Ford CEO Jim Farley was interviewed in a New York Times article apparently devoted to praising him and the company. It was reminiscent of those segments on Good Morning America where they have healthy cooking tips sponsored by the American Egg Board and — surprise, surprise — end up recommending people incorporate eggs into meals.
But it wasn’t entirely devoid of substance, either. While pretending that Farley had just taken the job and was somehow solely responsible for a gaggle of successful debuts planned ages before he took over, NYT did mange to convince him to open up about the future of the Maverick pickup and its potential family.
Ford’s latest addition has officially arrived, with the compact pickup showing off its surprise standard hybrid powertrain. While we knew there would be a hybrid motor, we weren’t anticipating it coming as default equipment — especially since it seemed important that the manufacturer keep it priced a healthy distance from the midsized Ranger.
However, the Maverick starts at $21,490, distancing itself from its bigger brother by a few grand and maintaining a healthy amount of financial space from the unibody Honda Ridgeline. We’re likewise dubious that Hyundai will be able to price the upcoming Santa Cruz low enough to match the Ford. Though we’re going to need to dig a little deeper before any serious assessments can be made as to whether or not that’s meaningful. It could turn out to be a complete dud, nullifying any value its price tag represents.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline arrives at dealerships today, with all-new sheetmetal upfront, a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, 9-speed automatic, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive standard across the lineup. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price starts at $36,490, with a destination charge of $1,175.
There’s something innately endearing about a small pickup truck. Like an overeager puppy who yaps and seems to bounce instead of walk, fun-sized pick-‘em-ups just appear to be excited all the time. Come on! Come on! Let’s work! Let’s play! Are you ready? Can we play? Huh? Huh? Are you ready? How about now? To me, that’s the soundtrack of a small truck.
Nissan has been a large player in the small truck market ever since Methuselah was a boy, with the Hardbody (what a great name for a truck, by the way) finding itself on the nation’s gravel roads in a whole bunch of trims. In the Great White North, they even used the fantastic Hustler name. Hardbody Hustler. Tremendous.
Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that is — all things considered — the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s an example.
For years, there’s been a chorus cry from the internet: “Buyers can’t get a simple pickup truck anymore!” Well into the ‘90s, customers could waltz into many a dealer and drive off in a Spartan, four-cylinder, stick shift, rear-wheel-drive pickup with the footprint of a Twinkie.
Once Toyota Stouts and Datsun 520s began selling in sufficient numbers (in spite of the Chicken Tax) to attract Detroit’s attention, the idea of selling small pickups— without actually tooling up to build them— seemed appealing to the Big Three. Chrysler had the Mitsubishi-built Plymouth Arrow pickup, Ford had the Mazda-built Courier, and GM had the Isuzu Faster-based Chevy LUV. Each type rusted with great eagerness and were near-disposable cheap, so they’re all very rare today. I see maybe one LUV per three years of junkyard visits, so this ’79 LUV Mikado grabbed my attention right away.
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.”
Did any of the Afghani Mujahideen drive Datsun pickups to battle after the Soviets invaded? Probably, but the Toyota Hilux got all the press. For the same reason today, Malaise Era Toyota pickups tend to be kept alive, while their Datsun, Mazda (via Ford), and Isuzu (via Chevy) counterparts get crushed when they finally suffer some problem that costs more than $200 to fix. I’ve been seeing a steady stream of these Datsuns in junkyard for 20 years now, and here’s the latest one.
A new Toyota Tacoma is scheduled for release this fall, and pickuptrucks.com reckons this is it. And because this appears to be nothing more than a relatively mild facelift, we believe it. What would have been too surprising to be true: a completely redesigned, ground-up new compact truck from any automaker in the US market. Apparently building all-new compact pickups for the US market went out of style towards the end of the Clinton Administration… so we’ll have to make do with another facelifted 5+-year-old product. It’s OK, we’re getting used to it. Video here
History does tend to repeat itself, especially in the car business. Detroit’s more recent efforts to compete with import compact trucks was once a serious undertaking, and is now quickly dwindling away to nothing. The same thing happened once before, in the early sixties. In response to real (or imagined) incursions into the light truck field by imports, Detroit launched a barrage of new compact vans and trucks. Ford was the most prolific in the 1960-1961 period, offering no less than three distinct types of pickups. The most creative and nontraditional one was the Econoline pickup. Not surprisingly, it was the least successful (of Ford’s three types), and petered out after a few years. Americans know how they like their Ford trucks, and the Econoline was not it
The Argentinian-produced Volkswagen Amarok pickup might be coming to the US if VW thinks it can sell enough of them. VW of America’s Stephan Jacoby tells pickuptrucks.com “we’d have to sell at least 100,000 Amarok pickups to make it feasible.” But don’t get too excited: the only compact pickup to sell in those numbers is the Toyota Tacoma, which sold 102,327 units year-to-date.
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- Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
- ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
- Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
- Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.
- El scotto Tesla has one team making EV's because that is all Tesla does. Farley -rolls eyes- decided to split Ford into two huge warring factions: ICE vs EV. Hey Jimbo, it says "FORD" on the buildings.Lord only knows what GM did internally because it's GM. I'm betting it's like Ford pitting ICE vs EVs. With GM being GM every existing division will be divided.Stellantis will keep building Challengers and Rams. Someday they may figure out that Jeep is the fugu fish of the automotive sushi world and unload to some Chinese. EV's? no, not really.If this site was The Truth About HVAC (TTAH) some on here would tell us that central heating and air causes unknown illnesses, will be bad, and cause a degradation of our nation's moral fiber. By golly they shoveled coal and carry ash buckets and that shouldn't change.