodies and was only available on the SLT and Laramie trims with the 4×4 Club and Quad Cab configurations.

This trim included:

  • Five-spoke, 16-inch wheels
  • Painted shocks
  • BF Goodrich off-road tires
  • One-inch ride lift
  • Skid plates
  • Tow hooks
  • TRX4 bed decals
  •  All-weather slush floor mats

The TRX4 trim was offered with the 4.7-liter V8 engine, which produced 302 horsepower.

What made this Dodge truck a great choice?

MotorTrend tested the 2008 Dodge Dakota TRX4, reporting this truck provided the best-in-class towing rating while feeling powerful with its 4×4 equipment and impressive V8 engine. While expensive for the time (the tested model was $34,350 in 2008), this truck filled a gap in the market and provided impressive power for those driving it.

Did the TRX name appear in the half-ton truck?

The Dodge Dakota TRX lived in until 2011, when Dodge dropped the entire Dakota line. The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 used the TRX name, but the half-ton truck lost the TRX designation when the Dakota left the market. The TRX name was replaced by the Outdoorsman trim in 2011.

The most recent use of the TRX name is for the Ram 1500, which uses the Hellcat engine from the Dodge Challenger. The full-size Ram 1500 TRX generates 702 horsepower and packs a full slate of off-road gear, a far cry from what the original Dodge Dakota TRX provided.