2021 Ram Dakota Midsize Pickup Truck: Renderings + Rumors

The upcoming Dakota will take on the Tacoma, Gladiator, Ranger, and Colorado.

Just a few years ago, the midsize-pickup-truck field was better suited to archaeologists than automotive enthusiasts, but now General Motors' Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon doppelgängers share the road with Jeep's Gladiator, the returned Ford Ranger, an updated Toyota Tacoma, and soon a Ram Dakota that might look something like this. Expected to arrive in 2020 for the 2021 model year, the upcoming Dakota might be exactly what you expect—or it could yet hold some surprises.

Although details are still entirely speculative, some baseline expectations are likely to be met: a body-on-frame structure, a choice of gas or diesel V-6 or gas turbocharged four-cylinder engines, and a careful job of positioning around the Gladiator's space in the market. That latter element might be the trickiest part of the Dakota's development, as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won't want its two most profitable brands stepping on each other's toes.

Given Jeep's position as the off-roadiest brand in the FCA family, Ram should push the Dakota toward the more realistic, everyday uses most pickups actually get put to—think something more along the lines of Honda's Ridgeline, minus the unibody construction and carlike driving demeanor. (Or, viewed from the other end, plus body-on-frame toughness and a satisfyingly trucklike driving demeanor.) FCA CEO Mike Manley has already stated the Gladiator and Dakota will have very different missions. To that end, the Ram is also likely to offer both single and quad cabs and both short and long boxes, where the Jeep is only available with four full doors and a short bed.

Threading the needle with the Dakota gets even harder when you consider the Ram Classic, the marque's previous-gen pickup, is still on sale alongside the current Ram 1500. It will continue after the Dakota's launch and was just updated to include a special-edition Warlock model.

Whatever the Dakota's final form, it's certain to meet a market recently repopulated with very strong competition. But given Ram's distinctive styling, strong powertrain selection, and broad, often brand-loyal fan base among pickup buyers, we're already stocking up on the popcorn.

On Sale: Mid-2020 (est) |  Base Price: $25,000 (est)