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They should forget about the Dakota and bring back the Rampage! Base it on the Dart. Then they'd have something really different. The problem with the Dakota is it’s only going to get 1 or 2 MPG more than a Ram 1500. A Dart based Rampage would be a great fuel saver.
 

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Doug D said:
Why would I want a small truck that if it's lucky will get 25-30 mpg, when in less than a year a Ram 1500 diesel that will get nearly the same fuel mileage will be available?
Perhaps because there might be a 4cyl diesel option for this mid size replacement that allows it to achieve higher MPG than that diesel powered RAM 1/2 ton you mention, which makes the mid-sizer the "cat's meow" err "RAM's Baaaa" of its class. JMHO...:)
 

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XRT2SRT said:
Perhaps because there might be a 4cyl diesel option for this mid size replacement that allows it to achieve higher MPG than that diesel powered RAM 1/2 ton you mention, which makes the mid-sizer the "cat's meow" err "RAM's Baaaa" of its class. JMHO...:)
Given the cost of certification, I just don't see that happening.
 

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gezco said:
They should forget about the Dakota and bring back the Rampage! Base it on the Dart. Then they'd have something really different. The problem with the Dakota is it’s only going to get 1 or 2 MPG more than a Ram 1500. A Dart based Rampage would be a great fuel saver.
That's a great Idea, I could forgo a diesel option, at 8K miles a year I don't need the expense of a diesel and get Dart gas mileage.
 

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Red-JK said:
Why do a Dart based Rampage when they already have the Strada engineered. Bring us the Strada!
Well, I don't have a horse in this race, but...everything else being equal, Strada would be imported, Dart/truck could be built here.
 

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Not everyone wants a large vehicle. I would be perfectly happy with a Rampage/Strada sized vehicle that had a good 4 cylinder and FWD/AWD. Sometimes you just need something with basic utility. I haul a little bit of trash, compost, potting soil, bedding plants etc., that I don't want in the back of the (carpeted) Magnum. For many urban dwellers a small pick up would work ideally. I have no use for something larger.
 

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JRS200x said:
The problem is though, that when they had them, they never sold particularly well, so it was hard to maintain a business case for them.
That's been 25 years and really there was competition in that market at the time. Volkswagen had one, GM had El Caminos around that time. The four cylinder pick up was much more prevalent than it is today. I think people care more about fuel economy now and we have an older population. The market isn’t the same as it was then. Yes, the safe thing is to say the market was never there.
 

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If, and it's a big if, there's a market for small trucks someone would probably be offering them and making a killing, especially if they brought in one from another market. But all the Rampages, VW Caddys, El Caminos and Subaru Brats added together were a pretty small number. 10 years ago the Ford Ranger alone outsold the total of all of today's US small trucks.

I like the smaller trucks. I bought the first year Dakota. I've owned several more and even had a Rampage. My Dad is on his third Ranger. But I just have to face the fact that my Dad and I are in a majority. There's not much of a market for small trucks. My opinion is better options in the small car market and small SUVs have cut a huge chunk out of the old small truck market.
 

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The problem with the small truck market is the public perception of them. Small = cheap and high mpg, right? It's hardly true, especially when people also expect, truck = massive payload and towing capability. The business case needs to be built around a small truck that is not expected to get high mpgs, a bed used for hauling dirty things not heavy payloads, and peope will still pay a premium for it. Sounds like a Wrangler based truck to me.
 

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GasAxe, I think you're right, especially when it comes to the majority buyer -- the "image" buyer. A small truck might be capable and efficient and high in real utility, but it doesn't convey that cowboy look or that macho look, either. The big thing is price, though, a really good small truck will end up costing about as much as a base model full size, and it's hard to avoid buying by the pound.
 

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I own and drive an '03 Dakota with 260k miles, for the past 10 years it has been my mobile office and all around, do everything, and reliable companion. Very few repairs, just keep it serviced and get in and go! It is tough as nails and handles like a sports car, it is the RIGHT size. The dealer salesman tried to sell me a 1500 at less money, because the 1500 was easier to sell because of its base lower price and bigger size [more for your money]. Dealers did not know how to sell it, Dodge did not know how to market it, buyers only looked at price, but Dakota was the sports truck of the Chrysler Corp. It looked sporty, it handled and drove sporty, it was the Austin-Healy of the truck set. It is the sports car with a pickup bed. I am now retired and I think that if I need major repairs that I'll do what needs to be done and let them haul my casket to the graveyard. it has been more faithful and reliable than either of my wives. :thumbsup:
 
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It's all on price point. There has to be a noticible difference between the smaller trucks and the full size. I would love to drive a smaller truck, but by the time you choose the options, drivetrain, cab style, etc., it would cost about as much as a full size truck with similar options. For myself, I would like a Tacoma sized truck, so let's use that as a comparison. For a Tacoma 4x4 extended cab with a 4cyl. you're already pushing 25-26k (if you're lucky). That's without any options like a tow package, sound system, or whatever else. You could get a full sized truck for about that with incentives and possibly a couple options that people really don't need. For a small truck to truly be competitive, the starting price would have to be at least 3-5k less than the starting price of a full sized truck. Don't try to make the truck as capable as a full sized one. Top engine would be the 3.6 Pentastar and offer a smaller diesel engine as well. I really think a Ram tweaked Fiat Strada would be a perfect intro truck. Many younger buyers I believe would like the capability and versatility. If one were to come out on the market, I'd be in the running for one.
 

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The poor Dakota mileage was the problem; a smaller, lighter truck like the Dakota should have gotten much better fuel mileage than it did. I'm sure the Ford Ranger got a lot more than 1-2 mpg better than the F-150, in fact later today I'll go check the mileage on those two vehicles.
 

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Dakota was not a small, light truck. Ranger is much smaller. My 1992 Dakota with aluminum cap tips the scales at the landfill at 4420 lbs, and the newer Dakotas were about 1,000 lbs more than that. The 92 Dakota was capable of 20-23 mpg depending on drivetrain. It wasn't poor gas mileage that did it in. But bloating up over the years might have adversely affected sales by taking it out of its niche.
 
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willy said:
The poor Dakota mileage was the problem; a smaller, lighter truck like the Dakota should have gotten much better fuel mileage than it did. I'm sure the Ford Ranger got a lot more than 1-2 mpg better than the F-150, in fact later today I'll go check the mileage on those two vehicles.
I'd love a 2004 Dakota with a 3.6L V6
 
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