3 Reasons the Ram Dakota Can’t Beat the Ford Maverick

Ram has solidified itself in the full-size pickup truck vehicle segment with the Ram 1500. The automaker produces capable heavy-duty pickup trucks as well. When it comes to the small truck segment, Ram didn’t have a pickup to compete with the Blue Oval…until now. The Ram Dakota is coming back from the dead. Can it compete with the best small pickup truck on the market?

The Ford Maverick’s fuel economy is nothing short of historic

A yellow 2022 Ford Maverick is on display.
The 2022 Ford Maverick | Getty Images

RELATED: The 2023 Ram Dakota Is Coming to Destroy the Ford Ranger

Callin the Ford Maverick “historic” seems hyperbolic until you’re aware of the small pickup truck’s unique specs. The Maverick simply has better fuel economy than any other pickup truck in its class. Ford’s small pickup truck was created to push boundaries and change the way consumers think about the modern pickup.

The Maverick isn’t made to carry heavy loads or for hard labor. Instead, the tiny pickup is an alternative to sedans and SUVs. One of the main reasons to avoid buying a new pickup truck today is because most cars and SUVs get better fuel economy than trucks. This isn’t the case at all with the Ford Maverick for two reasons. The Maverick is a unibody truck, and it comes standard with a hybrid powertrain.

While Ford does offer a regular gas engine option for the Maverick, it’s tough to understand why consumers would go with that option after considering the hybrid powertrain’s fuel efficiency (especially in this economy). The Ford Maverick achieves an amazing 42 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. The Ram Dakota will probably get better fuel economy than the 2011 version’s 17 mpg combined, but it’s unlikely to compete with the Maverick’s fuel economy.

The Ford Maverick is more affordable than the Ram Dakota

A black Ram 700 midsize pickup truck.
The Ram Dakota could be based on the Ram 700 | Ram

RELATED: The Ram 700 Disappoints Ram Dakota Fans

According to Car and Driver, the Ram Dakota is estimated to start at 26,000. Its final trim level will start at $34,000. The Dakota seems to be affordable, but the Maverick is much cheaper.

The 2022 Ford Maverick starts at just $19,995. Its final trim level, the Maverick Lariat, is more affordable than the Ram Dakota base model. The 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat starts at $25,860. While the Ram Dakota is more affordable than other Ram trucks, it can’t compete with Maverick pricing.

The Ram Dakota can’t compete with the Ford Maverick’s Flexbed

A blue 2022 Ford Maverick is parked while people load furniture.
The 2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

RELATED: Is the Ram Dakota Coming for the Ford Maverick?

The Ford Maverick features a unique truck bed. The Blue Oval is aware that consumers often customize their truck beds to suit their needs. The Maverick features the Flexbed, a unique truckbed that features pre-threaded holes and slots so Maverick owners can create bed setups to accommodate their cargo.

Ford has posted tutorial videos on YouTube showing viewers how to customize the Flexbed for specific scenarios. Ram could equip the Dakota with an awesome truck bed, but will it really hold a candle to the Flexbed? According to Car and Driver, the Ram Dakota will compete with the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma.

RELATED: 4 Things Consumer Reports Doesn’t Like About the 2022 Ford Maverick