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10 Ways The 2024 Ram Dakota Will Reshape The Pickup Truck Market

Dakota” is one name that sparks a little light of familiarity on many faces. And no, it might not all be because of the two U.S. states — in fact, it may be the consequence of the existence of a truck. The Dodge Dakota made waves on the automobile industry, and it positioned itself as one of the icons of the pickup world. Across three whole generations and thirty-five years, the 2000 North American Truck of the Year nominee proved to be a model hardly forgettable, and one which would come to stand the test of time.

The last years of the Dakota saw a change in its name, since Dodge and Ram split ways and the latter stuck with the now-rebranded Ram Dakota. 2011 would be the year in which the last Dakotas rolled out of Ram’s factories, and it’s a year fans still remember with a bit of sadness. That’s precisely why, new rumours and information of a new 2024 Ram Dakota are beating strongly in the pickups market. After a decade-long hiatus, how could its relaunch move the pieces around the industry? Here are our core picks.

Data from sites such as CarSalesBase and CARHP was used along this article to check for sales numbers and pickup dimensions.

10 The Ram Dakota Could Put Pressure On Midsize Truck Rivals

2019 Ram-1500- 1500x750

The pickup market is currently dominated by just a handful of brands which have, perhaps, learnt to read the buyers’ needs: Ram, Ford, Chevy, and Toyota. The launch of the Ram Dakota could very well shift the balance towards the Stellantis-owned brand, pulling customers from its direct competitors. Were it for any reasons — performance, looks, price, among others —, at the end of the day, Ram is currently in a position of potential power to borrow some bucks from the people that currently feed other trucks.

Number Of Pickups Sold (U.S.)





2022 (Q1-Q3)

Ford Ranger





Ford Maverick


Toyota Tacoma





Chevy Colorado





Jeep Gladiator





The numbers, provided by CarSalesBase, show Ram doesn’t even make an appearance on the midsized pickup market yet. Stellantis has Ram’s sister brand, Jeep, doing the job on that segment. So, given the launch of a Dakota later this year, one can only wonder how the sales of these leading brands would go down, while the name of this pickup went up in the charts.

9 The Design Of The Dakota Might Lead A Younger Public To Drive Sales

2024 Ram Dakota
Ram Forum 

Dodge designed the Dakota a long time ago, and in those early times it became the first-ever midsized pickup truck. The Dakota featured dimensions that were neither too big nor too small: it was just perfect for its customers. Time has gone on, though, and today there is a whole bracket of the automobile world dedicated to this class of trucks. What if, after all these years, the Dakota could stay true to its groundbreaking origins and highlighted itself as a pioneer once again? A different size that broke patterns would make the design of the Ram Dakota very appealing to some, maybe discovering a new niche for pickups.

On that note, if Ram’s new pickup ends up being, for instance, a tad smaller than the competition — without losing any major features that is —, the focal point of the sales could very well be aimed at a young audience. That is, on one hand, the Dakota could attract those who prefer a handy size which allows them to drive a bit closer to the ground, or park with a bit more ease, or even those who are looking to buy their first pickup and want something moderate. And on the other hand, the Dakota could call those who remember the name, as a sort of trip down Memory Lane. After all, if someone grew up creating great memories by the side of a Dakota, taking trips to the lake or the countryside, wouldn’t they be tempted to relive those moments aboard their own Dakota too?

Related: 12 New Cars Perfect For A Young Crowd (13 Perfect For An Older Crowd)

8 Loved By Many, The Ram Dakota Will Bring Back An Iconic Model

2006 Dodge Dakota
Bring a Trailer

The Dakota was first introduced in 1986, and ran all the way up to 2011. That is quite a couple of years for people to love and dearly remember a pickup. Ram may have a card under its sleeve with this upcoming model, due to the potentially strong emotional factor attached to it. If this dimension of analysis prior to the purchase of a midsized truck did, in fact, come into play when the Dakota launches, it could see an increase in its numbers only because a long-gone — and dearly missed — model made a comeback.

Also, because of said comeback, this truck might strike the markets from another point of view. The Dakota was pulled from the market more than ten years ago, and Stellantis has rumoured and mentioned in several instances that this model is coming back, so far with all instances being false alarms. So, when the Dakota finally releases, chances are there will be an influx of customers who’ve waited for a long while to get their hands on one, in a sort of FOMO reaction. In the case that it sells enough units to stand out from the pack, the Ram Dakota could set the bar for its competitors to also delay a model as much as they have, so that this same fear-of-missing-out effect can work on their brands, too.

7 Ram Will Elevate The Multiple Trim Offer To Market Standard

Gray 2025 Ram 1500 REV parked outdoors
Stellantis Media

The way that is currently dominating the midsized-and-below pickup markets is a model with a fixed size (or proportions). This model sets the base for all the trims the brand may offer as variations of any one model. Such is, for instance, the case for Ford or Hyundai with their star models — the Maverick and the Santa Cruz, respectively — coming in one style and tuning it for different variants. People have sort of got used to that modus operandi: no cabin variation, no bed enlargement, just changes in terms of performance, interior, technology, and so on. Once again, emphasizing on the Dakota’s history of pioneering, what if it brought a new chapter to the current pickup state?

We’d expect the Dakota to come with, at least, two different cabin-bed configurations, one shortening the former to enlarge the latter and allow for more utility, and the other one doing the opposite to aim for comfort and passengers. If Ram pulled this off successfully, adversary brands might borrow the idea and start offering their models breaking the proportions, allowing for more freedom of choice for the customer. It’s a risky move, but if the Dakota can prove it right, there’s no wrong in tailoring pickups to meet the needs of the public.

Red Ram 1500 parked outdoors
Stellantis Media

Once a supporter of the leaf springs, it’s highly likely that the new Dakota comes with Ram’s complex multi-link suspension. With it, this new model would enter the market as a solid competitor of the spring systems many trucks offer for their models, truly bringing the rivalry aspect of the competition up a notch. Ford, for instance, offers its Maverick with patented “force vectoring springs” and leaf springs, so a competitor which distinguishes itself even in those not-so-small details would be interesting to watch.

The Ram 1500 already comes with a multi-link suspension, and since there are some hints floating around saying the Dakota will take some elements from its bigger brother, it should come as no surprise if the pickup does, in fact, come fitted with such system. How this kind of suspension performs compared to spring types is it forms a stiff structure which provides better contact with any surface, since it doesn’t stick out while in the air.

5 The Dakota Could Solidify Its Place On The Market With A Sophisticated Interior

2025 RAM 1500 REV Pickup Truck interior
Via: Stellantis North America

Continuing with the Dakota and 1500 similarities, one of the elements they may share is the interior design, or at least the Dakota having a style resemblant to its brother. A truck is much more than just its outside — after all, its driver spends most of the time inside it. So, the interior of the Dakota should be an instant “yes” for any potential customer. That is, Ram has the task to fit its newest creation with the right amount of technology, comfort, and an overall design engineered to be jaw-dropping in, hopefully, every aspect imaginable.

Some features of the 2023 Ram 1500 that could make the cut and be replicated on the Dakota are active noise cancellation, the 19-speaker Harman Kardon Audio System, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, optimal space inside the glove compartment, and a hefty amount of leather in every crevasse.

4 If Executed Properly, The Ram Dakota Will Reinstate The Need Of Utility Overlooks

2023 Ram 1500 towing capacity

We’ve come a long way since the rise of ridiculously lifted monster trucks. Gone and forgotten are the days in which the higher the truck, the better its reputation. In fact, most of today’s pickup market is all about a city-oriented crossover vehicle with the looks of a more powerful truck. The demand for street-inspired trucks has left the slightly more offroad-ey ones behind. But the Dakota could change that, if it creates the necessity of more power and capability back to the masses. If it brings, for example, offroad capabilities to the base model, along with extra ground clearance, and a design that simply makes you feel guilty of not bringing it out of the gray streets, it might reshape the minds of those who look for a sportier, slicker-looking pickup and make them crave a more offroad-inspired design.

Ground Clearance Of Current Midsized Pickups


Ground Clearance (inches)

Ford Maverick

8.3 inches

Toyota Tacoma

9.4 inches

Chevy Colorado

7.9 inches

While the Dodge Dakota used to have around 8.0 inches of ground clearance, according to CarsGuide, the 2023 Ram 1500 offers an extra integer, scaling up to 9.0 inches. If the Dakota lived up to its brother — quite literally —, or at least sat above the average ground clearance, manufacturers might start producing slightly higher-standing trucks, given Ram has absolute success with said decision.

Related: Find Out If This Really Is The Biggest Second-Gen Dodge Ram On Earth

3 The Dakota Might Reinsert The V6 Engine Back Into Pickup Fashion

2023 Ram 1500 parked in the snow.

Back in the days of endless power, Dodge felt quite comfortable sliding little candy under the hood of its trucks. Let’s not forget they actually fitted an entire V10 engine under the nose of their Dodge Ram SRT-10. The Dakota was once offered with a V8, further adding to the history of loud roars. Nowadays, pickups have changed a bunch, in the search of fuel optimisation. Recently, Toyota ditched the available V6 in its Tacoma for a 4-cylinder engine. Ford also offers its 2023 — and 2024 — Maverick with quadruple cylinders, and so, it appears to be that other configurations, such as the V6, are being left behind.

Base Engine Of Current Midsized Pickups


Previous Engine (2023)

Current Engine (2024)

Ford Maverick

2.5-liter FHEV, I-4

2.0-liter EcoBoost, I-4

Toyota Tacoma

2.7-liter DOHC, I-4

2.4-liter i-FORCE MAX, I-4

Chevy Colorado

2.7-liter Turbo DOHC, I-4

2.7-liter Turbo DOHC, I-4

Crearly, the inline-fours are on top of the market as of today. Ram could change this trend, if they so wanted to. They would have little to no competition on the six cylinder category, since major brands seem to be two cylinders behind. And so, the Dakota could very well enter the markets with a bang, or rather, with a loud growl, that lured customers and tempted them to maybe reconsider the fuel efficiency side of the story and assign a few extra dollars for gas.

Related: Efficient Workhorses: The 10 Most Fuel-Friendly Trucks Of The Last Decade

2 The Dakota Will Comfortably Sit As An In-Between-Categories’ Sized Truck

Ram Dakota

As mentioned above, the Dodge Dakota made history by being the first midsized pickup truck to ever set foot on the market. And even though the chance to innovate in that segment is not there anymore (at least explicitly), there is still potential to open a whole new branch size wise. Something along the lines of, midfull sized, or larger-than-middle-yet-still-not-a-full-sized truck, you name it.

The Ram Dakota could be designed as middle point between the 700 and the 1500 models, therefore becoming Ram’s true, ultimate midsized pickup. In that note, Ram could try and make the Dakota more like the 1500 in terms of size, and so maybe, just maybe, the Stellantis brand could inaugurate a new category of trucks, such that their creation delivered something between mid and full sized for customers to enjoy.

1 The Ram Dakota Might Pave The Way For The Ram Rampage

2023 Ram Rampage RT Front Quarter View
via Ram

The Rampage is Ram’s smaller truck offered, for now, exclusively in the South American region. According to Mopar Insiders it features a Hurricane4 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which powers the 16 feet long, 74 inch wide, 70 inch high truck. The Rampage, although initially designed for the southern countries, could very well be offered in the U.S. as time goes on. And for that North American debut, the Dakota, if released before it, may set the quality of the terrain ahead for the Rampage to cross.

In case the Dakota performs well, due to high numbers linked to exceptional performance, comfort, or simply due to hype, the Rampage will see an already advantageous launch, riding the smooth road Ram would’ve paved by then. If the opposite were to happen, though, the Rampage will be received with skepticism, and making a name for the little truck will be quite a bit tougher. At the end of the day, many have been waiting for a Dakota to come back to dealerships. It’s been a while, and it’s about time it brings its joy back to the markets.

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