The first of Ram’s pair of 1200 bakkies has emerged via a series of images online ahead of its reported reveal later this month.
Decked-out in heavy layers of disguise, excessive pre-production panelling and a completely enclosed loadbed, the depicted model is, however, the unibody version that will take aim at the Ford Maverick, Hyundai Santa Cruz and Honda Ridgeline, but only in South America.
Spied by motor1.com Brazil at what appears to be a petrol station, the 1200, its name still to be confirmed outright, is almost impossible to decipher aesthetically as evident by the box-type camouflage and reams of black tape.
Noticeable on what is alleged to be the production version though are round LED headlights, the obvious size increase over the Fiat Toro/Ram 1000 it will sit above in the Ram line-up, and the covered rear door handles that confirms a double cab bodystyle despite the single cab appearance.
Seemingly within range of the Peugeot Landtrek dimensionally, the 1200, originally reported as reviving the Dakota name last used in 2011, will be offered with two four-cylinder engines in South America; a 2.0-litre Tigershark turbo-petrol and a 2.2-litre Multijet turbodiesel once used in European-market Jeep Cherokee.
On the other side of the coin is the equally long rumoured body-on-frame derivative expected to debut sometime in 2023 as Ram’s definitive rival for the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi Triton and Mazda BT-50.
Rumoured as far back as 2018, only to be cancelled and then confirmed by Stellantis within a month last year, the junior sibling of the Ram 1500 remains shrouded in secrecy despite it being reported in September, that a select number of dealers in North America had been privy to a first-time viewing.
As with the unibody model, the body-on-frame Ram 1200 is anticipated to utilise a range of four-cylinder engines only, a decision similar to Ford’s undertaking with the Ranger and General Motors with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in North America.
Besides the outgoing Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and to a lesser extent, the Jeep Gladiator, the apparent forgoing of six and eight cylinder engines, units the Dakota both offered, suggests the inclusion of turbocharging or even electrification, the latter being a prominent fixture on the Ram 1500.
In addition, the verdict is also out as to whether Ram will avail the body-on-frame 1200 with right-hand-drive as the unibody’s limitation to South America means a left-hand-drive only configuration.
Until an announcement is made though, expect more rumours and spy images to emerge over the coming weeks and in the case of the body-on-frame, months.
Images from motor1.com Brazil.