The Ram 700 will go on sale in Mexico and other Latin American markets
The Fiat Toro on which it's based has been in production since 2016
Ram has not confirmed plans to launch any compact trucks stateside
If you feel that pickups trucks have been getting larger and larger over the past couple of decades, you're not alone. Even the few midsize trucks available today seem generously-sized compared to the trucks of yesteryear.
But elsewhere in the world, just south of the border in fact, the spectrum of pickup styles and sizes is much more varied.
Say hello to the latest addition to the Ram lineup: the 700. This compact model was just revealed days ago, and is slated to go on sale in Mexico and a number of other Latin American markets. Of course, this model was not quite developed from scratch: FCA used the Fiat Toro as the basis for the pocket-sized Ram 700, which will be offered in single- and double-cab versions.
Just how much power will the Ram 700 produce?
The base 1.4-liter inline-four is good for 84 hp, while the turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-four provides a very small step up by producing all of 98 hp. So no, 700 does not stand for the horsepower output.
But that's not quite the point of this small ute, of course. If you need more payload or towing capacity, there are other trucks for that. Rather, the Ram 700 addresses what is still a very relevant segment in Latin America, one that has persisted even as compact and midsize trucks have retreated from the U.S. and Canada. The point of the Ram 700 is that it will actually get used as a pickup quite frequently, and it's built to be inexpensive to buy and inexpensive to run. Furthermore, it offers some modest off-road capabilities. Towing capacity comes in at just 880 lbs. while the payload is a little over 1,650 lbs., so it's not exactly a BelAZ.
How likely is the Ram 700 to go on sale in the U.S. at some point?
Not very, mostly because this particular platform is now a little dated, and this segment is not expected to become a major player in the U.S. any time soon, either. The segment that is seeing some growth is still the midsize segment now populated by the Ford Ranger, the GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado twins, the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma.
And that's about it, at least until they're joined shortly by another small Ford, which is likely to be badged Maverick and based on the Bronco Sport. Still, even that model will likely be a size above the Ram 700 and its Fiat Strada twin, as will its powerplants. Moreover, the Ram 700 would inevitably face the upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz, which could upstage it in every category with little effort.
So the Ram 700, taken as it is today, is not a natural candidate for the U.S. market, otherwise it would have landed here back in 2016 when the Toro debuted. We're now almost half a decade past that point. But this doesn't mean that a modern Dakota will not materialize some time in the future -- Ram has been very tight lipped over the past few years when it comes to new trucks. But it's clear that there is some demand for smaller pickups, as "entry-level" offerings continue to resemble diesel locomotives with each passing year.