Category: Trucks

By on January 25, 2017

Nissan Titan crash test 2017

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap crash test — the bane of every automaker’s existence — has prevented another pickup from achieving high marks.

This time, it’s the 2017 Nissan Titan — a full-size pickup struggling to stand apart from its domestic competition after recently undergoing its first redesign in 13 years.

In IIHS testing, the Titan crew cab, like many of its rivals, folded under pressure during the small overlap test. That keeps the truck out of the running for an ad-worthy Top Safety Pick rating. Read More >

By on January 23, 2017

Midsize trucks - Images: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GMFive members strong, America’s midsize pickup truck sector reported nearly 450,000 sales in 2016.

After claiming only 11 percent of the overall pickup truck market’s volume in 2013 and 2014 and 14 percent in 2015, 17 percent of all pickup truck sales in 2016 were produced by the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline.

Midsize pickup truck sales growth wildly outperformed the overall auto industry in 2016, leaping forward nine times faster than the full-size truck sector, year-over-year.

Every candidate got in on the action, but one truck in particular did more than its fair share of the heavy lifting. Read More >

By on January 20, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

If you want a new midsize truck, you have four-and-a-half options. The geriatric but delightfully trucky Nissan Frontier, the recently reintroduced unibody Ridgeline, the insipid GM Colorado/Canyon twins, or the relatively fresh Toyota Tacoma. Each of these trucks has something to recommend it, but the midsize segment is not the dynamic space it once was. There are more station wagons available to American consumers today than mid-size pickups.

Amid the thin field of competition, the Toyota Tacoma is the undisputed sales leader. In 2016 it outsold its next closest rival by 46,000 units on its way to a 43 percent market share. And despite the lack of choice, consumers acquired 25 percent more midsize trucks in 2016 than they did in 2015. Thankfully, growth ensures that this highly visible yet under-served corner of the market will soon offer a selection more like Amazon than a Soviet-era grocery store. The Ford Ranger returns to the market in about two years, along with the much-anticipated Wrangler pickup. Nissan will soon update the prehistoric Frontier. And both Volkswagen and Mercedes are contemplating midsize entries.

Sales are robust for Toyota’s mid-sizer, but is it ready for tomorrow’s competition? Read More >

By on January 17, 2017

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept - Image: Hyundai

Two years have passed since Hyundai dropped the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept at 2015’s North American International Auto Show.

A small, stylish, affordable, diesel-powered trucklet? Give’er the green light, the internet says.

Hyundai has consistently supplied plenty of information in the 24 months since the truck’s debut to stoke Santa Cruz-oriented hype. “There is a very high probability we get the approval of the truck soon,” now-departed Hyundai USA boss Dave Zuchowski said 20 months ago.

Soon? Clearly not.

Acknowledging Hyundai is “working as hard as we can to make it happen,” Hyundai’s vice president of corporate and product planning, Mike O’Brien, told Car And Driver that Hyundai is still not entirely certain the Santa Cruz is bound for production. Read More >

By on January 16, 2017

gmmansteptitle

General Motors loves to poke at its competitors, especially when it comes to trucks. We’re all familiar with its recent barrage of ads attacking Ford for using aluminum in the F-150’s bed, but another ad from 2009 may be coming back to bite them.

The ad in question made fun of a new feature that extended a step and handle from the tailgate of the F-150. Chevrolet didn’t have anything similar at the time, so it decided instead to make an ad mocking the step and making it seem like a feature for unmanly weaklings. Chevy resurrected a similar feature in the bumpers of some trucks a few years later, though a recent set of patents shows the automaker is almost replicating the step they ridiculed eight years ago. Read More >

By on January 11, 2017

Ford Everest Front 3/4, Image: Ford

Update: TTAC has received information refuting the claims below. You can read the update here.

While Ford finally confirmed the return of the Ford Ranger and Bronco at the North American International Auto Show earlier this week, the automaker remains stingy with details on the reborn models.

Ford aficionados — and Bronco lovers especially — want to know if the resurrected nameplates will offer the same magic as their dear, departed forebears. Perhaps eager to quench the public’s thirst for information, a shadowy Ford employee posted juicy — and potentially disappointing — details during a Reddit AMA. Read More >

By on January 9, 2017

Mark Stevenson's Former 1995 Ford Bronco, Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

We knew it would happen, but now it’s official.

Ford, in two very short paragraphs bookended by more spilled corporate ink over mobility and futurethink, has given me a reason to save my nickels and dimes for 2020.

The Bronco, like the Terminator, will be back.

(Oh, and the Ranger is coming back too.)

Read More >

By on January 8, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced funding for the last piece of the Jeep production puzzle.

The automaker will spend $1 billion to retool its Toledo and Warren assembly plants in anticipation of three new models, capping off a spending spree that made this round of production plant musical chairs possible. Read More >

By on January 8, 2017

2018 ford f-150

Being on top doesn’t mean a company can take its customer base for granted. Not satisfied with basking in the goodwill generated by the F-150’s best-selling status, Ford Motor Company has unveiled a refreshed 2018 model and a host of new hardware upgrades.

While the upcoming F-150 sports an evolutionary facelift, it’s what’s under the hood that stands to tempt a new range of buyers. Read More >

By on January 7, 2017

RAM 1500 Rebel Black

The factory optioned “murdering-out” of cars and trucks is all the rage right now. It seems like every model has some variant where the OEM has replaced all of the shiny bits for black plastic for a meaner disposition. Everything from Porsche’s Carrara to Chevrolet’s Silverado has a dark edition with a midnight monicker. Even Mercedes-Benz is providing a blacked-out version of the S-Class for this year’s North American International Auto Show.

Ram will also bringing something tall, dark, and handsome to Detroit with its new Rebel 1500 Black.

While the Rebel is already an aggressive looking off-road truck with an abundance of darkened trim, Ram has given it an extra dash of visual menace with this inky special edition.  Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

2015 Ford F-150 crew cab

Thanks to improved midsize-truck sales, record Ram volume, and the best annual results for the Ford F-Series in more than a decade, U.S. sales of pickup trucks climbed to 2.69 million units in 2016.

The 6-percent year-over-year growth rate among pickup trucks shamed the industry at large — auto sales grew only 0.3 percent in 2016. Yet while auto sales reached record levels, spurred along in part by pickup improvements, truck sales haven’t quite returned to the glory days. Not yet.

Americans acquired an average of more than 3 million pickup trucks per year during a five-year period ending in 2007, the last time total pickup truck sales volume was stronger than it is now.

Some things haven’t changed, however. Ford sells the most popular full-size pickup truck line; 2016 was the F-Series 40th consecutive year as the segment’s top seller. And America’s top-selling manufacturer reigns as the top-selling manufacturer of pickup trucks.  Read More >

By on December 22, 2016

2017 Super Duty STX

Ford Motor Company has issued two safety-related recalls for around 9,400 North American vehicles, with both issues posing a fire risk.

The automaker is ordering back over 8,000 2017 Super Duty trucks that lack proper fuel tank strap reinforcements, in addition to roughly 1,300 other vehicles equipped with 3.5-liter EcoBoost engines. Read More >

By on December 20, 2016

Ford King Ranch

America loves its trucks, perhaps to an unhealthy degree.

Domestic automakers aren’t complaining, as pickups are among the most profitable vehicles the companies can produce. Compared to cars, trucks are typically easier to manufacture, but fetch a higher price. Tack on costly options and the expensive trim levels the market seems to adore, and you’ve practically printing your own money.

Still, you might be surprised by the percentage of buyers springing for top-end variants of vehicles once loved only by construction companies, public works departments and landscapers. Read More >

By on December 20, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 R/T interior center stack, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Just when it thought a troubling roll-away controversy and resulting recall was almost behind it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finds itself under investigation for a similar problem.

This time, it isn’t the now-defunct Monostable gear shift that supposedly confused drivers — it’s the rotary shifter found in late-model vehicles. After numerous complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into 1 million FCA vehicles that could pose a roll-away risk. Read More >

By on December 16, 2016

2016 Ford F-150 Limited

All that leg-stretching, snot-nosed kid-hauling, hockey equipment-carrying, ATV-lugging space that new vehicle buyers so desperately crave comes at a premium.

Thanks to this insatiable thirst for crossovers, SUVs, and pickups, the average new vehicle transaction price jumped to a new record in 2016. Good news for manufacturers, but also for those selling their old ride. Read More >

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