There are pickups that do work, errands and daily driving. Then there are pickups that you only roll out of the garage when it's time to leave civilization behind and get loud and dirty. American Expedition Vehicles has developed the new Recruit Ram 1500 to be a bit of both, slapping on a host of upgrades to give the pickup more high-riding, free-breathing off-road capability without sacrificing on-road handling or drivability.

With its latest design, AEV builds on its impressive résumé of Fiat-Chrysler off-road vehicle upgrades like the Jeep Wrangler Brute pickup and Ram Prospector. It moves down the line from Ram HD builds of the past, taking the smaller Ram 1500 to new heights – quite literally.

The Recruit package centers around a DualSport suspension that lifts the 1500 by 4 in (102 mm). It's designed to maintain the front suspension's on-road handling while improving things off pavement. The kit includes specially tuned extended-length Bilstein 5100 shocks and adjustable struts.

An AEV-stamped steel skid plate protects the front suspension system, and a stamped steel front bumper reinforces the front-end. Vision X halogen driving lights are added standard, and a Warn Zeon 10-S winch and auxiliary lighting are optional.

AEV has also spent some time around the 1500's engine, swapping in a vented heat reduction hood and adding a raised air intake. The grabby 37x12.50 BF Goodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain tires on 18-inch alloy beadlock-style alloy wheels add to both actual performance and rugged off-road looks, and AEV has done some computer reprogramming to compensate for the larger rubber.

AEV calls the Recruit a "proof-of-concept image vehicle" in its announcement, but that doesn't mean it won't build you one. It is offering the entire Recruit upgrade package for a starting price of US$14,950, which, of course, does not include the 1500 itself. Also, many items that appear on the "image vehicle" are optional add-ons, including the snorkel, auxiliary lighting and interior leather packages. You'll find all the specifics at the source link below.

View gallery - 33 images