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The Dodge Rampage concept car (2006)

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by Jim Choate

This is reportedly a "pure" concept, not based on any existing car.
After taking many pictures, staring at the press kit, staring at the Rampage itself, and speaking with Ralph Gilles, head of truck design, there's little doubt about that.

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Sometimes a concept is not done to show a future production model, but as a rolling test bed to show off things that might make an appearance in future vehicles. In other cases, the concept is intended to head to production, but not as the vehicle you see.

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Here, we see a truck. I watched the rear wheels as it headed up the ramp to the stage, waiting for them to slip, which they never did because it was a front wheel drive design.

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Speculating, I'd argue that we might be seeing, perhaps, a clue for the next evolution of the venerable minivan. The company, on the other hand, claimed that the Dodge Rampage concept was tailored to how most people actually use pickup trucks, in an age when the Honda Ridgeline was still expected to dominate.

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Scott Krugger, principal exterior designer, said "This is a truck for the person who wants the functional aspects of a truck yet doesn't want a traditional vehicle. The Rampage has the capability of a pickup without sacrificing occupant space."

It was as wide as a Dodge Ram, as long as a Dodge Dakota, with a unitized body and independent rear wheel suspension - all matching the first Dodge Rampage, which was based on the Omni.

The largest portion of the Rampage is devoted to the passenger cabin, followed by the five-foot cargo box. The big 5.7 liter Hemi sat under the hood, creating, no doubt, immense torque steer with the front wheel drive setup.

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The Dodge grille is set flush within a curving plane that encompasses the headlamps; the exterior lamps are LEDs, with both light-piping and acrylic for a cleaner look. The body is dominated by flared fenders, with the widest part of the body centered over the 22-inch aluminum wheels. The framed doors feature a continuous fore-aft glass plane.

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To draw attention to the occupant space, a U-shaped chamfered element runs above the sill and travels up the body along the leading and trailing edges of the door sets. Accented with brushed aluminum, this detail is subtly repeated on the exterior door handles.

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When either door is opened, the sill pivots down to expose a step.The rear door slides open, and there is no B-pillar. Inside, structural elements are exposed. The center stack can be pulled rearward and rotated toward either driver or passenger to access the navigation, HVAC and entertainment. The free-standing instrument cluster moves with the adjustable steering column while the steering wheel spokes harmonize with both cluster and center stack.

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Overhead, a ladder-type front-to-rear console with storage and entertainment units incorporates mood lighting along its edges (this ended up in the 2008 minivans). Flanking the console were fore-aft skylights (also used in the minivans), bringing welcoming daylight to rear seat passengers as well as those up front. Seats were contoured around folding framing, using a three-dimensional open texture "spacer knit" fabric (also used as a non-glare covering on the instrument panel). Contrasting red-orange fabric used throughout would also end up in production cars.

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There were five passenger seats, with Stow 'n' Go aided by headrests that flipped down into the seat backs, a solution that also allows taller-than-normal seat backs for greater support. Armrests on the front and rear passenger doors also folded out of the way for more cargo room. The flipping headrests made it to the 2008 minivans. The durable marine-type rubberized material used for the cabin flooring did not.

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The small box was ameliorated by an Avalanche-style midgate system allowing protrusion into the cabin, and a tailgate that could be extended outwards or form a ramp. The rear bumper fascia could drop to reveal a 4x8 storage space.

Dodge Rampage concept car specifications

Engine: 5.7 Hemi, with cylinder cutoff (345 hp, 375 lb-ft) driving the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission.

Suspension: independent front and rear with P305/50R22 34" Goodyear tires on
22 x 9 wheels.

Vehicle Weight:

5000 lb (est)





Front Overhang:


Rear Overhang:


Width (max):




Track Front / Rear:

67.7" / 68.2"

Approach / Depart. Angle:

31.7º / 39.3º

Turn Circle:

46.0 ft

Also see the original Dodge Rampage and our main concept cars page

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Concept cars are often made so a car's feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials - either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what's being tested. Some are created to help designers think "out of the box." The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.

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