Pickup trucks have grown to be among the best-selling vehicles in the United States. They offer the practicality of a work truck, but they also serve as family commuter vehicles as well. Since trucks also bring large profits, manufacturers have invested heavily in their development and refinement. MotorTrend reviews midsize, full-size, and heavy-duty pickup trucks each year, and the Ram 1500 has been a repeat winner in the full-size class.
The Ram 1500 keeps winning MotorTrend awards
The Ram 1500 was redesigned for the 2019 model year, winning the MotorTrend Truck of the Year for 2019. The Ram Heavy Duty was the 2020 MotorTrend Truck of the Year. And now, for 2021, the Ram 1500 TRX is the MotorTrend Truck of the Year winner. In addition to the award for the Ram 1500 TRX, the 2021 Ram 1500 is also the top-ranked truck in its class.
A viable alternative to the Ford F-Series
While the Ram 1500 TRX name was chosen mainly because Ram already owned the rights to TRX, according to Automobile Magazine, Ram has also run with the story that the name, pronounced T-Rex, shows that the truck is better than the Ford F-150 Raptor, named for the Velociraptor. The Tyrannosaurus Rex was larger and more powerful than the Velociraptor.
MotorTrend’s editors liked the TRX model even better than the Ford F-150 Raptor. MotorTrend senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said, “Before driving it, I’d dismissed this truck as a sort of wannabe Raptor. Man, was I wrong. Like the Challenger Hellcat when it first roared onto city streets, 50 feet of driving is all it takes to make you fall in love with this truck.” The TRX is the fastest pickup truck available, and it’s designed for off-road use as well.
The Ford F-150 Raptor first arrived for the 2010 model year. J.D. Power says “there was nothing like it, and there wouldn’t be. Until this year.” The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX “is the first challenger in the dune-crushing category.”
The 2021 Ram 1500
MotorTrend calls the 2021 Ram 1500 “the best full-size truck to drive.” It’s comfortable with a nice ride. All trims have quality finishes and the highest trims have luxury features. It also offers buyers “a number of standout engine choices,” according to MotorTrend.
The Ram 1500 has more technology features than competing trucks, with a user-friendly infotainment system and an available 12-inch vertical touchscreen. There are also two smaller screens available: a five-inch display or an 8.4-inch screen. Two helpful technology features are new for 2021. That’s the head-up display and the trailer reversing steering control.
Even for the best truck, not everything is perfect, says MotorTrend. The Ram 1500 doesn’t get good fuel efficiency, and it can get expensive for buyers who select lots of options. Also, its towing and hauling capabilities aren’t as good as other trucks. When properly equipped, the 2021 Ram 1500 can tow up to 12,750 pounds and haul up to 2,300 pounds. The 2021 Ford F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds when properly equipped, according to Car and Driver, and its maximum payload is 3,250 pounds.
MotorTrend especially loves the TRX, which has a Dodge Hellcat 6.2-liter V8 engine, generating 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. This is the first year that this powerful engine has appeared in a truck, which helped to earn the TRX MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year award.
For buyers not interested in the TRX, there are also plenty of options, including two cab sizes, two bed lengths, four engine choices, and multiple trim levels. That’s two V6 engines and two V8 engines. All engine options have an eight-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is available. The Ram 1500 Classic is still available too, which is the previous generation of the truck.
While Ford and Chevy may have very popular trucks, MotorTrend recommends three Ram trucks instead. MotorTrend says the Ram 1500 is the best full-size pickup truck, the Ram 2500 HD is the best heavy-duty pickup truck, and the Ram 3500 HD is the best heavy-duty dually pickup truck. It’s clear that the Ram 1500 can go up against the Ford F-150 and be a winner.