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!