Archive for the ‘pickup trucks’ Category
Mercedes was very clear it had no intentions of offering its upcoming X-Class pickup to North American customers. Adding insult to injury, the German automaker confirmed nearly every other global region outside American and Canada would have access to the luxury pickup, including those in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and South America. But Mercedes might be changing its mind.
News from The Detroit Bureau suggests Mercedes is reevaluating the American pickup market ahead of the X-Class’ launch for the 2019 model year. Volker Mornhingweg, the head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, said this at a news conference on February 24, 2017:
“In the past year the (U.S.) mid-sized truck market has come back a bit. We are watching developments very closely, and we will take a decision at the appropriate time.” Mornhingweg was reportedly pointing to the success of General Motors’ mid-size pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
What’s more, Mornhingweg went on to say Mercedes’ assembly plant in Argentina would not have enough capacity to build X-Class trucks for both South and North America. As a result, the U.S.-spec X-Class would likely be built inside the States. That theory is further backed by President Trump’s threat of tariffs on imported goods, meaning a U.S.-built X-Class would be more cost-effective.
Mercedes has several routs it could take for U.S. production of the X-Class. For one, it could add to its existing assembly plants, including the one Tuscaloosa, Alabama or the plant near Charleston, South Carolina that’s currently under initial construction. Mercedes could also build an entirely new assembly plant with the help of Nissan, which partnered with Mercedes in developing the X-Class. Both the X-Class and upcoming Nissan Frontier will share a similar platform. Conversely, Nissan could expand the Frontier’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi to accommodate the X-Class.
Needless to say, Mercedes as a number of options, along with a very wide and untapped customer base in the U.S. And based on the number of high-end trim levels available with current pickups, a luxury-minded Mercedes pickup will likely do rather well.
Continue reading for more information.
The 80s is strong in this 28-miniute comparison review from MotorWeek as the “TV Magazine” judges the four main competitors in the compact pickup segment for the 1986 model year. It was the 1980s that truly solidified the compact pickup as an everyday workhorse and a time in truck history we love remembering. The field includes the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-10, Nissan Hard Body, Isuzu P’UP, and Mazda B-2000. Which one comes out on top? Keep reading to find out.
Don’t think I’m going to spoil the answer off the bat, though. This competition is worth the watch. MotorWeek runs the trucks through a battery of criteria that includes sporty appearance, utility, performance, drivability, and affordability. Despite most of them being subjective, these points show the differences between the trucks – two of which are “domestic” and the others being “imports.” Interestingly enough, the Nissan Hard Body was already being built in Tennessee in the mid-1980s.
The comparison test shows just how small these compact these trucks really were. Nothing on the market short of a Smart FourTwo comes close to how tight these trucks’ interiors really were. Modern day mid-size pickup would utterly dwarf these five contenders – not only in shear size, but also in functionality, safety, power, and “sporty styling.”
In the end, it came down to picking winners and losers. Isuzu brought up the rear with a fifth place finish, while Chevy brought in a surprising fourth place. It was Nissan and its Hard Body pickup that landed third place, while the Mazda shockingly came in second. Ford, however, took the top spot thanks to its wins in utility, performance, and drivability, the 1986 Ford Ranger took home MotorWeek’s top honors in this battle of the tiny trucks.
Watch the video and let us know what you think in the comments below. This blast-from-the-past is definitely worth the watch.
The Ridgeline is completely new for 2017 and ushers in the second generation for Honda’s unibody pickup truck. It shares its underpinnings and a number of drivetrain and interior pieces with the Pilot crossover, but it’s designed to offer more functionality than a crossover thanks to its cargo bed with less tradeoffs of a conventional body-on-frame pickup. But how does it work in the real world? Does this compromise between crossover and pickup really translate into a practical vehicle? To find out, I spent a week with the new Ridgeline and racked up nearly 1,600 miles.
In short, yes, the Ridgeline does offer a great truck-like experience for folks who might normally shop the crossover segment, but also for those who might need something to complete their weekend warrior project list. It boasts a maximum payload capacity of 1,588 pounds, so hauling mulch or firewood isn’t an issue. The bed is even wide and flat enough to haul 4×8 sheets of plywood or drywall. Yet at the same time, the Ridgeline drives like a crossover, gets respectable fuel mileage, and has a highly functional interior. But there’s more to this review than stating the obvious. Let’s get down to business.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
These are exciting times for truck enthusiasts who also like off-roading. The 2017 Ford Raptor is out, launching the second generation of Ford’s halo F-150. Toyota has its new-for-2017 Tacoma TRD Pro that’s based on the new-for-2016 Tacoma. And Chevy comes late to the party with its Colorado ZR2 – a production truck based on the concept version from 2014. These three trucks represent the upper crust of the pickup segment. It’s a prestigious group that’s focused on going fast over rough terrain while still conquering the daily commute.
The Raptor might be the premiere pickup, having birthed this niche segment back in 2010, but the Toyota and Chevy new-comers aren’t slackers. In fact, thanks to their smaller sizes compared to the full-size Raptor, these mid-size pickups are more agile and can fit down narrower trails. The famed Rubicon train in California, or instance, is too narrow for the Raptor’s immensely wide track. The Tacoma TRD Pro and Colorado ZR2, however, should have no problem traversing the tight terrain.
The Toyota and Chevy are also less expensive (or rumored to be) than the Raptor. That puts them basically in a head-to-head fight for customers. Typical things like design, features, and brand loyalty goes a long way in choosing which truck is best, but a more objective comparison should be made. That’s especially true for someone who’s ready to pull the trigger on a purchase.
That’s where this article comes in. We’re going to dive deep into the features and specs of both the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and the Chevy Colorado ZR2 in order to help you, the customer, make a better-informed decision.
Continue reading for more information.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is without a doubt one of the greatest off-road vehicles ever made. It ranks right up there with the Land Rover Defender, Jeep Wrangler, and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen when it comes to prowess over unpaved surfaces. But even with so much natural talent, there are some out there who feel the need to take it even further. But what do you do if a lift kit, meaty tires, skid plates, and lockers aren’t enough? Time to go 6×6.
That’s the solution seen here in this one-minute, 23-second video. The star of the show comes from NSV and Multidrive Technology, which blessed the Toyota with an extra axle to handle the rough stuff. The result looks OEM in quality, not to mention incredibly capable.
The 6×6 is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 engine, which is supercharged to 398 horsepower and 364 pound-feet of torque. The powerplant mates to a dual-range, five-speed manual transmission. If you’re interested in picking one up for yourself, you can also get it with a 4.5-liter turbodiesel and automatic gearbox.
Looks like a lot of fun. But for some reason, I can’t help but wish it came with the option for Hellcat power…
Very few cars, if any, embody America quite like the Jeep Wrangler. The timeless off-road vehicle has been at the forefront of American’s off-road adventures dating back to the last century. This kind of tradition hasn’t aged with time and the perfect embodiment of that is the Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition, a special edition Wrangler that pays homage to Jeep’s long and storied history with the US military. Recently, AutoGuide took some time to get acquainted with the Wrangler Willys to go over all the details of the special edition model and, more importantly, to determine why the Wrangler continues to be one of America’s most popular vehicles.
One of the Wrangler Willys Wheeler’s most defining characteristics is it’s unique exterior package. Unlike other Wranglers, this model comes with a unique Army Green paint finish and black decals written in military font. That’s just the start of it. Aesthetics aside, this variant of the Wrangler is loaded with off-road features that make it well-suited for the roads less traveled.
There’s more to the Wrangler Willys Wheeler’s Edition that I’m putting on here and the only reason I’m saving all the juicy bits is because I want you to watch the video for yourself. I can talk ’till the cows come home, but there’s nothing like watching it run roughshod over rugged terrains to get a better understanding on why the Wrangler Willys is a special kind of Wrangler and why the Wrangler itself has etched its name into America’s automotive history.
The gates are open at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, and with those pesky journalists finally out of the way, the public can now enjoy all the vehicular goodness that North America’s “largest” auto show can muster. Special editions, refreshes, and brand-new models all dropped cover this year, with crossovers and SUVs served up as the main course, and new sedans and sports cars added as a tasty side dish. Picking winners and losers here is not exactly easy, but hey, this isn’t some elementary school talent show. Time to be ruthless.
There were a few clear standouts for Best In Show right from the start, but cutthroat competition to fill the remaining slots quickly followed. Picking vehicles for Worst In Show was also pretty tricky, but that’s why they pay me the big bucks.
So, without further ado…
Continue reading for the Best and Worst In Show at CAS 2016.
This is the story of a 1971 Datsun 1600 that somehow found its way from the farmlands of Nashville, Tennessee to Nissan’s famous Heritage Collection where it now sits proudly with its peers. If its journey sounds a little too much like a story arc for a Hollywood movie, it’s because it is, at least to some extent.
See, the truck’s original owner is an 80-year old man named Mavin Askew. For the past 42 years, the 1600 has had no other owner other than Askew so naturally, there’s a lot of sentimentality attached to the truck. Ask loved the 1600 so much that he gave it the nickname “Sweet Pea” on account of its body color.
But, just as fate would have it, Askew met Nashville businessman Dan Tito when the latter inquired about the availability of Sweet Pea. After initially saying that he would think about selling it, Askew ran into Tito for a second time in the same gas station. That conversation eventually resulted in Askew finally letting go of his most prized possession.
For his part, Tito ownership of the 1600 didn’t last long. Upon realizing that space would be an issue for the pickup truck, Tito reached out to Nissan, who in turn purchased the pickup in order to have sit inside its Heritage Collection. It’s an incredible story of two men who thought highly enough of the pickup truck to understand its significance to the Japanese automaker.
It’s a fascinating story that got the happy ending it deserved.
Mercedes has previously confirmed its new pickup truck will share its platform with the next-generation Nissan NP300 Navara thanks to a partnership with Renault-Nissan. Both Mercedes and Nissan agreed to collaborate on the truck’s development, making it a truly joint venture.
Well, our spy photographer has snagged several photos of the Nissan-badged truck running around, but with odd fender extension at each corner to cover a widened track. This suggests Mercedes is truly working on a separate version of the truck with a widen track and a Mercedes-Benz styling. The German automaker has already said its truck will be specifically designed for customers in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Latin America. To our knowledge, Mercedes is still conduction research on the U.S. market before it announces whether the truck would be sold here.
There’s no hard evidence or conformation on which automaker – if either at all – will develop the powertrain for the truck. Each version could carry brand-specific engines and transmissions. In that case, expect the truck to offer Mercedes-developed four- and six-cylinder engines in both gas and turbodiesel variants. A V-8 version wouldn’t be unlikely as a range-topping engine should Mercedes bring the truck stateside. Expect a seven-speed automatic transmission with the optional 4MATIC AWD system. Additionally, we’ve heard rumors Mercedes will name the truck the GLT.
Again, there is no conformation, but we expect Mercedes to debut the GLT sometime in late 2017 as a 2018 model.
Continue reading for more information
The annual TopSpeed awards are upon us again, coming at the close of the calendar year. Our writing stall turned judges have all announced their own lineup of vehicular candidates on separate pieces you can find here.
As a quick recap, each judge picked their top five contenders in each of the three categories – car, truck, and performance vehicle. Each vehicle was then assigned points according to their placement. With all the contenders submitted, the vehicle in each category with the most points wins its category. Each contender was chosen against a long list of criteria that can be found here.
That’s simple enough, right? But would you believe we had a tie? Of course, something like this could only happen in the performance vehicle category. Rest easy though, we broke the tie and will crown a winner. Just know these battles were hard-fought.
Let’s get down to it.
Click ‘Continue Reading’ for the Award winners
When it comes to pickup trucks, the U.S. is arguably the world’s largest consumer. However, North America misses one of the coolest commercial vehicles in the world: the Holden Ute. Also available in supercharged guise as the Maloo R8 LSA in Australia, the Ute has long been a forbidden fruit in America, despite rumors that GM may import it as a rebadged Chevrolet El Camino. And, with Holden set to cease all manufacturing in 2016, the Ute will pass into the history books without setting wheels in the U.S. Not the same can be said about the U.K. though, which just received a batch of Maloo LSAs wearing the local Vauxhall badge.
The Ute isn’t actually new on British roads. Enthusiasts already had access to a version powered by the V-8 LS3, but that engine is now being replaced by a more potent LSA, which first debuted in the U.K. in the VXR8 GTS sedan.
But the Maloo LSA is about more than just a powerful drivetrain. The two-door utility also benefits from new styling upgrades and new standard equipment. Pricing is similar to the VXR8 GTS, which makes it pretty affordable for a performance car. And, although it’s among the most expensive commercial vehicles available in the U.K., it’s definitely the fastest and the most powerful. Keep reading to find out more.
Continue reading to learn more about the Vauxhall Maloo LSA.
Ford is making serious preparations for its upcoming 2017 Super Duty pickup. The automaker has announced its Louisville, Kentucky Truck Plant – home of the Super Duty pickup – will receive $1.3 billion in retrofits while simultaneously creating some 2,000 new jobs.
The sizeable investment will bring a new body shop, assembly line tooling, and general facility upgrades to the plant in preparation for the all-new, aluminum-bodied trucks. The Kentucky Truck Plant is responsible for the F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550, along with the Super Duty chassis cabs, Ford Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator.
“Adding new jobs and more investment at Kentucky Truck Plant not only secures a solid foundation for our UAW members, but also strengthens the communities in which they live, work and play,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department.
Ford is quick to point out its past investments into the Truck Plant and the surrounding Louisville area. In 2014, Ford poured some $80 million into the Truck Plant for upgrades in order to meet an influx of demand. Across town at the Louisville Lincoln plant, Ford invested $129 million to support production of the Lincoln MKC. All told, more than $1.5 billion have been invested in the local area since 2013.
The upcoming 2017 Super Duty is slated to arrive at dealerships by late 2016 and will come equipped with a familiar set of powertrain options, while using an all-aluminum body and interior finishing very similar to those in the current F-150.
Continue reading for more information.
To say Ford has a lot riding on the F-Series pickup is a gross understatement. The full-size trucks are some of the most popular models for the automaker, representing between 600,000 and 800,000 units sold each year. While those numbers include the entire F-Series lineup, made up of the Super Duty models and the half-ton F-150, much of the sales can likely be attributed to the F-150. I say “likely” because Ford doesn’t publish the breakdown between the two classes. Still, the F-150 is an immensely popular truck.
That’s why it was so critical for Ford to nail its next-generation F-150. Completely remade from bumper to bumper, save for some carryover powertrains, the new-for-2015 F-150 took the leap into aluminum, ditching its steel body for high-strength tin foil.
Well, calling it tin foil might not be accurate. Ford will quickly point out the aluminum used on the F-150 is “military grade” stock. While that sounds great, the basic premise is this: the truck is lighter without its strength being compromised. Much of that strength doesn’t actually come from the aluminum, however. The F-150’s new frame is comprised of high-strength steel. Fully boxed, the frame is stronger than before, yet weights nearly 60 pounds less than the 2014 F-150’s frame.
All this is designed to let the F-150 do work. Configured correctly, the pickup truck will haul 3,270 pounds of cargo and tow 12,200 pounds worth of trailer. Those are numbers one-ton trucks like the F-350 couldn’t match a decade ago.
Despite those outrageous numbers, the F-150 is no stripped-out tractor. In fact, I had the chance to sample Ford’s range-topping trim level for the 2015 model year, the Platinum. While 2016 is bringing the even-more-luxurious Limited trim, the Platinum rivals the best mid-level luxury sedan in terms of comfort and equipment.
Let’s take a look
Continue reading for the full driven review
Not counting Fiat Chrysler Auto’s Ram division, Fiat has been absent from the truck market. That’s all changing, however, as the Italian automaker is jumping head-first into the global midsize pickup market via a partnership with Mitsubishi. Yep, Fiat now has a badge-engineered version of the Mitsu Triton pickup.
Called the Fullback in reference to the critical position in both Rugby and American Football, the truck is designed to squarely compete with the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara NP300, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Colorado. Its intended market is EMEA region, otherwise known as Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Fiat is predicting its Fullback will find decent success in that market as there were 675,000 midsize, “medium-duty” pickups sold in there in 2014 alone. Though the final sales numbers for 2015 are still out, there is great potential the market will be even hungrier for these style trucks in 2016.
The Fullback will be offered in several different configurations with three engine choices delivering a total of five different power outputs. Both 2WD and 4WD version are offered. Single, Extended, and Double cab styles, along with three cargo bed lengths give customers the ability to configure the truck the way they want.
Fiat should have the Fullback ready for delivery by Fall 2016. Price, though unconfirmed, should be on par with the Mitsubishi Triton.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Fiat Fullback.
Rumors have been flying about GMC adding a Denali trim level to the Canyon mid-size pickup since its introduction for 2015. Heck, even GMC’s vice president of Sales, Duncan Aldred, has been quoted as saying he wants the range-topping trim level added to the mix.
It makes perfect sense, too. Every other GMC product offers the upgraded luxury version with distinctive exterior styling and swanky interior adornments – save for the Savanna van. What’s more, the Denali trim is said to account for roughly 25 percent of GMC sales, meaning customers crave that upscale appearance and feel.
Now those rumors are getting hotter as spy photographers have snagged the Canyon wearing insanely thin camouflage and upgraded wheels. But we here at TopSpeed aren’t content with blurry spy shots with some sweaty engineer in the cabin. No, we want a “professional grade” look at the upcoming luxo-truck.
And here it is.
Meet the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali – or at least our idea of it. Honestly though, the Denali trim is fairly easy to envision. Add the cheese grater grille, larger wheels, chrome accents, and premium paint and you’ve got yourself a Denali. It’s also a safe bet to call GMC on the model year now that the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder is on the market for 2016.
So let’s take a look at the suspected details.
Read more about the 2017 GMC Canyon Denali.
Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.
I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”
This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.
So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.
Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo
Since 1998, the Super Duty has lead Ford’s truck segment in towing, payload, and sheer power. That original design, with its vertical door handles, rectangular grille, and sloping window slots, have remained almost unchanged. Unlike the competition, the Super Duty wore different bodywork and interior as compare to the half-ton offering. In Ford’s case, it was the F-150.
Ford is debuting its next-generation Super Duty pickup truck at the Texas State Fare. All-new for 2017, the Super Duty shares the F-150’s aluminum skin and much of its interior. The truck now has a stronger frame constructed form high-strength steel that gives it more rigidity.
We will be bringing you all the important details once Ford has released everything. But in the mean time, you can watch the unveiling live on Ford’s YouTube channel (here).