By on February 13, 2017

2017 Nissan Titan King Cab - Image: Nissan

By broadening its lineup, rethinking the dealer approach, and focusing on prime markets, Nissan intends to increase its Titan pickup truck’s share of America’s full-size market to 5 percent.

5 percent. One in twenty trucks. One Titan for every 19 Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram P/U, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra.

That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Nah, at least until you realize that in 2016, Nissan sold fewer than 22,000 Titans, or slightly less than 1 percent market share. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

1997 Dodge Copperhead Concept/Ram 1500 Copper Sport - Images: FCA

As we reported in the middle of the night, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will show two new Ram special edition pickup trucks at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show this week.

One truck brings the 1500 Night package to the 2500 Heavy Duty. The other is the Ram’s 1500 Copper Sport.

Or is it?

Hours after the embargo lifted and Matthew Guy’s story went live on TTAC, we received a press release from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada’s PR department. Our eagle-eyed managing editor, Mark Stevenson, noticed something peculiar.

“New Limited Edition 2017 Ram 1500 Copperhead Sport Launched,” FCA Canada announced.

And why won’t the Copperhead Sport be the Copperhead Sport in the United States?

Don’t blame Steve Earle. Blame ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

1992 Ford F-150 Nite Edition, Image: Ford

Yesterday I told a story about a colleague of mine who was lookin’ for love in all the large places. Because this is TTAC, the conversation in the comments quickly turned to the traction merits of various drivetrain systems. You crazy kids. I bet that when most of you think about Fast Times At Ridgemont High, your minds immediately go to the one scene where we get a good look at the voluptuous curves of … Judge Reinhold’s 1960 LeSabre.

We’ve had a lot of conversations about trucks lately, whether it’s a Nissan Frontier, a Toyota Tacoma, or a Honda Ridgeline. You could say that we’re in some kind of trucking phase, and that it might be a while before we get the truck out of here.

So, what the truck do you want?

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2017

2017 Honda Ridgeline Sport - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Imagine a world full of hefty, four-seat, eight-cylinder muscle cars. Then, appearing out of thin air, the Mazda MX-5 Miata arrives. You can draw parallels. The end goals are similar. But these are strikingly different machines.

Or consider a world in which buyers in search of family friendly SUVs are limited to Chevrolet Suburbans and Ford Expedition ELs. But after decades of dominance, in walks a totally different kind of answer: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

Like the first-generation Honda Ridgeline that bowed more than a decade ago, the all-new second-generation Ridgeline is a pickup truck. There’s a cab and a bed. It can tow and it can haul.

Yet the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is dramatically different from other pickup trucks, and not only in terms of construction. For better or worse, Honda’s truck is a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish. As a result, comparisons with other pickup trucks are, if not unfair, rendered largely invalid.
(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 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 13, 2017

2017 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cas

To beat the establishment at the establishment’s game, one needs either to employ a high degree of anti-establishmentarianism or prove to be obviously superior than the establishment.

Recognizing that the establishment is entrenched, with six Detroit brand pickup truck nameplates earning better than four out of every five pickup truck sales in America, two pickup trucks launched in 2016 with markedly different approaches.

Honda, quite evidently, does not believe the world’s eighth-largest automaker can endure a head-on collision with the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra. The Ridgeline is still a unibody pickup with a V6 engine, a 5,000-pound towing capacity, and a trunk under the bed. Put Honda down in the anti-establishment column.

Nissan, however, clearly wants to be part of the establishment. The second-generation Nissan Titan approaches Detroit’s pickups with ostentatious design, a rumbling V8, full-size dimensions, and a new chrome-laden top-trim level. But remember, Nissan can’t merely match the best trucks — the Titan must demonstrate indisputable superiority. (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 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 12, 2016

2017 Nissan Titan red - Image: Nissan USA

America’s pickup truck market exploded with significant year-over-year growth in November 2016. After the U.S. auto industry reported three consecutive months of decline through the end of October, auto sales jumped 4 percent in November, year-over-year.

Pickup trucks were responsible for half of the industry’s growth last month.

All 11 truck nameplates on offer in the United States — from the Chevrolet Silverado that posted a modest 0.6-percent uptick to the Honda Ridgeline that shot up 115,367 percent — got in on the action.

Even the Nissan Titan.

(Read More…)

By on December 1, 2016

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Pickup trucks are about as stereotypically American as firearms, baseball, Coca-Cola, and landing on the moon. However, General Motors and Ford don’t want us hoarding all that goodness and plan on exporting their piece of the American pie to the East. The Big Two want to place large American trucks in the hands of upscale Chinese buyers and establish the eminence of a vehicle China currently sees as little more than a tool for farming or construction.

Coincidentally, that is exactly how our love affair with the truck began.  (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Fans of trim packages from the ‘90s take note: Chevy is reintroducing its ZR2 package, this time for their mid-sized Colorado pickup.

Chevrolet revealed a Colorado ZR2 concept two years ago at the L.A. Auto Show and the rumour mill has been awash with recent reports of a reprise. Now, Chevy has officially announced its butch off-road variant … this time with a diesel.

(Read More…)

By on November 10, 2016

RAM POWER WAGON

If you are looking for a budget pickup to haul around the occasional armoire or stack of plywood, look no further than the Nissan Frontier. However, if you want the biggest and meanest off-road hauler America has to offer, you’re going to have to fork over some extra dough.

Dodge has announced pricing for the 2017 Ram Power Wagon and informed us that automotive savagery isn’t gratis.

(Read More…)

By on October 25, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS

Mercedes-Benz unveiled two concepts for its mid-sized pickup, dubbed the X-Class, in Stockholm, Sweden today. The event was live-streamed across the globe and, at thirteen minutes in, two gussied up Nissans took the stage.

(Read More…)

By on October 25, 2016

Photo by Scoo. (Photo by Scoo.) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hoping to shed some light on the effectiveness of modern crash avoidance technology, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has spent much of this year evaluating the quality of headlights in late model vehicles.

Its research has shown that most midsize cars could use some serious refinement and small SUVs are downright abysmal in terms of road illumination. So, it may not shock you to hear that most pickup trucks did poorly in those same tests.

In fact, there was only a single model that received a good rating, and you probably don’t know anybody who drives one.  (Read More…)

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