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The Third Dodge Ramcharger

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author photo by Bill Leedy September 2017

Let's take a minute to talk about the Dodge Ramcharger, a big 2-door SUV doomed to eventual failure just like every other 2-door SUV that doesn't say "Wrangler" on it. Like many of you, I assumed that the name died in 1992 with the truck itself.

If you were paying attention to car magazines like I was in mid-1990s, you would've seen something interesting happening. The growth of the full-size, 4-door SUV. In 1995, General Motors decided to give us what looked like a shortened Suburban and name it the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. A couple years later, Ford took the design of their trucks in a different direction with curvy, rounded styling. Then they created a large 4-door SUV and called it the Expedition. In the middle of all that, Dodge redesigned their trucks to have a muscular, mini-semi-truck design motif. They also debuted the original Dodge Durango with the same brawny, front-end design.

Of course, the Durango was only offered with four doors -- and unfortunate decision for those of us interested in unusual cars, but a good one from Chrysler, who by then knew the market for 2-door SUVs was bleak. That meant the end of the line for the 2-door Dodge Ramcharger after 20 years and two generations.

Well, I'm delighted to report, it seems that Dodge actually did make a third generation Dodge Ramcharger -- they just didn't let us have it here in the United States. I learned this fact by accident when I was doing some fact-checking for another Ramcharger-related post.

The third-generation Ramcharger was available from 1999 to 2002, and it was a 2-door, rear-wheel-drive-only SUV that was solely built in sold in Mexico -- where the demand for such a thing was clearly a little higher than, say, places that get snow.

Unfortunately, it was not a looker. Sure, it had the front of the Dodge Ram as you'd expect -- but it goes downhill from there. The rear looks like the cross between a Durango and a Caravan (I think the tailgate actually came straight out of a Caravan!). Not exactly a good combination. Plus, it didn't have four wheel drive as an option, which meant that it sat low to the ground like a modern crossover -- not high up where many Americans want to sit.

Once you stepped inside, the front seats were your typical buckets with a big bench behind that. The cargo area is where things get a little interesting. Dodge decided to give its owners a choice. You can either bring five people and all of their stuff, or you can bring seven people and none of their stuff, thanks to a flip-down, sideways-positioned jumpseat -- just like the Land Rover Defender.

Dodge Ramcharger

There you have it. The third generation Dodge Ramcharger is not a myth ... though probably not a legend, either. Still, it's an unusual vehicle that most people don't know about -- and one of the few American-brand SUVs not offered in the United States. So, who's going to import one in 2024??

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Third Dodge Ramcharger - Autotrader