America needs a new Ramcharger
While the new Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee are
among the most popular sport utility vehicles in the American automotive
market, those modern large SUVs are a far cry from the rugged Dodge Ramchargers
of the 1970s, 80s and 90s – leaving a need for a big, tough SUV. Back in the day, the most popular SUVs were
models like the Dodge Ramcharger, the Plymouth Trail Duster, the Chevrolet K5
Blazer and the full sized Ford Bronco.
These were big, roomy utes powered by large V8 engines that
could seat at least four adults, offer space for tons of cargo, tow a heavy
trailer and storm through the woods in stock form. While the modern SUV can do just about
anything that a 1983 Ramcharger could (plus packing more power, more efficiency
and more gadgets), today’s full size SUVs have gotten to be so expensive that
most average owners shudder at the thought of driving in icy weather for the
fear of damaging one of the plastic exterior body panels.
Sure, those who want to go offroading on a budget with a
brand new model can still opt for the likes of the Jeep Wrangler but with that
model, you sacrifice towing capacity, seating space and storage space. The modern full size SUVs have shifted so far
towards the luxury end of things that the only people who buy them new are
folks who can usually joke that the closest thing that they do to offroading is
driving a golf cart around the club.
The Ram brand has recently brought out the Express and
Tradesman trimlines for the Ram 1500 that offer lots of real truck abilities
and a big powerful Hemi V8 but without the expensive amenities and the huge
price tag. These trimlines have expanded
to include larger cab configurations but the industry wants a big, powerful SUV
that can do more than a base V6 model but can do so without paying
$40,000. Right now, the least expensive
Hemi-powered Durango is the upgraded Crew model which – with four wheel drive –
carries an internet price of almost $38,000 while the base model 4WD Durango
SXT starts under $31,000. The Hemi is
only a $2k option, meaning that building the least expensive Hemi powered
Durango 4WD will include around $5,000 worth of options that aren’t the engine
If Chrysler was to offer an Express/Tradesman version of the
Durango packing the Hemi V8 and the abilities of that drivetrain in a package
containing a simple exterior design – the Chrysler Group would have a powerful,
affordable SUV that could appease buyers who want the power but not all of the
high tech (and high priced) bells and buzzers.
Just like my awesome 1983 Dodge Ramcharger that could do everything that
the Ram 1500 could from the same model year while also having lots of dry
storage space and room for five passengers – while also having a rugged, sturdy
Here is my idea…and you heard it here first.
In an effort to bolster sales of the Ram brand, Chrysler
builds a new sport utility vehicle based on the Grand Cherokee/Durango
platform. This model would have a unique
look of its own across the front and back with a body dressing that gives it a
higher riding look. While it would come
with the goodies from the other company SUVs, it would pack a standard Hemi V8
engine (the one from the Ram 2500…not the one from the Ram 1500), 4WD, basic
interior amenities, gearing to make it the most powerful SUV on the American
market and a price tag in the $31,000 range.
The Ram brand has already used existing vehicle design to create the
hardworking Ram Cargo Van, which is based on the Grand Caravan and Town &
Country models – why not a hardworking SUV that packs lots of power, towing
capacity and a low price? This vehicle
would…of course…be named the Ramcharger.
I might be dreaming but if you look at the lack of an
affordable, powerful, full sized SUV that can stand up to some abuse in the
American market – there is an obvious need for a vehicle that can serve the
same purpose as the old school models that made the big SUV an American
Click here to head into the DodgeForum.com Ramcharger section and tell us your thoughts on a new Durango-based Ramcharger!