Tag: Trucks

By on August 16, 2017

2018 Ford F150 - Image: FordAs Ford prepares to launch the refreshed 2018 F-150 with a thoroughly updated engine lineup, Blue Oval product planners expect 2017’s engine selection to continue. That means the 5.0-liter V8, while mildly upgraded for 2018, will be found under the hood of only one in four 2018 F-150s.

The transition has been a rapid one. Twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6s were surprisingly effective when, in early 2011, 35 percent of F-150 buyers made the leap from conventional naturally aspirated powerplants. Three years later, when Ford was planning to expand the F-150’s EcoBoost lineup with a less costly 2.7-liter variant, Ford expected 56 percent of F-150 buyers to choose one of the turbocharged units.

Heading into 2018, Ford’s truck marketing manager Todd Eckert tells Automotive News that the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will be the most popular F-150 engine followed by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Together, they’ll claim 65 percent of all F-150 sales, leaving 10 percent for the new entry-level 3.3-liter, and roughly 25 percent for the five-point-oh.

So how many V8 engines is that? (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2017

Ford Ranger Raptor, Image: Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars

This ties in nicely with an earlier post detailing the only two options available for midsize pickup buyers wanting more off-road prowess. For now, it’s Chevrolet and Toyota’s arena. Both GM and Toyota dominate the midsize pickup segment — a class that saw its U.S. market share rise to 17 percent of total pickup sales last year.

However, Ford’s late-to-the-game Ranger pickup, arriving on these shores in 2019 as a 2020 model, should bring a third player to the midsize mud and rock jamboree. It might not carry the Raptor name made famous by its bigger brother F-150, but this spied test vehicle shows Ford isn’t willing to send the Ranger to America wearing just work clothes. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Image: Stephen Elmer and Anthony Delacruz.

If you have dreams of racing in Baja, but lack a race team’s budget, it’s a good time to be in the market for a pickup truck. That is thanks to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, two midsize off-road focused pickups with a special emphasis on high-speed desert running.

The Ford Raptor, now considered the granddaddy to both of these two young trucks, started this push into credible high-speed off-road packages from the factory, and both Chevy and Toyota have applied the treatment to their midsize pickups, each with something unique to offer would-be racers. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2017

2018 Ram 3500 Cummins towing, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Healthy competition lowers the price of consumer goods, the economists tell us, but it also raises torque ratings. Nowhere is this more apparent than among the Detroit Three automakers, with Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles locking horns, crossing swords (keep it clean…), and firing arrows at each other in a heavy-duty pickup war that’s only heated up in recent years.

It comes down to stump-pulling, gravel-hauling, trailer-towing twist. In 2015, the Ram 3500’s 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel topped the Ford F-350 SuperDuty’s 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 by 5 lb-ft of torque — 865 to Ford’s 860. This clearly couldn’t stand, so for 2017 Ford upgraded the Power Stroke’s torque rating to 925 lb-ft, kiboshing Ram’s 2016 attempt to stay ahead with a 900 lb-ft rating.

With 2017 came further aggressions. This year saw GM pulling ahead to second place with its 6.6-liter Duramax V8, now upgraded to 910 lb-ft, knocking Ram down to third place.

Well, FCA’s having none of it. Just a day after Ford’s unveiling of a newly powerful second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and 5.0-liter V8, Ram fires this salvo: a Cummins with more grunt than any other rival. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2017

Ford F-150

As promised, Ford is updating the engine lineup in the company’s best-selling F-150 for the 2018 model year, providing improved fuel economy and maximum towing capacity across the board.

While it’s always a good idea to hold out a bit of skepticism until review time, Ford previously low-balled its economy estimates for the F-Series — as such, we’re working with some previously existing good faith.

News has been trickling out regarding Ford’s upcoming styling tweaks, advanced safety tech, and a powerful new diesel engine for the 2018 model. We also knew the F-150’s gas engines would be getting upgraded specs and, while some alterations are minor, there are a few big numbers worth disclosing.

And they have little to do with the 5.0-liter V8.

(Read More…)

By on July 25, 2017

I2018 ford F-150, mage: Ford Motor Co.

If I had my way, and I’m sure others feel the same, Ford would dial back its styling about 40 years, return the 300 cubic-inch straight-six back to the F-150’s engine lineup, and dust off the column-mounted three-speed manual. We could all tool around like Uncle Jesse, confident in knowing we made a solid buying decision. As our need for fancy driver’s aids and entertainment systems and seats that do everything but propose marriage fade into hazy recollections, our only gripe would be the stickiness of the vinyl bench seat on hot, un-air conditioned days.

Never fear, though. The truck’s filled with refreshing watermelon and beer and lemonade!

Okay, enough of this fantasy, as it’s never going to happen. Not possible. Automakers are addicted to pickup truck revenue, and consumers are only too happy to play the enabler, topping up those coffers ever higher thanks to a never-ending thirst for more options, more features, more luxury.

Have we gone too far? (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2017

2018 Honda Ridgeline - Image: HondaSuggesting that the automaker is “providing a more compelling value,” American Honda is removing the second-from-the-bottom RTS trim level from the 2018 Honda Ridgeline lineup and extinguishing the all-wheel-drive option on basic RT Ridgelines.

As a result, after a 2017 run in which all-wheel-drive Ridgelines could be purchased for $32,315, the 2018 Honda Ridgeline AWD now has a base price $3,695 higher than before.

$36,010. (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2017

Mercedes-Benz X-Class Nissan Navara - Images: Mercedes-Benz & NissanAustralia’s pickup truck markets wants to know: is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class more than just a badge-engineered Nissan Navara?

“This is hardly a double badge,” Mercedes-Benz Vans’ global boss Volker Mornhinweg told Motoring.

But there’s a tendency to see matters another way. The production X-Class, not yet bound for North America’s nonexistent premium midsize pickup truck market, isn’t exactly a carbon copy of the X-Class Concept shown in late 2016.

Moreover, that X-Class gear lever looks downright familiar to Navara drivers. (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2017

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class Progressive - Image: Mercedes-BenzSet to arrive in Germany in November 2017 and other global markets — but not the United States — in early 2018, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is, according to Mercedes-Benz, “the first pickup from a premium manufacturer.”

Lincoln Blackwood? Cadillac Escalade EXT? Lincoln Mark LT? You apparently don’t count.

We’ve seen the concepts before. Mercedes-Benz today revealed the production X-Class, a Nissan Navara-based pickup truck from the three-pointed star. (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2017

winter driving snowy road (public domain)

Quick now: Just how full is your refrigerator at this precise moment? I mean, it is kinda full, is it sorta full, is it totally full, is it almost empty, does it have the bachelor’s portion of beer and Cretaceous takeout? The reason I ask is because when I visit my more successful friends I’m simply bowled over by the amount of empty refrigerator space they have. Double and triple Northlands or Vikings with nothing in them. Deep stacks of empty shelves. Sometimes they have empty sections, doors behind which the air is chilled to 33 precise degrees but where nothing is stored.

My friends tell me that they need the space for the parties and gatherings they are going to have. I refrain from pointing out that in the modern suburban era nobody ever goes to anybody else’s house unless it is on pain of death/shunning/shaming. That gregarious age documented by Updike and Cheever is long gone. My friends won’t be hosts. Nobody’s coming to the parties that they won’t really have. All of that empty fridge space will always be empty. They spend most of their nights on “foodie adventures” anyway, spending massive amounts of money to avoid being trapped in their homes with only Netflix to fill the gaps in their meaningless conversations. And it’s only the two of them anyway, plus one designer baby after the wife turns 38 and panics.

I feel very virtuous, almost Spartan, because I only have a single-width Sub-Z from about 15 years ago. And my fridge is relatively full. But still there’s empty space. Sometimes Danger Girl goes through and tosses a half-ton of expired food. Still more fridge than we need. Compare that to the fridge at my grandmother’s house. She had four boys living in the house. Six people to my three. And her fridge was under six feet tall. With two cramped compartments. How did she do it, particularly given the fact that she cooked a real dinner, a real lunch, and a real breakfast every night? How did she survive on one-fifth the frosted space available to my DINK foodie friends?

(Read More…)

By on July 11, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V Touring – Image: Honda

What’s big these days? You know the answer. Avocados. Leasing. Saying “it me” on Twitter. But above all else, crossovers and SUVs.

Not only have utility vehicles become the driving force in the North American automotive marketplace, ownership of these versatile vehicles is apparently becoming harder and harder to quit. More than ever, owners of crossovers and SUVs find themselves bolting from their old utility vehicle into a brand new one.

As for sedan buyers, never has love drained so quickly from a relationship. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Colorado

For once, we have an Ace of Base entrant whose trim level is actually Base. Not Sport. Not XL. Base. Tell it like it is, Chevy.

Not long ago I sampled the Colorado in ZR2 trim, finding it to be an agreeable alternative to some of the other factory-built off-road trucks on the market. Let’s see how the base model treats its occupants.

(Read More…)

By on June 27, 2017

2018 Ram 2500 Limited Tungsten Edition, Image: FCA

As the current-generation Ram 1500 nears the end of its life cycle and its Heavy Duty siblings await either a refresh or something more significant, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to offer its most luxurious pickup to date. Tungsten, which has the highest melting point and tensile strength of any metal on earth, lends its tough-sounding name to new Ram trim slotting above the existing top-rung Limited.

For 2018, the Limited Tungsten Edition becomes the latest and greatest pickup from an automaker known for tossing out special editions like Halloween candy. What can a buyer expect from a Ram 1500, 2500 or 3500 decked out in Tungsten duds? Well, besides an MSRP above $55,000 for a rear-drive 1500, you’ll find a truck Mick Jagger might enjoy. (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2017

2014 Toyota Tundra Exterior-016

Now that pickup trucks have graduated from the role of farm and construction site conveyance to family hauler, space and seating have become as important as bed length and payload capacity. Not surprisingly, regular cab pickups and even extended-cab models have become a scarce sight on local roads.

Ram, Toyota and General Motors have since turned their extended cab full-sizers into front-hinged, almost-crew-cab four-doors, leaving Ford and Nissan with the only clamshell layouts in the business. As for regular cabs, who even thinks of those? Not many. So few, in fact, that Toyota beancounters decided to drop the axe.

Yup, there’ll be no regular cab Tundra when the refreshed 2018 models arrive in late summer. Are you sad? (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2017

2017 Ram Power Wagon

Impassioned calls for Ram to drop the Cummins 6.7-liter inline-six diesel into the Power Wagon are not new, nor is Ram’s response. I recently spoke with Jeff Johnson, Ram’s brand manager for heavy duty trucks, who unequivocally stated, “Ram has no plans to offer the Power Wagon with a diesel.”

Johnson pointed to the increased weight of the 6.7-liter Cummins versus the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 presently under Power Wagon hoods, as well as the difficulty of engineering the front end to accommodate both the diesel’s cooling requirements and the truck’s standard 12,000-pound winch.

We accept the reality of these challenges. But could Ram overcome them?

Absolutely, though Ram’s engineers have determined the cost outweighs the benefits. Even setting my enthusiast hat aside, I am not confident that bypassing this opportunity altogether is the best choice for Ram. (Read More…)

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