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Extreme Truck Shootout: Raptor vs. TRX vs. Rivian

Extreme Truck Shootout: Raptor vs. TRX vs. Rivian

Imagine dropping any one of these pickups into the 1950s

  • These three trucks push the humble pickup to almost unrecognizable heights.
  • The Raptor, TRX and R1T take distinct routes to rewrite our expectations.
  • The one you choose likely says more about your personality than your needs.

Pickup trucks have never been so absurd. Here at Edmunds we wanted to highlight three of them that are setting a new tone, each in their own unique way. For instance, there's the Ford F-150 Raptor and its optional 37-inch tires from the factory. There's also the Ram 1500 TRX and its 702-horsepower V8 engine. And finally there's the Rivian R1T and its four electric motors. Not long ago, driving any of these on public roads would have seemed laughable.

All three trucks are rated highly by our industry-leading test team. But why would anyone actually want to go out and buy one? Here's the short answer: They're fun. The long answer, as you'll see below, has more to do with their distinct personalities. These three vehicles may all be pickup trucks, but in other ways, they couldn't be more different.

Ford F-150 Raptor: Wide-body king

The Raptor is big, bad and the original showroom racing truck. This latest version debuted in 2021, now with 12 inches of ground clearance and an upgraded coil-spring rear suspension. But for some, the times have caught up with the Raptor. It uses the same twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine with 450 horsepower as the previous model. And splashy updates — 37-inch tires and the in-bed Pro Power Onboard generator — are optional features, not standard.

Still, this is one sharp truck. Once you venture off-road, the Raptor feels shockingly lithe for its size. The engine, suspension and advanced terrain settings work together to carve into turns or gracefully bound over obstacles. It's true that the Raptor feels slightly muted for the times, and additional horsepower and a meaner exhaust bark would boost the experience considerably. Yet it remains the most engaging off-road truck on the market and one of our favorite automotive experiences for the money.

Ram 1500 TRX: Unabashed maximalism

With a name like TRX, this truck could only be extreme. And it does not disappoint. The TRX features a snarling version of the supercharged Hellcat V8 engine that makes a mighty 702 horsepower. There is a lot more to the TRX, but it's the engine that sets the tone. Sound is not an issue here — the V8 engine, along with its performance exhaust system, seems to be ripping the world in two when you open the throttle. Above all else, this truck is about theater.

But that doesn't make it frivolous. There is substance to the TRX in the form of its stability-promoting wide-body stance, functional hood scoop, and extensive underbody skid plates to protect the truck from churned-up chunks of Planet Earth. From behind the wheel the TRX feels responsive in an off-road setting, yet its comfort zone is ripping forward as the Hellcat engine screams from one desert horizon to the other. This is an eye-popping truck for extroverts. As long as you can stomach the gas bill, that is.

Rivian R1T: Crafty muscle

It's not just that the Rivian R1T is fully electric. And it's not just that the R1T is remarkably fast, or impressively clever, or that it has the highest maximum towing capacity of the three trucks listed here. What makes the Rivian R1T worthy of truck shoppers' attention is its personality. This is a truck that can hang with the big boys by any metric. Yet compared to those big, beefy rivals, the R1T is more compact, quiet and practical. It's gutsy yet easy.

That makes it more approachable. Suddenly there is a marquee truck that makes a statement not about its brute strength or pure heft, but about its craftiness and sophistication. It's the "Work smarter, not harder" pickup. Plus, the EV part is no gimmick. The R1T puts electric juice to good use in terms of speed, towing and range. Rivian should fine-tune its quirky in-cabin technology, but the R1T proves that spectacular trucks can come in different forms and take us in new directions — on-road or off-road, into the past or the future.

Edmunds says

Reading about these trucks is one thing, but seeing them in action is quite another. Spend a few minutes with our video above illustrating the strengths of all three, and consider which of them is most worth nearly $100,000 to you.