- ram confirmed last year that it is working on a mid-size pickup truck, and we think it could be called the dakota.
- it will likely be based on the same platform as the jeep gladiator, and use a 3.6-liter v-6 engine.
- we expect to see the dakota go on sale in late 2020 with a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range.
ram confirmed last year that it is working on a new mid-size pickup truck. we think it will be called the dakota, a name last applied to a dodge pickup in the mid-2000s. now revived under the ram truck brand, the 2021 dakota is likely to be closely related to the jeep gladiator, but with a different mission to attract a broader slice of the truck market.
the new gladiator, wearing standard four-wheel drive, a peel-off roof, and the coveted jeep badge, starts at $35,040. a mid-size ram gives parent company fca a less expensive and more conventional pickup for buyers who need a truck, which is an entirely different set of folk from those who merely want a truck.
the dakota will likely be built at the same toledo assembly complex as the gladiator and wrangler, using a modified version of the former's steel frame. expect the ram to drop the gladiator's live front axle in favor of an independent suspension.
fca's utility player, the pentastar 3.6-liter v-6, is on deck, paired with an eight-speed automatic and either rear- or selectable four-wheel drive. if the powertrain lineup gets any broader than that, a gasoline-powered four-cylinder is more likely than a diesel.
the competition includes the usual suspects such as the chevrolet colorado, ford ranger, gmc canyon, honda ridgeline, nissan frontier, and toyota tacoma. mediocrity won't cut it in this increasingly crowded segment. if the dakota is going to stand out, engineers will need to walk a tightrope to keep the price in check while developing a credible competitor.
the dakota will hit dealerships in late 2020 with a starting price in the mid-$20,000s.