Will the Dakota ever return?
The Dodge Dakota launched the midsize truck segment in the US, and it's fondly remembered by Dodge and Ram faithful to this day. It's also the subject of persistent rumors over the last several years, claiming it will return and take its place in the growing field of trucks existing beneath the fullsize world. Now, there's a fresh rumor that comes with a timeframe of 2024, but alas, it appears the truck still won't be bound for the States.
That's the word from Autos Segredos, which claims to have some inside information on a new Ram midsizer. The website says a unibody truck based on the same Small Wide 4x4 platform used for the Fiat Toro pickup is in the works, going by the codename Project 291 with a potential model name of Torona. Prototypes are allegedly already testing in Brazil, and while there are no photos to accompany these rumors, the report says it will feature styling elements of the Ram 1500.
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Those familiar with the Small Wide platform might find this rumor a little hard to believe. This is the same platform used on subcompact Stellantis vehicles like the Jeep Renegade, so how does this morph into a proper midsize competitor to trucks like the Ford Ranger? The platform is apparently adaptable and capable of supporting larger designs, and actually, we're seeing that now with the forthcoming three-row Jeep SUV based on the Compass debuting later this year in Brazil, which uses the same platform.
There are already several small pickup trucks in the Stellantis family that Ram could choose from, should the company decide to reenter the compact or midsize truck market in the States. The rumor paints this new machine as a step above the others, so perhaps it could offer something more to US buyers. However, the elephant in the room is the same one that saw the old Dodge Dakota go away – price.
Gallery: RAM 700 (Fiat Strada) 2021
Ram still sells its previous-generation 1500 as the Ram Classic, priced several thousand dollars below its handsome replacement. A slightly lower price tag on a midsize truck might not provide enough incentive for Ram buyers to give up the fullsize lifestyle. That said, with the Ford Ranger, the Hyundai Santa Cruz, and the upcoming Ford Maverick filling up a smaller truck market that already has offerings from Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, and Nissan, Ram could find itself out in the cold when the 1500 Classic finally ends its lengthy run.