The smallest RAM model currently sold in the US is the Promaster City which is a competitor to the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200 although it’s rarer than both of those. However, RAM also sells an even smaller vehicle south of the border – I’ve seen a couple of these on the roads over the years and finally caught up with one at rest in the Denver outskirts.
Many of us lament the passing of small, single-cab pickups in our market and while there are finally multiple mid-size models available, they are all pretty large compared to what used to be available here and what is available elsewhere. This RAM 700 is based on the Fiat Strada and is available exclusively in front-wheel-drive. Introduced in 2014, not much seems to have changed including the hubcaps based on looking at pictures of various year models on Mexican Se Vende (For Sale) websites.
The plastic hubcaps on steel wheels denote it as a base model, the 175/70-14 Pirelli Scorpion ATR tires denote it as a very pragmatic vehicle that is likely more about doing than posing. Looking at the date code on the tire shows me that they are from late September of 2019 (code 4019), and there was zero damage evident on the truck, so I do believe it’s an almost new one, albeit a bit dirty. But that’s OK, it’s a truck!
It is not a large truck by any means and significantly smaller than any trucks we have here. It’s around the same length and width as the most recent Ford Fiesta sedan that we got over here if that helps to visualize things. However the wheelbase is 107″ long (about 9″ longer than that of the Fiesta) and it’s a couple of inches taller, most of it due to the ground clearance and suspension travel.
Apparently getting into the bed is a worldwide problem, those are some very handy-looking steps at the bottom there, you could probably step on that and swing over into the bed. There doesn’t seem to be a handle either, unless the RAM logo somehow doubles as one like on a VW New Beetle. Or perhaps you unlock it with the key and it opens that way. I doubt it’s motorized like the Silverado I reviewed last week…Perhaps you are wondering why a need to get into the bed, how deep could it be?
Ah, the magic of front wheel drive benefits this in the same way it does Paul’s big ProMaster, by letting the floor be significantly lower than anything needing space for a rear differential. In fact the interior height of the box is 23″. A current Ford F-150 and RAM 1500 for comparison only have 21.5″ of interior box height while the Silverado/Sierra comes closest at 22.4″ but all obviously have top rails much higher off the ground.
Sure the width of the bed is narrower (the gate is 53.5″ wide so a 4×8 sheet still would fit in there over the wheelwells) but due to the single-cab the length isn’t terrible at all – in fact the bed you are looking at here measures 66.6″. That’s only half of an inch shorter than the regular bed on a CrewCab F-150. Total volume in this RAM’s bed is 43 cubic feet so that’s over one and a half cubic yards of mulch or whatever else when level with the top. (F-150’s volume is 52.8 due to the greater width). A Subaru Baja this is not.
But it’s a tiny truck with 14″ wheels, how much could it really carry? 1554 pounds of payload, actually. Two large Hombres in the cab probably weigh about 450lbs combined, ten gallons of gas is about 100 pounds, so that still leaves 1000 pounds for cargo, oh, that’s exactly half a ton!
That tailgate is hinged LOW, just above those back steps in fact. You could likely just roll a motorcycle up to the edge of it and lift it on over for example or easily back it up to an angled driveway and just about be on the ground with it when the rear wheels are in the gutter.
The back window has a built in bar-style protector behind it and check out the handles on the roof, you could ride around Rodeo-style if you wanted and it was legal. That looks like more fun than sitting in those backwards Subaru Brat seats ever did.
Looks like in Mexico drivers still know how to row their own 5-speed. The interior of this base model is nothing fancy, the owner has fitted some kind of seat covers over the standard cloth seats and covered the wheel but I assume it’s comfortable enough, the drive from Mexico to Colorado isn’t particularly short. It even has cup holders. The engine is a 1.6 liter four cylinder (based on the old 2.0l Neon mill) producing 115hp and 117lb-ft of torque which is plenty for a vehicle weighing under 2600lbs and the truck is built in Brazil of course where they shave off anything that isn’t really needed.
Back in 2014 when this was introduced, the base model regular cab listed for around $13,500 at the then-current exchange rates. These days it’s still well under $20k assuming everything were to just carry over (which is not realistic). There is also an extended cab model called the ClubCab with two extra “seats” (with a shorter bed though and a 1″ greater wheelbase) and now also an “Adventure” model that looks like a butch 4WD but isn’t any different mechanically although a locking differential is included in that as well as on the ClubCab however not on our example here.
I assume that it’s mainly the safety engineering on this that precludes RAM from bringing this north of the border, but seeing the success of the recently enlarged mid-size class, perhaps a future iteration could be designed with us in mind. One certainly can’t say that it isn’t rugged enough – if it can handle Mexico and South America it should be able to get to the mall and the mulch place here just fine and while large trucks certainly have their charms and attractions, small trucks do as well. Count me in as a fan, I just wish they would send me one to actually try for a week!
CC Review: 2019 RAM 3500 Limited Crew Cab 4×4 – Some RAMs Are Bigger Than Others
CC Review: 2019 RAM 2500 Tradesman Crew Cab 4×4 – Clifford Rides Again
“…a very pragmatic vehicle that is likely more about doing than posing.”
And there’s the rub. Most USA buyers of pickups…the ones in affluent suburbia…are not doers, but poseurs. As was pointed out a few days back, the pickup in that demographic is the luxury sport coupe, perhaps even the Brougham, of today.
And…a lot of their drivers can’t even park their monsters at Lowe’s without two or three tries!!!
Jack Baruth wrote an entertaining article about the pickup least likely to being driven by someone who didn’t need its capabilities being the Honda Ridgeline. Perhaps this car could further split a market segment that would fit in a Texas high school’s football grand stands.
It might help if this thing wouldn’t have looked fifteen years old when it was introduced in 2014, but that doesn’t mean it would sell in numbers that cause most people to know it exists.
Reminds me of a Subaru Brat.
Or the Brumby,as it was called in Australia.
That’s exactly what I was thinking, nothing about a ram or Dodge look to it at all..
Reminds me of my across the street neighbors from my first home purchase (with the first wife, only a few years before that all blew up). The neighbors were an elderly couple, husband retired and wife still working in nursing through the Public Health Services system (Indian Health as it is sometimes known here.)
The old fellow had a mid 00s Ford Ranger V6 4×4 manual trans, extended cab with bed cap. She had a Subaru Baja – with a cap (and manual trans). It seemed very odd to me (why not just buy an Outback?) but she preferred her dog to ride in the back back where he was isolated from the passenger compartment. She also would bring her own garden materials home rather than have hubby fetch it for her.
Having said that, to me the limiting factor on the Baja was bed length. This bed seems very usable. Rumor has it that Ford will be bringing us a truly compact unit body pickup in a few years (Hyundai possibly a Santa Fe or Tucson based pickup). It will be interesting to see.
GM and VW are also making a unibody pickup to Latin America, I don’t think it will arrive to the USA. The GM one is based on the new Chevrolet Onix platform, while the VW is based on the MQB. The reference to these new trucklets is the Fiat Toro/Ram 1000, so probably gonna be crew cab only and with a car-like rear suspension, unlike the work oriented Strada.
Lurker here… I have 3 older small trucks and it seems idiotic that the mfgs here can’t seem to put one of these smaller trucks out. Love this one – thanks for the words.
In Australia they’d call this a ute (short for utility, which is short for coupe utility). In South Africa they’d call it a bakkie. I’d like to think this would do well North of Mexico, but (1) it would undermine the gazillion-dollar constant drumbeat that we all “need” our big ol’ pickups or else the tairists win—or maybe the commynists, or maybe the commynist tairists. And (2) The Chicken Tax would torpedo this just as efficiently as it torpedoes pickups from Toyota and VW. Because remember kids, America blahbitty blah free market blah blah unfettered by blah blah blahbitty land of the free.
I don’t get modern ‘full-size’ (aka, oversize) pickups. I ran a re-enactment sutlering business (pulling a 4×8 box trailer carrying all my canvas) out of two Dodge Dakotas, the first a 4 cylinder, five speed, 2wd bottom of the line, the second a long bed, 4×4, V-6, automatic. NEVER needed anything bigger. Once the sutlery was sold, a 2wd, club cab S-10 and Ranger did quite nicely.
It is sometimes said that you should learn something new every day. Today, it’s the word “sutler” and its derivatives. Thank you, Syke!
There is a tiny, trouble-making part of me that wants to bitch (tongue in cheek) about how useless these would be and how since I don’t want/need/comprehend the need for/am receptive to such an item, nobody should have one, how they should be outlawed, etc.
It would be the complete inverse of what we always hear about current pickups but I’m not going to do that.
Doing so would be disingenuous on my part. If it’s available and a person has a need, go for it. It would be interesting to see how these would fare on the market here, similar to how I’m curious about how the rumored Ford Courier would do. No doubt there are a multitude of tasks these could handily tackle.
But it does make me wonder….would this eat into full-size sales, like the Falcon did to the Galaxie back in the early 1960s? Or would it be a Corvair type proposition in which it would simply enhance overall sales volumes for its manufacturer?
That’s a good question – the fact there’s no real crew cab would likely mitigate any full size cannibalization. It could pick up people who want a small pickup but live in a city or an apartment or have a small garage etc. consider if RAM offered this here, since they don’t have a midsize (except the Gladiator which is completely different), if anything it might take volume away from the others’ midsizers of which we still hear that they’re too large.
Put a cap on it and it might kill the small Promaster City though. The target market would really be anyone who would still want a basic original Ranger or S10 etc. And NAPA Auto Parts et al.
Being a runner for auto parts stores and dealership service departments is exactly the first thing I thought of when I saw this. That market used to be the exclusive fleet province of the Tacoma regular cab, but with the recent demise of that vehicle, it seems like a small pickup like this Dodge might have a chance.
Can’t say I’ve seen many Toyotas being used for parts delivery, unless they have the name of a Toyota or Lexus dealer on the side. Around here there are still a lot of Rangers in service with Frontiers slowly taking over.
Up here I see a fair number of Colorado’s including a number of reg can first gens still doing service. But there are a lot of reg cab Tacoma too. The funny one is ice started seeing alot of ford fiesta and chevy spark/ sonic being used as part runners lately.
I just wish it was possible to talk about compact/mid-size pickups anywhere without it turning into a bitchfest about full-size pickups.
Ummm, were el Caminos midsize or compact pickups?
(how’s that? We’re unlikely to compare them to the full-size trucks made back then nor compare those full sized trucks to the ones we have now, just go on and on about how Rancheros were better or not and was the GMC Sprint/Caballero worth the extra cost)
I would buy it, Fiat engineering aside. Bicycles, lawnmowers, mulch, recycling, Lowe’s, estate sales (when they come back)…
That is my idea of the perfect pickup truck for me, and the low bed is a huge plus for putting one of my motorcycles in it.
Same with me. I recently decided to replace my commuter (90 Honda Accord…a real classic). Something this size, but NOT a Fiat
would have been perfect. I’m a bit of a tinkerer. I garden. I home improve, and I have an antique car. Thing is, I live in an urban area, so something small and maneuverable (and fun to drive) is disireable. Perfect use case for a ute like this. Bought an Impreza 5 door instead. Like it a lot, but the bed in back would have taken my money if it was available.
This car-based truck format has been offered before, with little success. The Omni/Horizon and VW Rabbit trucks decades ago showed there’s a devoted market for such vehicles but it’s too small to justify the expense of offering it in America and Canada .
I don’t think the market forces have changed much since then. Full size trucks dominate for functional and psychological reasons. I don’t think a tiny truck has the utility or machismo to make much headway here.
Personally I like the vehicle, because I like a car-based truck. I loved my two 80s S10 trucks, since they looked and functioned like tough versions of GMs mid sized cars
I donno…GM seemed to do pretty well with the El Camino, and Ford did okeh with the Ranchero. And if we look at the question in terms of “small truck” instead of “car-based truck”, Toyota and Nissan and Mazda sold a whole lot of ’em here.
It would probably come down to how cheaply they could federalize and how low they could price it. If they could get an MSRP of under $16k for a manual transmission regular cab strippo, with a loaded extended cab for not much more than $20k, they might get a enough buyers to choose it over one of the bottom-feeder small cars. Sort of like the old days when you could choose between a Ford Escort or Ranger for the same price.
Of course, as mentioned, there were hardly any takers for the old Dodge 024-Rampage/Plymouth TC3-Scamp.
Since bottom feeder cars are an endangered market, these might be how the not Toyota and Honda makers fill that buyer.
The thing is now vs the 80s is the Ranger Tacoma etc are fighting in a different arena then where these would play but in the mid 80s you had at least 7 compact pickups to choose from.
If you’re listening
Start with an AWD LX body as the basic platform. Not this. Also try maintain the rear seats. I am picturing a Dodge Magnum with no roof past second row. Dust off the tooling.
This bastaredized Dart is a non-starter in the USA.
FCA have a similar thing, but using the Jeep Renegade platform mixed with Promaster City rear suspension. Is called Fiat Toro or Ram 1000, have a good backseat, barn-doors tailgate, optional four wheel drive and a good 2 liter turbodiesel engine. But the biggest gas engine is the 2.4 Tigershark, I don’t think a Pentastar V6 fit here. But on the diesel model the payload is a surprising 2,200 pounds (one metric ton)
That’s not bad but it better undercut the Honda Ridgeline in price by a significant margin.
I imagine the “I would buy a Ridgeline but only if it was built by an “American” brand” a very small percentage of the US car buying population. Even though the Ridgeline is built in USA and the LX would be built in Canada and your option would likely be imported as well.
The LX would be my go to chassis because there hasn’t been a true “car” based pick-up for sale in the US since 2006 Subaru Baja and Chevrolet SSR (even though the SSR was a slammed and chopped Trailblazer it had a car-like overall height). It would sell based on “emotion” especially if equipped with a HEMI or Hellcat engine in FCA’s typical outrageous exterior color palette.
That’s why this Ram 700 is named as such,the 700 refers to a payload of 700 kilograms,or 1540 pounds.
The latest Fiat Strada model, unveiled recently, will also be available as a four-door (double cab).
Ford’s 2021 unibody Courier is coming, but i suspect it will be a bit bigger and taller than this, and of course offer AWD and a double cab, undoubtedly.
The market for this would be limited, but then FCA seems ok with selling pretty small quantities of its Promaster City van.
OMG a ute thats actually useful as one, no that will never sell who would need something that you can reach into that doesnt carry four passengers but barely their lunch.
The Fiat Strata is the best Brazilian small pickup for hard work, it is the only one with leaf springs suspension and have a good payload of around 1,600 lb. But it isn’t good for towing. Fiat also have a good reliability on these cars, specially with the 1.4 Fire engine, but I think in Mexico the only engine available is the 1.6 e.Torq (the old Tritec used in the first-gen BMW Mini, Fiat bought the factory), that is also a good engine.
The new generation that Dutch posted above was just released and only come with the old 1.4 Fire engine and a new 1.3 Firefly engine. Soon a 1.0 turbo Firefly will complete the lineup. I’m curious to see how the Firefly will handle the hard work on these little pickups, because on small hatchbacks this new engines are great and very fuel efficient.
And I think the Strada could be sold in the US, but only in the single cab. The crew cab model have a tiny bed and the interior seems to be a little too much cramped, but the rear seats have 3 point belts and a latch for baby seat.
Here’s a pic of the new model with single cab to complement
The jellybean styling looks straight out of 1998, clunky plastic cladding and obvious wheel covers drive it home. For that reason alone I’d suspect, no. Additionally for some reason every pickup now needs to be a crew cab shortbed and a single cab medium bed configuration like this is just poison to buyers now a days.
That’s because it is. The platform of the Ram 700 is 24 years old, based on the Fiat Palio.
If it’s that old, shouldn’t it be called Paleo? 🙂
You’re right, this is a pickup derived from a hatchback Fiat Palio and this front style was the worst Fiat ever made into it, which affected even the volume sales, so Fiat moved fast for another new design for Palio’s range and recycled the failed effort into the Strada / Ram, as its main public use to be very pragmatic ando would not care much about the ugly snout, however the previous style were more pleasant.
I remember the Mitsubishi-built Dodge Ram 50. Could this be the Ram 25? 🙂
I kind of like it, but then I have never been in the market for this sort of thing. If FCA were to bring one here, they would probably be more shrewd to butch-up the styling and bring it as a Jeep.
Or, as Jim described it in his headline, the ‘Ram Lamb’. 🙂
You’re “kidding,” right? (lol!)
Like the Plymouth Road Runner, it would make cute horn sounds: 🙂
A 3 door Ram Adventure caught in Huatulco last month. Based on the Ram 700, I believe. Unfortunately, I was only able to capture a rear view.
Yep, that’s the butch one, I’d likely pick that over a Jeep Renegade for example. Add the Renegade’s current base engine (1.3 turbo) that’s also in the Fiat 500X and off you go.
“…and while there are finally multiple mid-size models available, they are all pretty large compared to what used to be available here and what is available elsewhere.”
Current mid-size trucks in the US are slightly larger than the compact BOF models they replaced, yes. But they’re not appreciably larger than their global counterparts. Compare the dimensions between a US Tacoma and global Hilux, or a US Ranger and a global Ranger. The only significant difference is that there’s no single cab/7.5′ bed model in the US.
My point was that there is no small pickup. The mid-sizers are a similar size to worldwide mid-sizers but the rest of the world also has smaller models such as the featured vehicle available from several marques.
The Ram 700 front cabin area is around the same size as the Fiesta, old Versa Note, Mitsu Mirage, Toyota Yaris, and whatever else plays in that size class. A pickup bed on any of those (or this) seems attractive, especially if the bed volume can be as large as this one.
Jim – I have been using a Ford Transit Connect since September 2015. I bought it new.
Would I buy a similar pickup version instead? Well certainly not a Fiat/Ram – but even a Ford? Probably not. I do like that manual transmission; it is not available in a FTC. My main load is one or more bicycles. A pickup would handle bikes but the FTC keeps them out of sight, secured and clean. Sure, the FTC looks goofy but no more so than that little Fiat pickup (it is not attractive). I like the out of the box thinking that it could fit in our USA market but I doubt it. I have bought odd vehicles; for my purposes the FTC is ideal and I would not switch to a Ford of a similar size and layout as this Mexican mini-Caballero.
I saw quite a few of these, along with the GM and VW counterparts on a trip to Baja a few years ago. I think it could be very popular here, with the right spec, pricing and marketing. First of all, since the El Camino/Ranchero and Omnirizon/Rabbit pickups were last sold here, the US car (and CUV) market has switched pretty much 100% to small FWD vehicles. Most people don’t know enough to think they need RWD for hauling a few bags of mulch or a sheet of plywood. Or maybe, they know enough to know they DON’T need RWD. Second, this RAM, as well as rumored vehicles from Ford and Hyundai won’t look like an existing passenger car with an open bed. And if they share styling cues with a Renegade, Escape or Santa Fe, so much the better. Personally, if I morph my own truck into an occasional use camping vehicle, I could very much see a 35 mpg mini-truck as a great daily driver. Make mine brown, with a manual trans please. I’ll forgo the diesel.
I love those. Every time I to go Mexico, I want to bring one back with me. I would love that as a third car for around the house. I would drive the hell out of it.
I want one! Base it off the Renegade-the latest safety regs would be covered. Figure out how to get it produced in North America (circumventing the never-ending “Chicken Tax”). Make mine a regular cab with the same deep bed dimensions as the Ram 700. Small, useful, fun-to-drive, reasonably economical to run……I want one!
Sell ’em for less than $22K, and they’d be a hit up here. Every time I go to Mexico, I fall in love with these little Rams. I’d love one as a third car for our family. I’d drive the hell out of it on weekends.
For the $22K – manual transmission, manual roll-up windows, a sunroof, a bitchin’ sound system, and then give the customer a choice of $500 worth of exterior accessories so they can customize their little trucklet. Make the buying experience fun and unique.
The competing VW Saveiro and Chevrolet Tornado both have a step built into the side of the vehicle to help you get into the bed.
Add my thanks to Syke for introducing me to “sutler”.
Americans who want a small pickup can always get a Smyth Ute. I kinda fancy a diesel manual Audi version.