With all of the excitement surrounding the off-road prowess of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, we figured we would dig just a little bit deeper into its four-wheel-drive (4×4) system and its new Drive Mode selector options to see what the Hellcat-powered performance off-road has in store for its customers.
Let’s start with the 4×4 system. Sending 702 horsepower to all four wheels of the TRX is a new BorgWarner 48-13 full-time active transfer case. That is right, no part-time system here, the TRX only feature a full-time 4×4 system. The 48-13 has been modified to feature upgraded internals for improved strength and durability.
The 48-13 allows the TRX to have four operating modes which include 4WD Auto, 4WD High (Locked), Neutral, and 4WD Low (Locked). So yes, that Ram TRX can be flat-towed while in the Neutral position, for those thinking about towing the vehicle being a large motorcoach.
The 48-13 also features an impressive 2.64:1 low range ratio for rock crawling, proving the TRX isn’t just for high-speed desert running.
Using performance-tuned software to pre-configure and distinguish five dynamic on-road modes – Auto, Sport, Tow, Snow, and Custom, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX enables drivers to choose a vehicle setting that ideally meets their requirements and ambient conditions. The drive modes separately control the 4×4 system, throttle response, transmission, paddle shifters, suspension, and the electric power steering. All modes use active slip control that prevents binding and excessive slip from front to rear.
The Custom mode allows the driver to personalize the vehicle’s performance for a selectable driving experience, offering a multitude of vehicle system combinations.
Additionally, the Ram TRX also features three dynamic off-road modes – Mud/Sand, Rock, and Baja. These three modes enable drivers to choose a setting that best fits the terrain around them. Like the on-road modes, the off-road drive modes control several systems, including the 4×4 system, throttle response, transmission, paddle shifters, suspension, and steering.
An all-new Drive Mode selector has been integrated into the dashboard above the transfer case switches and offers different modes of operation, indicated by a TRX pictogram for select environments such as Normal, Wet/Snow, Off-road, and Baja. The new standard Launch Control button is easily within reach of the driver, sitting to the right of the transfer case switches as well.
Using the 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster and the 12-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen, drivers can monitor what Drive Mode has been selected.
So let’s take an in-depth look at some of the new driving modes…
SPORT – Sport Mode allows for quicker shift times, tightens the suspension, also delivers a 30/70 torque split between the front and rear, and sport-tuned stability control allows the TRX to perform at the optimal settings on paved surfaces.
SNOW – Snow Mode employs an initial 45/55 torque split between the front and rear wheels. It also manages engine horsepower and delivers the right amount of power for optimal launch performance on both snowy and icy conditions.
MUD/SAND – Mud/Sand Mode is used for deep sand and muddy conditions. It uses a 45/55 initial torque split between the front and rear wheels and calibrates both throttle management and torque distribution to mitigate wheel slip and improve traction.
CUSTOM – Custom Mode allows the drive to create a tailored driving experience by dialing in your preferred steering feel, torque split, suspension firmness, and more.
ROCK – Rock Mode allows the driver to tackle boulders by shifting into an extra-low gear ratio and using a 50/50 torque split of power between the front and rear axles. Using the Selec-Speed® Control, the TRX can have a set velocity for a controlled descent.
BAJA – Baja Mode allows the TRX to calibrate its 4×4 system and steering systems, stability control, paddle shifters, and suspension for the ultimate desert performance experience. Baja Mode delivers maximum capability on undulating and loose surfaces using a 25/75 split between the front and rear wheels.
The Drive Mode selector is an exclusive feature for the 2021 model year on the Ram 1500 TRX. Together, the Drive Mode selector, all-new Off-Road Pages mark the first time that features have been used on the 12-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen. The new Off-Road Pages offer the driver to see the ride height, the transfer case’s position, the pitch and roll of the vehicle, and accessory gauges for the first time on Ram 1500. The new Off-Road Pages will also be available on 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel and 4×4 Off-Road models with the 8.4-inch and 12-inch Uconnect displays.
For those with 2019 or 2020 models, we aren’t sure if RAM will offer an update for select models to enable the Off-Road Pages.
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX has a starting U.S. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $69,995, not including the $1,695 for destination). The truck will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2020.