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2022 Ram 1500 TRX vs 2022 Rivian R1T

Drag Race: Rivian R1T Smacks TRX on Dirt

Score One for Electric Trucks

  • It turns out the Ram TRX is no match for the Rivian R1T in a drag race.
  • The R1T outraced the TRX by a half-second on the dry lake bed surface.
  • Our video illustrates the difference between an 835-hp EV and a 702-hp gas truck.

Pickup trucks are no strangers to outlandish horsepower outputs these days. Take, for instance, the 2022 Ram 1500 TRX and its 702-horsepower V8 engine, and the 2022 Rivian R1T and its four electric motors with 835 hp. That's a lot of sauce.

So how do those figures stack up in the real world? We put both trucks to the test with a drag race to illustrate how both the TRX and R1T put their power to good use. Oh, and just for fun, we ran them on a dry lake bed rather than a prepped track surface. Because even fast trucks look more at home kicking up dust. Here's what happened.

Sizing them up

First, let's talk Rivian. The all-electric Rivian R1T is a pickup truck that, size-wise, is somewhere between the midsize Toyota Tacoma and the full-size Ford F-150. But this in-between EV packs a lot of tech. It uses a battery pack mounted under the floor to power four electric motors — there's one at each wheel to give the truck all-wheel drive.

All that tech is heavy, and our test R1T weighed in at more than 7,100 pounds. But it still thrived in our official Edmunds on-pavement tests, hitting 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and driving for 317 miles on a full charge. Can it replicate that acceleration on dirt? That's what we wanted to find out. Our test drivers put the R1T into Sport mode, which sends a greater percentage of power to the rear wheels and lowers the ride height for improved aerodynamics, and hoped for the best.

As for the TRX, this beast of a gas-powered off-road truck brings an interesting mix to the table. It packs a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that sends power to all four wheels, which are wrapped in standard 35-inch all-terrain tires. The TRX has less power and slower on-pavement 0-60 mph acceleration (4.2 seconds in Edmunds' testing) than the R1T. However, it weighs several hundred pounds less (about 6,700 pounds) and has a launch control feature that could help it gain an early lead. And, hey, maybe those all-terrain tires would help provide extra traction on the dry lake bed.

2022 Ram 1500 TRX vs 2022 Rivian R1T

2022 Ram 1500 TRX vs. 2022 Rivian R1T

How it went down

In Race 1, we lined the two trucks up for a standing start. At the "go" signal, both the R1T and TRX rocketed forward. However, the winner quickly became apparent. The Rivian R1T leapt ahead of the TRX off the line and did not look back. On the dry lake bed, it reached 60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat versus 4.7 seconds for the TRX. And it kept pulling. By the time it reached the finish line, the R1T was traveling 107.5 mph and logged the quarter mile at 12.5 seconds. Following behind came the TRX at 103.4 mph and a final time of 13.1 seconds.

For Race 2, the trucks performed a rolling start, cruising along at 30 mph until they reached the start line and accelerated. Perhaps the electric motors in the R1T would lack punch from this speed? Nay. Instead, the R1T blasted off and it was the TRX that faltered. This time the R1T won again by a full second, reaching the quarter mile in 11.3 seconds compared with 12.3 seconds for the TRX. In all, a decisive victory for the Rivian.

2022 Ram 1500 TRX vs 2022 Rivian R1T

2022 Ram 1500 TRX vs. 2022 Rivian R1T

So what happened?

Well, the Rivian R1T has a whole lot of punch. From both a standing start and a rolling start, the EV truck gained an early advantage over the TRX that it did not relinquish. This did not come as a major shock — the R1T has electric motors that can instantly send maximum torque to the wheels. Plus, its power advantage is enough to overshadow its heavy weight. Every unit of horsepower in the R1T is responsible for moving about 8.5 pounds of weight. In comparison, every horsepower in the TRX needs to move 9.5 pounds. That, combined with the immediate EV power, likely propelled the R1T to victory.

On the TRX side of things, this truck started with a lot of sound and fury. Considering the uneven and unpredictable terrain, it had an impressive showing. Its launch control system is effective, too. But there were too many inefficiencies to overcome. First, as noted, it has the less awesome weight-to-power ratio. Second, its standard 35-inch all-terrain tires are clutch for gripping the ground, but at that size their weight may have been a burden. Finally, on the rolling race, its transmission automatically downshifted in order to access more power, and that slight hesitation cost it dearly.

2022 Ram 1500 TRX vs 2022 Rivian R1T

2022 Ram 1500 TRX vs. 2022 Rivian R1T

Edmunds says

While the outcome was not exactly a surprise, it was still shocking to see the difference in quickness and outright speed from the Rivian R1T. We expected it to be fast, but the swiftness with which it disposed of something as mighty as a Ram TRX was striking. More than anything else, our test was a great illustration of the straight-line performance potential of battery-powered vehicles.