Could a new Dodge Dakota be based on the ProMaster?
They said it couldn’t be done, but back in the 1980s, Jeep launched a new unibody pickup truck. Co-engineered with the new XJ Cherokee, the Jeep Comanche was more capable than the typical compact pickup, despite a unibody design; it also had more ground clearance than any competitor, even as it had the lowest bed. The Comanche was a marvel, though it got little attention from customers.
Fast forward to the present, and we have the Ram ProMaster, essentially a Fiat Ducato van with a much more rugged suspension and other improvements for durability and reliability; it also has a localized powertrain, taken from Dodge minivans (Pentastar V6 with six-speed automatic). It’s sold in chassis-cab form. The front wheel drive setup provides ProMasters with both a lower load height and better snow and dirt traction; when unloaded, the weight is above the drive wheels, and there’s no driveshaft under the cargo bay.
Merge these ideas together and you get a Promaster-based pickup—something capable of hauling quite large items around with ease. Using a modified ProMaster 3500 suspension, it could have quite a good payload, albeit without class-leading towing numbers. If you want to tow, though, you can always get a Durango.
This would not be a replacement for the global metric-ton pickup that’s reportedly due in two or three years, but it could be a neat niche vehicle. Many people need something that’s narrower than a typical American full-size pickup, but has a long-length bed.
It’s a thought, anyway.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.