The new small Ram pickup truck has been caught again, this time with less camouflage, production lighting and in the United States. It gives us our best look yet at the styling of smaller sibling to the full-size 1500, from which this truck takes inspiration. But we also get a good look at the rear end, giving us a better idea of its chassis and mechanicals.
It’s clear from the shape and proportions of this prototype that it’s a unibody pickup truck with a transverse-mounted engine and probably powertrains that are front-wheel-drive biased. There’s no gap between the cab and bed, and the distance between the base of the windshield and the wheels is very short. The cab does look pretty sizable and accommodating, and the bed is a bit on the short side. Being unibody, this is probably the only configuration, but that’s very much in line with the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, likely its direct competitors.
What we can see of the little Ram’s nose seems extremely similar to the look of the full-size 1500. It has the tall hood line, strong bulge over the grille and wide LED headlights. The rest of the body looks fairly clean, though still a little hard to make out under the coverings. The bed sides do look pretty tall, and the rear wheels are positioned fairly low, possibly to help keep wheel wells from intruding too much into the bed.
While it’s tough to gauge size without any cars nearby and away from parking spots, it does seem to be bigger than the current unibody Ram 700/Fiat Toro on sale in South America and Central America. And it’s likely not too far off the size of the Maverick.
We bring up the 700 and Toro for more reasons than just the unibody aspect. While the rear bed and tailgate are well-covered, the underside is fully exposed. What we can see is a coil-spring independent suspension that looks similar in layout to the all-wheel-drive version of the Toro. And for that matter, this prototype is all-wheel-drive too, with a visible rear differential. It leads us to believe that this little Ram is based on the 700 and Toro platform, but scaled up. The front-drive version of the 700 and Toro features a torsion-beam rear end, and we could see that being offered on this Ram prototype’s front-drive variant. That kind of split offering would again be in line with the Maverick.
As for powertrains, it’s hard to say for sure. But the 700 and Toro are apparently based on the same platform used by the Jeep Renegade and Compass, Alfa Romeo Tonale and Dodge Hornet. That means a range of engines could be on offer including a 177-horsepower turbo 1.3-liter four-cylinder, 200- and 268-horsepower turbo 2.0-liter engines, and a 288-horsepower turbocharged plug-in hybrid 1.3-liter four-cylinder. Most of those use nine-speed automatics, with the plug-in hybrid using a six-speed automatic. All of them seem like plausible offerings for a Maverick fighter.
There is a possibility that this truck is going to be offered mainly for South and Central American markets. But the head of Ram, Mike Koval Jr., has made it clear that Ram is seriously considering a small pickup truck of some sort, and has even noted the benefits of having access to some of Stellantis’ other brands for product and development resources. Previous reports have also confirmed the little truck coming here and fitting the description of the above vehicle. Plus a small truck was shown to American dealers recently. Add in the 1500 looks, and it seems like a strong possibility this will come to the U.S. And there’s clearly production parts under the camouflage, so we might see it later this year or early next year, with an introduction coming a few months after.