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Archive for the ‘pickup trucks’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Should Ram Resurrect The Ramcharger?

The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 is a wonderful improvement over the outgoing generation. Not only is it sleeker and more luxurious, its frame is stronger, its overall weight is down, and its drivetrain has been updated with mild hybrid systems in both the V-6 and V-8 engines. The truck will undoubtedly be very successful in competition with the also-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and the recently revised Ford F-150. But Ram is missing something – a full-size SUV based on its pickup.

Both Chevy and Ford have body-on-frame SUVs based on their half-ton pickups, and both have a long and rich history. In fact, the Chevy Suburban is the oldest automotive nameplate in existence. The Expedition is newer, having debuted in 1997, but over its 20 years, has made quite a name for itself. Ram, on the other hand, hasn’t had a truck-based, full-size SUV since 1993. That vehicle was the Ramcharger. Though only offered in a two-door model, it competed strongly against GM and Ford’s two-door SUVs, the Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco – both of which were based on their respective half-ton trucks.

So, now that Ram has its all-new, fifth-generation truck, is it time the automaker resurrected the Ramcharger name? I say yes. Here’s my reasoning.

Continue reading for more information.

Ram 1500 Ramcharger


Should Ram Resurrect The Ramcharger?
- image 759915
“The long-wheelbase Ramcharger could ride on the Ram 1500’s current wheelbase and offer tons of room for third-row seating and boundless cargo space behind”

Ram could very easily adapt its half-ton frame and body for use in an SUV. In fact, everything ahead of the B-pillars could be shared with the Ram 1500, just as the Suburban and Expedition have done in the past with their respective pickups. And like both Chevy and Ford, Ram could have two versions with different lengths. Chevy has the shorter Tahoe and longer Suburban, while Ford has the Expedition and Expedition Max.

The long-wheelbase Ramcharger could ride on the Ram 1500’s current wheelbase and offer tons of room for third-row seating and boundless cargo space behind. A Tahoe-like short wheelbase version would still offer a third row, but with less cargo room and a more compact footprint for easier in-town driving.

Making the transition even easier is the Ram 1500’s rear suspension. It’s already a multi-link coil sprung suspension with a solid axle – just like the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. (Ford spent the extra cash to develop an independent rear suspension for the second-generation and newer Expedition.) The Ram’s optional adjustable air suspension would make for an even smoother ride.


Should Ram Resurrect The Ramcharger?
- image 759897
“The Ram’s optional adjustable air suspension would make for an even smoother ride.”

The same is true for the drivetrain. Ram’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with its new mild hybrid system would be just fine for lower trimmed, short wheelbase Ramchargers, while the updated 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and its mild hybrid system would make a perfect engine for upper trimmed models and the long wheelbase version. Naturally, the eight-speed automatic would be standard and part-time 4WD would be optional.

Making the case even stronger (and more plausible) is the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer and luxury-minded Grand Wagoneer. Both are slated to ride on the fifth-generation Ram’s chassis and compete with mid-level and high-level luxury SUVs. The Wagoneer will cater to the upper-middle-class family, while the Grand Wagoneer will compete with the Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, and other high-end SUVs.


Should Ram Resurrect The Ramcharger?
- image 759895
“The case for a Ramcharger is extremely strong”

Ram could easily co-develop its Ramcharger alongside the Jeep Wagoneers. Not only would it save on development costs, but the would give FCA another vehicle to help pay for development costs – making both the Ram and Jeep versions less expensive to make.

Last but certainly not least is the current market for SUVs and pickups. Thanks to lower and more stable fuel prices, SUVs and trucks have experienced a resurgence in popularity. Three-row vehicles that can haul seven people and tow 8,000 pounds are hot these days. And there is no question that FCA needs more vehicles in its lineup after killing off the unpopular Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200.

The case for a Ramcharger is extremely strong. Let’s just hope Ram is actually thinking about the possibility as hard as I am.

References

Ram 1500


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758492

All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689360

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2019 Silverado’s 3.0-Liter Duramax Is Chevy’s First I-6 Turbodiesel

Chevrolet is breaking the status quo with its all-new 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder Duramax turbodiesel. Announce in conjunction with the new 2019 Silverado 1500, this light-duty turbodiesel marks a few big milestones for the automaker. It breaks convention by avoiding the familiar V-6 design used by both Ford and Ram’s 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesels.

First, the 3.0-liter I-6 Duramax is the first straight-six diesel engine Chevy has ever made, and second, it’s the first inline-six produced since the Chevy Trailblazer and its 4.2-liter Atlas I-6 ended production during the 2009 model year.


2018 Chevrolet Equinox Turbodiesel – Driven - image 753147

Note: Chevrolet Equinox’s 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine pictured here.

“The 3.0-liter I-6 Duramax is the first straight-six diesel engine Chevy has ever made”

Though Chevy has a long history with diesel and turbodiesel engines, they have all been I-4, V-6, and V-8 configurations. Currently, Chevy makes both I-4 and V-8 styles. They include the 1.6-liter I-4 found in the Cruze and Equinox, the 2.8-liter I-4 Duramax in the Colorado, and the 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 used in the Silverado HDs. The list of V-6 turbodiesel is much shorter, containing only the Oldsmobile’s 4.3-liter V-6 built from 1982 through 1985.

As for the Chevy Trailblazer’s 4.2-liter inline-six gasoline engine, it met an untimely demise thanks to the downturn in the economy, the Trailblazer’s age, the ease of manufacturing the 4.3-liter V-6 next to the 5.3-liter V-8, and the rise in popularity of front-wheel-drive crossovers. The 4.2-liter Atlas was simply too long for transversely mounting between the front wheels of a crossover SUV. While it would have made a great engine in the Silverado 1500, the Atlas would have proved too costly in replacing the 4.3-liter V-6. See, the V-6 was basically a 5.3-liter V-8 with two cylinders missing. That meant it was the same width and shared the same engine mounts as the V-8. The similarities also made engine production much easier for Chevy.

Read our in-depth look at the 4.2-liter Atlas inline-six.


2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax Diesel - image 638249

Note: Colorado’s 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder diesel engine pictured here.

“The new Duramax will have to compete with Ram’s updated 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 and Ford’s all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke V-6.”

As for Chevrolet’s all-new 3.0-liter Inline-six Duramax, its displacement, cylinder arrangement, and fuel are all we know. Power, fuel economy, and option cost have not been announced. Still, that won’t stop us from speculating. The new Duramax will have to compete with Ram’s updated 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 and Ford’s all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke V-6.

Ram’s revised EcoDiesel will make 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The Ford’s Power Stroke will produce 250 horses and 440 pound-feet of torque. Chevy is undoubtedly targeting these performance figures. Since the last automaker to debut will generally one-up the competition, Chevy’s turbodiesel could potentially make more than 260 horses and 442 pound-feet. However, Chevy could be targeting fuel economy rather than power, in which case, we might see Chevy’s specs fall around the F-150’s.

And while horsepower and torque are important, the real winner will be the first truck to achieve greater than 30 mpg on the highway without some outlandish fuel economy-oriented trim package.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 758115

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739865

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 712066

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit

The 2019 Ram 1500 is making big waves at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show thanks to an all-new design that departs from years past, a swanky new interior with the segment’s first 12-inch touchscreen, a completely new frame, revised suspension designs, and a new mild hybrid system on both the 3.6-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8.

Starting with the frame, Ram managed to cut weight by 100 pounds yet make it stronger thanks to its 98-percent composition of high-strength steel. Overall, nearly 225 pounds has been cut from the truck. Aluminum is used extensively in the unseen parts. The transmission crossmember, steering system, front suspension, and even the engine mounts are made from the lightweight yet strong material. The tailgate also uses an aluminum skin.


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758491
“On trucks not equipped with the active air suspension and the Rebel, the air dam lowers by 2.5 inches at speeds above 35 mph.”

Aerodynamics are improved thanks to a segment-first active air dam. On trucks not equipped with the active air suspension and the Rebel, the air dam lowers by 2.5 inches at speeds above 35 mph. The active grille shutters return from the outgoing truck, too.

Inside, the Ram 1500 boasts a high-class interior regardless of trim level. Each trim takes inspiration from different hammers – yes, hammers – Ram says represents the different customers the trim levels are geared for. The big news, of course, is the massive 12-inch touch screen running a new version of FCA’s Uconnect software. The screen is basically two 8.4-inch screens stacked vertically and can run two separate applications or operate in a full-screen mode. The 12-inch system is standard in the range-topping Limited and available in the Laramie. The 8.0-inch and 7.0-inch systems fill the lower trims.


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758495
“Each trim takes inspiration from different hammers – yes, hammers – Ram says represents the different customers the trim levels are geared for”

The crew cab model is nearly 4.0-inches longer than before, allowing for reclining rear seats. A completely flat load floor is finally included, and the in-floor storage bins return, too.

Under the hood are revised versions of the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Both come with mild hybrid systems called eTorque that use a large electric motor to help twist the crankshaft via a belt-drive system. The motor also acts as the starter for the auto start/stop system and also recharges the Ram’s 48-volt battery pack during braking. The battery is a briefcase-sized unit located along the cab’s bulkhead.


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758516
“Both engines come with mild hybrid systems called eTorque that use a large electric motor to help twist the crankshaft via a belt-drive system”

The 3.6-liter V-6 is rated at 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The 5.7-liter V-8 is rated at 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. While the same as the outgoing truck, the fuel economy is said to be much improved. Ram hasn’t announced those numbers, yet.

A new 4×4 Off-Road package is now available on nearly every trim. It comes standard with part-time 4WD, an electronic locking rear differential, a one-inch suspension lift, and 32-inch all-terrain tires. It can be had with or without the four-corner air suspension. It also includes hill-descent control and the same off-road-biased rear suspension geometry as the Rebel.


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758505
“The 2019 Ram 1500 can be ordered starting in late January and will arrive in showrooms by the end of Q1 2018”

And speaking of the Ram 1500 Rebel, it returns for 2019 with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires on 18-inch wheels, skid plates, and a one-inch suspension lift. Changes include the availability of the Quad Cab, the air suspension as an option rather than standard, a locking rear differential, and new Bilstein shocks.

The 2019 Ram 1500 can be ordered starting in late January and will arrive in showrooms by the end of Q1 2018. Pricing has not been announced at this time, but shouldn’t be long before Ram released the information.

References

Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689360

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Ranger Returns To America With a Vengeance

Six years. That’s how long it’s been since we had the Ford Ranger in our lives. It took some time and a set of fortuitous circumstances, but after waiting since 2011 for the Ranger to make its comeback in the U.S., Ford finally delivered. The Ranger is back, and it’s looking to reclaim its status as one of the best and most popular entry-level pickup trucks in the market.


“Aesthetically, the U.S.-bound Ranger bares some similarities to its global-spec T6 counterpart.”

It feels great to finally get the Ford Ranger back. Now we can forget about all those jokes from our friends all over the world who have never seen a world without the Ranger in their markets. In fact, international markets have had the Ranger since 1998. Its success in those markets continues to make it relevant after all these years. Now we’re getting it back, and the world is better for it.

Aesthetically, the U.S.-bound Ranger bares some similarities to its global-spec T6 counterpart. The dimensions are similar, and the overall presentation makes it a chore to determine one from the other. That’s not to say that they’re identical because they’re not. The U.S.-spec Ranger makes use of a number of styling cues that help make it stand out, including a bulging power dome hood that adds a more aggressive look to the front section and a blacked out front grille with thinner horizontal bars than the ones found on the current model. The interior also gets its own set of goodies, specifically a thick steering wheel and a high-tech instrument cluster with a pair of LCD displays.


Ford Ranger Returns To America With a Vengeance - image 758150
“In terms of power, the returning Ranger will use a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four engine”

In terms of power, the returning Ranger will use a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four engine. The automaker hasn’t given a specific power rating, but the EcoBoost isn’t a new engine so we already have an idea of what it’s capable of. A different version of the same engine sits under the hood of the 2018 Ford Mustang. That bad boy produces 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.

Regardless of what kind of power the Ranger’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost has, the important thing is that the model itself is back in our lives. Welcome home, Ford Ranger. You’ve been missed.

References

Ford Ranger


Ford Ranger Returns To America With a Vengeance - image 758142

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Gives the 2019 Silverado a Proper Diet

Chevrolet promised to turn heads at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, and it did just that with the introduction of the 2019 Silverado. There’s a lot to unpack about Chevy’s all-new, half-ton pickup truck, and one of the most interesting developments about it has to do with its weight. It may not seem like it in on the surface, but the new Silverado, among other things, is 450 pounds lighter than the current model.


Chevrolet Gives the 2019 Silverado a Proper Diet - image 758265
“Chevy’s going to point to the combination of using aluminum and steel on the truck’s body as the biggest reason behind the Silverado’s loss in weight”

Chevy’s going to point to the combination of using aluminum and steel on the truck’s body as the biggest reason behind the Silverado’s loss in weight. There’s a good reason for that because a number of body panels in the truck are made from aluminum, including the doors, hood, and tailgate, Together with the lightweight material, Chevy also used steel in the development of the new pickup, including seven different grades of steel on the underlying safety cage.

The shift to this mixed-material use is a body that now weighs 88 pounds (40 kg) lighter than the current model while also offering 10 percent greater torsional rigidity. The use of mixed materials also has an effect on the pickup’s all-new suspension. Take the front independent short/long arm suspension, for example. According to Chevy, not only are the new forged-aluminum upper control arms lighter, but they also provide better wheel alignment than the stamped component they replace. The redesign extends to the live-axle rear suspension, which now includes new carbon-composite second-stage springs on LT models. The addition of these springs helps save 12 pounds per side compared to the steel springs that are used in the current model.


Chevrolet Gives the 2019 Silverado a Proper Diet - image 758266
“The 2019 Chevrolet now weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 pounds, 450 pounds less than the current model”

As it is, the 2019 Chevrolet now weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 pounds, 450 pounds less than the current model, which carries a base curb weight of around 4,500 pounds for the Regular Car trim. It’s not the sexiest development attributed to the new Silverado — it also gets a new engine, in case you’re wondering —but it is significant in improving the pickups all-around versatility.

By comparison, the base curb weight of the existing Ford F-150 sits at 4,560 pounds while the Ram 1500 tips the scales at a heavier 5,083 pounds. A lighter pickup truck has the makings of a more versatile pickup truck, a strategy that Chevrolet is adopting with the new 2019 Silverado. Combine that with the presentation of the pickup and all its other new features and you have a new Silverado that’s looking to make a statement in the half-ton pickup segment.


Chevrolet Gives the 2019 Silverado a Proper Diet - image 758271
“A lighter pickup truck has the makings of a more versatile pickup truck, a strategy that Chevrolet is adopting with the new 2019 Silverado.”

Consider this a warning shot aimed at the feet of Ford and Ram. The 2019 Silverado is now lighter on its feet. Care for a response, Ford and Ram?

References

Chevrolet Silverado

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739865

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 712066

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Spray and Pray: Hagens Berman Representing Truck Owners that Say Ford Cheated on Emissions Too

Volkswagen may soon have more company in the ranks of accused cheaters now that Ford is being accused of doing the same thing. The Blue Oval finds itself in the crosshairs of a lawsuit that’s accusing the automaker of rigging at least 500,000 heavy-duty pickups to beat emissions tests. The lawsuit claims that models of Ford’s F-250 and F-350 Super Duty diesel pickups sold between 2011 and 2017 are releasing emissions that are 50 times the legal limit for nitrogen oxide pollutants.


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648408
“The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit by law firm Hagens Berman”

The lawsuit, which was first reported by Bloomberg, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit by law firm Hagens Berman. Interestingly enough, Hagens Berman is the same law firm that accused Daimler and Audi of similar cheating devices in 2016. Steve Bermann, a managing partner in the law firm, claims that Ford’s own onboard diagnostic software “grossly exceeds the standard.” In addition to Ford, Hagens Berman also named Robert Bosch GmbH — better known simply as Bosch — in the lawsuit, accusing the German parts supplier of working with Ford to mask the vehicles’ inefficiencies in order to maintain overall performance.

To no one’s surprise, Ford and Bosch have vehemently denied the allegations lobbied against them by the law firm. Ford spokesman Daniel Barbosa responded to the suit, saying that all Ford vehicles, including models running on diesel engines, “comply with all U.S. EPA and CARB emissions regulations.”

“Ford vehicles do not have defeat devices,” Barbosa added in a statement to Bloomberg. “We will defend ourselves against these baseless claims.”


Spray and Pray: Hagens Berman Representing Truck Owners that Say Ford Cheated on Emissions Too - image 648397
“The law firm claims to have represented drivers against a list of automakers that include Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Daimler, and Audi.”

For its part, Bosch also released a statement through spokesman Rene Ziegler. “Bosch takes the allegations of manipulation of the diesel software very seriously,” Ziegler said. “Bosch is cooperating with the continuing investigations in various jurisdictions, and is defending its interests in the litigation.”

It is interesting that Hagens Berman finds itself in the middle of another lawsuit against an automaker. The law firm claims to have represented drivers against a list of automakers that include Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Daimler, and Audi.

As serious as these allegations are, it is curious that Hagens Berman is always the one that aggrieved drivers turn to for their gripes. Either the firm is as good as it says it is, or this tactic of accusing one automaker after another of cheating has become a go-to trick to get payouts. Hopefully, we’ll find out more details about the lawsuit as they become available.

References

Ford F-Series


Spray and Pray: Hagens Berman Representing Truck Owners that Say Ford Cheated on Emissions Too - image 648411

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Leaked: 2019 Ram 1500 in All its Glory

Much has been speculated about the upcoming, all-new 2019 Ram 1500. It’s a huge player in the half-ton pickup segment and a big moneymaker for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Thankfully, the speculation can end, at least concerning the truck’s front-end appearance. This photo was leaked on Reddit. It clearly shows the 2019 Ram 1500 in all its glory as it just rolled off the assembly line.

While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Ram’s face, this is by far the clearest shot we’ve seen. The new grille style, the intricate headlights, and the new bumper design are all plainly visible.
We’ve also seen spy shots of the Ram’s side badges’ new location on the hood, but again, this is the first time we’re seeing how the truck looks as a whole. The photo also reveals the trim level badge will remain on the door.

Ram’s tilting towing mirrors are present on this particular truck, suggesting it is optioned for heavier towing. The smallish wheels support that theory. We fully expect Ram to keep the 1500’s multi-link coil spring rear suspension, however. The setup has become an endearing trademark of the truck thanks to its softer, less truck-like ride. Ram seems to have no problem letting Ford and GM fight for bragging rights in the half-ton towing battle. It knows the average 1500-series consumer will appreciate the ride more than towing capability.

This unprecedented early glimpse at the 2019 Ram 1500 won’t be important for long. Ram is set to officially debut the truck at next week’s 2018 Detroit Auto Show. At that point, Ram will announce details on the interior, powertrain, and the slew of other updates we’re expecting will be included.

You won’t want to miss the debut, so stick around to TopSpeed.com for that and all the other breaking Detroit Auto Show news and debuts.

References

Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689360

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon Chevy Drops Teaser of Silverado 4500 and 5500 Prior to March Debut

Chevrolet has dropped a darkened teaser image of its upcoming medium-duty truck, the 2019 Silverado 4500 and 5500. The truck will compete directly with the Ram 4500 and 5500, along with the Ford F-450, F-550, and even the F-650. Chevy officially announced the trucks were coming at the 2017 Texas State Fair.

In a statement at the fair back in September of 2017, John Schwegman, Chevy’s U.S. director of commercial product, said, “We are earning new business because we have more solutions to help businesses grow. The Silverado 4500 and 5500 will stand out because we’ve designed the trucks around how customers work. They will be powerful, maneuverable and among the easiest trucks on the market to upfit with specialized bodies, such as dump bodies, rollbacks, freight boxes and more.”

The Silverado 4500 and 5500 will be powered by the current 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 turbodiesel and use the Alison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive and 4WD will be offered, as well as the regular cab and crew cab configurations. Important to upfitter companies, the trucks will come in a variety of wheelbases and GVWRs to accommodate a wide range of jobs. Fleet managers will also appreciate the optional of 4G LTE connectivity, which is great for keeping track of fleet maintenance and vehicle locations.

Continue reading for more information.

The Teaser Photo After Editing


Chevy Drops Teaser of Silverado 4500 and 5500 Prior to March Debut - image 757639

We ran the mysterious, darkened teaser photo through some edition software and came up with more detail than Chevy likely intended for us to see. The shadows were easily lightened and the grille, headlights, and bumper were quickly revealed.

The headlights are from the current Chevy Silverado Heavy Duty (2500 & 3500), while the bumper, hood, and grille are all unique pieces. Unlike the Cab of the TopKick and Kodiak, the new 4500 and 5500 won’t be based on the Express van. Rather, these will have the Silverado’s cab and interior.

Chevy’s Resurging Commercial Fleet


Chevy Drops Teaser of Silverado 4500 and 5500 Prior to March Debut - image 757669
“Now with the return of the 4500- and 5500-series trucks, General Motors will once again be able to compete against Ford’s impressive F-Series lineup”

General Motors’ commercial presence took a huge nosedive during the 2008 recession. The Chevy Kodiak and GMC TopKick medium-duty trucks were dropped and GM’s partnership with Isuzu floundered. Thankfully, Isuzu and Chevy announced their revived partnership in 2015 with the Low-Cab Forward medium-duty trucks. Now with the return of the 4500- and 5500-series trucks, General Motors will once again be able to compete against Ford’s impressive F-Series lineup. While Ford doesn’t offer a low-cab forward truck, the automaker does have a Stripped Chassis vehicle that can be upfitted in the aftermarket with nearly any cab and body. Ford also has the E-Series and Transit van cutaways. In the medium-duty segment, the F-Series includes the F-650 and F-750. Bridging the gap are the Super Duty-based F-450 and F-550.

On the Ram size, the Ram 4500 and 5500 are designed after the Ram 2500 and 3500 series truck. Ram currently doesn’t build a true medium-duty or a low-cab forward truck, but does offer cutaway vans thanks to the ProMaster.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD - image 648536

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD.


2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753280

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.


maker logos - image 743598

Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport – Driven

The Toyota Tacoma has been a mainstay in the compact and mid-size pickup segments for more than 30 years. Even before the Tacoma name, the Toyota pickup impressed hard-nosed Americans with innovation, durability, and performance. Those traits continue today with the third-generation truck. And like any proper truck should, Toyota offers the Tacoma with several cab, bed, trim, and drivetrain combinations. Generally speaking, there is a Tacoma for everybody.

If I were a single man who didn’t need room for car seats and kiddos, the Tacoma Access Cab would be a tempting acquisition. I’ve never really been a big fan of extended cab trucks, favoring the roomier crew cab (double cab in Toyota’s case) over the cramped quarters behind the front seats of an Access Cab. However, a week behind the wheel of a 2017 Tacoma Access Cab has changed my mind. There’s enough room for smaller people and plenty of room for groceries. Better still, the Tacoma’s six-speed manual transmission won my heart thanks to its more engaging driving experience over the automatic.

Continue reading for my full thoughts on the 2017 Toyota Tacoma.

Exterior

  • Access Cab has four doors & four seats
  • Optional Tonneau cover keeps cargo dry
  • Optional bed extended is extremely handy
  • Bed-mounted 110-volt power outlet
  • TRD Sport includes faux hood scoop
  • 17-inch alloy wheels

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756172
“The TRD Sport trim is basically a street-biased package opposite of the TRD Off-Road option”

The third-generation Tacoma debuted for the 2016 model year and has remained unchanged. Nevertheless, its appearance is still fresh and remains the most athletic offering in the current mid-size truck lineup. That is thanks, in part, to the aggressive headlights, chrome grille, bulging fenders, and on the TRD Sport, its faux hood scoop.

The TRD Sport trim is basically a street-biased package opposite of the TRD Off-Road option. The two TRD trims cost the same money but offer different variations on the same theme. While the TRD Off-Road comes with underbody skid plates, all-terrain tires on 16-inch wheels, and a locking rear differential, the TRD Sport rolls on 17-inch wheels with all-season tires, lacks the off-road equipment, and adds the hood scoop and front air dam.


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756132
“My tester also has a few optional extras, including the $650 hard tonneau cover and $300 bed extender”

My tester also has a few optional extras, including the $650 hard tonneau cover and $300 bed extender. Both proved extremely practical over the week of evaluation. The three-part, hard tonneau cover folds easily for hauling larger items and the bed extended also acts as a cargo divider when flipped into the bed.

I hauled an older, 70-inch projection-style TV in the bed and was able to remove both the tonneau cover and bed extender with ease. The tonneau cover simply requires one 12-mm bolt to be removed and the entire cover lifts off the truck. Built-in buckles and straps secure the three panels together to prevent it from unfolding during removal. The bed extender pulls out of its base when held at a roughly a 45-degree angle.


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756170
“The black vinyl graphic is supposed to emphasize the shape of the hood and scoop while adding some flair to the truck’s overall appearance”

The Tacoma’s bed also has tons of tie-down options. The composite bed has D-rings bolted to the floor in all four corners and the slidable bed cleats allow for even more tie-down options. My truck also had the $120 rubber bed mat. This kept things from sliding around and proved especially handy with the TV.

The bed comes standard with a nifty 110-volt power plug for running household equipment, making the Tacoma really handy for tailgating. The bumper also includes the standard four- and seven-pin wiring connectors for trailer connections.

Another interesting – though less functional – option is the $129 hood graphic. The black vinyl graphic is supposed to emphasize the shape of the hood and scoop while adding some flair to the truck’s overall appearance. In practice, I’d have to agree with Toyota’s description; the graphic is kind of neat.

Interior

  • Bright Orange cabin accents
  • Cloth seats have orange contrast stitching
  • Foldable rear jump seats
  • Under-seat storage in back
  • Sliding rear window
  • Qi wireless phone charger
  • 7.0-inch Entune infotainment system

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756143
“The interior's controls, driver information screen, and Entune system are all typical Toyota”

The Tacoma’s interior, like the exterior, hasn’t changed since 2016, but it still looks fresh. Its controls, driver information screen, and Entune system are all typical Toyota, so there are no surprises for anyone familiar with any other Toyota product.

My tester’s black cloth cabin is accented by a fun, orange halo ring around the dashboard and orange contrast stitching in the seats. Even the TRD shift knob has the orange accent.

As for the size, the Access Cab has seating for two up front and two more (small) people in back. The jump seats work great for small kids over short distances or even adults when the situation calls for it, but if hauling more than two people is on the regular agenda, I’d definitely recommend the Double Cab.


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756152
“Under the seats are small storage boxes, with the passenger side box housing the tire changing equipment.”

When it comes to hauling stuff other than butts, the jump seats quickly fold against the back wall and the headrests fold down, opening up the back window. Under the seats are small storage boxes, with the passenger side box housing the tire changing equipment.

Back up front, the Tacoma’s dash boasts extremely intuitive controls with three knobs for the dual-zone temperature control and fan speed. Three-level seat heaters get hot enough to fry an egg and retain the last-used setting. Down low, buttons for the blind spot monitoring, parking sensor, and Qi wireless phone charger sit by a USB port and 12-volt power port. The 4WD system’s knob sits by the HVAC controls, within easy reach, too, though it’s possible someone could accidentally select 4WD high range when meaning to turn the driver’s side heat up. Owners shouldn’t have that problem after a couple days, though.


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756142
“Entune might not be the latest or flashiest infotainment on the market, but it gets the job done”

As mentioned, the Entune system is similar to any other Toyota product, though that’s not a bad thing. Entune might not be the latest or flashiest infotainment on the market, but it gets the job done. Knobs make volume and tuning control super easy, and touch-sensitive buttons along the sides of the screen make quick work of navigating between menus.

As for the gauges, the white-on-black font is easy to read and the digital speedometer available in the driver information screen makes it even easier. Steering wheel controls include the five-way button pad for the driver information screen, a button for voice commands, radio volume and tuning, and phone controls for a paired Bluetooth device.

Drivetrain

  • 3.5-liter V-6
  • 278 horsepower at 6,000 rpm
  • 265 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm.
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Part-time 4WD with electronic shifting
  • 17 mpg city / 21 mpg hwy / 18 mpg comb.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756121
“The Tacoma comes standard with a 159-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder, but the vast majority come with the optional 3.5-liter V-6”

The Tacoma comes standard with a 159-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder, but the vast majority come with the optional 3.5-liter V-6. In fact, all the trims above the base SR come with the V-6. The engine uses an innovated D-4S fuel system with both direct and port fuel injection. Toyota uses the old-school port injection to help keep intake valves free of carbon build-up, while the direct injection is used for most of the fuel delivery. Variable valve timing is also included in the mix, as is Toyota’s interesting Otto/Atkinson combustion cycle system.

Basically the engine uses the Atkinson combustion cycle when under light loads, allowing for less fuel usage. When more power is needed, the traditional Otto combustion cycle kicks in and generates the extra oomph. What’s the difference? Well, the two cycles use different timing with opening and closing the overhead valves. The Atkinson cycle delays the intake valve from closing until the piston is already making its upward travel during the compression stroke. This ensures that every drop of fuel is used to its fullest potential. During the Otto cycle, the intake valve is closed before the piston begins rising. While slightly less efficient, the Otto cycle makes more power. Combined with the variable valve timing and lift, the 3.5-liter V-6 can be both a fuel-sipper and power-maker.


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756123
“My TRD Sport is EPA-estimated to achieve 17 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined”

The result is 278 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 265 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. And even despite its 4WD and manual transmission, my TRD Sport is EPA-estimated to achieve 17 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined. Sure, those are fantastic numbers, but they would undoubtedly be lower without the advancements inside the engine.

Speaking of that manual transmission, this six-speed unit feels like a traditional truck transmission. Its throws are long and its gear engagement soft. A mildly weighted clutch makes for easy in-town driving without leg cramps and a predictable engagement point makes for less chance for stalls. And though I quickly got used to the long throws, I kept wishing for a short-throw shift kit early in my testing. It probably didn’t help the Tacoma’s case that I had just gotten out of a Honda Civic Type R. Still, the gearbox is perfectly suited for the Tacoma and it made driving that much more fun.

Driving Impressions


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756149
“The steering is tight when in a turn, but there is some on-center vagueness, though no more than what is unusually found in a pickup”

Besides the extra fun had thanks to the six-speed manual transmission, the Tacoma is a hoot to drive. Especially when held in the mid-range, the V-6 offers plenty of punch and its optional TRD cat-back exhaust makes for a pleasing auditory experience. The steering is tight when in a turn, but there is some on-center vagueness, though no more than what is unusually found in a pickup. Throttle and braking inputs are commendable, with zero throttle tip-in or grabby initial bite with the brakes. Things just worked smoothly.

Body roll though a turn is certainly present, though I never had the gumption to push the Tacoma hard. Even without trying, the skinny Toyo tires start squealing long before the truck reaches its limits. That’s probably a safe thing. Brake dive is mostly managed, too.


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756129
“Even without trying, the skinny Toyo tires start squealing long before the truck reaches its limits”

The truck’s TRD Sport suspension includes MacPherson front struts and control arms up front with a solid axle held in place with leaf springs and shock absorbers out back.

The sprint to 60 mph takes roughly 7.5 seconds, which is perfectly average and fine for a mid-size pickup. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to haul anything with substantial weight or pull a trailer, so I can’t comment on those driving qualities. Still, Toyota says the Tacoma Access Cab V-6 will haul 1,275 pounds in the bed and tow 6,500 pounds with the optional Class-IV towing package.

Pricing


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756164

The Toyota Tacoma Starts at $25,200 for the base SR trim in 2018. According to Toyota’s build-and-price website, the 2018 version of my 2017 TRD Sport starts life at $31,895. Adding the optional 4WD moves the price to $33,810. Foregoing the optional six-speed automatic transmission saves $1,370. (Call that a win-win!) The hard tri-fold tonneau cover costs $650 and the Premium Package, which adds dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and automatic headlights, costs $710. Interestingly, the Premium Package listed for $1,510 in 2017.

Other options on my truck include the $300 bed extender, the $395 paint protection film on the nose, the $120 bed mat, the $90 TRD engine air filter, the $129 hood graphics, the $799 TRD performance exhaust, the $208 carpet floor mats and door sill protector, and the $140 TRD shift knob.

Add in the $940 destination fee, and my Tacoma TRD Sport lists for $37,671.

The Competition

Chevrolet Colorado


2015 Chevrolet Colorado - image 532896

The current Chevy Colorado and its corporate cousin, the GMC Canyon, have been around since the 2015 model year. Like the Tacoma, they are offered in an extended and crew cab format with short and long cargo beds. Likewise, they come with a base four-cylinder, though a V-6 is the bread-n-butter engine. GM one-ups Toyota with a four-cylinder turbodiesel, however. Inside, the Colorado’s cabin is roomy and comfortable, while boasting the optional and highly praised 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system.

As mentioned, the four-cylinder comes standard and is available with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 3.6-liter V-6, however, is only available with the six-speed automatic. The V-6 makes 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. The other optional engine, the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel, makes 181 horsepower and a very respectable 369 pound-feet of torque.

Pricing for the Colorado starts at $21,195 for the extended cab, long bed model with rear-wheel drive and the 2.5-liter four-cylinder. A comparable truck with the extended cab and Z71 Off-road package and powered by the V-6 starts at $34,595.

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado

Nissan Frontier


2016 Nissan Frontier - image 649408

If age doesn’t matter to your truck purchase, the Nissan Frontier might work. It’s been around for nearly a decade, yet still offers some competitive features. Its interior is very dated compared to the Tacoma and Colorado, but it’s lower price makes up for the difference. And like the others, it comes standard in an extended cab form and a crew cab is optional.

Power comes from either the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder or the volume-leading 4.0-liter V-6, which makes 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is available, as is a five-speed automatic. Nissan offers several trim lines ranging from fleet spec to well-equipped off-roader.

Prices start at $18,990 and range to upward of $36,000 for the range-topping SL grade. An extended (or King Cab in Nissan speak) with the off-road ready PRO-4X package starts at $33,030.

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Frontier

Conclusion


2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven - image 756175

The Toyota Tacoma, even with its smaller Access Cab, proved to be an excellent and fun daily driver thanks to its peppy V-6, six-speed manual transmission, 4WD, and TRD Sport suspension. The handy tonneau cover, bed extender, and cargo tie-down points were very useful during the week and are must-buy accessories in my book.

For those not wanting to hit the trail or tempt fate with getting stuck, the TRD Sport is a great street-biased alternative to the TRD Off-Road. While I’d be more included to get the TRD Off-Road, I know TRD Sport would handle 95 percent of the off-road I’d actually ever do. And the rest of the time, I wouldn’t suffer with loud tire growl and the extra weight I’d be lugging around with skid plates and rear differential locks. Still, it’s great to see Toyota offer both TRD packages at the same price. That allows customers to pick the truck that’s right for them without worrying about the price.

All told, it’s completely understandable why the Toyota Tacoma outsells the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier by a wide margin. Though the other trucks are highly competitive, the Tacoma just does so much really well. For that, it earns a gold star in my book.

  • Leave it
    • * Could be more fuel efficenct
    • * Cramped back seat for adults
    • * Options start to add up

PostHeaderIcon Truck & 4WD Life: Rides In Detroit You Won’t Want To Miss!

Alternately known as the North American International Auto Show, the Detroit Auto Show is one of the most important auto-related events this side of the Atlantic, bringing together makes from around the world to show off their various wares and entice stateside consumers with the latest and greatest before they hit the showroom. Considering Detroit is home turf for Ford and General Motors, this town makes for the perfect venue to bring out new and updated SUVs and trucks, and indeed, the debut roster this year is heavy with entries from both of these popular segments. If you want a machine that rides tall and is capable no matter the job, Detroit is a great place to look, so to get you excited, we’ve compiled the following list of new SUVs and trucks slated to appear in Motor City in 2018.

Continue reading to learn more about the debuts headed to the Detroit Auto Show.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado


2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753280

Fresh from the Bowtie Brand is the new Silverado, which will show in Detroit following a dramatic helicopter-assisted unveiling last month at the Texas Motor Speedway. Details are still forthcoming, but so far we do know the new Silverado will get fresh exterior styling, as well as a lighter curb weight thanks to the inclusion of “mixed materials and advanced manufacturing.” Buyers will also get a total of eight different trim levels to choose from, including the off-road leaning Trailboss spec.

Read our full on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 748321

First making its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the new and improved Jeep Wrangler is expected to head east to show in Detroit. Packing the same boxy, easily recognizable styling as the Wrangler that came before, the latest JL generation also adds a new interior layout and a line of engine options of the refreshed and all-new varieties, including a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, an EcoDiesel 3.0-liter six, and a “Hurricane” 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Under the skin, the JL doesn’t neglect its off-roading heritage, locking in full-time 4WD, a fully boxed frame, and on the Rubicon model, an electronically disconnecting front sway bar for greater wheel articulation when crawling.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.

2019 Ford Ranger


2019 Ford Ranger Spied in Thailand - image 755611

Alongside rumors of pumped-up Mustangs like the Shelby GT500 and Bullitt, rampant speculation also points to the Blue Oval showing up with a brand-new Ranger in Detroit. The last time we saw the nameplate was back in 2011, which would make a reappearance for the 2019 model year quite the happening. We’re thinking a four-banger EcoBoost for the base trim level, ranging up to a 2.7-liter V-6 good for 325 horses and 375 pound-feet of torque.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Ford Ranger.

2019 Jeep Cherokee


2019 Jeep Cherokee Coming to Detroit - image 753485

This one is actually a lock for the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, with Jeep already providing pics and specs on the refreshed SUV’s interior gear and exterior styling. The bigger question is what’s going on under the hood, as Jeep is playing it close to the chest by saying the SUV will get “even more fuel-efficient powertrain options.” We’re thinking the new 2.0-liter introduced on the JL Wrangler would make for a good fit, with 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque on tap.

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.

2019 Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689823

FCA is joining the fun this year with an update for the popular Ram 1500, keeping it feeling fresh thanks to a lighter curb weight courtesy of extra aluminum for the construction, as well as a rumored Mega Cab option for more space inside. The powertrain will also get revamped, with engine options including a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, as well as a possible turbocharged inline six-cylinder for the 2020 model year.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Ram 1500.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500


2014 GMC Sierra 1500 - image 524785

Note: Current GMC Sierra 1500 pictured here.

With the debut of the updated Silverado, GMC will also offer its own updates for the Sierra 1500. Outside, the styling will get tweaked thanks to a new fascia, while it’s possible carbon fiber will be used for the bed liner to add strength without too much extra weight. The various engine options should remain relatively unchanged, while a 10-speed automatic transmission will come as standard spec no matter the trim level. However, it’s also possible the new Sierra will skip Detroit all together, so we’ll have to wait and see.

References


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Wallpaper Selections of the Day: 2019 Chevy Silverado

2019 Chevy Silverado


Wallpaper Selections of the Day: 2019 Chevy Silverado - image 753278

Wallpaper Selections of the Day: 2019 Chevy Silverado - image 753280

Wallpaper Selections of the Day: 2019 Chevy Silverado - image 753277

See our up-to-date review on the 2019 Chevy Silverado

Detroit Auto Show


maker logos - image 755805

Check out the latest news about the Detroit Auto Show

PostHeaderIcon Peek-A-Boo! 2019 Ram 1500 Slips From Under Covers

The next-generation Ram 1500 will debut in a few weeks’ time at the Detroit Auto Show on January 15 to much anticipation. Yet ahead of the show, we’re getting a solid look at the half-ton’s new grille and front fascia design. Gone is the iconic crosshair grille design that’s been a mainstay since 1994. It’s replaced by a six-sided grille with the R-A-M logo brazened right in the center.

This is a change Ram has been preparing its customers for over the last few years. Trim levels like the Ram Rebel and Laramie Longhorn have departed from the traditional grille in favor of a nostril-style grille with the R-A-M logo rather than the ram’s head emblem.

The 2019 Ram also features headlights and fog lights are more integrated into the body; the stepped fenders and tall hood are reduced to a barely-noticeable feature on the new truck. Thankfully, the tow hooks are still easily accessible, and the air dam seems to be rather minimal for a better approach angle.

Continue reading for more information.

What We Know


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689823
“The 2019 Ram 1500 might be completely new, but it’s shaping up to be more evolutionary versus revolutionary.”

The 2019 Ram 1500 might be completely new, but it’s shaping up to be more evolutionary versus revolutionary. The venerable 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission are expected to return, as well as the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, though perhaps with the automatic start/stop feature found on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. Last but not least, the lovely 3.0-liter EcoDiesel will return, though with the healthy boost in power that is scheduled for the Jeep, as well. Horsepower is up from 240 to 260, while torque moves from 420 to 442 pound-feet.

We also know the Ram’s tailgate will be getting an innovative new feature. As we reported in November 2017, the tailgate will have a vertical split (roughly 70/30) that will allow for either side to operate independently. The tailgate will also swing open like French doors, while still being able to fold flat like conventional tailgates. The RamBox storage system should return, as well.


Spied: 2019 Ram Getting Massive Vertical Screen - image 742287
“The interior will have the latest version of Uconnect, the Uconnect 4 system, along with a large vertically oriented screen”

The interior will have the latest version of Uconnect, the Uconnect 4 system, along with a large vertically oriented screen. The gauge cluster should see an enlarged driver information screen, too. The rotary shift knob for the eight-speed automatic will also be present.

Save for pricing and final fuel economy numbers; Ram will announce all the official details come January 15, 2018, at the Detroit Auto Show. Of course, Ram won’t be the only new half-ton truck from a domestic automaker. General Motors will debut the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. We’ve already gotten a substantial view of the Chevy at the automaker’s centennial celebration at the Texas Motor Speedway in December 2017. Still, we know nothing beyond what the Trailboss trim package looks like from the outside. GMC could also debut the 2019 Sierra at Detroit, as well. The GMC is expected to have a greater departure from the Chevy, giving GM customers more variety rather than different grilles and badges.

Check out the links below for more information.

References


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689361

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


Spied: 2019 Ram Getting Massive Vertical Screen - image 742287

Spied: 2019 Ram 1500 Getting Massive Vertical Screen


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739564

The 2019 Ram 1500 Departs From “Big Rig” Design


The 2019 Ram 1500 Is Getting A Split Tailgate! - image 745567

The 2019 Ram 1500 Is Getting A Split Tailgate


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon Where is the Nissan Titan’s V-6 Option?

When the second-generation Nissan Titan half-ton pickup began rolling off its Canton, Mississippi assembly line in late 2016 for the 2017 model year, it was powered by a heavily revised 5.6-liter V-8, but Nissan promised an all-new V-6 on some unknown future date. Most industry experts figured the Nissan would wait until its fleet-minded single cab models started production, but that time has come and gone. Recently Nissan released its detailed information on the 2018 Titan, and while pricing has increased by $200 across the trim lines, no V-6 was announced.

That’s got us asking questions. After all, a V-6 Titan with a lower base price and higher fuel economy would be very attractive for fleet operators needing to spend as little money as possible. As it stands, the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Ram 1500 all come standard with V-6 engines. Only the Toyota Tundra comes standard with a V-8. Toyota, however, completely dropped the ultra-slow selling single cab Tundra for 2017, showing just how little Toyota cares about reaching fleet customers.

In a recent interview with Wards Auto, Nissan’s senior VP of product planning for Nissan North America, Michael Bunce, said, a V-6 Titan is still “in the plan.” Bunce did not comment on Nissan’s timeline, however. One theory is Nissan is waiting on the next-generation Frontier pickup to debut in 2018, and with it, an all-new V-6. Since the Frontier and Titan are built in the same plant, the engine could easily be shared between the trucks. When Wards Auto asked Bunce about it, he said,
“I can’t give you any specific details on that, but we will be moving in that direction.”

Continue reading for more information.

The Needed V-6 For Expanding Sales


Where is the Nissan Titan's V-6 Option? - image 665131
“A V-6 would theoretically save money on both the initial purchase price and fuel costs”

While it’s true most private customers would happily skip a V-6 for the Titan’s healthy 5.6-liter V-8 with 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, business with large fleets of vehicles are more interested in their bottom line. A V-6 would theoretically save money on both the initial purchase price and fuel costs. We’re talking nation-wide conglomerates with 5,000 trucks to local government agencies with 10 trucks. The vast majority of these aren’t hauling 10,000 pounds around and those that do graduate to three-quarter and one-ton trucks.

Nissan has expanded the Titan lineup to include the single cab, extended cab, and crew cab, along with short and long cargo beds. These same configurations are also available on the Titan XD, Nissan’s “heavier duty” truck that is designed to split the difference between the half-ton and three-quarter ton segments in both price and capability.

Still, adding a V-6 to the half-ton Titan and dropping its MSRP, along with catering word-ready options that appeal to blue-collar trades should go a long way to helping Nissan grab more market share from Ford, General Motors, and Ram.

References

Nissan Titan


2017 Nissan Titan - image 665128

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan.

PostHeaderIcon Elon Musk Tweets Tesla Pickup Coming After Model Y

Elon Musk likes to tweet. He also likes to make grand promises. But unlike other billionaire geniuses with a space company, Musk tends to fulfill his grandiose promises – at least in due time. The latest on Elon’s long list is an all-electric pickup truck from Tesla. Musk recently responded to questions on Twitter about the truck, saying, “I promise that we will make a pickup truck right after the Model Y. Have had the core design/engineering elements in my mind for almost five years. Am dying to build it.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard Elon say something about a Tesla pickup. The first official rambling from Elon came in January of 2016 when he said in an on-camera interview, “Yeah, I think it’s quite likely we’ll do a truck in the future.” He officially confirmed a Tesla pickup during the debut of the Tesla Semi and Roadster back November 2017. However, the rendering images of that truck show it being very large like a medium-duty truck rather than something found in your neighbor’s driveway.

Must took to Twitter shortly after tweeting the statement above to clarify the Tesla truck’s size. When asked if it would be similar to the Ford F-150, Elon replied by saying, “Similar total size. Maybe slightly bigger to account for a really gamechanging (I think) feature I’d Like to add.”
As for the when, reports suggest the Model Y, a compact crossover, will debut sometime in 2018. If that’s the case, we could see a Tesla pickup by 2020. As for what that game-changing feature could be, anyone’s guess is as good as ours.

Continue reading for more information.

References


2020 Tesla Pickup - image 682271

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Tesla Pickup


maker logos - image 746180

Read more Tesla news.

PostHeaderIcon Remember the Crazy Chevy SSR? Doug Does

Chevrolet has made some interesting things over its 100 years, but none compete with the 2003-2006 SSR. This contraption defied classification and spawned during a troubled time during “Old GM’s” heyday and right before its collapse in 2009. The SSR is a hardtop convertible pickup with a semi-permanent tonneau cover over its composite bed, powered by a small-block V-8 and wrapped in retro styling that harks back to the late 1940s Advance design pickups. Oh, and it shares its hydro-formed ladder frame and suspension system with the Chevy Trailblazer.

On the inside, the SSR was a hodgepodge of mid-2000s GM infamy. Green digital readouts, a chunky steering wheel, a hundred-button stereo face, and odd proportion everywhere. But for all its weirdness, the SSR’s interior had some redeeming qualities. The center console and door panels featured body-colored paint; there were aluminum bits to brighten things up, and heated seats.

The small-block V-8 was the third-generation 5.3-liter making 300 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic was the only choice. Then for its final year in 2006, Chevy dropped in the 390-horsepower 6.0-liter V-8 with 405 pound-feet of torque. The extra power really woke up the SSR, but the best improvement was the available six-speed manual transmission. Power was only sent to the rear wheels.

Despite its quirks, the SSR’s greatest downfall was its price. In 2003 it started at $41,995 and could be optioned up to $47,000. By 2006, the base price had grown to $43,180 and its topped out around $50,000. That was rather expensive for the time, especially considering the competition that shared that price bracket.

Still, the Chevy SSR was a unicorn that will forever lurk in the halls of GM oddities. Give it 40 years, and these things will command big money on the auction block. For now, you’ll just catch glares and stares as you drive the SSR down the road.


References

Chevrolet SSR


2003 Chevrolet SSR - image 469534

Read our full review on the 2003 Chevrolet SSR.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Announces Pricing For 2018 Titan, Titan XD

Nissan has announced pricing for its 2018 Titan and Titan XD models, along with the price for the pickups’ new Midnight Edition. Both trucks carry over unchanged from 2017, including cab, bed, trim, and engine configurations. As such, Nissan is only upping the price by $200 across the board. The monochromatic Midnight Edition, which brings several visual updates to the trucks, adds an extra $1,250 to the MSRP.

The Titan and Titan XD are slowing gaining steam in the highly competitive pickup market, selling 7,679 examples in November inside the U.S. That’s up from only 4,114 in October and 3,773 in September. While these numbers are far less than Ford, GM, and Ram’s monthly truck sales, Nissan is playing out a strategy. Titan sales have been targeted to certain truck-centric markets like Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. This allows the automaker to focus its marketing dollars while allowing its Canton, Mississippi assembly plant to ramp up production.

Nissan’s overall truck strategy has the half-ton Titan competing against stalwarts like the Silverado, F-150, Ram 1500, and Tundra, while the Titan XD carves out its own niche market in between the half-ton and three-quarter ton weight classes. Nissan is also betting big with its association to Cummins, which provides the optional 5.0-liter V-8 turbodiesel offered in the XD.

For our opinions and driving impressions, check out our review of the 2017 Titan and 2016 Titan XD.

Continue reading for the full pricing information.

2018 Titan Pricing


Nissan Announces Pricing For 2018 Titan, Titan XD - image 754150

These prices don’t include Nissan’s $1,295 destination and deliver fee

2018 Titan

Single Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $29,780
Single Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $33,110
King Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $32,750
King Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $36,130
Crew Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $35,430
Crew Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $38,570
Crew Cab SL V8 Gas 4×2 $47,030
Crew Cab Platinum Reserve V8 Gas 4×2 $52,960

2018 Titan XD

Single Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $31,790
Single Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $35,690
King Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $33,860
King Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $38,160
Crew Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $36,990
Crew Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $41,150
Crew Cab SL V8 Gas 4×2 $49,160
Crew Cab Platinum Reserve V8 Gas 4×2 $54,530

2017 Titan Pricing


Nissan Announces Pricing For 2018 Titan, Titan XD - image 754149

2017 Titan

Single Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $29,580
Single Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $32,910
King Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $32,550
King Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $35,930
Crew Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $35,230
Crew Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $38,370
Crew Cab SL V8 Gas 4×2 $46,830
Crew Cab Platinum Reserve V8 Gas 4×2 $52,760

2017 Titan XD

Single Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $31,590
Single Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $35,490
King Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $33,560
King Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $37,960
Crew Cab S V8 Gas 4×2 $36,790
Crew Cab SV V8 Gas 4×2 $40,950
Crew Cab SL V8 Gas 4×2 $48,960
Crew Cab Platinum Reserve V8 Gas 4×2 $54,330

References

Nissan Titan


2017 Nissan Titan - image 665129

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan.


2016 Nissan Titan XD - image 610121

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan XD.

PostHeaderIcon The Best Truck For Moving A Big Christmas Haul

Imagine, for a second, a long-lost and filthy rich uncle invites your family over for Christmas. Under the tree is every imaginable gift to make up for his years of absence. (It’s a stretch, yeah, but play along.) The kids tear through the paper revealing massive gifts that somehow weight a ton. Now, how will you get these presents home? Well, luckily there are pickup trucks built to handle the load.

General Motors, Ford, and Ram’s offerings have all grown exponentially capable over the last decade, with some hauling and towing more than ever though possible. In many cases, a commercial driver’s license is needed to stay legal. Here, we’re going to focus on one-ton trucks with single-rear wheels and achieving the maximum payload capacity. So, if you’re needed a truck that can haul, this is for you.

Continue reading for more Christmas cheer and pickup specs.

3. Ram 3500HD


2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty - image 726141

4,140 pounds of payload

Coming in at third on our list is the Ram 3500HD Built as a regular cab and long bed, the single-rear wheeled Ram is capable of carrying 4,140 pounds in its bed. That’s pretty impressive when compared to a half-ton or even three-quarter ton truck, but doesn’t quite stack up to the one-ton competition.

Unlike the Ram 1500 and 2500 models with their multi-link and coil spring rear suspension setup, the 3500 uses a traditional leaf spring design. The thick leaf pack affords more weight tolerance, though at the compromise of unladen ride quality. Still, when it comes to moving heavy objects, the Ram 3500HD does a fine job. The Ram requires the larger gasoline engine option – the big 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. While you’d think the 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six would be the better choice for heavy hauling, the turbodiesel’s weight adds to the Ram’s overall curb weight and therefore directly drops the available payload capacity. It’s worth mentioning that by opting for the dual-rear wheels, the Ram 3500HD’s payload shoots up to 7,350 pounds – the most of three trucks with the dually option.

Prices for this particular 3500HD SRW with a 4,140-pound rating start at $33,790.

Read our full review on the 2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty.

2. Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD


2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD - image 648533

4,390 pounds of payload

The Chevy takes second place in this comparison, much like it does in the sales wars. Built as a 3500HD with the regular cab and eight-foot bed and powered by the 6.0-liter V-8 and with rear-wheel drive, the Silverado will haul 4,390 pounds in the bed. The Silverado also requires the 11,100-pound GVWR weight rating option to be selected. As with the Ram, the Silverado 3500HD with dual rear wheels is capable of hauling much more. In this case, it’s 7,153 pounds – again with the gasoline engine and rear-wheel drive.

Pricing for this specifically configured truck starts at $44,720 in the base WT trim. That’s a hefty increase over the Ram’s base price.

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

1. Ford F-350 Super Duty


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648383

4,710 pounds of payload

Defying conventional wisdom of cab and bed configurations, reaching the maximum payload in the 2018 Ford Super Duty without dual-rear wheels requires the Super Cab and long bed configuration with 4WD. Set up this way, the F-350 will haul 4,710 pounds in its aluminum bed. The 6.2-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission are required, along with the 11,500-pound GVWR.

Like the Silverado and Ram, the Ford Super Duty’s payload rating jumps significantly when adding the dual-rear-wheel option. In that case, the F-350 Super Duty will haul 7,630 pounds. That configuration requires the regular cab, long bed option with rear-wheel drive.

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty.

PostHeaderIcon BMW’s Holiday Video Features Rarely Seen M3 E30 Pickup

With Christmas literally being a few days away, automakers have started rolling out their holiday greetings for the masses. BMW’s M Division is the latest to do so with a holiday-themed ad that features a vehicle that was never sold to the public. We’ve seen it a handful of times over the years, but this is probably the first time Bimmer is using the pickup version of the BMW M3 E30 for any of its promotional videos. Consider it a treat then that BMW is doing it for the holidays. Merry Christmas, indeed!

“If you’re not familiar with the BMW M3 E30 pickup, it’s because the German automaker never put it up in the market”

If you’re not familiar with the BMW M3 E30 pickup, it’s because the German automaker never put it up in the market. History points to this particular vehicle as a skunkworks project created by BMW M all the way back in 1986 to serve a variety of purposes, including transporting parts and other work equipment. Unbelievably, BMW M continue to use the M3 pickup until 2012 before retiring it for good.

Five years later, the performance brand dusted off the M3-based model to serve as the start of this Christmas-themed commercial. The ad itself is pretty straight-forward. It starts with a mother and a daughter making final preparations for their Christmas decorations. The father is noticeably absent because he’s bringing home the Christmas three, all wrapped up in the M3 pickup’s bed. It turns out; dear ‘ol daddy had far too much fun power sliding the M3 pickup that he forgot about the tree at the back. Once he gets home, beaming with pride over his road exploits, he turns to see what was left of the Christmas tree. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and his daughter’s face has “disappointed” written all over it.

“For better or worse, the ad does a good job touting the performance abilities of the M3 pickup.”

For better or worse, the ad does a good job touting the performance abilities of the M3 pickup. The vehicle started its life using a 2.0-liter engine sourced from the 320iS before being replaced by the 2.3-liter unit powering the M3 E30. The latter was capable of producing 200 horsepower, so it’s understandable for the dad to go a little crazy with it in the snow. If only he remembered there was a Christmas tree in the back…

References

BMW M3


1986 BMW E30 M3 review - image 83786

Read our full review on the 1986 BMW M3 E30.

PostHeaderIcon GM Will Continue Current Silverado & Sierra Production Past 2019 Model Launch

General Motors has apparent plans to keep the current-generation 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 in production while simultaneously building and selling the all-new, 2019 versions. GM has tapped its Oshawa plant in Canada to continue production while its other plants in the U.S. and Mexico will build the new model.

“This strategy will help us meet customer demand as we transition our production and introduce our exciting new models into the market starting later in 2018,” said Jennifer Wright, a GM Canada spokeswoman to Automotive News Canada. “The length of the program in Oshawa will be dependent on market demand.”

For anyone who has followed the auto industry, this news isn’t surprising, especially for GM. Most recently, GM built both the previous and new generation of Equinox crossover and Jeep plans to do the same with the outgoing Wrangler JK while the new 2018 Wrangler JL’s production is ramping up. Automotive News reports that even the current Ram 1500 will continue production alongside the next-generation Ram 1500 when it begins assembly in early 2018.

As for the Oshawa’s future, Canada’s Unifor union president Jerry Dias, told AN, “They are being very careful about what they are announcing right now. But they have invested a fortune in Oshawa. Right now the commitment is to the existing portfolio. More decisions will be made.”

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters


GM Will Continue Current Silverado & Sierra Production Past 2019 Model Launch - image 753281
“By continuing to produce current models, it gives automakers the chance to perfect the new model’s assembly while giving customers a shot at deeply discounted “classic” models.”

Automakers cannot afford to create a gap in their sales flow. Simply ending production of an outgoing model, allowing for weeks of renovation and retooling, and then spending several more weeks ramping up production just isn’t feasible. By continuing to produce current models, it gives automakers the chance to perfect the new model’s assembly while giving customers a shot at deeply discounted “classic” models.

That “classic” name actually has a history at GM. The automaker has used it on several occasions to denote previous-generation models that share the same model year as the new generation vehicle. Notable nameplates with the Classic treatment include the Malibu, Caprice, and of course, the Silverado. The last Silverado Classic happened in 2007 as GM transitioned from 1999-2006 GMT800 pickup to the 2007-2013 GMT900 pickup.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


GM Will Continue Current Silverado & Sierra Production Past 2019 Model Launch - image 753284

Read more about the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739865

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 712066

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Add UPS to the Growing List of Companies That Have Placed Orders For Tesla’s Semi Trucks

Gets Tesla Autopilot and all autonomous features

Walmart, DHL, Anheuser-Busch, and PepsiCo. have all signed up and ordered Tesla’s all-electric semi trucks. Now you can add DHL rival UPS to that list. The global delivery giant has pre-ordered 125 semi trucks from the electric car maker, making it the latest large-scale company to try out Tesla’s new breakthrough product.


Add UPS to the Growing List of Companies That Have Placed Orders For Tesla's Semi Trucks - image 745865
“Taking into account UPS’ pre-order of 125 semi trucks, Tesla probably has over 500 orders of its trucks already”

It’s no secret that Tesla’s all-electric semi trucks have the attention of a lot of companies. Taking into account UPS’ pre-order of 125 semi trucks, Tesla probably has over 500 orders of its trucks already. That’s an impressive feat for something that a lot of people were skeptical about when Elon Musk first announced plans for the all-electric trucks.

In the case of UPS, no less than the company’s chief information and engineering officer, Juan Perez, confirmed the company’s pre-order of 125 trucks. “For more than a century, UPS has led the industry in testing and implementing new technologies for more efficient fleet operations,” he said. “We look forward to expanding further our commitment to fleet excellence with Tesla. These groundbreaking electric tractors are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership.”

That’s as good a stamp of approval as you’ll see from a company that’s considered as one of the biggest fleet operators in the world with 108,000 delivery vehicles scattered all over the globe.


Add UPS to the Growing List of Companies That Have Placed Orders For Tesla's Semi Trucks - image 746090
“UPS didn’t say how many of these orders are for the 300-mile range version of Tesla’s electric semis and how many are for the 500-mile range version”

UPS didn’t say how many of these orders are for the 300-mile range version of Tesla’s electric semis and how many are for the 500-mile range version. What we do know is that UPS is already making a huge push towards offering this kind of service for the future. In addition to its order of Tesla’s electric semis, the company is also converting as many as 1,500 of its delivery trucks to battery-electric. Likewise, it has also purchased Daimler’s new electric trucks to add to its growing fleet. All these moves are part of UPS’ goal to bolster its fleet by buying one vehicle with alternative fuel or advanced technology for every four vehicles it buys by 2020.

UPS’ order of Tesla’s all-electric semi trucks didn’t come cheap either. Taking into account the deposit price of $20,000 for a base reservation of the production model, UPS’ order comes with a deposit of $2.5 million.

Through all of this, one thing has become clear about Tesla’s all-electric semi trucks: the demand for it is strong.

References

Tesla Semi


Add UPS to the Growing List of Companies That Have Placed Orders For Tesla's Semi Trucks - image 746089

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Semi.


maker logos - image 746180

Read more Tesla news.

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