By on July 30, 2014

2015-Chevy-Colorado-3

General Motors’ upcoming midsize truck twins — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — look to do more than attract those seeking a smaller pickup by also seeking out small crossover consumers.

Autoblog reports GM wants to go after crossover shoppers for their new pickups, going as far as to bring a Ford Escape for a competitive test drive at the automaker’s Milford, Mich. facility during the twins’ media day.

On paper, GM believes the interior quality and exterior styling will be the main draws for those looking at Escapes, CR-Vs and RAV4s. The pickups’ power and utility could also help sway those buyers, along with pricing similar to those on the windows of small crossovers. Mileage, on the other hand, may be less than what said consumers prefer, especially when the aforementioned trio delivers a combined 26 mpg.

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122 Comments on “GM: Colorado, Canyon Aimed At Small Crossover, Pickup Shoppers...”


  • avatar
    LALoser

    The diesel version holds my interest.

    • 0 avatar
      gregaryous

      Consider the light wt 2015 D150 with the hot new 2.7 v6 EcoBoost with 375 ft lbs torque at low rpm n flat torque curve that just spanked the Ram EcoDiesel in a 7000 lbs tow challenge up 6% grade at Davis Dam in AZ.

      Plus the upgrade price is only $495 from the base v6 engine compared to expensive $5000 premium for diesel…!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        But in that case, Greg, what kind of economy did they get on the pull? There’s a reason I said a step UP engine. That 2.7 litre engine wouldn’t have that kind of power without the turbo and once you hit that turbo, your economy goes through the floor. Even I know you have to balance the engine to the expected load and a 5,000 pound truck simply won’t let you run a steady speed without the turbo for long. That engine is much better suited to a truck weighing 4,000 pounds or less.

        • 0 avatar
          gregaryous

          Butt…
          The 2.7 EcoBoost is made of CGI engine block just like many Diesel engines so Ford could be using high Compression Ratio to get the big power and efficiency just like a diesel…!!!

          They also have next gen engine controls and lessons learned from the 3.5 EcoBoodt and they beat internal MPG targets… So Ford has something up their sleeve they are not telling about “How” the 2.7 generates the high output… At a price of just $495 too…!!!

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      It doesn’t for me anymore, not with that timing belt.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’m curious to see how the pricing works out. When I can get over $10k off a new Silverado or Sierra right now, that is going to put extreme pressure on the pricing of the smaller trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      alsorl

      Even with the 30% off rebates on the Silverado it is still a poorly designed truck compared to other full size pickups. So hopefully the Colorado will be a better engineered product that should counter the huge rebates on GM full size pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Plenty of mediocre vehicles get sold when the price is right. Better engineering isn’t going to sell these smaller trucks if you can get a more capable truck for the same price, even if its not design perfection. I just bought a 2014 Sierra, and so far my only complaints are a lazy throttle pedal and the Intellilink system. Other than that it is smooth, quiet and comfortable and looks good.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          I’m not a GM fan (or a full size truck fan for that matter), but the new Sierra in Denali trim is a handsome truck.

          • 0 avatar
            dwford

            I never thought I would have bought a GM vehicle, but a friend bought one and they are good looking trucks. And they are giving them away.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        Poorly designed? It may not suit your eye or it can be said they jumped forward enough in terms of technology but poorly designed? GM at this moment has the best truck, Dodge is the most car like/affordable and new F150 will be the best combo of the two for awhile.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      As this article suggests, the large truck market isn’t the issue. Most of those who are in the full-size truck market are not going to be cross-shopping these; they want the bigger truck.

      If GM wants volume, then they have no choice but to target other vehicles of similar size, such as crossovers. But about 80% of vehicle purchases are influenced by or are made by women, which would suggest that it ain’t gonna happen.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Very true. Our next vehicle will most likely be a crossover of some sort, and there is no way my wife would ever consider choosing this pickup over a crossover.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Yet my wife simply doesn’t WANT a crossover; she’d rather have a pickup truck or full SUV (not necessarily full SIZED). She, like I, doesn’t like the looks of them. What she doesn’t want is a full sized pickup and even she’s dissatisfied with the size of the Colorado/Canyon which stands as tall, almost as long and as wide or wider than my 25-year-old full-sized truck.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Vulpine,

            Taken together, your and geeber’s remarks suggest GM’s thesis is invalid.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            In my own case, analysis of the specs on the Colorado make it out as much bigger than it should be–too close by far to the size of a full-sized truck even if it “smaller” than a modern full-sized model. At 16 feet for a standard-bed crew cab, the size would be far more convenient, especially of the height and width were proportional to the length differences. I’m talking about a truck that should be almost a full 25% smaller in every dimension than a full-sized truck that would weigh at least 25% LESS than a full sized truck. The combination would mean significantly improved fuel mileage using the same engines with improved performance and agility due to its smaller size.

            Is GM right that this could pull on the CUV market? I’d say yes–since I floated that idea almost a year ago when I first heard about the new Colorado. But then, I also thought the new model would be noticeably smaller than it ended up.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – Time marches on. Get on with it, ’80s Man…

            You think myself and other enthusiasts don’t want a sub 3,000 lbs, smaller 2015 Mustang GT? I don’t care about modern crush zones, rollover protection, all kinds traction nannies, pedestrian protection nor 15 airbags. But others might. Including OEMs.

            So I’ll build myself an ’82 Mustang GT “restomod” with supercharged Cobra or GT500 drivetrain, brakes etc, and shut up about it.

            You should start with an ’84 S10 extra cab and do the same. Besides yourself, as a favour to all of us!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You see, there you have an advantage on me; you live in a community where you have the space to do such things and probably a garage to do them in. Me? I live in a community that prohibits such things where they can be seen from outside the building–and no garage to attempt it (also no place to store the pieces while I do the work). As such, I have to find it ready-made or pay far more than it’s worth to have one located and rebuilt. I’m also willing to bet I paid twice as much as you for the place you’re living–but then, housing where I live is prohibitively expensive. Given a chance, I’d move back to Colorado in a heartbeat.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Excuses. 1st you have to want it. I’m surrounded by Cracker Box houses actually. And not so cheap! Point is they no longer build cars/truck to our exact needs/desires. Much time has passed and things are constantly changing for the greater good. So we must move on… Or move back!

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        True, full size truck buyers probably won’t be downsizing to one of these. In the past the smaller pickups from Ford and GM have been too closely priced to the full-size trucks (after the discounts) to make them smart choices given the similar fuel economy and reduced capability. Everyone loved the cheap 4 cylinder Rangers, but once you loaded it up with 4×4, v6, extended cab and options packages, it just made more send to go with an F150. Same with the old Canyon/Colorado. We will see if GM has cracked the small pickup sales code soon enough.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          These things came to market as lifestyle vehicles during a different era. The factors that made them successful in the 70s and 80s have disappeared. Body styles go in and out of fashion, and this is one of those that went out of fashion.

  • avatar

    They may only end up cannibalizing their own (Truck & “Crossover”) sales!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I really hope this rig works out. As a frontier owner, and someone who prefers a smaller truck I am very interested in this. I have had four small trucks and two full size. I have always found the full size trucks to be too large and unwieldy for most uses.

    I could never bring myself to buy a Tacoma, as the entry point in terms of pricing just doesn’t make sense, arguably worse so on the used side (of the six trucks only one was new). The frontier is right size, just almost embarrassing in terms of options and user interface. For a 2011 MY it has the look, feel, user interface etc of a 2001.

    And yes, despite the ROI etc, if this could be had with a MT and a diesel….I’m in. I am a torque junkie, and other than a ZZ502 in a Chevelle that I had, have never owned a gasser that had the ‘pull’ that matched the diesel. I have been unwilling to sacrifice the mpg to consider a big block in a daily driver.

    I would even be willing to sacrifice a recall or twelve for the privelidge of ownership…..

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    You wanna steal CUV sales? It has nothing to do with interior quality, MPG, practicality, power, or even affordability.

    It has everything to do with convincing women that they want to be seen in one.

    Good luck and godspeed.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I was just thinking that. Selling to cute ute intenders means selling to women and very little else.

      I haven’t met a lot of women who want a masculine-ish vehicle that announces them as Rosie the Riveter. Subaru is already entrenched among those who do.

      The less vain (read: older) among them buy CR-Vs now but what they really want is an 18 foot long edition that barely cracks 20 mpg and doesn’t have a trunk? Oh, and made by Recall Motors instead of Honda.

      Yeah right.

    • 0 avatar
      gregaryous

      Exactly…!!!
      Women make the buying decisions n they love compact CUVs because all their stuff fits in back in a Secure enclosure you don’t get in the open bed of a truck…!!!

      • 0 avatar
        challenger2012

        There already is a truck designed for women, it is call the Ridgeline, by Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        You know, I started to dig at this, because I realized that I know a lot of women from a wide swath, from single mothers to DINKs, who drive something “trucky”. The Suburban/Tahoe, of course, are popular, and they are holdout dinosaurs getting 8 MPGs. I know several who are turned off by Ford’s new direction, having prefered the truck-based SUVs. I know a few who’ve driven RAMs before they were Dodges and before they were RAMs and just had DODGE across the tailgate.

        So, starting with: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=How+many+women+buy+pickup+trucks

        Given that SEMA (I’m trying to date this; it must be within the last 10 years) placed about 20% of compact pickup and 15% of full size pickup purchases by women, with a growing segment, Ford started a trucks-for-women push in 2003, Mr Truck says women like pickups, and even the delightful gals of The Frisky complain about the “sexism” of not imagining women in pickups…I think there’s a clear reason we see so much crew cab/King Ranch/High Country/Denali pickup accessorizing out there.

        All this to say – there appear to be country girls, still, that don’t fancy an Escape or an Equinox or even a Traverse or a car-like Explorer.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    They are still way too big. You should be able to fit them into a carry-on bag.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    So who came up with this idea first, GM by designing the thing STILL too big for the target audience, or ME, suggesting that a smaller pickup would attract those who want a pickup but don’t want the full-sized bulk?

    I will give GM credit: the Colorado is probably the best-looking American-designed pickup for ’15. It makes no pretensions of being bigger than it is. Even the Canyon is less… imposing. But what I think we’ll see is in about 4-5 years the full-sized trucks themselves will come back down to this size and to keep this model line-up alive the Canyon/Colorado will need to shrink again. Why do I think this? Because you simply can’t lose a full thousand pounds of “fat” and stay the same size. The OEMs will HAVE to reduce their size again if they want to improve their fuel economy. And to be quite blunt, when you see Ford talking about putting a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in a truck two times larger than what used to carry a 4-cylinder engine–well, to me the image is simply laughable. Those fours worked just fine with a 3,000# rig, but pushing it to handle 4500# or heavier simply isn’t going to work for anybody BUT the “lifestyle” owners.

    And diesel? Hey, I don’t argue that you get better power from a small engine, but even with the improved fuel mileage the financial economy is nil–or rather, reversed. With today’s diesel fuel prices and the added cost of ordering the engine, you’re spending more than you would with a one-step larger gasoline engine. Think about it. Let’s say you drive 10,000 miles. With the diesel Ram you supposedly get 27-28mpg. I’ll take the conservative route and estimate 27mpg for the sake of this example. That adds up to 370 plus gallons. At $4.25/gallon we get over $1572 per year plus an estimated $2500 the first year for buying the diesel option. Meanwhile, the one step larger gas engine is rated about 23mpg. We get 435 gallons (rounded). At $3.60 for mid-grade gas, that adds up to $1565 per year with no added engine price in the purchase. Effectively you’re losing money by buying the diesel any more simply because over the last 5 years or so diesel fuel has gone from being 50¢ cheaper to 50¢ more expensive than gasoline. Fine, you get more range out of a tank, but it’s costing you $10-$15 more per tank to fuel up.

    • 0 avatar
      Drewlssix

      I can see the styling receeding from the current big rig wannabe trend but trucks have been as big as they are since atleast the 70s. That consumers now prefer crew cabs over reg or extended cabs is irrelivent. My coworkers 88 chevy is almost identical to my 04 and the newer trucks in the same configuration are about the same size exaggerated styling or not. For a full sized chevy to “return” to the size of the canyarado it would have to be smaller than it ever has been since the advanced design series of the 50s.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “… but trucks have been as big as they are since atleast the 70s.”
        Not true. Since the late ’90s they’ve been growing to the point that they exceed 20′ long on average, stand taller AND wider than my own 1990 F-150. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I have because I’ve owned both a true compact truck which I loved and this too-big monster of a 1990. The new trucks practically dwarf my older truck on the road despite it being a long-bed model.

      • 0 avatar

        Here is a 1995 S-10 or tacoma for comparison.
        http://www.s10forum.com/classifieds/data/29/RedTruck_001.jpg
        http://www.tamparacing.com/gallery/data/500/medium/0722081843.jpg

        The new Colorado is almost twice as big. Most people I see doing real ‘truck work’ are still driving around in pre 2000 S10s, Tacos or 15 year old Rangers. It would be great if automakers return to making small trucks again. They take less space, less resources to make, fuel efficient, lighter, much cheaper ($14K for bare bones regular cab) and more aerodynamic. Unfortunately things are much different 20 years since 1995. There is no money to be made selling a sub $16K bare bones truck. Also truck buyers do not want to look like landscapers driving a small cheap truck with 15 inch tires. Enter the fancy truck. Profitable for automakers, desired by retail truck buyers and loathed by fleet managers. Don’t blame automakers for supplying a demand. They are not in it for charity.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Put something of value in the back of the CUV of your choice.
    Put something of value in the back of the Colorado.
    Wait for rain.
    Report back on the interchangeability of a pickup vs a CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      While it won’t work for everyone, I know a surprising number of people who would prefer a true, compact pickup truck. “Put something of value in the back of the CUV of your choice”… How about “put something of SIZE in the back of the CUV of your choice. Wanna know something, you can’t. Something of value? That goes no farther than the back seat even in a CUV unless it’s simply too large to fit and even the Canyonrado is coming out as no less than an “extended cab” which would comfortably fit a couple of 2-ball bowling bags flat on the floor or three or more standing upright with a bungee cord to keep them from flopping forward. Then you have that big open bed for carrying oversized or exceptionally dirty loads (Or wet camping gear) without ruining the interior.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “How about “put something of SIZE in the back of the CUV of your choice.”

        We haul groceries far more often than we haul sofas.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Then don’t buy a truck.

          Harbor Freight sells folding utility trailers for under $300, so use a CUV, car, or minivan to tow it.

          That’s what I’m doing now.

          I really wanted to buy a 4-door Colorado diesel a few years ago, but it wasn’t available – so I bought a used CUV/minivan when my Ranger had overstayed its welcome after we started having kids.

          It sounds like someone is finally building the truck I was hoping to buy 5 years ago and, if the owners community finds that they are as advertised, I won’t hesitate to run out and buy one the instant I need to own a pickup again.

          Anyone who has ever owned a small truck probably misses the humble utility it provides – I sure do.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            Luke42 is right on IMO. I have a 4Runner having sold my S10 to my grandaughter. Yes I do miss the utility. No I don’t miss getting ripped off. I have three trailers hanging around because I live on a farm. One tow vehicle.

            If I lived in a gulag with a HOA the collapsable trailer from northern tools or harbor freight would have found it’s way to my house. The SUV is more versatile than a 4 door truck if you have a trailer. YMMV otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @wstarving…: “The SUV is more versatile than a 4 door truck if you have a trailer. YMMV otherwise.” And since I have no need or desire for a full 4-door truck, the SUV is nothing more than a jacked up station wagon while an extended-cab truck is truly the more versatile rig–WHEN it is in the same size range as that SUV. At 200″ overall or less, at only five feet tall and a maximum of six feet wide (including mirrors) an extended cab pickup truck could be a near ideal size for most of those people who currently own CUVs. The six-foot bed is an almost ideal length for almost any load–without the need for these ‘bed extender’ devices intended to make up for the reduced capacity of artificially-shortened beds.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “We haul groceries far more often than we haul sofas.”

          And I haul 3’x8′ event tables 20+ at a time often enough to need a bed long enough to hold them… that means something longer than a mere four feet or so, especially when I include a stack of chairs to go with them. No, I don’t necessarily need to close the tailgate on them (though I do with an 8-foot bed on my old road whale) but I need enough bed to ensure they won’t try to tip out onto the road when I accelerate, too. Those tables aren’t heavy, but there’s NOT ONE CUV that can carry them and bloomin’ few SUVs that can. And I certainly don’t want a VAN, that’s just pure wasted space 99% of the time. An extended cab pickup truck with at least a six-foot bed that weighs in around 3,000# is, for me, the best choice possible. Anything larger is simply too big and anything smaller is simply too small.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Vulpine,

            So, you also do not cross-shop pickups and CUVs? The question at hand is, will people cross-shop this with CUVs or is GM on drugs? “On drugs” is looking like the answer.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            In short, I’ll agree with the “on drugs”. I do believe there will be a surge–maybe even enough to trigger Ford and FCA into entering the market themselves. But if spy photogs discoveries are right, then FCA may be the one with the true winner when it happens. If it happens. The Strada *appears* to be almost ideally sized for most CUV owners.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Conversely, put something value-destroying (mulch comes to mind) in the back of an CUV and pick-up and compare. I want a truck to haul things that I don’t want to put inside a vehicle.

      However, I’m an outlier, so I don’t recommend GM listening to me on this point.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Why not a small utility trailer? 1) You don’t have to unload all the mulch immediately if it is on a trailer where you pretty much have to ditch it as soon as you get home in a truck. (Or, the truck doesn’t get driven if you did bulk mulch until you’ve used all of it.) 2) Pushing your cargo from the bed to the trailer means that you usually get more capacity. A frontier has 1,400lbs max payload in 4WD configuration in the crew cab. Put 2 people in the cab and you’re around 1000~1100lbs. Most of your compact CUVs tow around 2,000lbs. A 5’x8′ utility trailer that has a 2,000lb GVWR has a payload capacity of 1,600lbs.

        As far as operating cost, 28mpg is pretty easy to get in a 4WD compact CUV without any hybrid or diesel tricks. Your trucks that can do that mileage usually have very low payload (4×2 4cyl Frontier only has ~950lb payload).

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Not everyone has a place to put a small utility trailer. HOAs and uptight communities are making it harder to keep a trailer on your property. Do I want to invest in a trailer, the tags, and insurance on something I will barely use???

          Renting a utility trailer makes a bit more sense, but can be a PITA.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            So, why “pay” for the terrible fuel economy and driving dynamics of a truck (relative to a CUV) that most people barely use when you can rent a truck from Home Depot/Lowes for $30~$40 for a couple hours?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Quentin: And what if you need that truck for three days or so? All of a sudden you’re paying quite a bit more than a mere $20. Rentals? Sure, I see them. I see them about once a year being used to move a one-time type load usually over a distance of 100 miles or more. Typically, it’s also towing a trailer.

            Most people who want a truck but don’t want a full-sized truck have been forced into CUVs which meet about 75% of their needs, but far from all of them. If I go to a greenhouse, I want to be able to simply toss my purchase into the back–no matter how tall it may be. I may be trying to plant a 10-foot tree or a dozen 3-foot bushes. They’re big. They’re bulky and they’re messy to haul–no matter what type of vehicle you try to carry them in. But how many of those CUVs can carry a 10-foot tree? How many can carry a dozen bushes that are over 18″ wide each? What about loose mulch? Loose stone? Full sheets of plywood or wallboard? 8-foot lumber? Pipe? Tires and/or wheels–new or used? Just because some of those CUVs CAN do it, does that mean their owners WANT to do it? Do you really think they’re willing to spend extra to rent a truck or trailer EVERY time they want to fix something or make their home look nicer?

            As someone once told me, “what people want is not necessarily what people NEED. Some want more than they need.” Conversely, some NEED less than what’s available.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Vulpine – renting a truck was a counterpoint to his “what if you can’t have a trailer” comment. If you are doing that sort of work at your house regularly, you likely have somewhere to stash a trailer. Apartment dwellers aren’t the typical landscapers and renovators.

            I’m also not saying that no one ever had a need for a truck. Clearly you have some jacked up situation where you need a truck every waking minute. MOST people DO NOT have that situation. The people buying CUVs are mostly buying them as family vehicles… they are choosing CUVs over the traditional family vehicle of a sedan. As a family vehicle, a midsize truck is pretty crappy. That is why I think GM is off their rocker when it comes to thinking that the Colorado is going to be a CUV alternative. They drive worse, they are less efficient with interior space (thanks to riding on a frame), they are long, they have terrible turning circles, poor gas mileage, etc. Your average small family with 2 parents and 2 kids can fit comfortably in a CUV. A comparable midsize truck that they fit in comfortably is going to be a crew cab. To keep them from being huge, they’ll go with a short bed. Now they have a tiny bed that they need to spend $500 to $1000 on a tonneu cover or a cap so they have room for some luggage that is out of the weather. How is that more convenient than a CUV with a trailer that they rent or stash for the 5 weekends a year they need dirty or massive hauling capability? Also, if I absolutely needed a truck for a weekend, I have hundreds of coworkers that own full size trucks. Within an hour, I could probably line up borrowing a full size truck with a full size bed from someone.

            To be perfectly honest, you have little room to contradict my feelings on the issue. You refuse to own a CUV anyway, so your feelings on GM luring CUV buyers to the Colorado aren’t terribly valid. I AM a CUV owner. I do have housing projects (cut down a tree in my back yard, built a 200′ vinyl fence this spring, built a 100 sq ft paver patio, lots of landscaping just this year) and I haven’t been thinking “gee whiz, I think I’m going to trade our CUV on a truck”. I’d be the target. Anyway, we traded my 4Runner on a CUV for her because my wife didn’t like how large it was. She didn’t like the handling. She didn’t like the heft of it. She didn’t like how she had to lift our daughter way up into it. Going to a Colorado, despite how much I camp and mountain bike, is a non-starter because it is so compromised on a day to day basis. The AWD and moderate ground clearance take care of getting to more remote destinations and the hitch mounted bike carrier takes care of the bikes. I also plan on picking up one of those hitch platforms for taller dirty items so we don’t have to go trailer for everything that doesn’t fit in the cargo area or is smallish and gross.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Too many assumptions being made because I don’t fit SOME people’s idea of a homeowner and pickup truck driver. I acknowledge that my needs are different from most, but not all THAT different from many who simply can’t get what they want in a pickup truck.

            Yes, I OWN the townhouse I live in. No, it does NOT have a garage. No, the HOA will NOT let me park a trailer anywhere on my property where it can be seen from outside the building. Yes, I despise my HOA because in its efforts to maintain the LOOK of the neighborhood, it has allowed the overall property value to fall through the floor–nearly 25% BELOW its assessed value when I bought my home.

            Where I live, roads go from ultra-wide expressways to county roads barely wide enough for two Amish buggies to pass while staying on pavement–much less two full-sized trucks. Traffic can be so heavy that you have to wait 5 minutes to make a LEGAL U-turn on a 4-lane highway (divided) when you don’t have the turning radius to stay on the road with BOTH opposite lanes clear. My Jeep Wrangler Unlimited can turn into the nearer lane from the turn lane while a full-sized truck can’t even turn into the farther lane without encroaching on the shoulder. Where I live, a full-sized truck is a hindrance rather than a help unless you absolutely need the size, yet because there is little else available they’re almost all you see on the roads. For all that the big trucks are so popular, their only real advantage is their huge horsepower, my weak little minivan engined Jeep showing them up all the time with its simple agility.

            Could I use a trailer? Yes. Maybe. It’s another piece of clutter that tends to make a house look junky. That’s also why the HOA doesn’t want them visible. And forget the so-called “overflow” parking lots. Even when they are reasonably conveniently placed, they’re subject to constant pilferage and outright theft of anything that can be easily hooked up and hauled away. A bloomin’ “Harbor Freight” trailer would be in the bed of a pickup truck and getting sold for scrap metal within a week.

            You see, the problem with all your assumptions is that your vision is too narrow. You see how things are for you and can’t imagine that living somewhere else can be any different. This is one of the biggest problems in America today as those narrow viewpoints are tearing this country apart to so many ways. No, I’m not talking politically, I’m talking about practical matters like buying a truck.

            One size does NOT “fit all”. I understand that some want and need large, but I also know that others want and NEED small. The open bed of a truck is just as necessary for the smaller vehicles as it is for the larger ones and a trailer just doesn’t fill the bill. Open your mind to the world around you and try to understand that your opinions are just that–opinions. Your life is not everybody’s life, it’s your own. What you need is what YOU need, not necessarily what I need in a truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Vulpine, you are running on a tangent from the article’s conversation. Sedans are losing market share to CUVs. GM thinks that some CUV intenders will move to their midsize truck. I disagree because CUVs are taking sedan share because they are better, more versatile family cars. A Colorado is not a better, more versatile family car. There are a lot of band aids for the utility shortcomings of a CUV that moving full bore truck isn’t a requirement for most people. (And those that need that capability tend to go full size anyway). Midsize truck sales will come from people that already own trucks or SUVs. They will be looking for better, more right sized trucks/SUVs. I don’t see CUV drivers crossing over for infrequent benefits. I’m not saying that there isn’t a market for midsize trucks. I’m saying that CUV buyer and truck drivers are from a different pool.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Let’s look at it from an evolutionary perspective. We’re in the early 90s and every family has a FWD sedan or station wagon. Ford develops the Explorer. The SUV boom begins because you get lots of interior space, cargo space, 4WD, great view of the world. The economy is booming and the families are ready to get some status. Gas is cheap, so who cares about 16mpg. The 00s appear. Gas is steadily rising. The economy is less inspiring. The SUV is now vilified by Ford’s Firestone debacle and being wasteful. People still don’t want to give up their space and comfort, though. CUVs are born. They are easier on gas, more spacious, and easier to drive than the SUVs they replace. Families start flocking there. Soon, the SUV market is basically on life support with Toyota, Jeep, and Nissan being the only real SUV options. The sedan market starts to contract a little bit because these CUVs are nearing sedan mileage of a 5 years prior. GM says they are going to target CUV drivers with the Colorado. Based on the fact that families jumped from sedans to SUVs and quickly jumped back toward taller, AWD wagons says to me that the species has evolved with families’ wants and needs. The Colorado is on another branch of the evolutionary tree that shares many of the downsides of the SUV. I don’t see CUV owners saying that they are OK with large turning circles, rough rides, poor interior space, and poor fuel economy for the sake of an open bed. The families that were OK with that made the move to trucks back when SUVs died off. I can see the Colorado as an evolution of the truck owner segments because it is right sized for a lot of people and it will improve upon the full sizers when it comes to gas mileage, utility in cities, etc. It is on another branch of the evolutionary tree that branched off 5~10 years ago, though. Like I’ve tried to say above, the CUV pool is in the family car pool. The truck pool is people that value an open bed first and then they choose truck size based on the people they’ll carry and what they tow.

            My dad, with no kids in the house and nothing to tow, has 2 midsize trucks. He didn’t like how big the full sizers got, so he has his ’11 Tacoma that is reasonably comfortable and efficient and his ’96 Tacoma that is a beater for coon hunting and stuff like that (he paid $1500 for it). He is a guy that will never drive anything but a truck because that is all he has driven since he was 22 years old. He uses the full bed frequently. My mom has a Rav4 and, while she can drive dad’s 6MT Tacoma, she hates it. Rides rough, bad on gas, harder to get in and out, poor visibility, etc. She was the one in the family that followed the sedan > SUV > SUV > SUV > CUV path. I just see them as 2 distinctly different segments.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Quentin: How about we say you’re half right; the CUV is a better family car than a sedan, just as a station wagon was a better family car than a sedan. That still doesn’t make them perfect or even near-perfect replacements for pickup trucks. With pickup trucks so large, ungainly and thirsty, I’d say that about 30% of the people who are currently buying CUVs would much rather have a compact pickup truck simply for the easy-to-reach, six-foot-long load bed. If you bother to go back to my very first comment on this article (pushed down by other’s responses to comments before mine, including a few of my own), I said, “So who came up with this idea first, GM by designing the thing STILL too big for the target audience, or ME, suggesting that a smaller pickup would attract those who want a pickup but don’t want the full-sized bulk?”

            The point I made was that I’ve been saying this for over a year, one way or another. People are buying what they can afford and what meets their minimum needs. Not everyone can afford a full-sized truck and not everyone can even USE a full-sized truck simply because they are too big for the purpose–but they still NEED an open bed. The Colorado is an attempt to appease the so-called mid-sized market but in all honesty it’s still too big for many people–certainly too big for my own wants and needs. To be more specific, it’s AS big as my own 1990 F-150 which is itself bigger than I really like. What I would LIKE is something more along the size of the 1980s Dodge D-50, Ford Courier and Chevy LUV. That’s the size I really want–with a nice, easy extended cab adding about 18-24″ of fully-enclosed storage behind the front seat.

            Denver Mike in particular says they were a fad, a toy, a plaything for “cheapskates” that simply didn’t want to spend the money for a full-sized truck. He says there’s no market for them–but how can he possibly know since nobody in the States is addressing that supposedly nonexistent market while Fiat and General Motors in particular ARE addressing it in South America–where the size is quite popular. Sure, I’ll agree that the size isn’t the MOST popular, but both GM and FCA are making money with them; if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be selling them there. Right?

            I need a truck–but not a full-sized truck.
            I want a truck–but not a full-sized truck.
            What I want is something more along the size of the first Saturn Vue–with an open bed. Is that REALLY so hard to understand?

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Vulpine: “I’d say that about 30% of the people who are currently buying CUVs would much rather have a compact pickup truck simply for the easy-to-reach, six-foot-long load bed.”

            If this is true, why did the Ranger die, why are Frontier sales so low and why isn’t the Tacoma selling far more than its current 13K units/month? By the math, 30% of the current CUV market is a pretty big number and there are less-than-fullsize pickups available for these people.

            Most of the compact pickups I see are some sort of 2-door fleet vehicle, often for deliveries. Fleets are sensitive to operating cost (they hire somebody to do actual math) and they act accordingly. I figure, based on what I see on the street is that most less-than-fullsize pickups were going out as work grade, so the profit margins were low and the business just wasn’t worth it.

            If these CUV buyers had really wanted less-than-fullsize pickups instead of CUVs, they had their chance and failed to take advantage of it.

            I’d consider a small pickup but the purchase price and operating cost would need to be really low before I bought one. I’d be looking a two-door vehicle and I’d prefer FWD. It would have to get the fuel economy of a Corolla and cost similar or less. Otherwise, most of my hauling needs can be satisfied inexpensively with a small trailer pulled by a Corolla and I’ll pay the delivery fee or rent for the unusual instance where that combo somehow wouldn’t serve.

            Elsewhere in the thread, you mention driver training and trailers. I don’t see that as a problem, although I do find backing a trailer awkward and not at all easy. Not a particular problem because, under most circumstances, I just wouldn’t do it. A small trailer can be readily unhooked and then pushed around.

            As to your HOA, the world is run by those who show up. Have you run for your HOA board?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “If this is true, why did the Ranger die, why are Frontier sales so low and why isn’t the Tacoma selling far more than its current 13K units/month?”

            Two words can answer all three questions: Too Big. Yes, they are smaller than the full sized trucks, but they’re not SMALL ENOUGH. They need to be effectively no larger than the CUVs and to be quite blunt, they need to be American. On top of this, The Ranger, the Frontier and the current Tacoma are all essentially unchanged since 2001 with only minor facelifts and almost nothing else. Drivetrain technology has moved to the point that the WEAK 4-cylinder in the Tacoma should have at least 50 more horses than it does while offering 20-25% better fuel mileage than the current model. Ford simply gave up on it because they didn’t want to make the smaller model any more–not when the full sized model is so much more profitable. (Ford’s mistakes across the board because the Ranger would have been much more profitable had it stayed smaller).

            And no–by the time the CUVs really started hitting the market, the mid-sized trucks were already on obsolete technology and could only claim “Less than full sized” which doesn’t mean much when they’re *almost* full sized when compared to the previous generations of full-sized trucks. The Fiat Strada, by everything I’ve been able to discover about it, is much closer to a true “mid-sized to compact” truck than anything else currently available in the states. So is the Chevrolet Montana. Why can’t we have those models available here?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – A pickup the size of a CUV would have a 2 ft bed. If that!

            That’s unless you’re talking 2-seater small “pickup” with a 5′ bed. I think that experiment has been done already…

            Current midsize pickups are pushing 15 years old because OEMs are stretching out their generations to pull an OK profit. Still may not though. Why do you think the Ranger was pushing 20???

            But consumers bridged the gap between the mini-truck craze/fad and today’s CUVs with small to midsize SUVs. It’s just a series of tends.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        redav: “Conversely, put something value-destroying (mulch comes to mind) in the back of an CUV and pick-up and compare.”

        I have a 12X12 piece of plastic sheeting for such “emergencies.”

        redav: “However, I’m an outlier, so I don’t recommend GM listening to me on this point.”

        Well, would you cross-shop a small pickup and a CUV?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Value versus non-value.

      Completely agree I don’t want to throw recently bought large artwork in the back of any pickup (sans an Avalanche) on a rainy day.

      On the other hand the idea of tossing 20 bags of mulch into the back of an Equinox LTZ, Escape Platinum, etc. etc. etc. makes me shudder.

      It’s a tradeoff, and it depends on a lot.

      In soggy Seattle I’d probably be more adverse to owning a pickup as every day activity like picking up groceries gets a bit complicated 7 months out of the year.

      • 0 avatar
        Zoom

        Bags of mulch, dirt, etc., are not a problem in a CUV. All you need is a rubber tray liner made for that model. Every manufacturer sells one. If you spill something, just pull it out and hose it off.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Yeah, I’ve had everything from pavers, to unassembled vinyl fence panels, to bags of mulch in the back of our Prius v. Some simple precautions leave the load secured and the cargo area spotless.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @jpolicke – routinely put 2 large wet Labrador retrievers in the back of your SUV or take a load of smelly garbage to the dump on a real hot day or load the back up with a load of dirt for the flower beds.

      Tell me which vehicle will depreciate faster under those conditions?

      The SUV or the pickup?

      All one can do is pick what works best for them. I can list dozens more reasons why I prefer a pickup to an SUV or vise versa.

      Trucks are the Swiss Army knife of the auto world. BTW – there are pages of aftermarket accessories that can easily reconfigure that big empty space.

      Canopies, tonneau covers, racks, tool boxes etc. all can be added to a truck. That Tahoe or Suburban still has all of that sheet metal over the back.

      Not much one can do to change that without a sawzall.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not quite so. Depending on the size of the something of value, you may put it in the rear of these trucks. They call come with 2-row cabs. Also, I had the pleasure of carrying a projection TV in the jeep. What can I say, good thing my top is removable, because there was no way to fit that thing into my previous CUV.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It may lure some crossover buyers, but mostly GM crossover buyers. So GM will shift sales of highly profitable vehicles, (Silverado/Sierra included), for low margin pickups. Nice. Although crossover buyers seem too happy with what they have. Comfortable car-like ride, quick turning radius and a free crew-cab upgrade. I doubt it’ll be direct competition for crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Which do you expect has lower margins, a truck or a similarly priced/sized CUV? I would think the truck to be cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The compact truck should be less profitable. Prices and volumes are both lower. If the volumes are low enough, then the truck will generate a loss.

        The crossover also has the benefit of sharing a platform with a passenger car. The cost amortization tips the balance toward the crossover.

        There’s also the issue of cannibalization. If most of the small truck customers would have bought something else from the lineup, then it was a mistake to pay the money to provide an option that wasn’t necessary. In that case, GM ends up spending several hundred million dollars to create and promote a vehicle that it didn’t need.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          As a former small truck owner, I’d be happy to drive a compact truck based on a car platform.

          One of the things that made my particular Ranger obsolete was that it was RWD, and so annoying to drive in ice/snow. A compact truck based on a FWD/AWD car platform would be fantastic (provided the bed didn’t suck like the Subaru Baja).

          I didn’t drive that Ranger because I wanted a wanted a traditional RWD V8. That’s what full sized truck guys do, and I don’t identify with it. I drove that thing because I was a handy 20-something and someone in my neighborhood needed to be able to move heavy objects. I do as much handyman work as I can now that I’m a homeowner, and being able to schlep around plywood and drywall without the expensive false machismo of a monster truck still holds a lot of appeal.

          By all means, platform share away! Just don’t forget that the thing needs to be able to haul plywood and lawn equipment in a natural-feeling way. An AWD car/CUV platform sounds like a fantastic idea!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The car-based pickups are out of favor in the US. The El Camino and Ranchero are both long gone, the VW Rabbit pickup was a flop, and the Subaru BRAT was discontinued over 20 years ago.

            The Subaru Outback is the spiritual successor to the small trucks of the 70s. It’s marketed as an outdoor lifestyle vehicle, which serves a similar niche.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I looked long and hard at the Baja, but nixed it because the “bed” was a useless 4′ open trunk.

            The Baja was doomed to be a niche vehicle because it wasn’t any good for truck stuff, but not because a car-based truck couldn’t work.

            I was thinking of platform sharing with something more like a GMC Terrain with a shorter the hood, shorter the passenger compartment, and a low bed with sculpted unibody sides.

            Some care would be required from the designers to make it look more like a real truck than a Honda Ridgeline, but I can think of a couple of ideas on how to do it. A proper 6′ bed with a flat load floor would be a great start.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Hardly anybody wants one. It isn’t worth the expenditure.

            New vehicles cost nine figures to bring to market. There should be a damned good business case for bringing something new to market, particularly when the demand can already be served by other substitute vehicles.

            I suspect that this is going to be yet another effort from GM that does OK for a year or two before flaming out after everyone who wanted one gets one.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          There’s a difference between “Profit Margin” and straight “Profit”. Your argument above ignores this difference. Yes, if the smaller truck doesn’t sell as many copies as an equivalent CUV then maybe it is less profitable, but because manufacturing is somewhat simplified, it will still have a higher profit margin. The difference may be enough that it would take the profit of 5 or more CUVs to equal the profit off a single similarly-sized pickup truck.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You’re ridiculous! Five times more profitable than CUVs??? Try FAR LESS profitable. There’s nothing “simplified” about building a BOF pickup. Too many combinations of beds, cabs, engines, trans’, RWD and 4X4… Each with their own special and non interchangeable frame. And specialized drivetrains not shared with autos/CUVs. Plus all kinds or axle ratios, tow/payload options. Almost endless combinations. High volume is the name of the game here. Or zero profits.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The problem is that until you sell enough of them tot recover the initial investment to develop the vehicle there is absolutely zero profit. Yes it is cheaper to build a BOF RWD vehicle on a per unit basis but unless there is through gross profit margin to cover the development cost at the volume sold that doesn’t mean a thing. With a CUV the development cost is significantly reduced since so many parts are shared with other vehicles. Tooling costs are also reduced because again there are parts that are shared with more vehicles. With the loss of the market of a SUV that was just a modified pickup there is no economy of scale. The market for the SUV as a version of a pickup want away a decade ago.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            A normal car, say a Taurus might not see a profit for half of each generation, all costs considered. The F150, maybe before the 2nd model year. A Spark or Sonic, towards the end of the generation. A midsize pickup by a D3 OEM may need to stretch the generation for close to 20 years to break even, like the US Ranger.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Better be careful, Denver. With an argument like that, next you’ll be telling us that taking $10,000 off the price tag of a full-sized pickup truck puts the OEM in a hole. The simple point is that until now, pickup trucks had as much as 25% profit margin and maybe even more built into the price. Even WITH that $10,000 off they’re still making more profit than ANY unibody car built by that manufacturer.

            And remember, I’ve been there; I KNOW how much they mark up their trucks. At one time, it was an almost 80% profit margin on them. Only the cost of all the redesign and safety gear has pulled that margin down–but not nearly as much as it pulled the profit margin down on nearly every other type of vehicle they make.

            Sorry Mike; if an F-150 can achieve it in a year or so, then a downsized pickup truck should be able to achieve it in three years or less. It all depends on whether the Chevy/GMC is different enough to pull the buyers. It won’t pull me because to me it’s still too big; I was really hoping for something at least no larger than the Tacoma. I could have accepted on that size.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – You’re Confucius about a few things. The estimated 25% profits of full-size D3 pickups is AFTER rebates, not before. These pickups are the world’s top 3 most profitable cars. No other midsize or fullsize pickups even come close. We’re talking gross profits in the trillions.

            Three years to “profitability” for midsize pickups? Don’t be fooled by the pickup bed. That’s where the similarities begin and end. Without equally high volume and similar high luxury sales (vs base trucks) of D3 fullsize, no midsize (or any size) pickups could ever be in the same ballpark. Or hemisphere!

            The markup or profits dealers see has absolutely nothing to do with OEM profits. But rest assured, the OEM keeps the lion’s share of profits for themselves. Dealers mostly profit from parts, service and used cars.

            So to be clear, you would take a Tacoma sized (new) Colorado? What’s the size differential? Two inches all around? That’s a deal breaker??? You don’t sound too enthusiastic about ANY midsize pickup! You would at least own the best example out there for the time being. So don’t expect OEMs to take you too serious. And they don’t care about used truck buyers.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Well, DM, I have to admit you’re roughly right about one thing–pickup truck profits are stupidly high. I was offering conservative numbers for the simple fact that the safety gear and other modifications have affected the profit margins somewhat, but not all that much as their prices have risen as much or more. Any time you see the REAL dealer’s invoice of a truck when it comes in and watch that dealership almost double the price on the sticker, you KNOW there’s a lot of play in the system. All told, cutting 25% off the price should be the REAL price you pay and still give them sufficient profits. But that’s beside the point. After all, just as smaller cars cost less for the OEMS to make than larger ones, smaller trucks cost less too, so it’s really not all THAT hard to make big profits on smaller trucks by putting the same profit MARGINS on them, even if profit DOLLARS are slightly lower.

            And yes, the Tacoma is quite visibly smaller than a full-sized truck while the Colorado is less so. Just as the Tacoma is “2 inches less all around” than the Colorado and the Colorado is 3inches less all around than the full size, that means that the Tacoma–which is STILL bigger than I really want–is roughly half-a-foot smaller all around than the full-size. Personally, I could see a true compact sacrificing 18 inches all around and being a near-ideal size.

            And as I’ve said before–I don’t buy used unless there’s no other choice. Used cars cost more money than new in my experience.Not in purchase price, but in having to fix other people’s problems and simple poor reliability–even when it’s only 3 years old. The types of vehicles I like tend to be the types that get abused the worst by know-it-all drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – Are you that out of touch with reality? Off your meds???

            18 inches, all the way around, (trimmed) off a fullsize pickup would leave a single-seater regular cab midsizer.. Or tandem 2-seater crew cab… That wouldn’t be a usable or even buildable vehicle in a place we like to call Earth…

            Last I checked, the Tacoma was about 6″ smaller than the F150, all the way around. I doubt the Colorado is much bigger than the Tacoma. It’s mostly all in your head.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            No, Denver, I’m not out of touch with reality–but obviously YOU are. Please explain to me why a truck HAS to be seven feet wide. Please explain to me why a truck HAS to be eighteen feet long. Please explain to me why a truck HAS to be almost seven feet tall. Such size simply is not NECESSARY. Not for me.

            Five and a half feet wide will still let two people sit relatively comfortably side by side.
            Sixteen feet long will still give you a good six-foot bed, a short hood ideal for even a large four cylinder engine AND an extended cab that adds two feet to the “single cab” you argue.
            It also makes the truck significantly more agile, able to go places the larger trucks can’t without a lot of added effort. It makes the truck lighter–potentially 1500# lighter or more than its full-sized cousin while still letting it carry a thousand pounds or more of payload (not that such heavy capacity is really necessary for someone buying a smaller truck).

            No, you can’t understand what I’m saying because you are so focused on what YOU believe is the ideal that you can’t even imagine anyone having a use for anything smaller; you keep waving them off as “toys” and “fads”. To you, something that small simply can’t be a functional truck for anyone–despite the fact that little Cushman three-wheelers are “functional trucks” for some. Try expanding your mind (if you can do so without straining your brain) and realize that you aren’t “everyone” and not “everyone” is YOU.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – Why are you so desperately seeking a couple extra inches of parking stall or room in your garage? Buy what they’re selling or build your own! Your needs are way outside the norm…

            No truck “needs to be” 7′ wide, but that’s what consumers favour, including myself. Just perfect. But why does a midsize truck need to be smaller that 6′ wide?

            A 5′ wide truck with 4′ left for buckets would be a clown truck! No one wants to drive around on their passenger’s lap!!! Except you…

  • avatar
    KixStart

    The 4-door version would be the one to compete with the CUVs, so GM will have to bring that versions in at base CUV prices or less.

    Edmunds says the list price for the 2012 Colorado crew cab was a little over $24K. The CR-V starts at under $23K and the Rav4 at a bit over $23K. I’m thinking this is not going to be easy for GM.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    It makes sense for a mid-sized truck to target mid-sized SUV’s and CUV’s because if anyone really wants to be honest about this, 1/2 ton pickups are on average used as SUV’s.
    I’m refering to crewcab mid and large trucks. Cargo capacities on average are pathetic for pickups. The average being below 1,500 lb. Most tend to be closer to 1,300.
    Just like an SUV, you can carry a load, or carry passengers, or tow heavy but not at the same time.

    GM hopes to conquest Escape buyers since that is one of the best sellers. I don’t care for any of GM’s SUV’s other than the new Tahoe and Suburban. GM will definitely dilute their own sales.

    There will obviously be some self-cannibalization. GM can’t really afford to hurt their full sized truck sales any further but it will definitely happen. The 2014 Sierra/Silverado trucks for all intents and purposes are a failure. They don’t generate a strong “buy me now” feel in my soul. The Colorado and Canyon have a stronger pull for me than their bigger brothers.

    Every time I read a GM news story I get the powerful impression that “old GM” did not die in 2008-2009. I’ve worked critical care and I’m reminded of a “train wreck” on life support and no one wants to pull the plug.

  • avatar
    Discoman

    Ford was not able to sell enough SportTrac’s to justify their existence. I don’t get the General’s angle on this one. Then again, I don’t get the General’s angle on much of their product line.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The so-called “SportTrac” simply didn’t have enough bed to speak of. That’s the same reason the Subaru Baja failed. Neither could quite qualify for the typical DIY family’s needs since it couldn’t carry the things they would expect to carry. Even a simple IKEA trip would be effectively impossible when you couldn’t carry your purchase home in the bed. A Dodge Magnum could carry a lot more than the SportTrac and more comfortably as well. Its problem was that it was marketed as both a sports car AND a working vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The 5′ bed on the Sport Trac wasn’t the problem. Not even close. Crew cab Tacos, Colorados, Frontiers and such, with 5′ beds are still absolutely everywhere. If you can’t live without that extra foot, what exactly are you doing buying a midsize crew cab anyways?

        No, the Sport Trac had about zero following in the fleet world. It forced an XLT 4X4 crew cab. I won’t even bring up all the cheapskate and other bottom feeders…

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          To me, a five-foot bed on ANY truck is a joke; it’s simply not long enough for anyone who does more than tow a fifth-wheel trailer. Yes, the short bed on the SportTrac WAS the problem because it tried to be a compromise and came out worse than the vehicle it tried to compete with. At least with the Avalanche you had more than 7′ of functional bed when you dropped the midgate. That wasn’t even possible with the SportTrac.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You’re all kinds of wrong. The midsize, hard loaded crew cab 4×4 is a lyfestile truck. Obviously not for serious work. Any length of bed on a midsize crew cab will do the trick. Five feet and a dropped tailgate is 7′ anyways. If you see a hard loaded, full boat midsize pickup doing hard, heavy, dirty work, you’re looking at the 2nd or 3rd owner.

            Speaking of “compromise”, midsize trucks are a compromise, not unlike the Avalanche. So they’re a tough sell as well. Caught in the middle, but can’t really do the job of a CUV nor a fullsize pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Really, Denver? They why is it that I see far more mid-sized pickup trucks fully loaded than I do full-sized trucks? It seems to me that the mid-size truck is far more “serious work” oriented than any of the big, overblown, too-tall full-sized trucks.

            And no, five feet with a dropped tailgate is NOT “7′ anyways. At best it’s 6’10”, which while close, is still NOT 7 feet.. No pickup truck currently in production has a 24″ deep bed that I’m aware of. Meanwhile, you have to lift your load almost three feet up off the ground before you can slide it in over the tailgate. Now, I understand a 4×4 needs to be higher for ground clearance, but the 4×2 is only 2″ less and STILL way to high for easy loading and unloading. My old 4×2 F-150 sits 6″ lower at the tailgate and still gives me 7″ of ground clearance–more than enough for any 4×2 truck.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Really? You’re gonna call me out on 2″???

            I can’t tell if you’re kidding or a shyster lawyer and can’t help yourself…

            As far as the anecdotal, you see what you want see. And I know you’re not stopping midsize truck owners to ask if they’re 1st or 2nd+ owners. But Nissan Hardbodys seem to be the hardest working small trucks around my neck of the woods.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        To be straight up, you have to measure or note how big those IKEA flat pack boxes are. I hauled a Klippan loveseat home in my Escape, thank heavens I have stubby legs A Jokkmokk table and chairs? A piece of cake. I even (God Help Me!) have a Fixa 7 dollar tool kit from IKEA. I’ve typed enough silly names for today.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Perhaps, but those 8′ bookcases are killer–and I at least managed to fit three of those into a Saturn Vue with the tailgate closed. But then, they also weren’t dirty and messy like loose mulch and stone are, either. It also had the flattest load floor of any non-minivan I’ve ever seen short of the full-sized Suburban and the old ’50s and ’60s station wagons. Maybe that’s why it was ultimately classed as an SUW(wagon) rather than SUV(truck).

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I can fit Billy bookcases in my BMW wagon easily. But I swear every Euro wagon is designed around those things.

            Count me as one who thinks utility trailers have it all over pickups, unless you you have something huge to tow. And even then, you are probably better off with a Suburban. Or you actually use the truck to make a living.

            But if you just like trucks, more power to ya! You are keeping the D3 afloat.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Better to keep Germany afloat? And Mexico working?? But I have to laugh a little bit when I see a 335i with a mattress on its roof!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        A Magnum, which was a bigger flop than the SportTrac, was able to carry more? You are quite the comedian.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It’s not a comparison.

      Ford SportTrac was the same kind of dumb idea as the Subaru Baja.

      Lets get an Explorer, chop off the roof and sides from the second row back, and give it a shallow, short truck bed that is barely useful. Oh, and initially, we’ll charge more for the cut down version.

      The Subaru Baja was worse, costing a lot more than the Outback it was based on, having a weak sauce version of a GM “Midgate,” that was barely practical, and an even smaller bed.

      A real comparo would be the buyer walking into a Ford dealership circa 1998 and picking an Explorer or a Ranger.

      The only two companies that got the, “lets chop the roof off of an SUV and call it a pickup,” remotely correct was Honda and Chevrolet.

      The Ridgeline was never a “success” but put up better numbers than the Baja, GM moved over 800K Avalanches, which was generally universally praised for being darn practical. Big problem with the Avalanche was 13 MPG, 19-1/2 feet length, 7-1/2 feet width, 6’4″ tall, and a standard 24″ traffic cone disappearing from rear view from turning around and all mirrors at a massive 54 feet away. The price spike in 2005 ended the Avalanche run (sales completely plummeted) and the 2013 execution was a given.

  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    They should release an SUV on this platform to have a shot at the stated intent. Especially that there is not much competition in the mid-size, tough, BOF class. 4Runner, Wrangler, XTerra, GX460 – nothing from GM itself.

    • 0 avatar
      Arisserp

      They already have a Colorado SUV in Australia (and I think in Asia too). I imagine if they federalized the Colorado, it’d be easy to federalize the Colorado SUV too, but I don’t know what the potential business case would be. Isn’t the market for BOF SUVs shrinking with vehicles like the FJ cruiser being discontinued and the Pathfinder switching (again) to a unibody CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        It’s an interesting question and there are reasons to go either way. One of the things with so-called ‘unibody’ construction is that there is no separate frame upon which the body sits. This tends to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle because the body itself IS the frame… well, sort of. More recently they’ve taken to calling it a “space frame”, where the vehicle is essentially a cage with specific built-in weak points to create crush zones while other areas are strengthened to prevent crushing. Then the body panels are bolted or welded to this frame. Such a design is ideal for fully-enclosed vehicles like cars, SUVs and even CUVs as they use the overhead portions to provide rigidity without adding all that much weight, but an open bed design doesn’t get the advantage of those overhead beams.

        The ladder-type underbody frame doesn’t very well allow for such crush zones simply because it has to be strong enough to carry both the body and the suspension. It has to be strong enough not to buckle under the weight of the load, which means it has to be made of thick or ultra-hardened steel or other metals which will still be heavier than an equivalently-sized “space frame”. The advantage is a reasonably low center of gravity for such a tall vehicle, but it still forces the majority of the strength above axle height which is one reason WHY it’s so tall. You get better strength with a body-on-frame design, with the drawback that it’s heavier and less agile.

        With all these different factors coming into play, it’s simply easier to reduce the weight of a passenger-centric vehicle by using ‘unibody’ construction which then works to improve the city fuel mileage over its body-on-frame equivalent. Meanwhile, most pickup trucks are forced to ride body-on-frame because the cab section is completely separated from the load bed–often a gap of as much as three inches between the front of the bed and the back of the cab (not counting the side panels of newer beds that extend forward of this point for the sake of aerodynamics). With no physical connection between the bed-body and the cab body, only the underbody frame is able to carry the load and as such is much more difficult to reduce the weight of such vehicles. Believe it or not, the Avalanche and the Ridgeline have the right idea, but they were just too far ahead of their time to garner enough popularity. Once BoF pickup trucks went crew cab with the same level of luxury, they effectively stole the market away from the space-frame trucks.

        As for the FJ Cruiser, one of its largest drawbacks was its fully enclosed body. The Jeep Wrangler still has the advantage of going fully topless for now and is one of the reasons it’s such a success by comparison. The FJ Cruiser may have been better in nearly every other way, but without the ability to pop the top, it just wasn’t as popular.

        • 0 avatar

          Going unibody does not reduce the weight over a frame-based vehicle in practice, at at least not anymore. It was the case when cars like FIAT went unibody in 1960s, but for modern SUVs and CUVs it simply is not true. Observe that Wrangler with all its ruggedness, frame, and live axles is lighter than the “new” Pathfinder or one-foot-in-the-grave Pilot, both unibodies with engine-across.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Fiat wasn’t the only brand that went unibody in the ’60s; the Ford Mustang was an early American unibody car–with “half frames” to hold the suspension. Many other American cars went that way as well, until they were almost all unibody by the ’80s.

            As for the Wrangler vs the “new” Pathfinder/Pilots; exactly what are the weights of those three-row SUVs? The Wrangler is both shorter and far less “luxurious” and still weighs in at 4500 pounds My Saturn VUE had an almost identical body size in length and actual body height (when discounting the high ground clearance of the Wrangler) and only weighed 3400 pounds. Sure, the Wrangler’s tires are bigger and heavier–even the suspension parts are heavier–but 1100 pounds heavier?

            But most companies didn’t go unibody for strength–they went that way for cost and reduced weight. Certainly my Vue couldn’t go offroad the way the Wrangler can and I’m not so certain the “new” Pathfinder or Pilot could do as well. Even the Jeep unibody models don’t claim they’re as good as the Wrangler, though they do claim better off-road chops than nearly every other brand (whether deserved or not).

  • avatar
    redav

    Will it fit in my garage? No? Well then, I guess nothing else about it matters to me.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    To even suggest CUV owners would switch to a crew cab, midsize truck with the buckboard ride of a solid rear axle and stiff leaf springs shows a complete lack of market understanding. They’d probably sooner switch to an F150 if they felt the urge.

    • 0 avatar

      I have switched from RAV4 to Wrangler. Where is your god now?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @DenverMike – unless your daily driver is a regular cab dually 1 ton, trucks don’t have buckboard rides anymore.
      The small trucks ride pretty nice but your statement makes all the sense in the world (coming from you)since your only small truck experience is with cheapskate reg cab 4×2 fleet queen specials.

      You have an insect problem where you live since you keep plugging Orkin?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Lou_BC – It’s a harder sell than you think. Small pickups ride good enough for you and I, but convincing a chick to give up a give up the car-like ride of her CUV is a different story. Trucks with actual payload/towing are’t going to give chicks in CUVs the IRS ride comfort they’re used to. And car-like turning radius. And how much more will a midsize crew cab truck cost with the same options? Chicks are the cheapest bastards there is. For an open bed they didn’t ask for? Just when they were getting used to the flip down seats for IKEA runs in bad weather.

        What if their crap gets stolen while getting their nails done? How much more fuel will it drink? And how much harder is it to park, parallel park and flip a U-turn?

        Orkin is just the heaviest hitter in the midsize truck game. And they’re not in if for luxo/loaded midsize pickups. Strippers only. And that’s just one company in the extermination business. And that’s just one industry of hundreds that utilize the lowest common denominator of pickups.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Denver, you’re in WAY over your head. Such sexist, stereotypical remarks would have you shunned by nearly every woman around and probably pounded to a pulp by some. You simply don’t KNOW what “women” like or don’t like. Every one of those statements is a stereotype in which very few women actually fit.

          Let me ask you this: If a woman drives a Jeep Wrangler on the streets, do you think she’d feel any less comfortable in the cab of a pickup truck… of ANY size? Remember, not even full sized trucks rode all that well until they became little more than SUVs with a patio.

          And those smaller trucks can work just as hard as a full sized truck–even if they can’t take the massive loads CLAIMED by those bigger trucks. Hmph… around here the only trucks I see carrying any kind of a load are either farm trucks for the local horse farms, commercial haulers like the ones carrying cars from dealership to dealership and 15-25 year-old mid-sized and compact trucks with loaded beds and sagging springs. Everything else is either blinged to high heaven or carrying soot-emitting stacks stuck through the bed floor and polluting the air. Oh, sure, there are a fair number that tow a 25-foot boat or camper trailer of one sort or another, but even on a major highway between beach and mountains they’re maybe one in ten–on the weekends. If you want to talk about stereotypes…

          And certainly a compact pickup truck will be nearly, if not as agile as the equivalent-sized CUV. Oh, that reminds me; that two-foot bed you so snarked about yesterday? Is that why the full sized trucks have a 4-foot bed as their standard length… they can’t be any longer than their equivalent full-sized SUV? Think VERY carefully before you answer.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    If that’s the largest cab configuration, GM wouldn’t be able to market these as compact crossover competitors. Judging from the styling, the backseat will probably be tiny!

    Also, factor number two. Will it fit in a garage? A Camry rental we had barely did, and that’s 189 inches long. Give the Colorado the rear seat space of an Equinox, keep that bed length, and you’re over 200.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      At just under 17 feet, turbo, it should fit lengthwise. However, there is some concern about the width since newer garages are designed for smaller cars. Personally, I think THAT is a mistake.

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        Maybe it’s because my house was built in the late 90’s, during the SUV era, but my garage is surprisingly wide and tall. Two 180-inch Yukon Juniors (let’s pretend those exist) would fit with room all around to spare, while two Cadenzas probably wouldn’t.

        The good thing about our Ranger is that it’s a regular cab with a short bed, so it can fit in the garage.

  • avatar
    formula m

    You can’t tow 5000lbs comfortably with an escape or cr-v. Most people don’t have 8500lbs+ boats and campers that they need to tow with their daily driver. This is perfect for a second vehicle for towing a reg sized boat, up to 6700lbs and to use around the cottage. I worked autoparts when I was 16 (late 90’s) and a class I hitch was 1500lbs., Class II was 2500lbs., class III was 3500, and class IV/V was 5000lbs. If people are towing much more than that they should get a HD. The idea of daily drivers being able to tow 11,000lbs+ is overkill

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      To hear most guys talk, I would expect to see a 30 ft long camper trailer and a similarly sized open water fishing boat in everyone’s American driveway.

      The reality I see even during tourist season is that most people don’t tow much more than 5,000 lb with any 1/2 ton or large SUV. 5k puts you into a 25 ft camper full of gear. Anything much bigger means that the ego needs a 80K MaxCumStroke Heavy Duty that is lifted and 24 ft long.

      If you want to venture into the back country with almost any camper trailer you have to drive 10 mph so the thing doesn’t shake itself apart.

      This whole fixation on towing or hauling or what is commonly referred to as “work” when comparing small trucks to large is just blowing smoke up people’s asses.

      Crewcab 4×4 1/2 tons with the exception of rare 2300 lb F150’s or 2k cargo GM’s can’t haul sh!t.

      Work trucks tend to be reg cab 1/2 tons usually with a max cargo option or HD crewcab trucks. Both tend to be bottom spec.

      How many civilians buy those for their own brand of “work”?

      Not much.

      Rant over.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I like this truck and prefer it to a the larger size even if it cost more. Hopefully this will reinvigorate the midsize truck market.

  • avatar
    mikehgl

    Tough business case being made for this platform. Kudos to GM for bringing it to market. Still seems a bit large to me. It remains to be seen if the niche still exists for a modern mid-sized truck. I don’t understand the cross-shopping logic with cuvs.But if the final product is satisfactory to me, I will help the General out by putting one in my driveway.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    @ Vulpine: I agree with a number of things that you say. However, your last rant about close minded people was a little bit over the line. That’s because while accusing others of being closed minded you admitted that the solutions to your needs were restrained due to a self inflicted wound. That wound being living in a gulag with a oppressive HOA.

    I like the choice of vehicles you have outlined. Problem is I like a lot of vehicles but they don’t all serve a good purpose. Your choices are, to a point mandated by others. I personally feel that if you don’t have any land to use as you see best it is pointless to buy a place without a garage.

    You certainly can respond to this if you feel you must. However, life is too short to get into peeing contests with folks when you aren’t going to change any minds anyway. My trailers and SUV are filling my needs just fine and would also work for many others.

    Hope you can continue to find what you want.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      ” you admitted that the solutions to your needs were restrained due to a self inflicted wound.”

      No, I admitted _A_ solution was restrained by that issue, not THE solution. I also pointed out that I’m not a fan of that solution anyway, though I don’t deny many are. For now.

      I’ll also mention that if a true compact pickup truck came along, sales of those “Harbor Freight” trailers would probably fall through the floor; it’s a compromise and not a very good compromise when the driver simply doesn’t know how to maneuver a trailer (show me where ANY Class A driving school teaches towing and backing with a trailer). I would almost lay money on the fact that the majority of those now towing those cheap, tiny trailers would use their brand-new compact pickup truck to take said trailer to the nearest metal recycling plant within two years of the type returning to the American market.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        You have a good point about the size of trucks. Another one that if there were a good small truck there would be less small trailers (although I can’t speak for others). My favorite was my 81 Datsun king cab. It was perfect. If there were a time machine I would go back and buy another. $5k was another hit. Don’t know what that is adjusted for inflation but expect cheaper than today.

        However, it did a miserable job toting grandkids which brings me back to the here and now.

  • avatar
    Shawnski

    Some vehicles look like motion standing still, this looks like it’s moving in reverse. Or perhaps a scalded cat?


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