Will the New Ram Dakota Be the Best Small Off-Road Truck?

The Dodge Dakota was first introduced in 1986 as a 1987 model. And until 2010, it was consistently marketed under the Dodge brand. It offered an available V8 engine, a first for mid-size trucks, and for the final model year in 2011, it was marketed by the Ram brand. Unfortunately, shortly after this change, the Dakota was discontinued, and Ram no longer offered a mid-size truck. Rumors have begun to circulate that the Dakota truck could be returning. Adding a new competitor in this growing segment.

Is Ram planning a new mid-size truck?

A potential design of the Ram Dakota, a mid-size truck from Ram.
Ram Dakota Concept | K Design

While facts are currently scarce about the upcoming Ram Dakota, that does not stop us from being excited for what could be. The Ram Dakota would likely be a small, body-on-frame truck. And MotorTrend speculates that it could share its platform with the popular Jeep Gladiator. 

Ram could also opt to downsize the current Ram 1500, which would enable something like a V8 powertrain. Which other mid-size trucks are lacking. Another potential option for the new Dakota would be as a compact truck. Much like the Hyundai Santa Cruz or Ford Maverick. While this would probably diminish some off-road ability, the 2022 Maverick does offer some off-road packages for improved versatility.

Will the Ram Dakota be good off-road?

To make the new Dakota competitive, it would be a good idea to give it some off-road capability. This could come with features such as four-wheel drive, a factory lift, and the addition of skid plates. That way, buyers can get the utility that they want from their small truck. The level of capability needed to take on the current market depends on where the Dakota is placed. Will it be facing the Chevy Colorado or the Ford Maverick? Both are two different kinds of pickup trucks.

Ram has a history of building off-road trucks. Whether it be the Ram 1500 Rebel or Ram 2500 Power Wagon. It’s unlikely that a mid-size truck would receive that level of treatment, but at least some off-roading capability would make the new Dakota a hit on the truck market.

When will the Ram Dakota truck be released?

The Ram Dakota is expected to arrive at some point in 2023 or 2024. With current global supply chain issues, some manufacturers are facing delays and challenges getting vehicles to the market. But in our opinion, the more small trucks the better. Especially from an established truck builder like Ram. 

Even though Stellantis has not revealed much about the Ram Dakota, if it did share parts with the Ram 1500, it would be able to come to the market faster. 

What engine will the Ram Dakota have?

A look at the Ram Dakota, a potential mid-size truck from Ram.
2024 Ram Dakota Concept | FCA Jeep

There is no shortage of engine options for the Ram brand, ideally, this truck would offer the 3.6-liter V6 engine. Seeing the turbodiesel engine in a new Dakota would also be a fun option. If Ram wanted to create a performance truck, they could introduce something like a Dakota SRT. For a true off-road Dakota, Ram could opt to make a new Dakota Rebel, much like Ford will be doing with the Ranger Raptor.

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