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    1983 Dodge Ramcharger.jpgWhile 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
    or transmission.

    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
    exterior.

    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
    mainstay.

    Click here to head into the DodgeForum.com Ramcharger section and tell us your thoughts on a new Durango-based Ramcharger!

     
     
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