Once we all got past our initial glee that Ram would actually build a 700+ hp, long-travel, wide-body pickup to go head-to-head with Ford’s fabulous Raptor, we soon began to speculate over what else was possible. Not that we weren’t still gobsmacked about the prospect of piloting that much Hemi power over some dunes—we just love to bench race.
In this, we weren’t alone. Plenty of automotive buffs have speculated about the possibility of Ram offering a 6.4-liter V-8 in the TRX. Automobile listed a number of excellent reasons why it’s feasible, including the fact that the 392 Hemi would drop right into the rest of the drivetrain and sound amazing doing so. As a business case, the greater reach of a lower-powered, lower-priced version of the TRX would get the most out of all the development time spent on the reinforced frame and suspension, as well as the tooling for those gorgeous new fenders and bedsides. It’s true, the naturally aspirated Hemi wouldn’t have that menacing supercharger whine, but it would have 475 horsepower: more than enough to get into shenanigans.
Even the least powerful first-gen Raptor was an absolute riot to drive off-road. Of course, we all want a 700-hp TRX, but deep down we can admit that a 475-hp version would be nine-tenths as enjoyable.
There’s plenty of precedent of Mopar making a vehicle for every enthusiast niche. Just think about the current Dodge and Jeep lineup. Is there a Mopar vehicle that offers a supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat motor but not a naturally aspirated 6.4-liter? The Grand Cherokee, Durango, Charger, and Challenger each offer both. Just think of the TRX as the Dodge Demon of Ram trucks: the ultimate, full-on widebody version created to make waves and grab headlines. The Demon has the baddest engine and wears unique bodywork, but eventually, those flares made their way to the Scat Pack Widebody. I don’t think Demon buyers were upset about that move.
Based on the pricing difference evident the Challenger lineup (in which the most expensive a 6.4-liter model is still $9000 less than the most affordable Hellcat), a naturally aspirated TRX could be priced significantly lower. There’s room elsewhere in the Ram lineup, as well. The next rung down the off-road ladder from the $70,000 TRX is a big step down: the Rebel that starts at $45,000.
Going by Mopar’s recent history, it seems like only a matter of time that Ram offers a more affordable, higher-production variant that packs more than enough power to put a smile on your face. In keeping with Mopar’s styling, a 6.4-powered variant may require a new hood that’s slightly less badass to provide differentiation.
Would it also need a new name? It’s hard to top TRX and the obvious jab it takes at Ford’s Raptor, but befitting its dune-traversing capability, may we humbly suggest “Sidewinder”?