As pickup trucks have grown in popularity in the United States, they've also begun growing into all sorts of niches that generations past never could have suspected trucks would occupy: performance machines, luxury rides and family cars, among others. But as they've grown in reach, they've also grown in size; even today's midsize pickup trucks
That's not the case in other parts of the world, though. And the new Ram 700 shows that compact pickup trucks can be every bit as cool as their bigger siblings.
If the latest generation of the Ram 700, which is set to go on sale in Mexico and other Latin American markets soon, looks familiar, that's because it's basically a rebadged version of the new Fiat Strada revealed earlier this year. The design tweaks that turn it into a Ram certainly give it added visual appeal, however, with a more aggressive front facia being the most obvious change.
As Motor Trend and Motor1 reported, the Ram 700 will be sold in three trim levels — SLT, Big Horn and Laramie — and come in both regular cab and crew cab forms, though one slide from the design presentation suggests the two more upscale trims will only be sold as four-door rigs.
By the horsepower-happy standards of U.S. trucks, the Ram 700's engine choices seem a tad, well, wimpy. SLT and Big Horn variants make do with a 1,4-liter engine that squeezes out just 84 horses, while the Laramie uses a turbocharged 1.3-liter motor that spits out 98 ponies. Both engines connect to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox, though a locking differential is available if you're still planning on doing some off-roading.
This tiny truck may be six inches shorter than a Honda Civic, but those little engines mean it can still do some good work. Max payload is 1,653 pounds, which means it can haul a quartet of 200-pound people and still handle more than 800 pounds of junk in the bed. Should you need to tow, the Ram 700 can lug nearly 900 pounds on its trailer hitch — enough to handle a SylvanSport Go, if not an Airstream.
The truck does offer a fair amount of the convenience features we've come to expect from pickups these days, however. Want wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? You've got it on the Big Horn and Laramie, courtesy a seven-inch touchscreen. LED lamps? Just opt for the Laramie and they're all yours.
Pricing hasn't been announced for the new Ram 700, but if it hews close to the previous model, it should be quite a steal. The Ram Mexico website currently lists the outgoing 700 SLT regular cab at a starting price of $11,410 in U.S. dollars, with the SLT crew cab starting at $12,731.
While the odds of this particular Ram coming to the U.S. seem slim, never say never. Between the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the next couple years are set to see an infusion of smaller, cheaper pickups on American shores — compact, easy-to-park rigs better-suited for urban dwellers leading active, adventurous lifestyles than full-size trucks might be. If those sorts of trucks find a market here, we bet Ram will find a way to bring the 700 Stateside.