In the early 2000s, there was a transition going on in the North American pickup truck market. Manufacturers were starting to realize that people were using their pickup trucks for pleasure and the market demanded more light-duty offerings with more cabin room to fit the family. While you could get a four-door crew cab configuration on a few pickup trucks, you usually had to bump up to a heavy-duty pickup to do so.
Both Ford Motor Company and Chrysler realized the demand and quickly offered solutions with the Ford F-150 Super Crew and the Dodge Dakota Quad Cab. Both trucks offered smaller boxes in exchange for roomier cabs. But the Dakota Quad Cab wasn’t enough for Dodge.
Enter the Dodge MAXXCab Concept. The MAXXCab was the world’s first Passenger Priority truck, premiering at the 2000 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Using the trademarked cab-forward design philosophy at Chrysler, the MAXXCab was designed to offer sedan space, comfort, and luxury, while still being able to utilize a box.
The MAXXCab’s exterior design featured short front and rear overhangs and a cab-forward stance that mimicked a semi-truck. The design featured a high beltline, strong body feature lines, and large wheel flares. If the front end styling looks familiar, it’s because it resembles the bold front styling used on the later 2003 Dodge Magnum SRT8 Concept. While the MAXXCab’s interior is quite roomy, the overall length was only 2.5-inches longer than a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan. This allowed the truck to be able to fit into most garages and parking spaces with ease.
The bed itself measures 52.7-inches long (or about 4.4-feet), 56.7-inches wide (or about 4.725-feet), and 24-inches (or 2-feet deep). The setup allowed for a half-ton payload and enough space for weekend projects and hobby equipment. The bed also integrated a picnic table and chairs for the occasional spur-of-the-moment tailgate party.
The interior of the cab was quite luxurious for its day. The seats were covered with a tailored cream pillow-top leather, the dash featured a state-of-the-art head unit, unique ball shifter gear selector, dual-zone climate controls, multi-directional vents, and a similar instrument cluster package that would be found on the upcoming 2002 Ram 1500. Seats could be adjusted using controls on the doors as well. Navy door inserts and brushed aluminum details helped make the cabin feel modern and upscale.
The MAXXCab also featured a lot of new technology that was not available in most vehicles at the time. Voice recognition allowed the driver to access the internet for real-time weather updates, traffic information, and even e-mail. The voice commands also could control the vehicle’s navigation, diagnostic systems, and mobile phone, something that has been integrated into most of Stellantis’ lineup today with the company’s Uconnect systems.
Under the hood, the was the new 4.7-liter Magnum V8 engine. The 4.7-liter produced 235 horsepower @ 4,800 RPM and 295 lb.-ft of torque @ 3,200 RPM. It was mated to Chrysler’s 45RFE multi-speed automatic transmission and could propel the MAXXCab to a 0 to 60 mph time of 7.7-seconds.
Today, the MAXXCab’s philosophy lives on in the DNA of the 2022 Ram 1500. The Ram 1500 Crew Cab offers the largest cab in its class, creating the most spacious interior for additional features and passenger comfort.
With the switch to electrification and the ability to have a compact e-motor setup over the conventual internal combustion engine (ICE), we have been seeing the next-generation of pickup trucks focus even more on passenger comfort. Chevrolet’s new Silverado EV, Tesla’s new Cybertruck, and even Ram’s teaser shots of its upcoming Ram 1500 BEV concept, all feature smaller front overhangs, focusing on larger passenger compartments, mimicking the MaxxCab’s original design nearly 22 years ago.