The Ram Dakota Follows in Footsteps of the Ford Maverick and Jeep Gladiator

We have watched a great many classic nameplates get revived over the past few years. Ford alone has resurrected the Bronco, Maverick, and Ranger. The Ford Maverick is the one that most closely relates to the new Ram Dakota. Like the Ford Maverick, the then Dodge Dakota had a life before this new model. Both the Ford Maverick and the Ram Dakota returned to the marketplace looking pretty different. 

2022 Ram 700
The Ram Dakota could be based on the Ram 700 | Ram

When did the Ram Dakota come out? 

The Dodge Dakota hit the streets in 1987 as a midsize pickup truck. It came with two engine options from Chrysler; the 2.2-liter four-cylinder and a special-built 3.9-liter V6. Later on, Dodge gave the Dakota a V8. It even got a convertible version. Yes, the ’80s and ’90s were brilliant times when pickup trucks and SUVs were made convertible for no reason. 

The Ram Dakota’s popularity ebbed and flowed until 2012, when Dodge dropped it from the line.

What do the Ford Maverick and Jeep Gladiator have in common with the Dakota?

A mint green 1970s Ford Maverick
1970s Ford Maverick | Ford

The Ford Maverick and Jeep Gladiator both lived full lives as completely different vehicles before their resurrection.

Ford debuted the Maverick in 1969 – as a sedan. Yep. The Maverick nameplate means something very different these days. The 2022 Ford Maverick is a compact hybrid pickup truck. 

The Jeep Gladiator isn’t just the Dakota’s platform-mate, but it, like the Maverick, existed in quite a different form before the modern version. The original Jeep Gladiator (J-series) ran from the early 1960s through the 1980s. Although the Gladiator is still a pickup truck now, the older generations were much more traditional pickups. When the Gladiator was reborn in 2018, it became a Jeep Wrangler with a bed. 

Admittedly, this transition from a 1970s sedan to a modern hybrid pickup truck is a bit more extreme than the Ram Dakota rebirth, but let’s look at the differences between the old Dodge Dakota and the new Ram Dakota. 

What’s new for the upcoming Ram Dakota? 

The new Ram Dakota will have more in common with a spaceship than it does with the last generation Dakotas. According to Car and Driver, It seems likely that the Ram Dakota will be based on the Jeep Gladiator chassis. 

Ram has been quite scant with the details surrounding the upcoming (2024?) Ram Dakota. However, Car and Driver believes that despite the closeness to the Gladiator, the Dakota should be a bit cheaper than its potential platform-mate. The current Gladiator starts around $35k. We think the Ram Dakota could start as cheaply as $25k-$27k. 

The Ram will likely be a touch larger than the previous version, it is still meant to be a stepping stone for those who want the Ram 1500, but either can’t swing it or want something smaller. 

One major difference can be inferred. There is almost no chance the Dakota will ever get a V8 again. Car and Driver believe the most likely engine would be the same 3.6-liter V6 found across the Fiat-Chrysler lineup. 

Another reasonable guess at a difference is the Dakota will probably be offered in AWD, much like the ute-esque Hyundai Santa Cruz. Although, a rear-wheel-drive version is also probable. 

Will the Dakota have as nice of an interior as the Ram 1500? 

Unlike the Ford Maverick, the Ram Dakota could follow in its big brother’s footsteps and sport a high-end interior. Granted, the Dakota will be on the cheaper end of the lineup, but while it may not don the same level of luxury, the Ram Dakota’s interior is still likely to have similar design cues and styling. 

At this point, most of these details are little more than educated guesses. We have a long way to go until getting the full picture of the Ram Dakota.

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