The Ram TRX was a ridiculous vehicle. Who actually needs a 702-horsepower, 6,000+ pound performance off-road pickup that gets just under 11 mpg? No one, of course, but we loved it all the same for its ridiculous and ostentatious power. You might think the TRX name was invented just for just that vehicle — but unbeknownst to many, the trim actually appeared years ago on a long-dead pickup, the Dodge Dakota.
Dodge used to play in the midsize pickup arena for years against the likes of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. By the time the third generation Dakota came around 2005 model year, the truck was unique in that it was the only mid-size truck (besides the Dakota’s demon-spawn badge job, the Mitsubishi Raider) that offered a V8 engine option.
Springing for the TRX4 got you unique five-spoke, 16-inch wheels, painted shocks, BF Goodrich off-road tires, a one-inch ride height increase, skid plates, tow hooks, TRX4 bed decals and all-weather slush floor mats in the interior. You could also option the TRX4 with the 4.7-liter, 302-horsepower V8.
Of course, you had to pay to play. The off-road goodies and the V8 engine made the truck pricey; Motor Trend tested one in 2008, and it wore an as-tested price of $34,360. At that MSRP, a Dodge Ram 1500 made more sense as it was more powerful with its 5.7-liter Hemi V8, roomier and more capable.
The Dakota itself was dropped in 2011, but the TRX trim lived on briefly as a trim of the redesigned 2009 Dodge Ram 1500; it was replaced by the Outdoorsman trim two years later. Despite the cool factor of the monster that was the Ram TRX, it’s interesting that Ram decided to pull a nameplate out of mothballs from such a mundane package that started life on a long-gone midsize pickup to use on one of the most powerful pickups to ever go on sale.
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