Mid-Size Mastery on the Horizon: Fans Eager for Ram Dakota’s Awaited Return

Posted at Fri, Nov 10, 2023 3:30 PM

Numerous sources this week were excitedly delivering the news on future production, as the Chicago Tribune claimed that the Belvidere plant may soon be home to the eager construction of a “light truck” model. So many of our loyal customers here at Landmark Dodge of Morrow are anxiously waiting to hear what will go down on the gas-model front, and the model in question on the horizon will likely be smaller than the current Ram 1500 and could be either electric or gas. 

The small and midsize pickup badge used to be enthusiastically worn by the Dakota, back when Ram existed under the Dodge brand before emerging entirely on its own in 2009. The Dakota was on the market for two years after the brand shift as the Ram Dakota was finally discontinued in 2011, after not meeting sales expectations. The 2006 Rampage truck offered a new breed of replacement in 2006, which was heavily appreciated even though a bit short-lived. The genius engineering minds at Ram have been reportedly considering a new pickup variant under the Ram 1500 for quite some time. 

Around three years ago there were rumors that Stellantis was going to re-establish its trademark for the “Dakota” name, and many eager fans began to create renderings of what they would love to see materialize. Motor Trend ran a story back in April about Ram CEO Mike Koval’s plans to test the waters with a smaller pickup and the help of loyal dealer groups. A finalized design was slated to be decided upon by the end of 2023, and this led many other curious media outlets to conclude that a Dakota nameplate could possibly return soon. The big decision at hand is whether to incorporate a more traditional body-on-frame truck chassis, or a trail-friendly unibody construction.

With the assistance of one of these first the top platforms, Ram could definitely construct a very sweet midsize truck on either the STLA-Medium, STLA-Large, or STLA-Frame platforms, with the latter two options already existing as a foundation for the full-size RAM 1500 REV electric model. With quite firm competition such as the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma lurking in these waters, it’s also worthwhile to note that the category will encounter quite a change when the Ram 1500 REV all-electric full-size pickup truck begins production next year.  

Anything could happen as far as model powertrains, and it seems to make sense that Stellantis would want to offer both hybrid and fully electric options if the vehicle is scheduled to roll on to lots nationwide soon. One of the game-face and quite ready contenders would be the existing company inline-4, followed by the Hurricane I-6, V-6, V-8, and hybrid engine configurations. There are also now official plans for the development of a new hybrid Pentastar V6 soon, along with the release of two new diesel engines. 

If this new midsize model happens to embrace a fully electric build, it could boast the option of a 168 kWh or 229 kWh battery pack with 500 miles or more of driving range on a single charge. The battery would be a two-part 400-volt system with the ability to accept 800-volt, 350 kW charging along with a bidirectional option. If this mystery model does happen to be fully electric, one could expect about 650 horsepower and, with each of the 1500 Ram REVs sporting up to 335 horsepower each. Other notable contenders that would offer stiff competition are the Chevy Colorado, Jeep Gladiator, and Ford Maverick. 

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