Passengers Top Priority
Copyright July 2000,
By Arv Voss,
Auto Impressions

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Dodge MAXXcab Concept Debuts in Detroit at 2000 NAIAS

Posted 08-24-2000 9:00pm PST

The latest conceptual pickup truck from DaimlerChrysler was first unveiled at this year's Detroit International Auto Show. The "family friendly" creation is essentially the world's first pickup truck that gives priority to passengers according to Steve Buckley, Electronic Product Innovation Manager. The futuristic truck features a host of electronic marvels, utilizing the latest developments in technology and engineering geared toward optimum occupant comfort and convenience.

Styling is dramatically bold and "in-your-face" with its muscular forms and linear sculpted planes forming an aggressively dynamic mass. The front view might well be envisioned as a ram's countenance with a vivid enough imagination -- it definitely portrays an aura of unyielding power, if not testosterone. The Herculean form of the MAXXcab from the Dodge truck folks is executed in a crew cab pickup configuration with an accentuated cab-forward design borrowed from the passenger car stable -- "Just as cab-forward changed the architecture of our passenger cars, Passenger Priority design might influence an entire vehicle line," said Tom Gale, Executive Vice President - Product Development and Design.

Upon viewing the concept for the first time at the Detroit Auto Show, I was not immediately drawn to it as a moth might be to a flame -- it came across initially as being too bulky or massive, while perhaps it was simply overwhelming. When the opportunity presented itself to get "up close and personal" with the MAXXcab however, my skepticism and unwarranted lack of appreciation waned rapidly.

The striking frontal styling blends the traditional "cross-hair" grille reflecting the Dodge family heritage with a strong, smooth fascia and fog lamps integrally molded and flanking a purposeful lower air slot. The grille itself is centered between jewel-like, wraparound headlamp assemblies, with the seemingly short hood angled into a sharply raked windshield. The top's "C" pillar slopes gracefully rearward to the bed while featuring a forward curve at its leading edge that sweeps forward. The wheel wells sport a continuous lip that runs from front to the rear, incorporating tastefully flowing molded running boards positioned outside the front and rear door openings. The taillights provide a bejeweled presence on either side of the tailgate and above the rear bumper fascia which sports reverse lights to match the front fog lamps.

The entire athletic structure offers the subtle look of a cab-over semi truck, sitting above the oversized Goodyear 33x11.5 R 18 LT tires which are mounted on more than substantial five-spoke alloy wheels with counter-spaced, rim-based "nubs." The bed is 52.7 inches long by 56.7 inches wide and measures 24 inches in depth -- wider and deeper than today's conventional truck beds. The tailgate lowers with a unique sliding plate filling the traditional void between gate and bed. The polymer-lined bed also features a suggestive (not functional in the concept) pop-up table with molded cupholders and fold-down seats for impromptu parties.

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Dodge MAXXcab Concept Specs:

Base Price:
$N/A -- Not in production
Price as Tested:
$4,000,000 plus (estimated)
Engine Type and Size:
Next Generation 4.7 liter Magnum V-8 with electronic fuel injection.
238 horsepower
Estimated Torque:
295 ft./lbs. (estimated)
Four-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive (multi-speed 5-gear range with alternate second gear)
Drive Train:
Longitudinally mounted front engine / Full time All Wheel drive or part time four-wheel drive low.
Front - Independent upper and lower "A" arms, torsion bars, gas-charged shock absorbers and stabilizer bar from Dakota Quad Cab.
Rear - Custom fabricated independent short-long-arm (SLA) with coil over shack absorbers.
Power tandem-diaphragm assisted front vented discs/Rear drum - rear ABS
Goodyear 33x11.5 R18 LT mounted on 5-spoke alloy wheels with counter-spaced rim-base nubs.
132.3 inches
Length Overall:
203.0 inches
80.0 inches
Curb Weight:
5,300 lbs.
EPA Mileage Estimates:
Not certified.
Drag Coefficient:
You've got to be kidding
0 - 60 mph:
7.7 seconds (estimated)
Top Speed:
114 mph.