By on March 11, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma blue

Competition improves the breed?

In order to tighten its grasp on the American midsize truck market, the Toyota Tacoma was thoroughly refreshed for model year 2016, a necessary development following the arrival – finally – of all-new competition at the end of 2014.

Evidently, Toyota did not need to debut an all-new pickup truck in order to fend off new General Motors challengers and keep its hold on a segment Toyota has led since 2005.

Want proof? Nearly half the non-full-size pickup trucks sold in the United States in the first two months of 2016 were Toyotas.

Up from 44.6 percent market share during the first two months of 2015, Toyota’s gain of two percentage points worth of market share one year later comes as GM’s sales growth in the category essentially stalls. The production limitations at the GM factory in Wentzville, Missouri, where the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are built, is one major factor. In addition, however, GM has been unable to deliver in-demand diesel versions of its new trucks to an extent.

As a result, after selling 17,223 Colorados and Canyons in the first two months of 2015, GM’s midsize truck sales total increased by only 389 units in the same period one year later, an inconsequential increase given the 8-percent improvement recorded by the segment and the overall pickup truck sector’s 4-percent increase. As U.S. pickup truck sales climbed 7 percent in February, specifically, the GMC Canyon cancelled out a portion of the Chevrolet Colorado’s 13-percent improvement with its first year-over-year decline since the nameplate’s return in 2014.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

The implication is not that GM’s midsize trucks are stumbling, not by any means. But a production increase is obviously vital. And based on the Tacoma’s response to greater availability of competitors in the past, that production increase won’t seriously alter the Toyota’s knack for selling half again as often as the GM twins.

Meanwhile, Toyota is turning up the wick on their own pickup truck production, as well.

Clearly U.S. sales of the Toyota Tacoma were unaffected by new competitors in 2015, but Nissan Frontier volume fell to a three-year U.S. low. The Frontier is rebounding in early 2016 with a 10-percent improvement to 13,197 sales in January and February, greater than the total of the GM duo’s better-selling Colorado. In fact, January and February represent a better start to 2016 than the Frontier managed in 2014, when sales of Nissan’s midsize truck shot up to an eight-year high.

For the most part, there are a great deal of similarities in the approaches taken by Toyota, General Motors, and Nissan: four and six-cylinder engines, extended and crew cab bodystyles, rear or four-wheel-drive. The arrival of the second-generation Honda Ridgeline later in the second-half of 2016, has the potential to shake up the category once again. The Ridgeline is an indirect truck rival for these true pickups: a six-cylinder, crew cab, front or all-wheel-drive crossover-based truck with ingenious bed solutions but questionable ruggedness.

Lest you think the Ridgeline has no capacity for insurgence, remember that the first-generation Ridgeline was initially common. Somewhat common. American Honda sold more than 50,000 Ridgelines in 2006, claiming 8 percent of the non-full-size truck market. The Ridgeline’s decline, persistent and severe, wasn’t just the result of consumer inattention. Honda seemingly forgot about the Ridgeline, too.

2017 Honda Ridgeline front 3/4

Between 2010 and 2015, Honda sold fewer than 15,000 Ridgelines per year, on average. The new Ridgeline is certainly expected to improve upon those totals. The Tacoma’s annual sales totals are unlikely to be hindered, but perhaps Honda will keep Toyota from claiming over half of all midsize truck sales in America.

On the whole, midsize trucks are producing a rising percentage of U.S. truck sales. 15.2 percent of the pickup trucks sold in 2015’s first two months were Tacomas, Colorados, Canyons, Frontiers, and Ridgelines. Even with the Ridgeline’s entrenched hiatus, that figure grew to 15.7 percent in 2016’s first two months.

Granted, on its own, the Ford F-Series produces more than three out of every ten trucks sold in America.

[Image: Toyota, General Motors, Honda]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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121 Comments on “Nearly Half of All Midsize Trucks Sold in America Are Toyota Tacomas...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Tacoma doesn’t have a Tundra problem.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    What this story really tells me is that nearly half of midsize truck buyers are either idiots or posers.

    • 0 avatar

      Hmm, because they want a reliable truck that has a proven reputation and strong resale value? I’m no Toyota apologist nor a pickup buyer, but going with a Tacoma in this segment makes perfect sense to me.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Umm did I miss something here? Exactly which half are you referring to?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Your comment tells me about the same thing for internet commenters, but I’ll let you decide which half you fall into.

      But really, the Tacoma is excellent offroad, superior to the GM twins, and still has usable payload and towing capacities even if they aren’t class leading. They hold their value like just about nothing else on the road. They last a long time. If I want something smaller than an F150 that can get my family camping and has the utility of a truck bed and some towing capacity, and don’t care that it drives like a pickup instead of a CUV, tell me why the Tacoma isn’t a good fit.

      And let’s not wade into the “but they rarely leave pavement” argument unless you want to also claim that full size pickups & SUVs, the Jeep Wrangler, anything AWD in the Sunbelt, and BMW’s entire M division is equally pointless. Vehicles highly capable in niche uses rarely use that potential, but it is still nice to have.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “They hold their value like just about nothing else on the road.”

        don’t price late model Rangers. I bought a 2011 Sport three years ago, and on Autotrader I see almost identical trucks with more miles listed for *as much or more* than I paid for mine.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          The Ranger being discontinued might have something to do with that. I like those Ranger Sports, they really kept to compact dimensions.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            believe me, with the big tires and wheels it rides like s**t on rough roads.

            of which there are many in early springtime Michigan.

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            Came here to say the same thing. They are just filling the void that the cancellation of the Ranger left. There really IS a market for such a truck. Not everybody wants to roll in a F150 crew cab with bed sides so high that you need a step stool to reach over.

        • 0 avatar
          agroal

          2011 Rangers are so valuable because nostalgia buyers long for early 1990’s truck technology.

      • 0 avatar
        GermanReliabilityMyth

        Be flattered, I logged in just to respond to you. The Tacoma, like 99% of Toyota’s products, benefits from a halo effect that should’ve faded away years ago as the company rested comfortably on their laurels. Of course, you can’t blame them for phoning it in. The buying public still thinks these trucks are worthy successors to their Hilux-based predecessors. As a result, people are more than willing to line up with whatever ludicrous amount Toyoda-san demands. They will then pass this Toyota Tax on to the next poor sap who is buying the Tacoma (along with its reputation) private party, complete with a load of manure in the bed, at no added cost. Anyone who buys a Tacoma without considering the alternatives, simply because of worn out platitudes, like “because it’s a Toyota” and “it’ll run forever” may be lacking in critical thinking ability. Toyota’s reliability is a worn out concept and the rest of the industry has caught up, offering products with comparable reliability without the added cost.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I’m flattered when anyone talks to me, but that’s a fragrant rant biased to the point of uselessness.

          First, the Tacoma is one of two games in town for this segment. And a Z71 Off-Road package Colorado that cannot go offroad because of its front air dam is priced right on top of the TRD Tacoma. So much for both the Toyota Tax and “without considering alternatives” arguments.

          Second, every brand has loyal lemming customers unswayed by data or comparison, so get the myth that this is a Toyota-only phenomenon right out of your head. And if customers ARE looking at available reliability data, Toyota is still ranking very high on JD Power and Consumer Reports. Yes, I know, narrow data spread blah blah blah, but this is what’s available to a shopper.

          Third, Camrys and Corollas move on incentives and have a well earned reputation for longevity built up during the years when domestics burned their customers and H/K was producing vehicles like the Excel and Sephia. So there really isn’t a Toyota Tax on those either.

          The next time you get the urge to “flatter” someone, try making it worthwhile to read. Not everyone likes being gifted with a platter of manure.

          • 0 avatar
            GermanReliabilityMyth

            Will this generation Tacoma be your second? Third? Maybe fourth. If so, you might be able to retire early with the accrued ROI.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I’ve never owned a Tacoma and I don’t currently have a Toyota.

            How do you accrue on a depreciating asset? Low depreciation is still depreciation. But do tell me again how I’d have to be “lacking critical thinking ability” to purchase a new vehicle with depreciation so low you could even make that joke.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        30-mile-fetch,
        The US Colorado is an Americanised variant of the global version. The global Colorado will off road better than the US one. The US Colorado does look the goods, though.

        The problem with the US midsize segment is the lack of competition. The US only has two relatively good midsizers in the Taco and Colorado/Canyon. The problem is the limited size of the midsize segment in the US. To make it profitable a manufacturer needs to move 100k a year. This poses itself as a big risk to the manufacturers to set up a plant to produce.

        So, I suppose you guys will only ever have a limited pickup market on offer. There’s a whole world out their with some fantastic and even weird offereings in the light commercial segment, even pickups.

        I do know globally the new Ranger is giving the Hilux a run for it’s money, to the point where Toyota had to discount the new Hilux right from the start to sell them. Ford now seems to be commanding a “Ford Tax” over it’s Toyota Hilux competitor.

        The D40 is a bucket. It would have to be the worse Nissan pickup ever built and hopefully the new Navara has fixed this problem.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      From your comment. It sounds like idiots and posers have no problem posting moronic statements. Is the Toyota buyer the idiot and poser because they want the best midsized pickup? Having the best resale value is also such a ridiculous need.

      • 0 avatar
        GermanReliabilityMyth

        If you’re thinking about “investing” your money into future resale value (which isn’t free, by the way) you might be better off talking to your accountant for more prudent options.

        • 0 avatar
          ammom_rouy

          Talk to your “accountant” about investment options? You’re quickly disqualifying yourself from being able to comment with any acceptable credence on any topic really, really quickly. You might want to stop while you’re only this far in the weeds.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ammom_rouy, I think I understand what GermanReliabilityMyth is trying to communicate – Tacoma is a non-traditional investment that runs longer, keeps its value better, and keeps the owner from having to buy a new truck sooner.

            Continuing to make “payments” into a savings account on a truck already paid off is like a return-on-investment.

            The opposite is true of the GM midsizers. I read somewhere that GM issued a stop-sale order and recall for their midsizers because of non-deploying airbags, not made by Takata.

            Given a choice, I’d rather own a Toyota truck than anything else on the market.

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          German, If entertainment was your goal. You have succeeded.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree that about 1/2 of the less than full size truck buyers must be idiots because buying a GM twin or Frontier new instead of a Tacoma is not the best choice.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I read somewhere that GM issued a stop-sale order and recall for their midsizers because of non-deploying airbags, not made by Takata.

        Know anything about that?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      GermanReliabilityMyth – WTF? Please provide clarification for your premise.

      I’ve owned every class of pickup and they each fulfill a role. Tacoma has an excellent reputation. Consumer Reports did not “recommend” the Colorado or Canyon.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Its full size diesel and 4 wheel driver or GTFO! Ama’right bro!

  • avatar
    VoGo

    If ever a vehicle sold on its reputation, rather than looks, it’s the Taco. Damn, that thing is ugly, esp. next to the GM twins.

    Which got me to thinking: Does Toyota sell an attractive vehicle in the US?
    Most of them seem to fade into the background:
    – the Camry is OK, but whatever they did to the C-pillar in the latest refresh, it isn’t working
    – the Avalon looked good when the current version came out, but now I can’t tell it apart from a 300 or Malibu
    – the Tundra is just OK, as is the Sequoia, but boring
    – the new iM hardly registers. I don’t recall seeing one, and I’m not sure if it is because they aren’t selling, or it’s invisible

    Other vehicles are just strange:
    – the new Prius is a mess
    – whatever they did to the face of the Mazda2 to make the iA is ridiculous

    Sometimes it does work:
    – the Corolla looked a bit jarring when introduced, but I think it has aged well
    – the Highlander looks solid; I see a lot of them in my neighborhood

    As other automakers continue to chip away at Toyota’s reputation for reliability and frugality, I wonder if Toyota will need to start focusing on design to continue to sell well.

    • 0 avatar

      The Highlander is godawful.

      I can’t believe I’m saying it, but low-spec Camries and Corolla Ss are the most attractive Toyotas in the lineup. Also the Land Cruiser, all six of them.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m with you on that. I think the Highlander is the worst look vehicle in its class. By a mile. I don’t know how reviewers have managed to find it attractive.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Yeah the new Highlander is pretty ugly, at least my old one occasionally gets mistaken for a 4runner the face of the 2nd gen Highlander was a mashup of Tacoma and 4runner styling cues. (And yes it was a Tacoma owner who looked at me getting out of my vehicle and said: “Hey is that a 4runner?”)

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The Highlander took a nosedive in design with this latest generation, all driven by a take-no-prisoners approach to improving fuel economy. They chopped the roof and decreased the ground clearance, and Toyota has moved all of their FWD-based AWD vehicles away from their old true-center diff system to a more fuel efficient, reactive viscous coupling setup. Cargo capacity is down significantly as well.

          I’m a huge fan of the first gen Highlander, slightly less so of the second gen just for aesthetic and interior quality reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        SHHH don’t mention Lexus . . .

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Maybe not under the official Toyota brand yet but the FRS looks good.

      I also personally like the look of the current LS, GX, IS, and RC. However, I know that’s a slighlty controversial opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      I really miss my 2003 Taco. Sure, even those looked a little funny, but the redesigned Tacomas that came afterwards have been too ugly for me to consider going back to one.

      The new Tundra looks really good if you get the body-colored grille on the front instead of chrome. But $$$

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Goat, funny you should mention that vintage. I’m currently beginning to consider buying a small(ish) truck to have around the house for the errant trash hauls, garden runs, etc…and the 2001-2004 (refresh) years have most of my interest. I’d prefer a single cab, manual trans. Nothing fancy, just enough capacity to handle the house chores (and to help family in the area). The 2nd gen redesign just leaves me cold, but I guess plenty of buyers either didn’t care about how they looked (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all of that jazz) or found them attractive enough to buy.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Just watch out for frame rot on that generation of Tacoma, it is a very real problem anywhere where road salt is used. The 05+ generation is generally regarded as still being well built and reliable vehicles, but they are just a bit worse in terms of component longevity, wheel bearings for example. My brother has worked on some of each generation, and the overall impression is that the 1st gen was designed and built to a somewhat higher standard (rusting DANA corp. frames not withstanding).

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      I’m really hoping they do a couple year refresh and wipe all the tacky ugly bits off the front end… I just can’t see myself buying a Taco with the way they look now..

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      They all need a bumper sticker that reads “my car (truck) is uglier than yours”
      Corolla and RAV4 are the best of the current Toyota crop.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      It’s like Toyota and Honda have both confused “weird looking” with “exciting.”

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Well, after you’ve exhausted all of the “clean” designs, where do you go next? There really is nothing new under the sun, design-wise. I marvel at how many of the design elements I see on new cars mimic cars from the late 1940s-early 1950s.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      VoGo – I looked at the new Colorado and the Tacoma. My 2 sons preferred the rear seats and layout of the Tacoma. I found the Colorado was nicer for the front passengers. Durability would be the final determinant. One can hide the Tacoma “Storm Trooper Helmet” look behind a push bar.

      I do agree that Toyota needs to work on ditching that whole bland appliance image.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        As long as everyone else is busy trying to not be bland appliances, Toyota will continue to do well being what the others won’t. Or, more pointedly, can’t.

        Selling to “enthusiasts” is well and good, but those guys nowadays tend to know the cost and deals, and “ratings” of every car on the market, and will only pony up once they recognize a “great deal.”

        While appliance buyers are more likely to simply stick with what has served them well before; even when someone else may be selling something supposedly “equivalent” for a buck or two less.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      VoGo,
      I agree, on a whole Toyota’s latest styling is crapful. Even the Landcruiser, Prado and Kluger (Highlander) are quite ugly.

  • avatar
    Vipul Singh

    Genuine question, since I am not from the US: can the B&B please provide a summary of sub-classes within BoF trucks and the nameplates in each category? Thanks!

    • 0 avatar
      suburbanokie

      Can be hard to quantify, especially with trucks growing larger and larger. But basically:

      Midsize (Compact to some, but they’re the same size as 15 year old 1/2-tons)
      -GM twins
      -Taco
      -Frontier
      -Ridgeline would fall here, but it’s not BoF as you specified.

      1/2 ton/standard duty
      -Silverado/Sierra 1500
      -Ram 1500
      -F-150
      -Tundra
      -Titan SD

      “XD”
      -The new Titan XD wants to slot in here, but I’m not sure it’s going to work for Nissan

      3/4 ton/start of “heavy duty” trucks
      -2500 & 250 trucks

      1-ton
      -3500 & 350

      “Severe Duty” is really anything above that and meant for Industry and sometimes for farmers or ranchers or other obscure uses (A lot of ambulances are built on 4500/450 chassis). There may be other names for this class.

      The general idea when the 1/2-, 3/4- and 1-ton classes came out was that was the payload capacity for carrying things in the bed.

      FWIW my 2007 Frontier is virtually the same size as my 1979 Chevy C10 (1/2-ton) and can carry/tow more.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Midsize pickups are not, nor have they ever been, the same size as any comparable half-ton from 2001. All three half-tons from 2001 had a WB around 140″ and a width of 78-79″. A comparable midsize has a WB of no more than 130″ and a width of around 74″.

        Assuming your ’79 Chevy is a long bed, it’s larger than the Frontier in every dimension except possibly height (which isn’t comparable unless both are 4×2).

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          yeah, the “small trucks are too big” school of thought really needs a list of caveats. the toy trucks of years ago were pretty small, but also they were more or less only available as regular cabs with 2WD. If you look at the 2011 and earlier Ranger, the regular cab 4×2 trucks look like the small trucks of old, but my 4×4 Sport supercab looks and feels like a lot bigger truck.

          The current global Ranger looks like a hulk in comparison, but that’s because so many of them are crew cab and have 4WD (thus are taller.) I parked my 2011 Ranger (supercab 4×4) next to a global Ranger and in length and width they were pretty close. The new Ranger was several inches taller.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I’m betting his ’79 Silverado is almost exactly the same size as a ’16 Colorado.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            2015+ Colorado: 74.3″ wide, 128″ WB, 70.5″ tall, 212.7″ long.

            1973-87 C-10: 131.5″ WB, no reliable data found for other dimensions, but based on prior and following models, about 78″ wide.

            It’s not really a fair comparison anyway, since Chevy didn’t have an extended cab half-ton until 1988, and there’s never been a RCLB Colorado.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Vulpine – post some numbers.

            I owned a ’84 Ranger for 5 years. There was a definite reason why I bought a F250 next. I kept that one for 15 years.

            There was also a definite reason why I purchased an F150 over a Tacoma double cab.

            The small trucks have gotten bigger for the same reason why all of the 1/2 ton makers offer crewcab trucks: That is what buyers want.

            Other than you and a few other internet dudes, I have yet to meet someone in real life wanting a 70’s or 80’s era sized pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Then you’re talking to the wrong people, Lou. Rather than talking to people who already have pickup trucks, you need to be talking to the people who don’t… the ones with mid-sized or smaller suv/cuv vehicles and ask they why they don’t have a pickup truck instead.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Vulpine – “Then you’re talking to the wrong people, Lou. Rather than talking to people who already have pickup trucks, you need to be talking to the people who don’t… the ones with mid-sized or smaller suv/cuv vehicles and ask they why they don’t have a pickup truck instead.”

            In my experience most couples I know have 2 vehicles (especially with kids). Those who want a pickup already have one and have a small to midsized CUV. The truck tends to be the guy’s truck and is used to/from work and for towing the boat or camper and the CUV is the wife’s runabout/kiddie hauler.

            The people I know with CUV’s or SUV’s that don’t have a truck don’t want one regardless of the truck’s size.

            I don’t know anyone pining for 70’s era small trucks. Not a one.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Whereas I’ve talked to a number of CUV/SUV owners who wish for a pickup truck the size of an old-style compact wagon. Meaning the size of a Subaru Legacy, a Toyota Corolla, Datsun B210, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Vulpine – and there are those that want a brown manual transmission station wagon…………

            Companies want to make money and niche vehicles that cater to the more cost conscious part of the market tend to be loss leaders.

            Vehicles are built by market analysis and focus groups. They don’t target the lowest common denominator.

            My local Chevy dealer has had just a few extended cab Colorado’s in stock and they sat forever. The 40k loaded crew 4×4’s sell like hotcakes. Same can be said for the Tacoma. Extended cab trucks collect dust.
            Regular cab trucks sell to fleets. The occasional young guy or older dude buys them but no one else.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            As I said, people don’t tend to know what they want until they see it. There’s a reason the Tesla sells as well as it does. There’s a reason Apple’s products sell as well as they do. It’s not because of market analysis and focus groups; it’s because the companies have recognized an open hole in the market and addressed it with a product that fills that hole in a way no other will. The simple fact that the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon have sold more than “popular opinion” shows there’s a market here in the US that is not being properly addressed.

            Toyota and Nissan knew they could leave their products alone and still keep a usable customer base as long as they had no other competition. Now that Chevy/GMC has re-entered the market, they’re updating. Moreover, everyone is now watching to see if Hyundai made a good guess about a “sport utility truck” where we’re seeing a number of hints that they at least plan to jump in with something that’s already selling fairly well in another market if that Hyundai does demonstrate a demand.

            Again, I personally know a number of people currently not driving a pickup truck that would truly like to see a new compact truck on the market. Considering some of the commentary I’ve seen about the Jeep Commanche concept at Moab this year, I think the potential market is far bigger than you want to believe.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Vulpine – I’m not anti-small truck. Far from it actually. I just do see a large market for anything smaller than the current “small” trucks.
            I always felt that if one of the auto company’s were to release a modern small truck, it would do well. An even smaller “small” truck would have to be a 4 door to sell and that would mean it would be almost as long as the current crop of mid-sizers.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            As I understand it, Lou, you live in a relatively rural part of Canada. I don’t. I live in the immediate vicinity of the NorthEast Corridor in the US where vehicles of all sizes have their place, from the smallest cars to the largest trucks. My specific locale is in a semi-rural town that serves as much as a bedroom community for three major cities as it does the center of activity for a number of horse farms for the racing industry and crop growing; including a thriving Amish community nearby. So it’s not uncommon to see a horse and buggy or buckboard on the roads as well as almost literally anything else up to and including a Tesla Model S Sedan. As such, the market is far more open to variety where I live and not everyone likes or wants even a current mid-sized truck. As I said, I personally know several people who would far prefer the old-school import trucks over anything that’s currently available.

            As far as the number of doors are concerned, two full doors and two half-doors would meet the needs of many people, even if it’s not the most popular layout. I for one despise the fact that I simply have no choice any more as to how many doors I get on most cars. Prior to my buying a 2002 Saturn Vue, I never intentionally purchased a vehicle with four full doors because I simply never had a demanding need for more. Even now, those extra doors don’t get used except as access to the front of the cargo area as the rear seats remain folded even in my JKU Wrangler AND my Fiat 500 for carrying goods, not people. I would rather a 2-door coupe or older Bronco-styled rig than have the extra doors. But I don’t have that choice except for extremely specialized vehicles such as the Fiat 500 or the short wheelbase JK Wrangler. And I’m not alone in that mind set, even if I’m not a majority.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Drzhivago138 – I bought a ’84 Ranger new. The advertising of the time was calling it a mid-sized truck. I find it ironic decades later where people pine away for it.

          The whole pickups are bigger meme is off the mark. Trucks have gotten heavier but that is mostly due to safety features. There weren’t any crewcab 1/2 ton trucks at one time.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            It’s not too much of a stretch to consider a CC/5.5′ bed half-ton to be comparable to an ext. cab/6.5′ bed model (at least, not too much for me), which is great because we can extended fair comparisons all the way back to 1973 and 1974 for Dodge and Ford, respectively. (GM didn’t get into the extended cab game until 1988, unfortunately.)

            So we can see that for 30 years, all F-150 SC/6.5′ and CC/5.5′ pickups rode on an almost identical wheelbase (139″), until 2004, when the SuperCab and Regular Cab were lengthened, and then in 2009, when the SuperCrew followed suit (I have no idea why they

            The WB of a ’16 Ram 1500 CCSB is only an inch longer than a first-gen Dodge D-100 Club Cab/6.5′ bed model from 1973. A new crew cab/6.5′ bed Ram (1500 or HD, doesn’t matter) rides the same 149″ WB as a D-200 from the early ’60s, even though Dodge made no crew cabs for 25 years. How’s that for “massive gains”?

            The reason I’m always harping on WB and width as the true criteria of what constitutes a truck size is because in my (granted, limited) experience, nothing contributes more to a vehicle’s on-road manners than those two dimensions, all other things being equal. Width has remained constant for nearly 50, years, and height is an unreliable metric, since it’s still largely a function of 4×2 vs. 4×4 vs. any “off-road” packages. OAL is definitely a lot longer on new pickups, and it’s all in the front overhang. But length outside the WB is unnoticeable on the road; it’s only in the parking lot or off-road where it rears its head.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I think there are only 2 classes:

      Midsize:
      Nissan Frontier
      Toyota Tacoma
      Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon
      Honda Ridgeline

      Full size:
      RAM 1500
      Ford F150
      Nissan Titan
      Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra
      Toyota Tundra

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I think it’s useful to keep it at three; there’s kind of a natural “break” at the 3/4 ton (250/2500) level because that’s typically where the models’ GVWR removes them from CAFE and EPA fuel economy. testing.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        There should be a third class for pickups that serve as light utility vehicles with a 1000# payload max (plus driver)

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “There should be a third class for pickups that serve as light utility vehicles with a 1000# payload max (plus driver)”

          There is.

          Most have a RAM badge on them.

          Rebel is around 1,000 lbs.

          The ecodiesel Laramie was around 900 when it first came out.

          In reality:
          Payload plus driver means 1200 – 1300 lbs.

          Most full bling crew cab 4×4 long box 1/2 tons are around that 1,300 lb mark. Ram again fits the bill.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou_BC,
            I do think that Ram has done a great job in rating the Ram for load and tow.

            The average person or 75% of all pickups don’t see the loads that you constantly talk about.

            They are used as daily drivers, taking kids to soccer, going to Lowes to buy a blister pack of 20 screws and maybe tow a couple thousand pounds.

            You seem to overstate and overplay this.

            You seem to think that pickups are used like “real” trucks. They aren’t and there are plenty of vehicles on offer to do what you state.

            The Raptor has a HUGE payload, doesn’t it?

            Oh, but it is a purpose built off roader will be your response, the same as 75% of pickups aren’t trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Big Al from Oz –

            “The average person” who buys a pickup doesn’t even know there is a tag on the b-pillar stating what the truck can haul.

            “75% of all pickups don’t see the loads that you constantly talk about.”

            I do not say that trucks haul max all of the time. I ALWAYS point out that you need to know ratings and how that affects tow loads.
            I see idiots all of the time with overloaded pickups. It creeps me out seeing a 6.2 F150 Crew Harley on 22 inch wheels pulling a 10k trailer and the box is full with a family of 4 on board.

            KNOW YOUR VEHICLE. PERIOD.

            I know what pickups are used for, I see it every day.

            Do you see 1/2 ton pickups every day?

            The previous Raptor crew payload is on par with the current Ram Rebel. It is also similar to a Tacoma double cab 6 ft box 4×4. It is higher than the first Ram 1500 air ride Ecodiesel full bling 4×4 crew long box.

            If there is a conversation about max tow i.e. Nissan Titan you bet your boots I will point out that its rated cargo rating is too low for its rated tow numbers. TFL truck proved that one already.

            You get butt hurt because most of the trucks you like i.e. DIESEL Nissan XD and Ram Ecodiesel DO NOT have proper ratings to compete in their class.

            Do you see me slag the Colorado diesel for poor tow and haul numbers??????????????????????

            NO.

            BECAUSE

            A 1,500 lb cargo rating is decent for a 7,700 lb rating. 10% tongue weight is 770 lbs. That leave 730 lbs. for passengers. That covers 2 adults and 2 kids and a bit of gear in the box rather nicely.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    With the Canyon and Colorado on a stop sale for airbags issues. The Tacoma will continue to have the best sales record.

    • 0 avatar
      talkstoanimals

      My colleague bought a Colorado yesterday, so I’m not sure there’s a stop sale. I think it’s just a recall, no?

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        From this article. GM dealers should not be selling the Canyon or Colorado pickups. I would contact the dealer regarding the stop sale and recall.

        http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/03/gm-issues-stop-sale-on-2016-chevrolet-colorado-gmc-canyon.html

        • 0 avatar
          Timothy Cain

          That article indicates that the stop-sale order takes into account a relatively small number of pickups: 1800 Colorados, Canyons, and Malibu sedans in total. GM has more than 20,000 Colorados and Canyons in stock right now.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            Yes, But if history repeats itself. The GM recall will expand. Hopefully it will just be those 1800 vehicles.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That really great resale value stopped me from buying a used Tacoma back in 2006. I could get a gently used full size American truck for what a 115,000 mile plus Tacoma was going for back then.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Yep, one of the few vehicles that makes sense to pay near MSRP for. It may be expensive, perhaps even overpriced, but chances are you will never be underwater when paying off the loan.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    Timothy – I find your reports very interesting, particularly when you compare sales of models within a particular segment. However, it is often hard to follow and compare the various reported numbers when they are dispersed throughout the article and sometimes jump around among different time periods. Just a suggestion – your excellent reporting might be easier to follow if you included with each article a summary table showing the relevant sales all in one place.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    As y’all know, I’m going to want to tow a 20′ trailer in about 2 years. My front runner is a 2015 Denali. However, I keep looking at the Dirtymax Canyon as well.

    We sat in a Tacoma at the autoshow. It was the most comfortable in terms of seat geometry and elbow room out of anything we sat in. The Canyon was ok, but the headrests really bothered my lady, and the Sierra had no accessory power so she couldn’t adjust the seats. We know the Sierra works though.

    I actually like the way the Tacoma looks. The new front end is…. ok, but I like the flat belt lines and square cut lines compared to the awkward, skewed shape of the Canyon. Its a good looking truck. That said, I don’t think I’d buy one. I’d just rather have a V8 or torquey little diesel to lug around the expected 5k lbs trailer in our mountains. If we were prairie dwellers, maybe.

    Or even GMs 4.3L six. Thats a truck engine.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Take a look at the base model Tundra. Comes standard with the 4.6 v8 and has standard features that are optional on the Big Three trucks. My local dealer is selling the extra cab model with cloth seats and trailer hitch for under $29,000. That is the rwd drive only model. Only come in three colors. But, it will tow your trailer easily and you could probably drive it for five years and than sell it for $23,500. Or just drive it for twenty years. Than sell it for $10,000.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        No thanks. The Tundra is hideous.

        Sorry, a bit of a snarky reply. I dont find the Tundra good to look at. This is important to me.

        Also, I want a 4×4 crew, since the truck will also be a daily driver, along side a sedan. An extra cab 2WD doesnt really do it for me. I’ve priced out 4×4 crew cab SLE V6 Sierras. I’d take a lower model new, but I have a few must haves.

        I’m pretty sure it will be a 2015 Denali. in 2018 they should have taken a good depreciation hit. The 6.2 is complete overkill for what I want to do but since with the 8AT there is no hit compared to the 5.3L in fuel economy, why not?

        I do absolutely respect the way that Tacos and Tundras hold their value though. I cant say anything bad about that. If I just wanted a truck to bomb around in right now? I’d most probably pick up a Taco.

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          Got it. Toyota does not make the average looking pickup. Not sure who designs Toyota’s. On the Denali. My neighbor has what I think is a 2015. He tows a small trailer for his toys a couple times a month. In the morning he remote starts it to warm up. The engine makes some hideous sounds. Like the belt pully bearings are warn out. I’ve talked to home about it and he has had it the shop multiple times trying to fix the engine squeaks. The dealer has replaced many parts and it still sound like a very used engine. He wanted to do some kind of lemon law on the truck. But it has not actually stopped working. The dealers he has taken it to do not know what else to do and have told him as long as it keeps running it is normal. He is calling it BS. This is after they replaced the belts and pullies. One dealer wanted to basically rebuild the engine, thinking it is coming from deeper in the engine. He likes the truck. But will never buy another GM product. The engine just sounds like it has 200,000 + miles on it. This is a $60k+ truck that sounds like a pos. If you’re looking for a used one. Just do some major inspection on the enginr before signing the papers.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Thanks for the heads up on the engine issues. I definitely will be getting a thorough PPI on whatever I buy, because even 3 years old, it will still be a significant outlay.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Seems like the mechanics should be using a stethoscope rather than just throwing parts at it. I would think a continuous squealing shouldn’t be that hard to track down.

            And Dave, how do you feel about the GX460?

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            I talked to one of my friends that is a diehard GM truck fan. He says it’s normal for them to squeak when warming up. Maybe so. But, my neighbor is still pissed off. Maybe someone else on this blog can give you better input on the GM engine noises.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            right ajla? The best dealer work I ever had on the Verano was some young “Saturday oil change tech” up in Hinton Ab, when the car was towed there from our Jasper camping trip. They guy pulled out not only his laptop but a multimeter and a bunch of other hand tools, started tearing into things and actually testing things. He is the one who found the rough patches of metal wearing through the wiring harness when other dealers just scanned it and declared defeat. This kind of half @ssed work is why so many people have issues I think.

            I don’t want an SUV, I really want a 1/4 ton or (more likely) 1/2 ton pickup. And I actually had to google the GX460 just to know what model you were specifically been referring to. Never been on my radar. But aren’t they basically luxed up Land Cruisers? I can definitely see the appeal for people.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            Ajla, sorry my miscommunication. The squeaking was only while warming up. I would say the first 10-15 minutes. But, you could hear the engine noises 4 houses away. He said after driving the truck a few miles the squeaks went away. Guess that was part of the issue at the dealer trying to diagnose the squeaks.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’m perfectly fine with a good ¼-ton pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            VW16v – The new GM pickups did not make Consumer Reports recommended list.

            If one is buying a Tundra then the 4.6 shouldn’t even be a consideration. MPG is about the same as the 5.7 I-Force but you have a lot less power.
            Same can be said for GM. The 6.2 is about the same as the 5.3 for fuel economy. The 5.3 can run with regular which is its only advantage.
            In Canada the Tundra tends to come with little or no rebates. GM, Ford, or Ram depending on the time of year can be had with 10-14k off.
            The “Big 3” also offer significantly more options and configurations than the Tundra.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “I’m perfectly fine with a good ¼-ton pickup.”

            500 lbs?

            Really?

            Go buy a Miata or a motorcycle.

            Even a Jeep is rated for 1000 lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Dave the GX is a Land Cruiser Prado 150 (“baby” Land Cruiser) with low hanging bumpers, a creamy-smooth V8, and various luxury doo-dads. It and the 4Runner are basically the same truck underneath in terms of frame and suspension. It has the full-time 4wd system of the 4Runner Limited (Fulltime 4H, 4H locked, 4Low) I respect them for what they are, but the “Predator” front end further ruins its already compromised ground clearance and approach angle. It’d be interesting to see Toyota offer up the 4.6L V8 in the 4Runner, I know many people miss that option from the 4th gen 4Runner days.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “If we were prairie dwellers, maybe.”

      Just head south or east ;)

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Buying a Tacoma is nearly the equivalent of putting money in the bank.

    I own one that I bought from my parents. They leased it and bought it at the end. It’s probably the best financial decision they made in the last 20 years.

    The truck is fine. I don’t have the desire to go off road, plus it’s a Prerunner so it can’t really do serious mud work anyway. When I use it as my daily driver it makes me appreciate my other, better handling, cars more.

    At work I drive a 4 cylinder Colorado. The Chevy seems a lot bigger despite being an extended cab versus the Tacoma’s 4 full doors. The power difference is startling. I really don’t get the appeal of the Colorado other than it’s not as obscenely huge as the Silverado. But it’s still the size of a 1990s full sizer.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “Buying a Tacoma is nearly the equivalent of putting money in the bank.”

      Yeah, I agree with that. But I also would like to add that buying ANY Toyota product is a wise application of one’s money.

      Toyota products do seem to hold their value and in most cases require very little attention other than regular maintenance.

      It took me until age 62 to make that discovery. Now were all Toyota, all the time.

  • avatar
    redapple

    2 Problems with the Tacoma.

    1- Butt a$$ fugly.
    2- Seat bottom is 4 ” above floor. Legs splayed out driving is not fun.

  • avatar
    multicam

    “Nearly half the non-full-size pickup trucks sold in the United States in the first two months of 2016 were Toyotas.”

    I believe it. They’re ubiquitous here in Hawaii, where they also command an even higher than normal resale value. A quick glance at Tampa, FL vs. Oahu 2013 Tacomas shows a $3000-$8000 premium for the Aloha state.

  • avatar

    Let me chime in on the Tacoma’s “holding their value”.

    I just sold my 2002 Tacoma a couple months ago. I bought it with 70K miles in 2008 for $10,500, and sold it in 2015 with 135K miles for $10000.

    65K miles, and 7 years and it only depreciated $500. That’s incredible! I was blown away, especially because KBB said it was only worth $7500.

    So I can vouch for the fact that they hold their value.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” KBB said it was only worth $7500.”

      Used Toyota vehicles are worth whatever a knowledgeable buyer is willing to pay for them.

      When I bought my 2016 Tundra last month, the dealer asked me if I was willing to trade my 2011 Tundra and offered me “top dollar” $15K for it.

      So my son pops up from elsewhere in the room and says, “Hell dad, I’ll pay you that much for it in real money.” I said, “Sold!”

      The dealer looked like he just schit in his pants.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        That is a problem for folks like myself, who prefer to buy used.

        This past August and September, in my area I continually ran into the issue, which was that sellers were asking for way more than KBB. Case in point, a 2010 PreRunner Access Cab with a manual, the seller wanted $21K. Other sellers, with over 100K were asking between $15K and $18K for a PreRunner with a manual transmission.

        I went with a new 4×4 Tacoma Access Cab with the base 2.7L / 5 speed manual for $22.5K, that my guess was marked down to my liking by two dealers within 200 miles of me, because the 2016 revamped Tacomas were already showing up on the dealer lots. By the way, Costco can be your friend, if you are buying new.

        I like the truck and the aftermarket off-road mods that are available.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          My son in SW Texas recently bought a 2016 Tacoma V6 4X4 4-door TRD and likes his 2016 very much, even though it is basically the same thing as the 2005 Tacoma he replaced.

          When I took delivery of my 2016 Tundra, the dealer did not even have one used Tundra on the used-lot. And when I left, he still didn’t.

          It’s been said that ALL Toyota trucks keep their value. But like you said, that is a problem for people who prefer to buy used because it allows dealers to make ginormous profits from Toyota trucks they are able to corral.

        • 0 avatar
          94metro

          Do you feel that the 4×4 with the 2.7 is adequately powered? That is my ideal choice for an engine (looking for something I can pair with an MT and drive for 300,000 miles), but I was worried that now that the regular cab is retired and weight has ballooned it wouldn’t be able to get out of its own way.

          • 0 avatar
            OldandSlow

            As you said, the curb weight on the 2015 ballooned to 4,000 lbs. Add a camper shell, Class IV trailer hitch and rock sliders, you’ll be at 4400 lbs easy. So, no heavy hauling – if you wish to maintain 80 mph for hours on end on the Interstate.

            For me, the 2.7L with the 5 speed manual is fine – because I sold a VW Bus, plus I used some savings to finance the Tacoma.

            Out of habit and because I hate lugging a 4 cylinder engine, I downshift into 4th gear on steep upgrades @ highway speeds.

            With just a camper shell on the back and two of us in the truck, I’ve hauled at 75 mph from Houston to Austin, a motorcycle on a small trailer with no problems – our hills are not exactly the Ike Gauntlet.

            Caveat: Proper off-road tires can weigh about 50lbs a piece versus 32lbs for the P rated tires that come with the Tacoma. A set of KO2 Goodrich tires will definitely affect acceleration and gas consumption on the 4 banger.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            It’s not massively powerful, but I don’t find my 2015 Tacoma 2.7 MT 4×4 to be underpowered for normal driving and use. The MT really helps and I do find myself downshifting on steeper freeway grades at 65 (but not at 70), basically I watch the tach because any sort of grade when below 2500 requires a lower gear. If I had plans for serious towing or hauling, I would opt for the V6. It carries my 450 pound motorcyclist just fine. It is rated for a maximum tow weight of 3500 pounds, but these days I have nothing to tow, so I can’t comment on that aspect.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The Toyota Tacoma, despite being bigger than the 2015 model, is still smaller than the GM twins, which is one reason why it’s still more popular. Too many people still believe “bigger is better”, yet Toyota is proving them wrong and I think some of the upcoming new concepts may prove the point even more graphically. It’s just a matter of time.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would only buy a Toyota new. The price of a new Toyota is not that much higher than a used late model Toyotas. I tend to drive my vehicles for more than 10 years so depreciation is not that big of an issue with me.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I like the idea of a truck this size; I have absolutely no need for one.

    What I like in that picture – no rake. I’m told that there are special modifications that you can make to the back end to get rid of the rake without affecting the towing capacity or cargo capacity. It just makes the vehicle level. And they look so much nicer without the stupid stance. I bet they are a whole lot easier to use for trucky stuff without that.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    I don’t whether it amounts to a hill of beans with regards to the number of new buyers, but maybe about 5% of new buyers out West immediately modify a Tacoma from its stock configuration for off-road purposes.

    The are numerous fabrication shops ready with upgraded front springs, rear spring packs, shocks, rock sliders and high clearance bumpers.

    It may not be a hill beans with regards to sales numbers, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the Tacoma’s image as a life-style truck verses the GM twins, which are tad on the bloaty side.

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      OldandSlow you win the prize! Even a lower spec 4×4 Tacoma looks off-road ready and willing to go. The GM twins look like mall crawlers and it takes a Frontier Pro-4x to even come close to the image/look of the Toyota. If you step up to the TRD-PRO nobody comes close, IMHO of course.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @OldandSlow–Agree. I just got a Cosco membership and the next time I buy a new vehicle I might go through Cosco. My wife bought a new CRV loaded in 2013 and the dealer experience was grueling lasting a good part of a Saturday. We paid MSRP but we got the winter package and a few other things thrown in. I realize there is a large profit margin on the extras but with the extras no charge and the 0.9% interest was not bad. I would not buy a Honda or a Toyota used because of the premium attached. I have never owned a Toyota but if I were it would probably be a Tacoma. I am very satisfied with my 99 S-10 and 2008 Isuzu I-370 which I bought both new and both have been very reliable.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have seen several new Colorados/Canyons around where I live and most of them are crew cabs that are loaded. Each truck has its strengths and weaknesses. I would not hesitate to own any of the midsize trucks. I do not use a truck for off roading but I do use the bed of my pickups a lot for hauling. If I did not live in the snow belt I would not own a 4 x 4. If I really were concerned about image I would not be driving a midsize truck. I use my trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Jeff S,
      Maybe a new Ridgeline is for you in the snow and ice. I’d think an AWD system would suffice for most who consider a 4×4 pickup. Most are never off road.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    The “new” Tacoma isn’t really all that new. The single reason it sells so well is reliability. And the corresponding great resale value.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Big Al–My wife’s CRV does very well in the snow with AWD. Agree not everyone drives a pickup off road and much of the off road driving is more recreational and less necessity. My 4 x 4 Isuzu does fine in the snow.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Jeff S – I do think that the term “off-road” gets misused and abused. To use the terms I see in the Forest Industry we have “on highway” and “off-highway”. Most people buy 4×4 or AWD vehicles for “on highway” inclement weather use. Basically paved roads and winter storms. Any departure from paved roads for the most part are all weather gravel roads and gravel roads that are seasonal.
      True off-road use entails traveling down very rustic roads or trails. Unless you live next to sand dunes or pure desert you are going to be confined to some sort of trail or path. Most served a work purpose at one time and have gone into disrepair.
      I’ve travelled in almost every situation imaginable and tend to be realistic about what each vehicle can or cannot do. I’m big on knowing the limits of one’s vehicle or knowing the limits of what one is planning to buy.

  • avatar

    Another student in my dojo bought a new Tacoma. Traded in a Fit, too. The truck looks less bloated than the previous generation and seems very nice overall. But the factory lift is a little insane. People do not mod Wranglers in such amounts often, and this is made right there in San Antonio like that, and is apparently how almost all of them come nowadays.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Tacomas definitely ride high, always have, like the older Pickups that preceded them. That goes hand in hand with their high floors which results in the ‘legs-out’ seating position that many dislike. The advantage is that there is less of a need to buy an aftermarket lift, with all the potential compromises in handling/ride quality/reliability that might come with going that route.


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