Ram Sells an Affordable Ford Maverick Competitor, You Just Can’t Buy It Here
Compact pickup trucks are having quite the moment in the U.S. market. In just two years, the segment welcomed both the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick. The Honda Ridgeline continues to win accolades from its reviewers. Meanwhile, Ram doesn’t offer so much as a midsize full-frame truck. But Ram offers two separate compact pickup trucks in foreign markets: The Ram 700 and Ram 1000. If the automaker sold either in the U.S., it could potentially undercut every other vehicle in the segment.
Could the Ram 700 or 1000 be the compact truck the U.S. needs?
Ford has been unable to keep up with demand for its compact Maverick pickup truck for two years now. It is difficult to tell what is true demand and what is just the nationwide new vehicle shortage. But you can’t deny that the Maverick’s 40 mpg rating and $19,990 MSRP made it impossible to ignore.
The Ford Maverick’s price has increased to $22,595, before destination fees. But Ram is poised to out-Maverick the Maverick.
Ram is one of over a dozen brands that make up Stellantis. Another brand is Fiat. Fiat already engineers and builds two compact pickup trucks: the Strada and Toro. What’s more, Stellantis has redesigned both trucks (assembled in Brazil) with Ram grilles and badges. In Mexico, the Fiat Strada is known as the Ram 700. In Brazil, the Toro sells as the Ram 1000.
Here’s the kicker, when you convert these compact trucks’ current MSRPs to USD, they both undercut every compact truck currently available. How? Well, they have very small powerplants, and the entry-level 700 comes with a stickshift. Here’s how they compare in the market segment:
|Honda Ridgeline||$38,800||280||1,583 lbs||5,000 lbs|
|Hyundai Santa Cruz||$25,700||191-281||1,749 lbs||5,000 lbs|
|Ford Maverick||$22,595||191-250||1,564 lbs||4,000 lbs|
|Ram 700||$16,016||84-98||1,650 lbs||880 lbs|
|Ram 1000||$21,000||170-185||1,433 lbs||882 lbs|
A turbocharged Ram 1000 could keep up with the Maverick
Releasing a truly competitive compact truck in the U.S. market would probably require Stellantis repower either the Ram 700 or Ram 1000. In this market, they must compete with other compacts’ towing capacities.
This would not be a tall order. Stellantis already builds a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 for many of its vehicles. In the Jeep Wrangler, this engine can pull up to 3,500 pounds. But what if Stellantis went in a different direction?
Does the Dodge pickup truck need to make a comeback?
Stellantis is already introducing this turbocharged I4 to the Dodge lineup under the hood of the new Hornet Crossover. In the Hornet, it makes 268 horsepower. But the company claims a higher output version is in the works for a special Hornet trim. But what if the quickest Dodge Hornet wasn’t a Hornet at all? What if it was a compact pickup?
Chevrolet had its El Camino, and Ford had its Ranchero. But Dodge has yet to welcome a “Coupe Utility” size pickup into its brotherhood of muscle.
To be honest, the Hornet has been met with a lukewarm reception. Neither Dodge’s traditional base, nor the younger hybrid crossover crowd it targets, seem especially enthused. But a compact muscle truck would be so unique that it would be impossible to ignore.
Dodge has already proven it can shape some of the coolest retro vehicles around with its Challenger and Charger. A compact truck would allow its design team to build another unique throwback: perhaps reminiscent of square-body Dodge trucks or of its curvy art-deco cruisers of the 1960s.
Dodge, if you’re listening, the Lancer or the Raider wouldn’t be bad names. The Dodge Aspen would create a more outdoorsy vibe. But bringing back the name Dodge Matador would both honor the past and the platform’s origins as the Fiat Toro.
Next, read why Stellantis should bring back Plymouth as an EV sub-brand or learn more about the Ram 700 in the video below: