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2021 Ram TRX: Living with an apex predator on a daily basis

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2021 Ram TRX

The 2021 Ram TRX requires patience while maneuvering in tight urban spaces. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

Because we’ve already done a first-drive review of the 2021 Ram TRX, I don’t want to waste a lot of time rehashing details and specs. I mean, sure you can jump this truck and go 100 MPH in the dirt. But can you really drive a big truck in itty-bitty city spaces?

With a little luck and a lot of patience, you can.

My time with the TRX was fairly all-consuming as I was constantly beset with will-it-fit tests (from garage spaces to parking lots) as well as worry about how other people would treat the vehicle when I wasn’t present. And, frankly, every morning I would wake up, look out my front window and sigh with relief because the truck was still there and remained undamaged.

While most people purchasing a TRX will live in suburbs or rural areas with plenty of wide-open spaces, there will be times this truck might have to visit “the big city.”

So, there are a few every-day things worth discussing we haven’t covered previously – such as parallel parking, fuel economy and the abject fear of dealing with such a large and expensive vehicle in tight city spaces. Here’s what I learned after driving the Ram TRX for a week in Chicago.

Premium fuel is expensive

No one buying the Ram TRX cares about fuel economy. If they did, they’d be buying a new hybrid Ford F-150 instead. But it’s worth pointing out actual fuel economy is much, much worse than the EPA estimated 10 MPG in the city and 14 MPG on the highway.

In fact, during my first couple days of city-only driving, I was averaging 4.7 mpg. It was only after more than 3 hours of steady highway driving that I managed to get the fuel economy numbers up to 10.4 MPG. By the time I turned in the truck after a full week, I was only averaging 9.4 MPG.

Top that off with the fact the TRX requires (not recommends) premium fuel, and you’re going to be spending a good chunk of change on gasoline alone. At the time of writing this review, premium fuel in Chicago was about $3.50, and when I added a quarter tank of gas to top things off for a small road trip, I spent $45.

Parallel parking is doable in the Ram TRX

If you saw my video review of the Ram TRX, you witnessed my Chicago hijinks. Hitting drive-thrus was iffy, and it did not fit in my small city garage. Which means I was stuck parallel parking for a week. Thankfully, my neighborhood has a lot of 9-to-5 workers, and parking during the day wasn’t a problem. But when I had to venture downtown or come home after dark, I had to search for a spot large enough to fit this beast.

Keep in mind the TRX is about 20 feet long and more than 7 feet wide. So, it’s kind of like parking a boat. In addition to swinging wide to back into a space (so narrow one-way streets are out for parallel parking), the TRX sticks out into the street once parked – even if you are basically on the curb.

The large side mirrors are definitely helpful when looking down the side of the vehicle, but the around-view image in the infotainment display was key for fine-tuning – allowing you to come within inches of front or rear bumpers of surrounding vehicles while turning the wheel.

2021 Ram TRX

2021 Ram TRX (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

Parking garages should be avoided

The first thing I tried to do in the Ram TRX was park in my city garage. I had my husband film my attempt as well as be my spotter. I had an inkling it might be a tad too tall to make it through the garage opening. And it literally missed it by a fin.

Then, I contemplated trying to go into a multi-level garage downtown, but most garage clearances in Chicago are just 6-feet, 7-inches tall. So, at 80.9 inches (which doesn’t include the fin, by the way), the TRX is about 2 inches too tall to fit.

On TikTok, several of my followers said I should lower the air suspension or take the air out of the tires to make it shorter. But the first isn’t possible – the TRX does not come with any type of adaptive suspension – and the second is darn impractical.

Chicago drivers are grumpy but wary

When you are dealing with a vehicle as large as the Ram TRX, it’s best to take things slow at the beginning — especially if you’re used to driving a smaller vehicle. That means you – and those around you – need to have a lot of patience.

Most Chicago drivers don’t. I got several dirty looks and few honks during my parallel parking escapades. But, frankly, I didn’t really care. I truly felt like an apex predator during my test week, and when someone got impatient, I’d just give them a “go ahead, try me” look, and they’d back off.

Plus, whenever I turned on my blinker to change lanes on the highway, I noticed people gave me room – a lot of room. That rarely happens when I’m driving a smaller SUV or car – usually I get cut off instead.

So, while there are some downsides to owning a truck this large, there are some bonuses – namely most people give you a wide berth.

2021 Ram TRX

2021 Ram TRX (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

The bottom line on the Ram TRX

Once you get over (or used to) the sheer size of the Ram TRX, it’s actually a very comfortable truck. After a small road trip and plenty of city driving, I thought the seats were cushy yet supportive, and visibility was fairly decent – again considering the size of the vehicle.

Plus, I loved the adjustable pedals, which gave me a comfortable and safe driving position.

This isn’t a truck to tow or carry a huge load, but it’s pretty flipping cool and more of a toy than anything remotely practical.

While I was glad to give it back after a stressful test week in the city, I really loved the TRX and think that anyone who has the space — and bank account – for this truck will love it as well.

Related posts:

Catching air, payload woes: Tales from a 2021 Ram TRX first drive

Raptor fighter? 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is big, powerful and awesome

Which pickup trucks have adjustable pedals?

 

 

 

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is a syndicated automotive writer. Jill also manages the “Drive, She Said” blog for ChicagoNow and posts reviews to DriveChicago. She is the president emeritus of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. She also serves as a judge for the Automotive Heritage Foundation Journalism Awards. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Chicago Sun-Times News Group and Pioneer Press Newspapers.

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