NHTSA Probes Ford Power Tailgates That Lower Themselves

In early August, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled 1.1 million Ram pickups after owners reported losing their loads, the fault of a tailgate that wouldn’t stay latched. Ford now seems to have a similar problem, only in this instance the tailgates carefully lower themselves under electric power.

A ghost in the machine? More like an electrical issue that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to get to the bottom of. This week, the safety agency announced the launch of an investigation into consumer complaints related to the wonky gates, possibly heralding a recall of 2017 F-Series trucks.

Read more
2019 Ford Ranger's Sizable Accessories List Leaked

The 2019 Ford Ranger isn’t on sale yet, but the automaker’s already busy gearing up — literally— to ensure it squeezes every possible dime from it. It’s a practice Ford is especially skilled at. Don’t forget that this is the company that can spruce up a $35,000 F-150 SuperCrew and sell it as a luxury model costing more than twice as much to completely satisfied customers — and that’s before anyone taps into the pickup’s comprehensive accessories list.

While its midsize offering was obviously destined to be less expensive than its F-Series stablemates, Ford also hasn’t been quite as aggressive with its pricing between trims. The Ranger Lariat isn’t anywhere near twice the price of the base LT. But once you start configuring (Ford’s been letting customers do this online for a couple months now), you’ll notice that the Ranger is subject to a sizable number of desirable equipment packages. And they’re only the tip of the iceberg, if this new accessories leak is to be believed.

Read more
How Does GM's Don't-call-it-a-four-cylinder Turbo Truck Engine Stack Up?

When GM released EPA-estimated fuel economy for its 2.7L Turbo full-size pickup engine today, many of us were taken aback. For a four-cylinder (yes, it is a four-cylinder, and the omission of this info from GM materials is glaring), we expected a higher MPG figure. Perhaps not significantly higher, but enough to create a greater gap between it and its cylinder-heavy contemporaries.

A combined rating of 21 mpg is what buyers can expect from the 2.7-liter unit, which sends its 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic. (The 4WD model is not yet rated). That torque figure beats the naturally aspirated V6 found in both the GM and Ford camps, and comes close to Ram’s Pentastar motor. If gas mileage is top of mind, however, it’s a much closer race.

Read more
Power Ranger: Ford Releases Specs for New Midsize Pickup

As the 2019 Ranger creeps closer to dealer lots, Ford has pulled back the curtain on the one remaining mystery surrounding the reborn midsize pickup: what to expect from its turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder.

It’s the only engine available to Ranger buyers, and it’s mated solely to a 10-speed automatic. That’s five more speeds than one could get in the departing 2012 Ranger. Using the previous-gen model as a comparison, the four-cylinder 2019 Ranger makes nearly double the horsepower from the same displacement, and more than doubles the torque rating of its predecessor.

Read more
Leaked Specs Reveal Power, Fuel Economy of GM's Diesel Inline-six

The EPA hasn’t officially rated the 3.0-liter inline-six diesel bound for the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, nor has the automaker released power specs for this Flint-built light truck engine.

Thankfully, someone took photos of GM Canada’s dealer site and flung them to the internet.

Read more
Dueling Hurricanes Met Dueling Pickups in September

Much has been made of the impact of two hurricanes, Harvey and Florence, and the two storms’ impact on September vehicles sales in the United States. Harvey swamped the Houston-Galveston area in August 2017, leading to an uptick in vehicles sales the following month, while Florence menaced a broad area of the U.S. Southeast for days in September 2018.

For Ford especially, these storms are the stated reason for the vaunted F-Series line of pickups suffering its first year-over-year sales drop in 16 months. If you can forgive April 2017, when the F-Series failed to clear the previous year’s bar by 117 units, that winning stretch can be lengthened to 23 months. Was Mother Nature truly to blame?

Read more
What Needs to Happen for Ford to Set a U.S. F-Series Sales Record In 2018?

Ford Motor Company is currently on track to sell 939,809 F-Series pickup truck sales in the United States in calendar year 2018.

That number is hugely significant. Not only does it represent far greater volume than any other vehicle line can manage (the F-Series was outselling the combined efforts of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra by 15 percent at the halfway mark), it would also mark the first occasion since 2005 in which any vehicle line topped the 900K mark.

The F-Series accounts for 36 percent of U.S. Ford Motor Company sales, outsells Ford/Lincoln cars by nearly two to one, and outsells all Ford/Lincoln SUVs/crossovers by roughly 2,000 units per month. Use Volkswagen, a global powerhouse, for further comparison: the German brand isn’t likely to sell 400,000 vehicles in America this year. With one-third of the year remaining, Ford has already sold 603,926 F-Series trucks.

But the track towards 939,809 is important for another reason. It’s also 298 sales greater than Ford’s all-time best number. What does Ford need to do during the final four months of the year to break its record?

Read more
2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12: The Rebel Enters Its Carlsberg Years

It’s been eight minutes since Fiat Chrysler’s Ram division last announced a special edition trim, meaning we’re overdue for news of an appearance/content tweak designed to make brand die-hards feel special. Thankfully, the automaker made sure we didn’t go into the weekend without one.

The Ram 1500 Rebel, at least in previous-generation guise, remains a favourite among some TTACers. It just looked and felt right for a slightly macho mid-level pickup. Unlike the larger Power Wagon, it wasn’t over the top. Still, there’s always a subset of buyers looking for more in their pickup — just a tad more features, maybe a little more prestige. With maturity comes an appreciation of the finer things.

So, for buyers who like the Rebel and don’t want to climb the model ladder to scratch that upscale itch, Ram created the Rebel 12. It’s like a six-pack of Carlsberg for people who outgrew that two-four of Bud.

Read more
Back in Beige: Who's Ready For Another Special Edition Ram?

If you’re in the market for a new Ram pickup, the current batch has a grotesque number of special edition models to choose from. There’s the 2019 Ram 1500 Kentucky Derby Edition, 2019 Ram HD Harvest Edition, 2018 Ram Southfork, 2018 Ram Limited Tungsten, 2018 Ram Harvest, and 2018 Ram Sport Hydro Blue.

We figured the Ram Rebel TRX would be the next model to become an official special edition vehicle, but Fiat Chrysler threw us a curveball, indicating that the (probably) Hellcat-powered pickup won’t be available until next year. That leaves FCA with a small window in which to cram yet another limited variant of the Ram.

It’s called the 2018 Ram Power Wagon Mojave Sand and it’s really not so much a special edition as it is a new paint scheme. However, since FCA plans on restricting production to 1,500 units through the remainder of this year, we suppose it qualifies as much as the Sport Hydro Blue — which is limited to just 2,000 units.

Read more
QOTD: A Truck by Any Other Name?

We’re playing a name game today, and as luck would have it, there’s no wrong answer to this question. As we’ve told you before, Ram has a midsize model on the way, ready to (eventually) do battle with Chevrolet’s Colorado and Toyota’s Tacoma and Ford’s long-awaited-but-not-really-new Ranger. Yes, there’s other midsizers to contend with, too.

Plenty of mystery still surrounding this vehicle, but it’ll apparently appear in roughly two years’ time, suppliers say, and it’ll sport a frame, not a platform. What it doesn’t have right now is a name, or at least one that Fiat Chrysler’s willing to reveal. That’s where you come in.

Just a word of warning about one potential name, though…

Read more
In What Kind of Market Will the Baby Ram Find Itself?

We’ve known since June that Fiat-Chrysler plans to re-enter a segment it abandoned at the dawn of the decade — in the U.S., anyway. A midsize pickup bearing the Ram logo will appear in 2020, a report claimed earlier today, joining what will by then be a stable made up of six brands. Ford makes a triumphant return to the segment this fall.

Luckily for Ram fans, it appears the forthcoming Ram truck won’t be some wimpy, unibody thing built on a Fiat platform, as Americans would like see such a creature as being worthy of contempt, and perhaps even ritualistic sacrifice. Still, a lot can happen in two years’ time. Analysts expect the auto market to cool off in the coming years, more so than the plateau we’ve been at for the past two.

Read more
A New, Smaller Ram Pickup Will Emerge From Ohio's Jeep Wrangler Plant: Report

If true, it’s news that should bring a smile to a certain American president’s face. Fiat Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly Complex, home to the current Jeep Wrangler JL and its upcoming long-wheelbase pickup variant, will become the assembly site of a new, midsize Ram pickup, a report claims.

The new Ram model, which apparently eschews unibody construction in favor of rugged (and traditional) body-on-frame architecture, doesn’t have a name, but at least it now has a tentative home.

Read more
AAA Study: Depreciation Costs Rising Among Smaller Vehicles; Your Beautiful Truck Has It Made

Not to hammer too obvious a point here, but the decreasing popularity of a certain car model, combined with increasing incentivization, can seriously influence that model’s depreciation. Ask Cadillac about that. While a boon for savvy used car buyers a few years down the road, it doesn’t help anyone’s lease payment and can leave you upside down on a long-term loan.

In its annual Your Driving Costs study, the American Automobile Association broke down the average vehicle, fuel, insurance, maintenance, loan interest, and depreciation costs of various vehicle segments to show what a hypothetical new car buyer can expect to pay, annually, over the course of a five-year loan.

Naturally, your overall bill’s going to be lower with a smaller, cheaper, thriftier vehicle. That said, after looking at the findings of last year’s study, cars in certain segments are shedding their value at a growing clip. And you’ll pay for that.

Read more
QOTD: Care to Rank 11 Generations of the Chevrolet Suburban? (Part II)

We started our ranking challenge for every generation of Chevrolet Suburban in last week’s QOTD. That post covered the first through sixth generations, which range from truck with wagon body format to nearly a modern Suburban. Some struggled with the first challenge installment, citing a lack of knowledge and experience with old trucks dating back to the 1930s (you youths!).

Today we’ll rank Suburban generations seven through eleven; undoubtedly these will be much more familiar to many of you.

Read more
This Is the Closest You'll Get to a New International Harvester Truck

Which is to say, not close at all. The automotive brand born of the farm equipment giant produced its last passenger vehicle — the long-in-the-tooth Scout SUV — for the 1980 model year, five years after its pickup line bit the fertile Midwestern dust. Not long after, International Harvester ceased to exist as an independent brand, shacking up with Tenneco subsidiary I.J. Case after the company hit the skids and sold off its agricultural division. Navistar International Corp. rose from the remaining IH ashes.

The truck you see above is most certainly a Ram HD, but the paint is all International Harvester. You guessed it — the bright minds at FCA have come up with another special edition. By our count, it’s the 987th of the past decade.

Read more
  • MaintenanceCosts This looks really surprisingly different from the Blazer EV. It's more boring, but it's also more Honda, and for that reason alone it will be taken a lot more seriously in US markets.
  • ToolGuy I found this interesting; you might too: https://youtu.be/asb4jLWWTbQ
  • SCE to AUX Q: "How do you fix automotive media?A: The same way you fix the auto show.That is to say: Don't live in the past, believing every story is original with you. Offer something insightful and useful to your audience that they can't get anywhere else.The auto show allows consumers to sit inside many vehicles under one roof, without sales pressure - something unavailable anywhere else. That's it. The media should accept that the auto show offers nothing new for them anymore, and the auto show should stop pretending that it does.Good examples:[list][*]I've flamed Posky many times, but his long background stories can be thought-provoking and informative. I may not always agree with some of the posturing, but at least they dig deeper than someone's press release.[/*][*]Alex on Autos has some of the best video reviews. He wastes absolutely no time getting to the substance, and his formula is reliable. He packs a lot into 25 minutes.[/*][*]Everyday Reviews: This likeable couple/family covers the daily life aspects of new cars they test - child car seats, user interface, fuel economy, and so on. No hype - just useful.[/*][/list]Bad examples:[list][*]DragTimes: In a 20-minute video, you get 1 minute of racing and 19 minutes of bromance talk. I keep hoping it will improve, but it doesn't.[/*][*]Road and Track's web page is heavily tilted toward unaffordable niche sports cars and racing, with a few feature articles on daily drivers. I visit, but it feels like I'm in a Porsche dealership.[/*][/list]
  • BSttac Honestly automotive journalism is all but dead. Its mostly bloggers with a left based agenda. Cnet and the Drive especially had some really horrible bloggers. Road and Track also has some terrible bloggers so it would not surprise me if they are next. Just look at most bloggers complain about going to an automotive show when they dont realize its not even for them. Very spoiled and out of touch individuals
  • Jkross22 I forgot to include Bring a Trailer. It's so enjoyable to revisit cars from different eras and to read what the most knowlegable have to say about those types of cars.