By on March 27, 2020

Buy/Drive/Burn has focused solely on Japanese trucks lately, and thus far covered the Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties. Today we turn to the new century and take a look at three midsize Japanese pickups. They have something in common: All them are pretending to be a different brand than they actually are.

Badge games, activate!

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By on March 23, 2020

Rare Rides previously featured the weather-inspired SVT Lightning, an effort that saw Ford add a healthy dose of power and sporty handling to its full-size pickup.

Today we’ll have a look at Lightning’s smaller sibling, which is named after the same weather event: the Ranger Thunderbolt, from 2002.

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By on March 16, 2020

Domestic automakers are enamored with the full-sized pickup segment because it’s a reliable way of securing hundreds of thousands of sales in North America on an annual basis. Here, Ford’s F-Series reigns supreme. That might not always be the case, however, especially with younger buyers opting to purchase their pickups at competing brands.

Last month, Edmunds released a study claiming Ram is leading the charge with buyers under 35 — saying the brand had won over “the most coveted section of the market.”  (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

With General Motors razzing Ford back in 2015 for optioning an aluminum truck bed to save weight, thus improving fuel economy, it couldn’t pull off a similar move without a sea of mouths wailing warnings of hypocrisy. GM has been playing catch-up with the Blue Oval’s full-size pickup since forever, always framing the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado as the more robust choice. The company even launched an advertising campaign to prove its steel truck bed was the tougher option.

When the General’s full-sized trucks underwent a weight-loss program of their own, it was decided anything that opened or closed should be aluminum while the bed absolutely had to stay high-strength steel. Otherwise, it would be guilty of the same mistakes it accused Ford of. Despite throwing shade at Ford’s claimed lack of sturdiness for over a decade, the aluminum-sucks angle has been reeled back immensely over the last couple of years. GM even attempted to wipe all evidence of a comparative rock-drop test from the internet, possibly because it’s finally decided to embrace aluminum itself.

However, there’s already an alternative to the high-strength steel GM currently offers — the CarbonPro bed available on the GMC Sierra Denali and AT4 — and the manufacturer has prepared another stunt show to test its mettle.  (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2019

Image: Nissan

Nissan won’t be extending the same commitment it has for small cars to its full-size pickup line. The automaker recently told U.S. dealers that it would begin scaling back its Titan offerings, partly due to a new Titan looming on the horizon. Nissan intends to unveil the new pickup in the fall. Meanwhile, existing Titan sales could be a lot stronger. The model can’t really compete against domestic brands, despite also being manufactured in the U.S.

The Titan’s annual sales are less than monthly Ford F-Series deliveries. Extrapolated, Nissan moved 50,459 units in 2018 against the pickup sales king’s 909,330. But the Titan even has trouble competing with the likes of the GMC Sierra, which saw 219,554 domestic deliveries last year.

According to Automotive News, Nissan’s evolved pickup strategy focuses on prioritizing what works for the passenger market — which means turnings its back on single-cab models and the Cummins diesel engine available in the Titan XD. (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2019

Earlier this year, Ford teased a bunch of updates for its 2020 F-Series Super Duty pickups — including the all-new 7.3-liter V8 the automaker planned on offering.

Timed perfectly to coincide with the exact moment we forgot the motor was supposed to be coming, Ford released some specs this week. They don’t look half bad. Designed to be as hardwearing as possible, despite not being a diesel, the Windsor-built V8 will be made broadly available — making its way inside F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis models and the upgraded E-Series van. (Read More…)

By on July 23, 2019

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.  (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2019

2016 Chevrolet Silverado crew cab blue

General Motors is issuing a recall on select Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, including HD models. According to Transport Canada, trucks equipped with a power sliding rear window could have a defroster circuit that can melt itself or, in rare instances, catch fire.

As no fix currently exists, GM is asking owners to bring their vehicles into the dealership so that the fuse for the rear defroster can be disconnected while it works on finding a better solution. The recall encompasses 159,240 trucks from the 2014-2019 model years.  (Read More…)

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…)

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