Here’s the Ram ‘Project 291’ Small Pickup: Is This Ram’s U.S. Compact?
With the success of Ford’s Maverick small pickup, you know that Chevrolet and Ram are developing something along those lines. Both automakers already make unibody contenders, but not in the U.S. Now, Ram will unveil its newest small pickup, with the codename “Project 291,” for the Latin American market. Is this finally Ram’s Maverick beater we’ve waited for?
When will the new Ram compact pickup launch?
While spy shots exist of a test mule with heavy camouflage, we know that it has a release date of September. According to Brazil’s Autos Segredos, production parts are being readied now to initiate production in April. So the September timeline may come sooner based on the April production schedule.
Currently, Ram builds its small 1000 pickup for Latin America. It is based on the Fiat Toro. With the dimensions of Project 291 outlined by Autos Segredos, it will be larger than the 1000/Toro. And it won’t be the successor to the 1000, as Ram is giving it a different name. Obviously, Ram seeks to differentiate this new compact pickup from the 1000 with a unique name.
Does the compact Ram pickup share components?
Much of the suspension will also be unique. Both the electronics and security architecture, as well as the brake system, are coming from the Jeep Commander, another vehicle built and sold only in Brazil. The Commander is a midsize three-row SUV that debuted in late 2021 as a 2022 model. The same Jeep sells in India as the Meridian.
What we know is that the new truck will be powered by the 2.0-liter Turbo GME-T4 four-cylinder gas engine with 260 hp and dual exhaust, and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 170 hp. The turbodiesel is the same engine as in the Jeep Commander. So there is a possibility that much of the new Ram’s components and architecture could be based on the Commander’s.
What is the Jeep Commander?
The Commander’s platform is Ram’s Small Wide 4×4 LWB, which is essentially an extended wheelbase Jeep Compass. A Compass has a 103.8-inch wheelbase, while the Commander’s is 110 inches. That gives you an indication of its size.
Ram’s 1000 pickup has been selling in Latin America since 2016. Based on the Fiat Toro, it saw a refresh in 2021 but has essentially remained unchanged. While it will continue in production, Project 291 may eventually replace it. This new truck is being touted as the most technologically advanced vehicle built in Latin America.
At one point we expected to see a form of the 1000 come to the U.S. after the Ford Maverick proved to be a hit. But word is that Ram is developing a midsize pickup to go head-to-head with the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado. A concept of the midsize Ram is due to be shown to dealers sometime this month.