The things are developing fast in the pickup truck industry lately and all signs are that this trend will continue in the future. FCA has been in the focus of the truck-hungry public recently thanks to the introduction of the all-new, light-duty Ram 1500 and heavy-duty Rams but the Jeep Wrangler-based truck continues to be in the headlines as well.
FCA has done a great job with the new-generation Ram 1500 and more modern and refined truck has already improved its performance on the market and outsold Chevy Silverado in the first quarter of the year while Ford F-150 continues its perennial domination. However, the multiple reports indicate recently that FCA might have plans to expand its pickup truck portfolio further and the new mid-size model could join the game by 2022.
The mid-size segment continues to grow since the re-introduction of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon in 2015 and Ford returned recently the Ranger nameplate on the shores. The rock-climbing Jeep Gladiator is also a new member of the mid-size class but the new Ram model could join the production lines at the recently retooled Toledo plant.
FCA assesses that Jeep gladiator won’t sell at the level which will employ the full capacity of the plant and a new model could fill the production gap. The new, mid-size model should be the successor of the Ram Dakota which left the assembly lines in 2011 after a 25-year run. It could reach the market as the 2021 Ram Dakota as per some reports but FCA hasn’t mentioned what nameplate will use. It could be called Ram Dakota or Ram 1000 or whatever name and should carry Fiat’s badge in some markets.
2021 Ram Dakota: Design
FCA hasn’t revealed many details about the possible 2021 Ram Dakota model. A yet-unconfirmed and yet-unnamed, mid-size Ram model should share the platform with the Jeep Gladiator as some sources claim. It has been reported previously that a new Ram truck could use unibody structure like the Ram 700 or Fiat Toro model but it seems now that another body-on-frame truck is more possible.
As for the styling of the model, since it should take the position below the Ram 1500 in the brand’s truck lineup, it is highly probable that two models would share a similar design theme. The new generation Ram 1500 is more elegant and modern-looking truck than still available Ram 1500 Classic and that may give it edge in sells against strangely styled Chevy Silverado.
The design of the model’s interior shouldn’t also stray far from the style in the new Ram 1500. The company will likely put the focus on the four-door cab style and provide high comfort and modern tech features.
There will surely be the newest Uconnect infotainment system with different screen size options and truck will also employ the latest, advanced safety systems. The trim options should also mimic those on the new Ram 1500 and more premium and chrome details would appear in upper grades.
2021 Ram Dakota: Powertrains
What powertrain options the 2021 Ram Dakota would use is also the matter of speculation but since it should share the platform with the Jeep Gladiator the powertrain range should also be similar.
The base unit could be a familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar engine with the output around 285 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine coupled with the mild-hybrid system could also be employed with the power around 270 hp like in the Jeep Wrangler. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel should also be thrown in the play with the power and torque ratings around 260 hp and 422 pound-feet respectively.
The model should also exploit a manual gearbox and 8-speed automatic unit. The two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive will be available with the off-road-focused version eventually.
2021 Ram Dakota: Release, Price
The new, mid-size Ram should join by 2022 and as some reports claim as the 2021 Ram Dakota. The model will go against Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma. In the meantime, Hyundai Santa Cruz and VW truck could also join the mid-size segment.
If FCA launches the mid-sized Ram, it should start in the mid-$20,000 range.