The Ram trucks lineup in its home market of the good ole’ U.S. of A. is pretty straightforward: there’s a full-size pickup, a heavy-duty variant of said full-size pickup, and two commercial vans. Despite the recent resurgence of the midsize pickup from competitors like the Chevrolet Colorado, the Ford Ranger, and the Toyota Tacoma, Ram has refrained from resurrecting the old Dakota name and simply offers the Ram 1500 as its smallest pickup offering.
Well, I think that’s a mistake, especially considering the well of Ram trucks that already exist in international markets that we don’t get here. Why we don’t have them here is anyone’s guess. Maybe it has to do with safety and emissions standards, maybe Ram doesn’t think they’ll sell any of them here, maybe it’s just because of the chicken tax, who knows? Whatever the reason is, here are three truly awesome Ram pickups that we can’t have in the States, all of which are badge engineered FIAT much like the ProMaster vans.
The Ram 700 is a rebadged FIAT Strada sold exclusively as a Ram product in Mexico. This is the smallest of the bunch — classified as a “supermini” utility vehicle — and it has a payload capacity of about 1,400 pounds. To Ram’s credit, I’m not sure anyone in the U.S. would buy this thing, simply because it’s so small. Small as it is, it sure is a cool little truck that I think would be an interesting, more rugged and more utilitarian alternative to a small city car or crossover. It has suicide doors, and it appears to only offer a manual transmission — meaning that in the U.S. it would be very appealing to a handful of weirdos, like folks who read Oversteer and pretty much no one else.
The next step up the tiny truck ladder is the Ram 1000, which is based on the FIAT Toro. This Ram is exclusively for Colombia, and it’s a size bigger than the Ram 700. This is one that I think might actually make some business sense to sell in the U.S., as it’s based on the same platform and uses the same Tigershark engine as the Jeep Renegade, the Jeep Compass and the FIAT 500X — all of which are already available here. Like the other Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products I just mentioned, it’s either front- or all-wheel drive, depending on how it’s optioned. The interior looks an awful lot like that of a modern Jeep, and it even has rear barn doors like the ones just introduced on the Ram 1500. Really, this thing isn’t much more than a Jeep Compass with a bed. Mini Jeep Gladiator, anyone?
At the top of the Ram lineup of trucks that we can’t have in the U.S. is the Ram 1200, which is based on the FIAT Fullback. The only place where it’s sold as a Ram is the UAE. The Ram 1200/Fiat Fullback is pretty similar in size to the Ram 1000/Fiat Toro, and they aren’t sold in any of the same markets. The Fullback is a joint venture with Mitsubishi from which it sources its diesel engine and general design. Mitsubishi sells a similar truck called the Triton, or the L-Series, depending on the market.
Would you want to see any of these in the U.S. market? Personally, I think the Ram 1000 would be cool to see here. It might not be a big volume seller, but it would be something interesting — and the only true competitor to the Honda Ridgeline in unibody, FWD pickup trucks. With rumors of a small unibody Hyundai pickup coming to our shores, perhaps Ram will be motivated to bring one of its own to the brand’s home turf. Find a Ram for sale
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