What It Is: Clad in minimal camo, the next Ram 1500 has been spotted with its new grille largely on display for all to see. The revised unit is hexagonal and perhaps a mite Audi-esque, not quite as dominant a piece as the big-rig maws that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ trucks have been wearing since before Daimler’s merger of equals with the Pentastar, back when they were badged Dodge. A pair of subtler, rectangular intakes replaces the overly styled nostrils on recent Rams, while the headlights, with their light-bar DRLs, seem to crib inspiration from the Dodge Durango and the Chrysler 300. Out back, the taillights add complexity and surfacing while also hinting at the 1970s through ’90s D-series pickups’ rear lighting modules.
Why It Matters: The light-duty 1500 is the anchor of the Ram line and the basis for everything from workaday landscaping vehicles to full-custom lifestyle statements. It serves as the basis for the sporty, off-road-oriented Rebel and could underpin a future Ford Raptor–fighting version of said machine, a potential move that has the micturating-Calvin-decal aftermarket wetting its pants with anticipation.
Platform: It’s an American pickup. There’s a ladder frame underneath. Because it’s a Ram 1500, expect coil springs all around, with available air springs. Ram isn’t following Ford—or even its siblings at Jeep—all the way into the future, though, as the 1500 will retain a steel body. We do expect the cab to grow, and we’ve already seen camouflaged Mega Cab models running around. Another feature rumored for the new Ram is a split-opening tailgate, which could drop down as a single-piece unit or open in two sections, barn-doors-style. That design is not seen on the truck in these photos but is likely to be an option.
Powertrain: The engine room also could see some new choices. There’s talk of a turbocharged inline-four, possibly as part of a hybrid powertrain, as has been announced for the new Jeep Wrangler. FCA being FCA, expect the Ram 1500 to retain the Hemi V-8, perhaps in some outlandish capacities. The Pentastar V-6 again will be in the mix as well. Naturally, both four-by-two and four-by-four variants will be available.
Competition: Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra.
Estimated Arrival and Price: We’ll know more when the truck is unveiled early next year, most likely at the Detroit auto show. As for pricing? The new trucks should start right around $29,000 and go up from there, depending on powertrain, cab size, and degree of luxury.