Skip to main content

Will Ram fill the midsize hole in its pickup truck lineup, or has the time passed? Rumors of the return of the Dakota name under the Ram brand have begun to swirl, making us wonder if this truck could become a reality. The former Dodge Dakota, sold under the Ram brand name for two years, left production in 2011 and hasn’t returned. Could we see a new Ram midsize truck soon? Let’s explore.

Rendering of Potential Ram Dakota using a unibody platform.
Rendering of Potential Ram Dakota | Ram

Ram and its dealers approve of a new Ram Dakota

Rumors of the Dakota’s return began as early as 2019. While this was a few years after GM brought back the Colorado and Canyon twins and Ford returned the Ranger to the market, this was only the start of Ram midsize truck talks. MotorTrend reports a preview of a midsize truck was shown to nearly 6,000 dealers, receiving much acclaim and desire. The Ram dealers seemed tired of the lack of options for potential Ram truck customers.

Which platform would underpin the Dakota?

Should a new Dakota use a traditional body-on-frame platform or transition to unibody construction? If this pickup enters the market as a gas-powered truck, the traditional platform could make the most sense, but it might also be too close to the Ram 1500 for many consumers.

On the other hand, if the new Ram Dakota is a hybrid or electric truck, Stellantis has four available BEV platforms. The new Ram 1500 REV rides on the STLA Large platform. It could also underpin the new Dakota, much like the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma share a platform.

What powertrains should be used for the new Ram Dakota?

Stellantis has a wide variety of impressive gas engines that could easily fit a new Dakota. One of the most endearing qualities of the former Dodge Dakota was the V8 engine option. This gave the Dodge truck more power than the competition, although it also meant lower fuel mileage figures.

The new Ram midsize truck could use anything from the Hurricane 4-cylinder engine to a V8 engine. Ram might follow Toyota’s path and provide hybrid powertrains for this new truck. Using either an ICE engine or hybrid setup, the new Dakota could offer between 300 and 500 horsepower, depending on the setup.

Is it too late to bring in a new midsize truck?

Ram might have already missed the boat for a gas-powered midsize pickup truck. Competitors have a strong foothold in this market, which puts pressure on Ram to create something missing from this class. Thankfully, the midsize truck class is like the Wild West of the automotive world, with various models spanning the unibody Honda Ridgeline to the off-road-focused GMC Canyon.

If Ram hopes to succeed by filling the midsize truck hole in its lineup, the new Ram Dakota could see success as an impressive hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric truck. Otherwise, it just might be too late for the Dakota to make its mark in the current midsize truck class.