In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- This Ram Dakota rumor makes sense – maybe.
- Toyota Yaris vs. Nissan Kicks?
- License plate (and registration) delays?
The first question comes from a fan who hears that we will get a Ram Dakota in a few years.
Q: Hear me out Nathan, I Think the Kaicheng F70, which is a Peugeot Landtrek will become a Ram Dakota. Mixed with Peugeot 3008 parts and coming in 2022!
Just heard from my buddy who gets great inside information that there is a push to bring the Chengun pickup truck to the USA in a Ram Dakota. Landtrek is part of a collaboration between Peugeot and Chinese automaker Changan. Peugeot will power the American version. My friend says the new Peugeot 3008 plug in HYBRID 300hp and 500 pounds of torque 4-Wheel Drive engines will power it which will make it best in class across the board!
No more rumors about Fiat or Ram parts!
What do you think Nathan?!
A: Hi Singh!
Thanks for the message. Keep in mind, FCA/Stellantis never officially said that the Dakota would come back in 2022. We do have a report from a while ago about FCA gaining the “Dakota” trademark. You can read about that (here). There is no additional official information. Not only that, they may have grabbed the Dakota name to simply protect it.
Out of the dozens of posts we’ve uploaded about Ram Dakota rumors, your suggestions are the most radical. In some ways, something that outlandish would indeed be a gamechanger. We’ve heard a lot of speculation of the Ram Dakota sharing the Wrangler 4xe’s powertrain, on a modified Gladiator frame. That, in itself, is pretty radical.
There are a few issues with your friend’s predictions. The biggest question I have is, what’s with all of the development mules we’ve seen that ran well before the PSA deal even started? Reports of development mules date back to 2017 and earlier. This means, these vehicles used FCA components, not PSA.
I’m not completely discounting your friend’s statements – but they seem kind of unlikely, at least for right now. Perhaps something like this will be developed in the future, but it seems unlikely in 2022.
I would love to be wrong about that. The idea of a torque-monster midsize PHEV that’s super efficient would be epic.
The next question comes from a young shopper who is cross shopping the Nissan Kicks vs. the Toyota Yaris.
Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Which is better for $15K?
2020 Nissan Kicks or 2020 Toyota Yaris hatch?
A: The U.S.-market Toyota Yaris (which is based on a Mazda2) is the way to go – for slightly more fun.
Both cars are pretty anemic, but utilitarian. They have different characters, and they offer different driving experiences.
The Nissan Kicks is more comfortable, has great standard safety equipment and makes more (122) horsepower. It’s rated at 31 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, which is pretty good. The Nissan Kicks is a bigger car all-around. It holds a lot more stuff and passenger comfort is good for its class. Equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and torsion-beam rear suspension, the drive is mellow and subdued.
The 2020 Toyota Yaris hatchback is much lighter on its toes. It’s just as quick/slow despite making just 106 hp. It’s more efficient with a 32 city mpg and a 40 highway mpg. As a fun daily driver, it is more lively, despite also having a torsion-beam rear suspension. It feels more connected to the road and more urgent when pushed around corners. The confines are tight, and it rides harder than the Nissan.
Neither car is as good as a used Honda Fit to be honest. That said, you can’t buy either the Fit or the Yaris as a 2021 model.
The last question comes from several people who recently dealt with major delays getting their license plates, registration and renewals.
Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Paraphrased..
- I have been waiting months to get my license plate. What’s going on?
- My renewal was paid back in November and I got nothing!
- I can’t get a straight answer from DMV about my registration.
A: There are major delays going on at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) around the country.
It took me an additional six-weeks to get my license plates for a newly purchased vehicle. At least in Colorado, the backup is mostly due to COVID-19 screwing up production. According to an article from 9News.com, significant delays “issuance of vehicle titles, registrations, license plates and more due to COVID-19-related shutdowns or reduced operations.”
In some cases, shutdowns and limited staff have hurt productivity. There are reports of license plate production facilities either shutting down, or reducing manufacturing capacity. In other cases, states like Colorado have sent some production out of state to make up for the slowdown. I’m told that many other states are dealing with a similar situation – including a significant slowdown for other DMV services.
Is there a fix?
Some experts suggest going to your DMV in person (after you make an appointment) to get your plates and registration instantly. Unfortunately, not all DMVs will have plates on hand. If they have to order them, it may take just as long to get as it would if you ordered yours online.
Not all DMV’s around the U.S. are the same; however, many are offering special letters/documentation that will indicate that your vehicle is legal. In my case, the Colorado DMV has created a letter for customers to provide to law enforcement, if you have expired plates or tags.
Many police officers understand that there is are significant issues with DMV under the circumstances. They still have every right to pull you over if you have expired tags or missing plates. Be calm and cool if this happens and explain the situation. If your DMV will not provide a letter, or an extension of some sort – consider making a copy of your registration receipt. That’s what I did at first.
I highly recommend you go online and see what your local DMV suggests. These delays may extend for several more months.