Our own Tim Healey recently found himself behind the wheel of Hyundai’s new trucklet, where he proclaimed it to be an all-around performer while tooling around the tony environs of Palo Alto. Whether he stopped into Tesla HQ for Elon’s take wasn’t mentioned and doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the Santa Cruz starting price, anchored at the end of a swimming pool that’s usually filled with commuter cars and small hatchbacks. Its sticker does climb to nearly 40 grand when all the option boxes are checked, however, leaving us with the question of finding the right balance of price and features
The urination for distance competition (that’s a metaphor, and not literal, thank heaven) continues among the automakers who produce full-size pickups.
This time it’s the Blue Oval, firing a shot across the bow (or over the balcony, as it were), with the towing numbers for the 2021 Ford F-150 released today.
In the millimetre-deep world of online sociopolitical commentary, the United States is portrayed as a lawless land of heartless thugs and capitalist greed. Its neighbor to the north, on the other hand, is often pictured as a doe-eyed innocent whose heart is too inherently pure for any wrongdoing. A superficial take, for sure, and certainly one that didn’t take Ontario’s towing industry into account.
North of Lake Erie and Ontario, around the small, idyllic hamlet of Toronto, police just laid nearly 200 charges against tow truck operators who they say waged a violent, multi-year war against each other. What started out as simple rivalry between tow companies devolved into a full-scale conflict that boasted every ingredient of organized crime: guns, drugs, money, intimidation, arson, and murder.
Dozens more arrests are expected.
Depending on your lifestyle, hanging something off the rear bumper of your car, SUV, or pickup might be a regular occurence. Maybe you’re a member of the horsey set, hauling thoroughbreds to and from the tonier enclaves of Southern California or Kentucky. Perhaps you’re a road trip buff with a family to lug around. It could be that boats and ATVs consume every minute of your waking thoughts, and the contents of your garage show it.
Or, just maybe, you’re the owner of an old Mazda B-Series who searches in vain every week for just enough scrap metal to keep the lights on at home.
At some point in your towing experience, did something go terribly awry?
Elon Musk certainly hasn’t been kind towards Ford in the past, talking about how the Dearborn truck plant is like a morgue. It’s a bold move considering his cars are assembled outdoors in a tent, but that hasn’t stopped the Twitter man from tweeting. He even recently claimed the Tesla all-electric pickup truck will be as good as Ford’s truck but also be able to tow 300,000 pounds.
Yes, that’s a totally ridiculous number and there’s no way the truck will tow that much in the real world, under the SAE J2807 standard. That’s assuming, of course, the Tesla pickup even exists. While Musk has long teased the truck, we’ve yet to actually see it in any physical capacity. It’s easy to say (or joke) your truck can tow 300,000 pounds when it doesn’t actually exist.
Ford is also working on an all-electric pickup truck. Today the company released a video of that development process, including the vehicle towing rail cars weighing over 1 million pounds. Not only is that 700,000 pounds more than Tesla’s claim but, since it’s a real truck that really exists, we can actually see it do it.
In case you haven’t noticed, America’s truck wars are in full swing. Now, more than ever, the Detroit Three are gleefully beating each other over the head with a proverbial chair printed with towing and torque figures. Prodigious power? Sure. Enormous cabins? Yewbetcha. Grilles to the moon? They got ya covered, buddy.
Hot on the heels of a half-ton rethink, the crew at Chevrolet turned their attention to the Heavy Duty series of pickups. In a perpetual race with their competition, and the introduction of new engines and no fewer than fifteen camera views, you know this thing is going to haul trailers like a large poutine from Frank’s Diner turns your author’s bloodstream into artery putty.
With so many bewildering and downright fantastical automotive concepts premiering at the Consumer Electronics Show this time of year, it’s easy to feel downtrodden by the industry’s mobility shenanigans. Thankfully, CES still plays host to some genuinely interesting tech that might actually make your life a little easier.
For French automotive supplier Valeo, that meant showcasing a system that utilizes cameras and some very careful framing to effectively see through a towed object. Called the XtraVue Trailer system, the technology works in a similar fashion as the nanotechnology invisibility blanket under development by the U.S. military — just much simpler.
You knew this one was coming.
The unveiling of Jeep’s first truck in nigh thirty years was a widely anticipated event at the L.A. Auto Show, with our man on the ground reporting at the time that neither man nor beast could get handy to the media area. Gaining admission during the reveal was only slightly less difficult than beating Reid Bigland at arm wrestling.
While we’re still sans pricing, we do know the level of kit bestowed on each trim of Gladiator, including – wait for it! – the base model.
Once upon a time, special edition vehicles were about added performance or cramming in so much luxury you could probably attach a noble title to your name without anyone batting an eye. “Well, he does drive a Cadillac Seville Gucci Edition. I can probably call him Duke from now on if that’s really what he wants,” they would say outside the strip club you owned.
Of course, there were also gimmicky, just-for-fun special editions like the jean-seated AMC Gremlin by Levi and multi-colored Volkswagen Golf Harlequin. But things have changed. For the most part, those limited trims feel kind of like the McRib or that weird flavor of Doritos you come across once in a blue moon. You’d be hard pressed to identify them as unique upon flavor alone, but there is something about their limited nature and novelty that makes them irresistible to some.
This is especially true of modern day trucks. You can get all the hardware you want by optioning a pickup carefully, but you can’t get the special edition title that kicks it up a notch and helps it stand out in the parking lot. That’s why there are so many limited-run trucks. If you want one that proclaims your love of horses, Ram now has you covered.
Not willing to cede any pickup ground to its rivals, Ford Motor Company will soon open orders for a light-duty diesel pickup. Under the hood of its F-150, the Blue Oval’s new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6 promises class-leading fuel economy (in a very small class) and greater towing capacity than its Fiat Chrysler competitor.
The model’s trailer-yanking potential is the result of the latest battle in the great, ongoing Torque War.
Most readers are well aware of my infatuation with trucks. Blame my rural upbringing, or chalk it up to the innate Canadian friendliness of helping everyone move house, but a pickup truck will always reside in my driveway.
The Honda Ridgeline, newly designed for the 2017 model year, is available in a range of trims, starting with the RT at $29,630. This author was unsure about the Ridgeline’s practicality as a truck when it was introduced, given its lineage. Can a base Honda pickup pass the Ace of Base test?
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