By on June 4, 2019

Volkswagen has been flagrantly displaying new pickups at trade shows for a couple of years now, and with good reason. Domestic trucks have grown very large. In 1993, you could still purchase the Ford F-Series in a format where its maximum length did not exceed 197 inches. Today, the F-150 gets no smaller than 209 inches with a standard cab. Meanwhile, the now mid-sized Ranger, sold only in SuperCab and SuperCrew guise, grew from to 181 inches in overall length to a whopping 211 inches within the same timeframe.

The supersizing of the North American pickup created an interesting opportunity for manufacturers, and Volkswagen took notice(Read More…)

By on May 30, 2019

With pickups and crossover vehicles serving as the lifeblood of domestic manufacturers, General Motors is setting aside $24 million for its Fort Wayne truck assembly plant. While the investment isn’t expected to result in any job creation, it does aim to boost production volume of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in Allen County, Indiana.

According to GM, combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab pickups, which launched last year, were up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2019 versus the year prior. This isn’t surprising, considering new versions of popular models typically see an uptick in sales, but General Motors says it anticipates another sizable increase in demand over the second quarter and wants the facility to be ready.  (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2019

Listen, we’re not going to pretend that Ford’s F-Series is bulletproof. There have been enough recalls of the twelfth-generation’s transmission for us to immediately be accused of being the biggest and fattest of lairs were we to make that claim. However, as America’s best-selling model and an exceptionally popular fleet vehicle, it’s in the company’s best interest to make sure the F-150 is not a turd.

Ford took a risk when it went with an aluminum body for the current-gen model, inviting claims from rival manufacturers that it was no longer a serious contender in the pickup market, as real trucks have steel beds. While Chevrolet’s advertorial “testing procedures” often fell outside the boundaries of what a rational truck owner would do, Ford’s rival was attempting to creating a narrative where saying something was “built Ford tough” could be a considered an insult.  (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

It used to be that, if you were a “Ford Truck Man,” that’s all you drove. In fact, this author and his friends used to frequently quote the Toby Keith classic anytime someone exhibited an overabundance of brand loyalty. The borderline hysterical ad includes a scene with Keith hitchhiking through the desert, refusing rides from anything that lacks a blue oval on the grille. Hyperbolic for sure, but it kind of felt like that’s how people shopped for trucks back then.

Plenty of people still shop for a new pickups in this manner but, according to a recent survey, buyers are becoming increasingly less loyal as truck prices continue to climb.  (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2019

Image: FCA

As Fiat Chrysler prepares the Jeep Gladiator for its highly anticipated dealer debut, consumers are gearing up for the first midsize pickup conceived of outside the boundaries of established industry norms in quite some time. The Gladiator is very different from the competition. It looks like a modified Wrangler, has a removable windshield, soft or hardtop roof, and doors, and even comes with a manual transmission option. It’s also new, which is noteworthy in itself.

Midsize pickups have a tenancy to linger. The second-generation Chevrolet Colorado first appeared in 2012 and Toyota’s Tacoma typically enjoys a ten-year lifespan before the manufacturer feels the itch for a full redesign. Even Ford’s Ranger is a reheated leftover sourced from the global market. While not necessarily a shortcoming in itself, the segment suffers from a distinct lack of innovation — and that’s exactly where the Gladiator could find its place in the sun(Read More…)

By on March 14, 2019

With both Ram and GMC showcasing multifunctional tailgates this past year, versatile pickup configurations appear to be the segment’s hot new trend for 2019.

It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, and American EV manufacturer Rivian has something even more ambitious in the early stages of development. According to a patent published the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last month, the company has worked up a set of designs showing a pickup (presumably the R1T) equipped with reconfigurable bed modules. By using a flatbed configuration as the base setup, Rivian can simply tack on different modules to transform the rear for whatever job its owner needs it for.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2019

The world is full of surprises. From the Cleveland Browns making it to Week 16 to the continued unpredictability of Elon Musk’s Twitter account, there is no shortage of shock and awe on this planet. Know what else was surprising? Last week, it snowed in Vegas. For once, there were toques aplenty on the Strip.

What’s not a surprise is the new Ram Heavy Duty pickups are equally as desirable as their half-ton brethren, particularly in the spiffy new cabin. What does 1,000 lb-ft of torque feel like? Can it haul the mail?

You bet your Golden Nugget poker chips it can.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2019

Image: GMHardly a month goes by without a manufacturer expressing an interest in making an all-electric truck for the masses. Indie manufacturers like Bollinger and Rivian have lit a fire under the traditional automakers playing in this segment, with Ford confirming last week that it is planning an EV F-150.

Perhaps predictably, General Motors quickly jumped on the bandwagon after the Blue Oval news, with top brass uttering phrases about electrification as it relates to their line of pickup trucks.

Today’s truck shoppers shouldn’t put aside their purchase plans, though; it seems The General won’t be acting on these ideas anytime soon.

(Read More…)

By on January 7, 2019


It didn’t seem like it was all that long ago when the idea of an electric pickup was patently ridiculous. Now, they’re emerging from the woodwork like an incestuous family of rats. Workhorse first unveiled the W-15 in 2017, Rivian followed with the R1T less than a year later, and Tesla aims to reveal its own all-electric pickup sometime before 2020. In the interim, Atlis Motor Vehicles is putting the finishing touches on its own electric truck — the all-new XT.

Unlike some of its would-be competition, the XT is banking on ability rather than accessibility. Atlis wants to offer a proper full-sized pickup that doesn’t sacrifice anything just because it’s electric. The company promises payloads of up to 5,000 pounds and a dually version capable of towing 35,000 pounds up a 6-percent grade at 65 mph. It also suggests a ludicrous maximum range, meaningful suspension options, plenty of new automotive tech, and advanced driving aids that will (of course) someday evolve into fully autonomous transportation.  (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2018

Despite redesigning the 1500-series for 2019, Ram’s leaner, meaner, and more economical pickup was already in danger of being overshadowed by the parade of special edition models pouring out of the factory. While many emphasize style over substance, the inverse is sometimes true — which happens to be the case with the 1500 North Edition.

Visually, there’s not much going on here. It’s definitely the new Ram 1500, but lacks some of the bolder designs that typically epitomize a special edition model. Based on the Big Horn, the North Edition focuses entirely upon adding equipment that might be useful in the snow. Presumably, Fiat Chrysler realized that bold graphics and bright colors lose some appeal when covered in road salt.

Unveiled to the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) members Monday evening, the truck will eventually be shipped to dealerships across America — so long as they see snow every winter. The North Edition Ram 1500 comes standard with winter-rated three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) Falken LT tires, one-inch factory lift, 4×4 transfer case (with auto, high and low), electronic locking rear axle, and engine block heater.  (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2018

Image: GM

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.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2018

Ford confirmed the assembly locale of its F-150 Hybrid this week, saying the electrified pickup would not stray from its aluminum-bodied brethren. The hybridized F-Series will, unsurprisingly, go into production at the Rouge’s Dearborn Truck Plant in 2020, with additional (non-hybrid) production handled by Ford’s Kansas City Assembly.

The automaker made the announcement as part of its 100th anniversary celebration of the River Rouge Complex. While that left the F-150 proclamation a little light on details, Ford previously said the model would probably not be a plug-in hybrid, but would boast outlets for electrically powered tools/devices — functioning as a mobile generator. However, the announcement itself focused primarily on celebrating the Rouge’s centennial.  (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2018

The truck you see above has a measured length nearly as long as its full name. Its overall length? A hair under 250 inches. In fact, its wheelbase is eight inches longer than an entire Nissan Micra.

Heavy Chevys have been around seemingly since the dawn of Detroit, alternating between hard work and getting shined up for a night at the Tastee Freeze. Of late, GM (and other companies) have ladeled on the chrome in an never-ending quest to quench the thirst of luxury truck buyers. And, oh yeah — profits, too.

What about at the other end of the scale? Surely there’s room for a no-options two-wheel drive Silverado HD on the worksite. As it turns out, the thing is endowed with a lot more kit for a lot less cheddar than even your flinty-eyed author expected.

(Read More…)

By on June 26, 2018

In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company replaced the original formula of its flagship soft drink and called the beverage “New Coke.” The new label was tucked into the corner, as this was to become the brand’s staple flavor. But the soda company knew better than to gamble its business on an unproven taste, so it retained the old formula and bottled it as “Coca-Cola Classic.” The end result was more sales and a safety net for those unwilling to steer their taste buds into adventure.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is doing the same thing with the Ram brand. The full-size 1500 pickup truck was replaced for the 2019 model year. However, FCA wanted to keep both the fourth and fifth generations of the half-ton hauler on the books.

Since Ram can’t call them both the 1500 and hope people recognize the difference, it’s appending the older model with the Classic nameplate. The brand will offer both the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic, known internally as the DS model, and the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, marked as the DT, at all North American dealers through the 2018 calendar year. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2018

There are several truths in this world: death, taxes, and the profitability of pickup trucks. General Motors has shown us several iterations of its 2019 half-tons since they dropped one from the sky at Texas Motor Speedway in December, despite the trucks not being scheduled to be found on dealer lots until this fall.

Now, GMC is rolling out another trim of its Sierra cash machine, the Elevation. Think of it as a color-keyed whip that can be opted with an “off-road lite” package. One thing’s for sure: fans of the brand will be spoilt for choice when the new truck appears in showrooms.

And, oh yeah, it’ll come standard with a 310 horsepower inline-four. Will truck buyers embrace a machine with half the traditional cylinder count?

(Read More…)

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