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Rhino Power: Ram 1500 RHO Takes on the Ford Raptor

by | April 25, 2024

The battle of the behemoths is heating up. Ram today pulled the wraps off its latest version of the 1500 pickup and while the new RHO model isn’t a replacement for the monstrous TRX, it’s got the power and features to tackle even the toughest off-road environments. Headlight.News takes a closer look at Ram’s new challenger to the familiar Ford F-150 Raptor.

At 540 hp, the 2025 Ram 1500 RHO has a solid power advantage over the Ford F-150 Raptor.

The full-size truck segment has been growing increasingly competitive in recent years as automakers like Ford, Chevrolet, GMC and Toyota add more and more variants to their truck line-ups. And many of the new models pick up on growing consumer interest in going off-road.

Ram has scored big with the latest update of its big 1500 pickup and already offers several trail-ready options with the Rebel and Warlock. Now, it’s upping the game with the first-ever 2025 Ram 1500 RHO – and the fact that it’s known internally as the “Rhino” offers a clear hint of its capabilities.

Muscling in

While not a replacement for the vaunted TRX, the new RHO is likely to more than satisfy most serious off-roaders who demand the latest off-road features and plenty of power. Indeed, at 540 horsepower and 521 pound-feet of torque, it overwhelms the Ford F-150 Raptor which “only” comes in at 450 hp and 510 lb-ft.

2025 Ram 1500 RHO - on sand

Despite its mass, the “Rhino” can hit 60 in just 4.6 seconds.

RHO can hit 60 in a factory-estimated 4.6 seconds, a roughly one-second advantage. It’ll blast through the quarter-mile traps in 13.1 seconds at 105 mph, and has a top speed of 118 mph.

It helps that the drivetrain is 150 pounds lighter than the old Hemi used in the beefiest version of the last-generation Ram 1500. That helps the 2025 Ram RHO best its prime competitor in several other categories. It can tow 8,380 pounds, according to the automaker, compared to 8,200 for Raptor. Payload narrowly bests the Ford at 1,520 lbs versus 1,400.

The Hurricane

As with other versions of the new Ram 1500, the RHO powertrain starts out with the new 3.0-liter Straight-Six Turbo, but it’s a high-output version of the Hurricane engine that adds a high-flow air induction system that, among other things, is designed to drain out water and filter debris to keep it away from the engine. The new radial air filter can be cleaned on the go. The Rhino also gets a unique exhaust with a “Sport Tune” low-restriction system that adds dual pipes.

A scoop on the hood helps cool air flowing into the turbos and an intercooler helps keep it that way.

2025 Ram 1500 RHO - rear wheel and shock

The Ram 1500 RHO rides 2 inches higher than standard versions of the pickup and features unique Bilstein shocks.

The Hurricane is mater to an upgraded 8-speed automatic and sends power to all four wheels. How it’s distributed depends upon which driving mode a motorist selects. In Baja Mode, for example, 70% of torque is optimally directed to the rear wheels.

A full-time Borg Warner active transfer case adapts to varying driving conditions, and it offers a low range for rock crawling.

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An imposing design

You’ll know this isn’t your ordinary Ram 1500 the moment the RHO catches your eye.

2025 Ram 1500 RHO - on road

The Rhino is 88 inches in width, about 8 inches wider than the standard Ram.

At 88 inches in width – about eight more than the base version of the truck — “it’s a monster,” said Bob Broderdorf, Ram’s chief operating officer, during a media backgrounder ahead of the RHO’s official launch. The wider wheel arches are needed to house the new 18-inch beadlock-capable wheels shod with 35-inch tires, but also give the RHO a more coke bottle-like shape. The truck also gets an added two inches of lift, yielding 11.6 inches of ground clearance.

As with the rest of the new Ram 1500 line-up, the Rhino gets a unique grille with a unique, higher-mounted RAM badge. “All-black premium LED headlamps, including twin bi-functional projector headlamps, are standard,” the automaker noted. “LED clearance marker lights flank the front bumper are also integrated in the hood scoop. A distinctive animated lighting signature activates when approaching/departing the truck and when the remote start feature is engaged.”

Only one body style and a single bed option are available on the 2025 Ram 1500 RHO.

A unique interior

The basic interior design carries over from the mainstream Ram 1500 but gets a number of upgrades. That includes black onyx trim, red stitching and accents, and high-bolstered front seats meant to keep the driver and front passenger firmly held in place on the roughest trail conditions.

2025 Ram 1500 RHO - interior

It may be rugged, but the Ram 1500 RHO picks up plenty of luxury interior features.

There’s also a unique steering wheel with easy-to-reach paddle shifters, as well as a console-mounted “performance” shifter.

RHO features a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, as well as a vertically oriented 14.5-inch touchscreen atop the center console. It also gets a 10-inch full-color head-up displays. All three displays are reconfigurable and change readouts depending upon which of the nine drive modes is selected. A Launch Control button is within easy reach of the driver. And while the infotainment screen handles many of the key vehicle functions, Ram has added numerous “hard” controls, as well.

There’s also a 10.25 touchscreen on the instrument panel for the front passenger. It’s designed so it cannot be viewed by the driver.

Go anywhere technology

The 2025 Ram 1500 RHO is designed to go pretty much anywhere a driver might have in mind, whether Baja-style racing, rock-crawling or on familiar local roads.

2025 Ram 1500 RHO - hood scoop

A hood scoop helps feed cool air into the Rhino’s High-Output Hurricane engine.

It introduces a range of features designed to handle the roughest conditions, said Doug Killian, the project’s chief vehicle synthesis manager. That starts with an independent front suspension with active damping, retuned spring rates and jounce bumpers.

The truck is fitted with Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks and dual electronic proportional values with a nitrogen charged reservoir that helps keep the dampers cooler under hard driving conditions.

The rear axle has up to 14 inches of rear travel, 40% more than the rest of the new Ram 1500 line-up.

More tech

Even the most rugged off-road machines these days offer plenty of creature comforts. Those high-bolstered front seats are heated and ventilated, are covered in Nautila Plus leather and have 12-way power controls, as well as a massage function.

Options include a 900-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer. Dual wireless phone chargers are available.

2025 Ram 1500 RHO - front 3-42025 Ram 1500 RHO - front 3-4

The 2025 Ram 1500 RHO starts at $69,995 before delivery fees.

And the Ram RHO can be offered with the new Hands-free Driving Assist. In technical terms it’s a Level 2+ system, which means drivers can take hands off the wheel on many limited-access roadways. “The system will predictively slow the vehicle down in tight curves, automatically resume control after driver override and verify that the driver is paying attention to the road,” the automaker said in a news release.

Pricing and Availability

Ram’s Broderdorf said Rhino in “no way replaces” the old TRX. A replacement reportedly is in the works but timing is far from certain – and there’s a good chance it won’t use the old Hellcat powertrain.

The 2025 Ram 1500 RHO will reach showrooms during the third quarter of this year, though the truck brand opened its order bank on April 25.

Prices for the big truck start at $69,995. Add to that $1,995 in delivery fees.


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