With all the light-truck product buzz surrounding Ford, one thing that’s gone relatively unmentioned is the impending debut of a new F-150. Yes, the world’s best-selling vehicle since the dawn of time, or at least it seems that way.
The 2019 Ranger midsize pickup garnered plenty of page space this week, and oceans of digital ink keep the upcoming Bronco afloat in speculative press, but it’s looking like we’ll see a new F-150 before any of us get a chance to lay a finger on Ford’s retro off-roader.
We’ve heard rumblings about Ford’s plan to bestow a small, unibody pickup on North American customers before, but now there’s photographic evidence.
Images published by Ford Authority show what appears to be a van tooling around the automaker’s Dearborn campus, but is actually a compact pickup wearing an entire tent of camouflage. A telltale trademark filing and reports over the summer are now starting to bear fruit.
One year ago, the Nissan Altima, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Fusion were all significantly more popular than the Toyota Tacoma. The Altima, for example, sold 32-percent more often than the Tacoma, which was generating record volume in 2017.
Fast forward one year, however, and the Tacoma is operating at an entirely different level. It now outsells the Altima, Grand Cherokee, Sentra, Highlander, and Fusion, and by large margins in some cases. To say the Tacoma is America’s best-selling midsize pickup truck would be to wildly understate its success. To say the Tacoma is America’s fourth-best-selling pickup truck would be to minimize its playing field.
Through the end of November 2018, the Tacoma now ranks among America’s 15 best-selling vehicles outright. This is not a cult following. Calling it a Taco doesn’t reserve your place in an exclusive club. You now see enough of them in the run of a day to easily spot the differences between a TRD Sport, a TRD Off-Road, and a TRD Pro.
The Toyota Tacoma is now mainstream.
We’re on an MPG kick this morning, so let’s keep it going. The polarizing 2019 Chevrolet Silverado received plenty of press on these digital pages, though not all of it was praise. The revamped model’s face was only surpassed in volume of styling criticism after its big HD brother showed up.
While General Motors talked up the model’s fuel-saving technologies, weight savings, and new four-cylinder turbo in a big way upon the pickup’s launch, lesser trims soldier on with older engines and a transmission bearing fewer cogs. That’s not unusual for entry-level models aimed at contractors and the like, but the new base trucks differ from their forebears in more than just looks. They also “boast” significantly worse fuel economy.
Matthew Guy’s going to be mighty disappointed if this is all the big Ford truck news we receive this week. On the same week Ford rolled out its first drive event for the upcoming Ranger pickup, the Blue Oval revealed official fuel economy numbers for the four-cylinder-only midsizer — though specs already leaked last month.
Yes, it’s true. As you might have anticipated, the 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-banger and 10-speed automatic combo beneath the Ranger’s hood returns class-leading combined fuel economy. For a gasoline engine, that is.
Unless you took the past couple of days off to ruminate about our collective existence in a Scandinavian steam hut, you probably noticed there’s a new heavy duty General Motors pickup on the way. We’ve thus far seen only the Silverado LT with the butch Z71 package.
“Polarizing” best describes the vehicle’s looks, but Z71s are traditionally meant to be the most visually striking versions of Chevy’s full-sizers, if only by the smallest of degrees. Well, what happens when the new Silverado HD dresses up for the country club? You have this — a Silverado HD that tones things down and might change a few minds.
The Ford Super Duty line grew fairly grotesque in its latest iteration, and yesterday’s reveal of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD turned some people’s hair white with fright. I’ll admit the Chevy’s design works (looks better than the Silverado 1500, IMHO), but it’s jarring nonetheless.
With so much styling excess on hand, this writer often calls up images of the current, aging Ram 2500 and 3500 and breathes a sigh of relief. Soothing nerves since 2010, the Ram HD is. As Fiat Chrysler has now worked out the production bugs plaguing its 2019 Ram 1500, the stage is set for a larger follow-up. Next year brings the first new heavy duty Ram in a decade, and fear was high that FCA might join its Detroit comrades in going way out and wild.
Breathe easy. We’re here with completely uncamouflaged photos of the 2020 Ram HD line to show you there’s nothing to fear.
With passenger cars deserting the ranks, the battle for sales and profit in Detroit will be waged almost solely with trucks. You’ve already seen what General Motors has in store for HD truck buyers, and Fiat Chrysler’s expected to reveal its own alternative to Ford’s Super Duty line before long.
However, as lucrative as half-tons and HDs are, GM’s looking forward to challenging Ford with its new, medium-duty Silverado line, revealed earlier this year. With this truck, The General hopes to turn medium-duty sales into commercial demand for lower-rung pickups and SUVs.
Chevy has doubled down on the polarizing looks of its 2019 Silverado 1500, endowing its big brother with a face ripped straight from the pages containing the most terrifying of Dr. Who monsters.
Actually, I’m not entirely sure we have the correct photo here. What brand is this truck? Anybody know?
Reservation holders of a base-model Tesla Model 3 aren’t the only consumers who’ve grown tired of waiting. Aficionados of the Hyundai brand have been champing at the bit for a Korean pickup ever since the delightful Santa Cruz concept debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, only to see their dreams of ownership placed in a hazy limbo.
In October, Hyundai Motor Company CEO Wonhee Lee suggested the model still isn’t greenlit, despite earlier assertions to the contrary, with R&D still in the initial phases. With the brand’s U.S. comeback still an uncertain thing, top brass were on the fence about the model’s ability to carve out its own compact niche in the burgeoning downsized truck market. Now, we hear it’s totally a sure thing.
Oh, and there could be a Kia pickup, too.
The midsize truck market’s explosive growth has already brought the Ford Ranger back to our spacious skies and amber waves of grain. However, Jeep thinks America the Beautiful wants a midsize truck that tackles the purple mountains’ majesties while looking down upon the fruited plains. Enter the 2020 Jeep Gladiator; the vehicle that Jeep calls the most capable midsize truck ever.
Jeep customers have been vocal about their lust for a Jeep truck ever since the Jeep Comanche ended production 25 years ago. The dream of the capability of a Wrangler in a truck package has been elusive. Customers demanding such a vehicle have been forced to fulfill their desires in the aftermarket. That is, until now.
When I was a wee lad, a four-cylinder full-size pickup was an unheard of idea. Truck buyers looked askance at any gas engine that wasn’t a V8. That’s obviously changed in recent years.
While I’ve already had a crack at the redesigned Silverado in Wyoming earlier this year, that drive focused on the V8s. So Chevy brought media to suburban Phoenix for a go-round in the four-banger, with the Chevrolet Colorado Bison also on hand to test (more on that next month when the embargo lifts).
General Motors’ vice president of global strategy, Mike Abelson, recently confessed to the Detroit Free Press that the automaker has spoken with “air taxi” companies about using the carmaker’s autonomous and electric vehicle technology to produce flying cars.
“There will be some sort of air transport that will get integrated with this AV/EV technology,” Abelson said during Financial Times’ Future of the Car Summit in Detroit.
Not being ones for the fantastical, we were immediately dismissive of any air taxi service occurring any time soon. However, the real takeaway from the interview wasn’t that GM wanted to build flying cars — it was that the brand doesn’t seem to have much faith in widespread EV adoption. From the sound of things, General Motors thinks flying cars have more market potential than an electric pickup truck.