QOTD: Power or Price?

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There’s no more secrets when it comes to the Ram 1500 TRX. The brand’s brawniest light-duty pickup appeared Monday with a Hellcat V8 nestled between its bulging fenders, ready to tackle high-speed runs across the desert (or Nebraska) for anyone with $71,790 burning a hole in their wallet.

Bragging rights sometimes fetch a steep price, and the TRX’s after-destination sticker only rises from there. Sure, it’s potent and contains all the goodies a sophisticated moonshine runner could want, but what about the truck it’s meant to challenge — and beat?

The Ford F-150 Raptor was happy playing King of the Hill, but its 450 hp and 510 lb-ft pales next to the 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of the TRX. The Ram nearly doubles the displacement of the Blue Oval offering, at least for 2020. Rumors abound about what awaits buyers for 2021. A V8 Raptor seems a possibility; and it’ll have to be, if Ford wants to give its crosstown rival a run for its money.

Power. Money.

One has to ask: in the niche segment of off-road full-size pickups, which is more important?

As of this writing, a gulf of $16,640 lies between the two models. No small gap, that —  you could fit a Versa in there (with booze money left over). As they currently stack up, the Raptor and TRX are too far removed in both power and price to legitimately rival each other — unless capability rules all. Some buyers aren’t constrained by their available funds, but many are. And it’s for this reason that the match-up seems mismatched.

Any sizable increase in power would see the Raptor grow in price, narrowing both gaps, but 702 hp is a high bar. Is it worth challenging Ram on power if it means moving the Raptor out of the price range of a significant number of buyers?

If the same amount of cash flows into Ford’s coffers from a smaller pool of customers, perhaps. Yet there’s appeal in offering more then enough (albeit not segment-leading) thrust in a lower-priced pickup.

Put yourself in the shoes of The Two Jims. Which strategy wins out — beating the overly muscular Ram at its own game and claiming power supremacy, or creating a worthy rival that doesn’t beak the bank quite as much?

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford]

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