By on December 16, 2019

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 profile

With the perennially popular Toyota Tacoma no spring chicken and the Nissan Frontier now older that the Dead Sea Scrolls, General Motors’ Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon gained newfound — and far fresher — competition in 2019 from Ford’s returning Ranger.

There’s still life left in the current-gen models, which gain a (very) mild refresh for the 2021 model year, but GM is making sure the models don’t grow complacent. The automaker has now pledged $1.5 billion for a new generation of its midsize pickups. Good timing, too, as the Tacoma is expected to go all-new for 2023.

And that’s not the only thing GM needs to worry about.

Of that sum, Missouri’s Wentzville Assembly receives $1 billion; some 4,000 jobs — basically, the existing roster of full-time workers — will be retained at the site, which also builds the ancient Chevy Express and GMC Savana commercial vans.

While GM’s announcement contained zero clues about incoming changes to the two models, GM President Mark Reuss commented, “GM sells more pickups than any other automaker and we have aggressive plans to build on our strengths.”

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 muddy badge

Introduced in 2014 for the 2015 model year, the second-generation Colorado saw its sales hit a new peak in 2018, while its Canyon twin reached a high water mark in 2016. In the first three quarters of 2019, Colorado volume dropped 7.6 percent while Canyon sales rose 4.1 percent.

Though volume remains healthy, and while both trucks offer a class-exclusive diesel powerplant, Ford’s Ranger wins on the technological side of things, offering a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic. The Tacoma, which bests all midsize nameplates in terms of volume, seems immune to any decrease in brand loyalty and return buyers. With Toyota’s upcoming revamp expected to address the model’s oddly high seating position, GM can anticipate increased competition for the foreseeable future.

At some point, too, Nissan will get its act together and create a new Frontier, and there’s a baby Ram on the way. Eventually.

Best get planning.

[Images: Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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22 Comments on “GM Cuts a Check for New Midsize Pickups...”


  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    I really like these mid-size GM trucks and I think it will be hard for GM to do much to improve them. At the same time, I think their price point is too high and, because of the money GM throws on the hood, I can get a 1/2 ton Silverado for just a little more. I don’t really want a Silverado, of course, but when just a little more money buys a lot more truck… you know how it goes.

    Look, I understand that GM needs to make money (and that my perception of what things should cost has changed as I have aged) but I just don’t see these as a value proposition. That will keep me on the bench.

    But I do like these and that means I may yet end up with one in my driveway one day. But at these prices I’ll probably end up buying used somewhere around the time these things enter their second decade.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Pricing on new trucks is stupid in general. But nothing beats the stupidity of used Tacoma prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        That’s not true at all. Pricing is only stupid if you shop the stupid trims. Crew cab XLT Fords have been there for the taking in the mid 30s ever since the new model premium wore off. Rams, and now Ram classics, have been a couple thousand less than that. I never checked Silverados because I don’t like them but they’ve sold in droves the whole time so they must be in the same ballpark.

        Against that backdrop the Colorados have crap powertrains, no back seat space, no Tacoma resale, and sell for the same 32K as the real trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        They’d come down if the banks would stop writing paper against the used ones. My guess is its heavy subprime, this was the case on used trucks back in the day.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      There are still those who do not need or want a full sized truck. Even the current lineup of so-called mid-sized trucks, barring the Frontier itself, is much too large to really qualify for that class. Mid-sized should be no less than 20% smaller in overall size, with lower roofline, narrower width and shorter overall length. To be honest, they shouldn’t even need the 300 horses the Colorado and Ranger currently offer, even at rated towing and load capacities. Oh, I use the horses when I need to make a pass, especially on busy NEC freeways where even signaling the intent to pull out can have an approaching car accelerate to block you. They tend to back off pretty quickly when something nearly twice their size actually starts the maneuver, however.

      No, the era of true compact trucks will return…eventually. A small truck with 200-250 horses and the agility to maneuver in tight quarters is an advantage and a strong one over such behemoths as today’s full-sized models. But clearly the current round of mid-sizers has proven there is a true market for smaller trucks and I think the announced Ford “Courier” for ’23 could prove that even the compact trucks will have a willing market.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I have zero skin in the truck game, but I’m rooting for GM here – the success of the model is good news for my hometown, St. Louis.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    “Ford’s Ranger wins on the technological side of things, offering a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic.”

    “Wins”

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “there’s a baby Ram on the way. Eventually.”

    “Baby” as in full size minus 10% and no V8 option.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    More money for pickup development is the way to go. The profits can pay for all of waste on the autonomous mobility electric whatever…

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Looks like it’s gone from the car to avoid at the rental aisle to just another rental car.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    The Ranger hardly benefits from much new tech. It is an old design that Ford tried to repackage late in its life cycle for the US market. It has not done well in reviews and is generally unimpressive and not well-designed, except to Ford loyalists looking for something to replace their ancient, crude previous-gen Rangers. The Colorado/Canyon re far smoother-riding and more refined than the Ranger.

    The problem with all of these smaller pickups is that they are all still too big, especially in the length dimension.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      The Colorado platform is just about 1 yr newer than the Ranger. It was launched in 2012 as a 2013MY for overseas markets while the overseas Ranger launched as a 2012 MY.
      The Tacoma’s bones are still mostly unchanged from 2005.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “The problem with all of these smaller pickups is that they are all still too big, especially in the length dimension.”

      No one offers a regular cab with a short box so there isn’t much one can do about length. You can shorten a crewcab or extended cab only so much before the interior becomes useless. The exact thing applies for box length. I won’t buy a Ranger because the crewcab does not come with a 6 foot box.

      I read a review on the Ranger. The author had an older Ranger extended cab 4×4. Side by side the new Ranger didn’t look appreciably bigger.

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately, the Colorado has a rubbish interior like most GM vehicles. Their interiors cost them 10% market share right off the bat.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “With Toyota’s upcoming revamp expected to address the model’s oddly high seating position…”

    Oddly high? The knock has always been that the seats are too low. I own a 2013, and yeah, the seating position seemed a little strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it.

    I’d like to see a true redesign. While the third-gen got a new (minivan) engine, transmission, rear axle, and frame, the basic body styling didn’t change. I’d like to see the minivan engine dropped (heck, even bring back the 1GR-FE), a turbo diesel option, truly new styling, and yes, raise the seating position.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    GM and Ford are the geezer next-door neighbors who never do any work on the house until the other one does, and then they do *exactly* the same thing.

    [GM President Mark Reuss: “GM sells more pickups than any other automaker and we have aggressive plans to build on our strengths.” OK – as strengths I show “Nepotism” – and then what else?]

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “GM sells more pickups than any other automaker”…….. Oh… sh!t…. I hope that comment doesn’t start that whole fanboy debate about who sells the most trucks. LOL

  • avatar

    The problem is GM trucks are no better quality wise than their car line. Also, Ford and FCA are beating GM’s brains out in interior quality.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The Colorado/Canyon are good trucks even though they are not perfect. Hard plastic interior pieces are not enough to dissuade me or even most people from buying a particular brand or type of vehicle. A bad transmission, bad engine, and electrical problems are the things that will completely prevent me from even considering a vehicle. I would much rather live with more hard plastic interior pieces than an Aisin CVT. Maybe my priorities are different than many of the enthusiasts on this site but if a vehicle does not last and has serious issues I will not buy it. Maybe GM uses a few more hard plastics than some other brands but name me one mass produced affordable vehicle that doesn’t have hard plastic in their interiors. If you don’t want hard plastics then you should look at buying a well restored or survivor vehicle from the 50’s and early 60’s.

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