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Spied: Ram Rebel TRX mule caught in the wild

by Byron Hurd

Hellcat power and off-road capability converge in Ram's new Raptor fighter.

A mule for FCA's new Ram 1500 Rebel TRX was caught testing in northern Arizona this week, giving us a very distant preview of the recently green-lit production version of Ram's new Ford F-150 Raptor fighter.

A Ram 1500 on the streets of Flagstaff wouldn't normally draw much attention, even with its exaggerated engine note and rather conspicuous exhaust tips, but putting it under a tarp and parking it next to a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody will let the cat (sorry) out of the bag.

This mule doesn't show us much, but the important part is hiding beneath the metal anyway. That's where, according to the spy in the field, a 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 was heard motivating the TRX's getaway from his camera.

Beyond the obvious engine upgrade, other hints as to the mule's true identity include a set of off-road wheels courtesy of Fuel and some additional frame bracing.

The TRX concept was first floated with a 575-horsepower version of the Hellcat V8 under the hood, which would be more than enough to give Raptor fans pause. Given FCA's penchant for making the ridiculous commonplace, however, we wouldn't be surprised if the TRX's final power output is a little closer to that of its distant corporate cousins.

FCA's five-year product plan put the TRX a good three years out, slating it for debut as a 2022 model. That gives the engineers and designers plenty of time to wrap a slightly more gruff exterior package around this powertrain.

But could we see supercharged V8 power come to the platform even sooner? Ford recently introduced the Raptor's high-output EcoBoost V6 to its premium-level Limited model. Could FCA take a page out of the Blue Oval playbook and do something similar before the TRX makes it to market? Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

Photos by Brian Williams.