The market is saturated with pickup trucks of various sizes. Ram itself offers options for consumers looking to tow massive cargo or go off-roading with the Power Wagon and Rebel. But there's also a clear market for the hardcore off-roader, and the Raptor has gone unchallenged for too long.
Ford proved that the market could handle a fast off-road truck with the 2010 SVT Raptor. Demand for the vehicle skyrocketed and after a few years, Ford had to up production from three to five trucks per hour at its Dearborn Truck Plant in 2013. The original V8 model immediately gained stardom for being a purpose-built machine capable of tackling rough terrain at high speeds.
The latest 2017 Raptor is shaping up to be a brute in its own right. Gone is the 6.2-liter V8, which has been replaced with a modern twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. Despite having a much smaller engine than its predecessor, the upcoming Raptor boasts better performance at 450 horsepower and 510 pound feet of torque – up from the V8's output of 411 horsepower and 434 pound feet of torque.
With Fox lending a hand with some high-performance shocks and the pickup truck getting various off-roading modes, including one called "Baja," few road-legal machines will be able to match 2017 Raptor when asphalt runs out. Even still, the Rebel TRX concept looks and sounds like it's in a different league.
The Rebel TRX concept's design is the perfect combination of speed and looks, which makes it hard to believe that Ram built the concept in just three months, according to an engineer. A higher-up within FCA sent in the demand, and the Ram team obliged with a fully functioning prototype.
The Rebel, which Ram has always said is not a Raptor-fighter, can be fitted with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, while the larger Power Wagon is equipped with the 6.4-liter V8. The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 (the Hellcat engine), as an engineer points out, makes sense in the concept. Ram had a clear vision in mind when it made the TRX – an extreme off-roader capable of hitting three-digit speeds on rough terrain – and utilized its extensive parts bin. Plus, it mixed in some parts from other brands in the FCA family, like the air-intake system from the Dodge Viper.
Therein lies the financial feasibility of the vehicle, which is the most important factor for an automaker when going from to production. The concept, as pointed out by the engineer, only utilizes roughly 20 percent of same components as the Ram 1500 Rebel. That may seem like a small amount, but all of those components are the expensive things that take numerous years to perfect. The frame, for instance, comes from the standard Ram 1500 and the SRT powertrain is found in the highest-powered Dodge Chargers and Challengers.
So while the body may be six inches wider and feature a lot of custom touches – like the hood, steel bumpers, and side exhaust outlets – the main, meaty parts of the vehicle are easily obtainable.
With a lot of parts for the concept coming from FCA's bin, a production version of the vehicle would stay true to the one on display. But things like emissions, noise regulations, and assembly plant limitations could alter some components. The side exhaust outlets, for example, which are a nod toward the now-dead Viper, are incredibly loud and would most likely need to be toned down. It's also hard to see two massive spares being bolted onto the back of the truck as the 37-inch tires severely decrease the amount of space left in the bed.
The vehicle is still clearly a concept, as Ram persistently points out. But the engineer claims that nothing is hindering the vehicle from being built. And when things line up this well and this quickly, it's a rare thing. Ram should use this golden opportunity to put an insane, over-powered off-roading truck into production, because it will surely sell quickly, is relatively easy to build, and would be in a segment that only has one other competitor.
In the Jurassic days, the T-Rex was the head honcho, while the Raptor came further down the food chain. It's time for Ram to build the TRX to go up against Ford's Raptor, if not for the sales, then for the bragging rights.