The Truth About Cars » toyota tacoma The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » toyota tacoma Chicago 2014: Toyota TRD Pro Ups The Off-Road Ante Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:22:10 +0000 CHRIS BURKARD PHOTOGRAPHY, TOYOTA, TRD

With Toyota serving as the market leader in body-on-frame trucks (the Tacoma, Tundra, 4Runner and now departed FJ Cruiser), taking aim at the off-road segment seems like a logical next step for their TRD aftermarket division. The new TRD Pro lineup, shown above, clearly apes the styling cues of the Ford Raptor, and is evidence that Toyota is not going to let the Blue Oval have that market all to itself

The TRD Pro trucks won’t get any engine upgrades, but every truck in the lineup gets  TRD Bilstein shocks with a remote reservoir, TRD-tuned front springs, a front skid plate, and unique grille with a large Toyota badge in the center. All three of the vehicles will have lifted front ends, with the Tundra and Tacoma getting a 2 inch raise while the 4Runner makes do with 1.5.

The Tundra will get 18 inch wheels, with the 4Runner getting 17 inchers and the Tacoma sporting 16″ wheels. Each vehicle will get an upgraded interior with TRD parts, with the 4Runner sports an extra inch of wheel travel and the Tacoma gets a TRD exhaust.

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Toyota Considers Increasing Capacity at San Antonio Truck Plant as Tundra Sales Climb Tue, 17 Dec 2013 12:00:14 +0000 toyotatundra

Toyota is examining the feasibility of increasing capacity at its San Antonio factory that assembles fullsize Tundra and compact Tacoma pickup trucks, according to a report by Automotive News. Operating two shifts plus overtime and Saturdays, the plant has a capacity of 250,000 units. Toyota’s Tijuana, Mexico plant puts together knockdown kits of the Tacoma, adding another 50,000 units, most of which go to the local market or to Canada. Fay said that fiddling with the assembly lines could add ~7,000 trucks to each plant’s output, but the total of 307,000 units may not be enough for the North American market as sales of the Tundra have rebounded for the past couple of years after a three year slump.

In the first 11 months of the year, Toyota has sold 248,468 Tundras and Tacomas combined in the U.S., up 14% from 2012, with 101,744 of those being the redesigned Tundra. Fay predicted that Toyota could sell 137,000 Tundras next year. When the Tundra was introduced in 2007, Toyota sold almost 200,000 that year but sales dropped about 30% in 2008 and then fell to ~79,000 as the recession deepened in 2009.

If Toyota sells 137,000 Tundras next year, even if Tacoma sales remain the same, the plants in Texas and Mexico would not be able to keep up with the demand. Still, Toyota isn’t eager to risk the capital expenditures needed to increase the capacity at San Antonio, having witness sales crater just five years ago.

“We have 2008 and 2009 fresh in our minds, when the pickup market dropped from 2.5 million to 1.1 million,” Fay said, “but we also need to be flexible for three years down the road from now. What kind of production and support do we need for the second half of this decade? How much do we need to invest?”

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Editorial: Mid-Size Trucks Don’t Matter Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:15:50 +0000 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

Among the pet segments that enthusiasts hold dear, none has been on a roll the way the mid-size truck market has been. News of the Chevrolet Colorado’s return, along with diesel and manual transmission options, have been greeted with the sort of fanfare that in the glossy buff book era would have been reserved for the newest European supercar.

But this is the age of the internet, the long tail and niches are able to thrive in cyberspace. Our coverage of the Colorado’s debut garnered hundreds of comments, and Phillip Thomas’ excellent analysis piece was our most popular article for a number of days (on the strength of this piece, Phillip will be back with more truck segment pieces).

While it’s easy for us to get excited about the Colorado, the numbers indicate a different story. The mid-size truck market has been in consistent decline, and the Colorado has an even tougher job than it did last time around if it wants to kickstart the segment all over again.

A just over a decade ago, the Ford Ranger accounted for 226,000 units alone. Today, the entire mid-size truck market is worth 225,000 units, in a truck market worth about 1.6 million units, and an overall SAAR expected to hit around 16 million units. with the Toyota Tacoma accounting for 62 percent of the market. The second place Nissan Frontier pales in comparison, moving about 55,000 units.

In 2002,  its best year, the Colorado cracked 150,000 units, declining steadily until its demise a decade later, when it sold just 36,000 units. By contrast, sales of the Tacoma have been stable, and consistently stayed above 100,000 units, peaking at 178,000 in 2006, outselling the Colorado that year by a nearly 2:1 margin.

It would be foolish to assume that the market has stayed stagnant since those years, but in many ways, it’s quite a bit tougher. Having rebounded from the shocks of 2009, the latest crop of trucks is the best yet, and many of the key features touted by the latest full-sizers further diminishes the raison d’etre of the mid-size truck.

The two key selling points for mid-sizers has always been fuel economy and the fact that not everyone wants a full-size pickup. But the newest half-tons from Ram, General Motors and Ford offer 6-cylinder powertrains that meet or exceed that of a Tacoma V6 while offering superior performance. Even the latest crop of V8s, as thristy as they are, have set new standards for fuel efficiency in the segment – and the bar will be raised even further with the introduction of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which gets fuel economy figures more inline with a mid-size V6 sedan.

Of course, there are those who claim that they don’t want a big truck, and that a mid-size makes sense and is all the truck that they (and sometimes, others) really need. But then again, there are people who claim that crossovers are wasteful and inefficient and that station wagons would meet their needs (and in a spectacular feat of paternalistic solipsism, claim that consumers are too dumb to realize this). In both cases, the numbers come down heavily against them, and it doesn’t look like it’s about to change any time soon. People want pickup trucks for towing, payload capacity, versatility, status displays and even as a replacement for a full-size family sedan or wagon.

Even if the Colorado does take off and ends up reviving the compact truck segment, the regulatory and commercial deck is already stacked against it.  The newest CAFE requirements brought into place by the Obama administration place an onerous fuel efficiency burden on small and mid-size trucks, while cutting full-size trucks way too much slack. By 2017, a small truck the size of the outgoing Chevrolet S-10 will have to hit 27 mpg (real MPG, not the confusing CAFE number) combined, rising to 37 mpg in 2025. On the other hand, a full-size truck need only hit 19 mpg by 2017 and 23 mpg by 2025. Add to that the simple fact that full-size trucks are far and away the most profitable vehicles on the planet for any automaker, and the mid-size market’s future prospects appear to be out of step with the amount of fanfare being heaped upon it.

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GM Teases Next-Generation Colorado, Canyon Fri, 09 Aug 2013 13:06:30 +0000 Colorado-Canyon-Teaser


TTAC readers looking to debate the “mid-size vs. full-size” truck matter have more fodder now that GM has unveiled a teaser photo of their new mid-size trucks.

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will go into production next year, with a debut rumored for as soon as November’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Based on the Thai-developed global mid-size truck platform, the trucks will be the lone mid-size domestic entries, and will compete with aging mid-size products like the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.

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GM Will Introduce Two Mid-Size Pickups For 2015 Wed, 03 Apr 2013 15:48:55 +0000

GM will have two new mid-size pickups out in 2015, just in time to steal the spotlight from the all-new Ford F-150. And according to TTAC Commenter and GM exec Mark Reuss, the two trucks should have fairly different missions.

Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Reuss said that the Chevrolet pickup will be a “lifestyle” oriented truck, while GMC’s truck would be aimed at fleets and small businesses. Reuss also said that the new trucks would have all-new powertrains and be slightly larger than a Toyota Tacoma. We can only hope that this includes some kind of diesel, perhaps the Duramax that’s offered in the Thai version of the Chevrolet Colorado.

Perhaps our Aussie/global readers can fill us in on the subtitles of the Colorado vs. Hilux debate as well.

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A Return To Compact Pickups? Don’t Count On It Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:35:37 +0000

The Wall Street Journal‘s recent article on compact pickup trucks and rising gas prices has raised the tantalizing prospect of a return to the glory days of the compact pickups. But from what we hear, it would be premature to get your hopes up just yet.

So far, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have been confirmed for sale in the United States – and that’s it. So what about the rumors of more compacts from Ford, Ram and even VW?

The common thread, as far as smaller pickups with improved fuel-efficiency and footprint, is that they are hard to justify. These days, $1 billion is the minimum cost of entry for developing a new model. Homologating a model to FMVSS standards is said to cost at least $50 million (a figure quoted for the Lotus Elise, which still managed to get an airbag waiver from NHTSA, doubtlessly saving tens of millions of dollars). There is no way to do it on the cheap, and that remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the OEMs.  That and CAFE. And the chicken tax.

In addition, full-size trucks have become cheap enough that the idea of an affordable compact truck now seems redundant. America doesn’t have the same space constraints that Europe, Asia and South American cities do, so something with a smaller physical footprint doesn’t have the same appeal in the USA. And don’t forget any compact truck must be a global product in today’s market.

GM is in a unique position with the Colorado and Canyon, having been developed with global sales in mind – much of the development work was done in Thailand (the world’s second biggest pickup truck market), but the vehicle is ready to go for sale in the USA. The global Ford Ranger on the other hand, is about 90 percent of the F-150′s size, meaning it is too close in size and price to be sold here. It’s also not coming here due to the costs of certifying it. Ram may yet launch a “lifestyle” unibody truck, but again, the Ram’s new V6 fuel economy, lower price and all-around appeal is doing a good job of negating any benefits from selling a unibody truck.

But there is a ray of sunshine for compact truck enthusiasts. We already have two great mid-size trucks, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, on sale right now. Of course, in the rush to covet product that we cannot buy in America, we forget about what’s already in front of us.

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Monday Mileage Champion: Tom Tuttle’s Tacoma Mon, 25 Feb 2013 14:00:14 +0000

My grandma was a bit of a card shark. You name the game, she played it.

You would think that she would show a teeny bit of mercy to a six year old kid like me back in the day. Nope. Not a chance. Whenever she was about to beat me… yet again… grandma would flash an ear to ear grin on her face and bellow out her trademarked version of checkmate.

“Stevie? Do you want the old news? Or the bad news?”

I would flash my own waning innocence in these matters and say, “What about no news?”

No news, indeed. If you are looking to find yet another new name to take on pole position in our weekly mileage race, think again.

This 1998 Toyota Tacoma may represent the ultimate nirvana of long-term durability.

Easy maintenance. A transmission that is less taxed over the log haul than Mitt Romney. An engine that originates from a million clones and ten million near replicas. Toss in OBD-II diagnostics and a good owner, and the Tacomas of this generation present better real-life results than an Al Gore environmental symposium.

409,440 miles. No announcements. Not even much in the way of physical wear.

Of course you get that little whiskey on the side which seems to be endemic with these models. Even my retired neighbor who lives diagonal from me is chugging along with a 275k truck that has been given the custom “fat check treatment” from two different wayward travelers. It seems that about a third of the older trucks in my neck of the woods have been permanently customized with a hard dent or a long scuff. 

No matter. This SR5 model should be able to go for as long as a frugal truck owner is willing to invest in this little beast. Other notable rides this time were…

A Southern Neon with over 308,000 miles… still running.

A double whammy 1999 Pontiac Grand Am SE that suffered from a prior rental history and the virulently hated 3.4 Liter V6. Still chugging along with 305,867 miles. No announcements.

Then we had the proverbial cockroach of the road. 2004 Chevy Cavalier. As base as you get with the 5-speed and power nothing. 272,494 miles. No announcements, and a lifetime in the rust ridden roads of northern Illinois. This one must have been garage kept.

The Accord and Camry combined are still offering more 200k cars than all of Europe by a greater than two to one ratio. Audi and Kia are still the two laggards of longevity along with the habitually broken VW’s and the locally defunct SAAB and Suzuki brands. As for the often unloved Pontiac Grand Prix… it still seems to be offering just as many 180k+ trade-in vehicles as the entire Volkswagen brand.

Two months of data so far now for the Trade In Quality Index (TIQI) with ten more to go. A forecasted 300,000 vehicles will go in this system and thanks to TTAC volunteer Nicholas Lariviere, we now have a database that will require no recounts.



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Review: 2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD T|X Baja Edition Fri, 21 Sep 2012 18:17:38 +0000

Toyota trucks have long been the staple of practical truck shoppers, young shoppers looking for a cooler first ride, off-roaders and just about every rebel militia. What’s a company like Toyota do to keep sales of the 8-year-old truck going? Special editions of course. Despite the higher profits, Toyota decided to skip the “freedom fighter” edition with bench seating for 8 in the bed and a .50 caliber machine gun on the roof in favor of an off-the-rack off-roader. Thus the Tacoma TRD T|X Baja Edition was born. In case you are wondering, T|X stands for Tacoma Xtreme. You know, because it is way cooler to spell extreme without an “e.”

Click here to view the embedded video.


The Tacoma has been with us for a long time and there’s little disguising that despite the periodic face lifts. Still, in the truck world this isn’t really a problem as styles change slowly and long product cycles are the more the rule than the exception. Despite a 2009 refresh, the most common comment I received from friends during my week with the Tacoma was:  “I didn’t know you had an old truck.” Xtreme? Not so much. While Toyota still offers a regular cab Tacoma for $17,525, the Baja Edition is only offered in with a “Double Cab” or “Access Cab.” Color options are limited to black or red for 2012.


The last time we looked at the Tacoma’s cabin, a common complaint was the car-like interior. The basics of that interior are still with us, but Toyota swapped in a chunky steering wheel, shiny metal bling and rubber flooring to butch-up our Baja. Compared to the current Nissan Frontier and Chevy Colorado, the Tacoma is a more comfortable place to spend your time and the cabin looks less dated as well. Despite the car-like shapes and Toyota sedan door handles, my forum trolling indicates the interior holds up well to abuse. While the cabin is far from Xtreme, I don’t have a problem with car cabins in trucks.

Click here to view the embedded video.


All Tacoma models (including the base model) come standard with Toyota’s snazzy 6.1-inch “Display Audio” system. The touch-screen head unit is easy to use and allows full control of your USB/iDevice as well as Bluetooth audio streaming and Bluetooth speakerphone integration. The audio quality from the base speaker package is merely average, if you care about your tunes upgrade to the JBL system. Toyota’s Entune software is available as an option and enables smartphone integrated apps like iHeartRadio and Bing. Also available is a $1,930 package that combines Entune, the optional navigation software, JBL speakers, XM/HD radio and a subwoofer.

While systems like MyFord Touch, or even Toyota’s own higher end nav systems use Sirius or XM satellite radio to deliver data content, the Display Audio system pulls the information off the internet using your smartphone and data plan. As a result, there’s no need for an XM or Sirius subscription. The downside? You can’t access these services without a smartphone, so if you haven’t joined the 21st century and are still using a Motorola StarTac, you won’t be able whileyou roll. Is a well balanced JBL system with smartphone love Xtreme? For this segment it sure is.

Drivetrain & Off-Road Enhancements

The Tacoma’s base engine is a 2.7L four-cylinder engine good for 159HPand 180lb-ft of twist. In order to get the Baja Package you have to step up to the optional 4.0L V6 which produces 236HP at 5,200RPM and 266lb-ft of at 4,000RPM. (And check that 4×4 option box as well.) While the 2.7L is still saddled with Toyota’s old four-speed auto or five-speed manual, the V6 gets a newer five-speed auto or six-speed manual. The Baja uses a traditional two-range transfer case (read: part-time 4WD) and both a “real” locking rear differential and a brake-actuated limited-slip rear differential just like the regular 4X4 Tacoma. The lack of driveline differentiation makes sense as the Baja is built on the San Antonio assembly line, then over to the Toyota Logistical Services building (on-site) where a team disassembles the Tacoma suspension and reassembles it with the Baja bits. By hand.

Compared to the Ford Raptor, Toyota’s changes to the Tacoma donor truck are less “Xtreme” with all the changes working within the stock suspension design as much as possible. For instance, despite going from 8.5 to 9.25 inches, front wheel travel is limited by the the upper A-arm design which is retained from the stock Tacoma. The enormous 60mm Bilstein shocks (originally designed for motor home use) will support more travel should a buyer decide to swap out the A-arm for an aftermarket unit. The Baja receives new springs all the way around for two-inch bump in height and rear suspension travel is increased from 8.5 to 10 inches. To help in cooling and performance, the rear shocks are upgraded to 50mm units that sport a remote reservoir.

The Baja edition also sports a TRD cat-back exhaust, some crazy side graphics and unique 16-inch wheels shod with 265-width BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. As you would expect, all the usual TRD off-road gear is included in the Baja package from skid plates up front to a 400-watt AC power inverter integrated into the truck bed.


If you’re looking for a head-to-head Baja vs Raptor comparison, you clicked on the wrong review. The Raptor is a different animal entirely and it’s just not a fair comparison to the Baja. The Ford is bigger, heavier, more powerful, faster, more expensive, and plays to a different audience.

On the road the Baja is surprisingly civilized for an off-road tuned vehicle. If you ever needed a reason to select the “factory” off-road truck instead of DIY modding, on-asphalt manners are that reason. Aside from the drone of the TRD cat-back exhaust, the Tacoma’s cabin is quiet, comfortable and a great place to be on a 5 hour road trip. However, it is out on the highway that Toyota’s V6 and 5-speed auto start to show their age. On the gently rolling hills of US-101 in California, the Baja’s lack of low end torque and tall 5th gear meant the transmission shifted frequently. The relatively low fourth gear combined with the cat-back drone spoiled an otherwise well behaved highway cruiser.

Off road, the Baja is a comfortable companion on the trail soaking up bumps without loosing composure. Like all trucks, the Baja is front heavy (56/44 % F/R) and is designed for load carrying in the bed. This combination of a light rear end and suspension designed for a load means that most trucks tend to get “squirrely” out back on washboard dirt roads at moderate speeds. The Baja on the other hand never broke a sweat thanks to the well-tuned Bilstein shocks and springs. The improved articulation of the suspension helped the Baja feel almost as sure-footed as the FJ Cruiser on the deeply rutted trails we encountered.

There are a few things that must be said. First off, pretty much nobody takes their brand-new, bone-stock anything to the off-road park and thrashes it. In our brand-new, bright-red Toyota pickup, all eyes at the SVRA were upon us as we bottomed out on a concrete pipe. They probably went home and told stories about the crazy dude in the new truck. Second, even in Baja trim the Tacoma’s approach/departure/break-over angles take a back seat to the FJ Cruiser and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Third, Toyota does not offer a locking front differential. I didn’t think the diff deficit would be too big of an issue until we were on tight switch-back turns at Hollister Hills where the large 40-foot turning circle (44 in the long bed) meant I was off the trail more than I was on it. If the Baja had a locking or limited slip diff up front, I wouldn’t have had to constantly resort to the hundred-point-turn to navigate some of the trickier descents. Despite these shortcomings, the Baja is “light” at 4,300lbs, some 900lbs lighter than a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a whopping 1,700lbs lighter than the Ford Raptor. Depending on the type of off-roading you plan on tackling, this lighter curb weight has some serious advantages.

Pricing is where the T|X Baja Edition shines. The base Access Cab model with the 6-speed manual transmission starts at $32,990 and our fully loaded four-door model with the automatic transmission and navigation rang in at $39,150. The observant in the crowd will notice two things, the Baja package costs $4,365 more than a truck without it, but more importantly (and quite strangely) it is cheaper than the Tacoma with the less rugged TRD off-road package. Go figure. While this is much cheaper than the Raptor which ranges from $42,975 to $53,000, it is strangely more expensive than the more capable FJ Crusier which rings in at $37,400  with Toyota’s “trail-teams” off-road package. Toyota plans to make only 750 due to the production limitations in 2012 but has promised the Baja will return for the 2013 model year with some tweaked options. If you’re the kind of person that’s willing to take their new car off-road, the Baja is easily the most Xtreme capable new truck for the price. I’m just not sure I’d take my shiny new truck too far off the beaten path.

Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.4 Seconds

0-60: 7.08 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.5 Seconds @ 87MPH

Average Economy: 17.5MPG over 1020 Miles


2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, Wheels, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Exterior, T/X badge, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, gauges, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, steering wheel, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, rear seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesTacoma Baja-016 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, rear seat storage, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, rear seat storage, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Engine, 4.0L V6, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, Infotainment Entune, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, Infotainment Entune, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja, Interior, Infotainment Entune, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Chrysler Looking At Unibody Pickup Fri, 06 Jul 2012 15:36:48 +0000

The small pickup market may be dwindling, but Chrysler may be looking at getting back in to the segment – though their next small or mid-size pickup won’t be a body-on-frame vehicle like the now-cancelled Dakota.

Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Chrysler’s Joe Veltri said that

“The trucks today, they are big, they are fuel-inefficient…the formula, in my opinion, doesn’t meet the needs of the market.”

Citing the strength of the small/mid-size truck market in previous years, Veltri said that their undoing was the narrow price gap between them and their full-size companions. Veltri feels like younger buyers, who enjoy outdoor activities like mountain biking, as well as older buyers looking to downsize, would be interested in a truck with a smaller footprint and better fuel economy.

While sales of the Toyota Tacoma are up 27 percent year over year, sales of the Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline are down. The next Chevrolet Colorado will be a body-on-frame vehicle, though no firm timetable has been given for the truck’s re-introduction. The new small pickup would be branded as a RAM truck, but there’s no indication of whether it would use a front-drive unibody platform similar to upcoming Jeeps, or if it would be rear-drive based.

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