It this the modern-day Dodge Dakota you've been waiting for?
Ram is notably absent from the current midsize truck field. We say that not just because Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC are there, never mind Japanese competitors. Back when Ram was still a model in the Dodge family, the Dodge Dakota was the midsize truck to have. It pioneered the segment back in the late-1980s and was a strong seller through the 1990s. The third-generation model left us in 2011 due to awkward styling and a high sticker price that made little sense to buyers, who could pay roughly the same for a fullsize truck.
Times have since changed, and while Ram hasn’t come right out and said a new mid-sizer is coming, the automaker did confirm to us that it was considering options. Frankly, we’re tired of waiting, especially since the current-generation Ram 1500 is such an attractive ride. So our design team came up with a Motor1.com exclusive rendering (at the top of the article) that depicts the return of a Dodge-themed midsize pickup.
As you can see, we’ve stayed on the conservative side of this build. What we have is essentially a smaller Ram 1500, rocking a classic extended-cab body that was so popular on Dakotas through the 1990s. The Ram’s face is pretty much a carryover on this truck, save for alterations to the lower fascia that might befit a smaller pickup. The two-tone exterior with black trim at the base is something of a throwback to the first-generation Dodge Dakota, with the rest of the shape borrowing the smooth lines of its big brother.
However, this begs an interesting question. We’ve had plenty of feedback praising the big Ram for its refined, upscale presence compared to the Ford F-150 and GM’s offerings, notably the Sierra and Silverado. Could this Dakota reboot be a bit too quiet to garner attention in the midsize ranks? Both the Ranger and Colorado have a bit more character, but this raises yet another question. FCA already has a midsize truck in the Jeep Gladiator, and it’s certainly a stand-out offering in the segment. Perhaps an upscale Dakota with slick looks could persuade midsize buyers not interested in the Jeep's rugged persona to stay in the FCA family.
In any case, don’t expect a Ram-badged midsize offering anytime soon. But yes, the automaker is thinking about it.