Half-Tons Have Their Game Plans Ready

2013 F150_XLT II
With three new half-ton pickups getting ready to come to market — the new Ram light-duty later this fall, the Chevy Silverado by the second quarter of 2013 and the GMC Sierra soon after that — the strategies are pretty well mapped out.

Ram Truck and Ford seem to be invested in not having a smaller pickup truck to serve the entry-level market, believing instead they can serve their customers with a more efficient full-size pickup, while GM decided to redesign a midsize pickup truck to serve those who may not need or want a bigger pickup.

Bradford Wernle and Mike Colias of Automotive News offer a solid survey of the various strategies that all the full-size truck makers will bear fruit in the form of increased sales. Interestingly, they seem to suggest that Toyota and Nissan may have the best opportunity to make a stronger showing in the truck marketplace. Much will hinge on whether pickup trucks for work and play are bought for their fuel economy or not.

Many truck experts and marketing chiefs don't believe it's as important as many other, more traditional truck-buying factors, but there's no denying that the V-6 segment is getting more momentum. And with more rumors swirling about small turbo-diesels making their way into midsize and full-size light-duty pickups, the issue is likely to get more attention as new trucks come to market.

Comments

i wish ford and ram offered a compact pick up like the d50 or or 1980s toyotas they were too small and damn efficient.
and the toy bullet proof.

as a matter of fact i own a 1985 toyota truck needs some work. but i sell it if i could find a good buyer..

1985
extra cab sr5 4x4

Gas mileage will impact the market, but the Ecoboost has shown that consumers aren't willing to sacrifice power to get it. I think Toyota, Ford, GM, and Ram all need to remember: truck owners love power. If a fuel-efficient truck isn't powerful, it isn't going to sell.

I don't really agree with TundraHQ. Sure having lots of power is great, but my 2000 Silverado had 280hp and similar torque, and it pulled a boat and trailer just fine. If you can offer a bajillion horses great, but I know my next truck will likely not have a V8 when the new V6's are so similar in power. They are down just a bit of torque, but for the majority of time I drive the truck I'm not pulling anyway so why fret over 20 ft/lbs or so?

Any truck owner who works their truck for a living likely should be in a 3/4 ton or larger anyway, and if not there will still be V8's for the half-ton longbed crowd.

I've personally wished Ford would do a single turbo eco boot V6. Something with horsepower more akin to the Chevy Silverado and torque to match the numbers of the old 5.4L V8. I don't race between the lights in a three ton pickup is all I'm saying.

My 1985 Toyota 4x4 22R 5spd only had ~100hp and got 25 mpg on the highway (as long as I didn't run A/C). I may have even squeaked out 26 mpg a few times, but that wasn't the norm. I have fond memories of that truck. I just wish it had the 135 hp fuel injected-turbo model. The truck cost $8800 brand new. I drove it for 10yr, put 155,000 miles on it and sold it in 1995 for $3800. I challenge you to find a truck today that will hold its value like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gas mileage isn't why I want a small pickup; heck, the 1990 F-150 V-8 I recently purchased nearly cracked 20mpg on a short road trip I took a couple of weeks ago. Rather, I want smaller because I still don't like BIG. I'd much rather have a truck the size of the old D-50 or maybe slightly larger, but not as big as even the first Dakota. While the Canyon/Colorado are definitely smaller than the rest of the available American trucks, they're still too big for my taste. I'll call them "acceptable" instead.

I also don't agree with Tundra HQ; while I grant that some users do need massive horsepower, nearly every other country in the world has proven that small-horsepower diesels will haul nearly impossible loads on some of the worst roads in the world. That means that on America's well-paved highways that small-horsepower engine would have no trouble carrying its loads anywhere in the country. The only "need" for massive engines here is the ego of the driver needing to show off his lack of confidence in himself.

@Vulpine - The base short bed F-150 has a way roomier cab than your '90 and not much bigger than a Taco on the outside.

I drove a reg cab from your generation of trucks and was never comfortable with the straight up seating position and steering wheel in my chest. The base of the steering wheel was about in my crotch. The base Taco is no better than your '90 reg cab F-150.

I spend too much time in my truck and being comfortable isn't too much to ask for. Life's too short.

People will be willing to settle for less "power" as it is shown on the window sticker (since that is peak power) provided they produce good power in a usable low RPM band.

280 HP seems low in the era of the 400 HP hemi, but if you can make that 280 HP at 2000 RPMS instead of 6000 it goes a long way to keep the truck drivable.

Fuel economy will always matter to some degree to most people, but people are willing to accept worse economy from a big truck. The new ram 1500 may be able to get 18/24 in a 4x4 crew setup (still waiting for the numbers to come out) which I think most would be very excited for. The real problem is that the Taco and Frontier are not even rated that highly. There is NO excuse for that.

Toyota and Nissan have an opportunity to update their mid size trucks to at least the 20/26 level, or else Ford/Ram will eventually put their half ton tech into a mid size and the era of the Tacoma and Frontier will come to an end.

neil try my 79 ford short bed.Red factory paint and interior.
I paid 5600 for it used in 81 and have been offered way over 10 grand for it.

Nothing holds its value like a well cared for ford truck.

I think we'll see a mini Ecoboost (I think Ford even confirmed it would take the place of the 3.7) of 2.5 liters. This would easily produce 300-325 HP and torque figures. Not enough for the 11k towing figures we see today but for a medium towing application (7k or less) this would work great considering that the torque curve would be diesel like and at the smaller size it couldn't help but be more efficient.

Couple that with an 8-speed tranny and 300-400 lbs less weight and a little better aero package and we'd be talking about 18 city and 25 highway (non-towing of course) in a full size. that is 21 MPG combined (60/40 city/highway like the EPA uses). This matches the old Chevy Hybrids (4x4 anyway) and wouldn't sacrifice the payload.

I'd have to say that any truck that has been well cared for and not abused will hold their value. Some models and years have better resale due to looks, style, and performance.

I have to agree and disagree with TundraHQ. Many will not sacrifice fuel economy for performance whether that be from stop light to stop light of towing a camper trailer or "shop" trailer. I do believe that we have become spoiled. People want to be able to travel at 65 - 80 mph down the freeway regardless of whether it is flat or mountainous.
The Automotive News story indicated that the toughened economy and higher fuel prices have weeded out most of the urban cowboy truck as a status symbol types. I do agree but there are many like myself have gone to full sized trucks for the interior room and the performance capacity but most like me do not use those limits on a daily basis. In many respects my truck is still a "lifestyle" accessory. Camping, fishing, hunting, hauling toys, boats, and campers into the back country is still a lifestyle choice (unless you feel you need to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. LOL).
If I can get a truck that still meets my needs and gets higher MPG that is great. Where is the maximum price we are willing to pay for gas. Some say that they will pay what ever it takes. Unless you have a Jay Leno sized bank account most of us will reach our personal limits fairly soon. Companies and people do not know where that cutoff lies. Companies are looking to save fuel costs too. The company my brother works for has bought some F150's with V6's and are pleased with the fuel economy savings over their 4.8 Chevy's. Big fleets of light duty use trucks will care about MPG. Times are tough and as the saying goes " a penny saved is a penny earned".

Chevy has let some clues away as to what their next gen trucks will be like. It looks like HP, and capacity will still be GM's focus. That may backfire if fuel prices continue to climb and they drag their feet performing needed upgrades. They unfortunately did drag their feet with the current generation of trucks. It does sound promising for small truck buyers. GM's 1/2 tons and up will focus on performance and capacity and it sounds like the new gen small trucks will focus on fuel economy. It probably means that they are willing to let small truck sales erode into large truck sales. I hope that strategy works well for them. At the end of the day - a sale is still a sale.

A significant factor driving the comments on this site is the average person is a NA pickup fan. A large half tonner.

I don't know why your manufacturers created a situation where you don't have a reasonable offering of the small half tonners. Its not due to the lack of interest.

The most "modern" mid-size half tonner you have at the moment is the Nissan Frontier and this was released in the mid 2000s. Even the Taco is old school. Ford let the Ranger go to pasture after well over 20 years.

I somehow think your manufacturers are the real issue here. As there would be plenty of customers to buy these new mid-sizers we get. People will even pay more for a diesel. You will see an explosion of diesel cars coming out soon and people will buy them just for their economy.

The new diesels we have are getting 30mpg and will go up mountains at 80mph.

Really most half tonners are lifestyle vehicles, I know someone will say we use them for work, but the work they generally do can be done by another form of vehicle.

If your manufacturers don't change, your F-150s 1500 Chevs and Rams (not HDs) will vanish. And some will say this could never happen, but this type of consumer buying has changed dramatically in the past when your huge cars have all but vanished.

This really shows uncompetitive your market is if you can still produce such old vehicles (mid-size trucks).

How competitive is your mid-size truck market when your most modern truck is the Nissan Fronitier?

Even under the skin the Taco is old, the Ranger was well over 20 years old.

Your manufacturers and your isolation in the pickup truck environment has allow this to occur.

This show how protected and uncompetitive your pickup market is.

Strangely, DenverMike, the cab of my 1990 F-150 feels huge, not cramped at all. Considering someone's previous statement of having the wheel in their chest, etc and weighing in at only 200 pounds, well, I'm 5'9" at 200 pounds and the bottom of the wheel is well up from my thighs and the top of the wheel is almost straight-arm length away with me sitting about two click up from the bench seat's rearmost position. I might also note that the more upright position of the seat is really better for your back than the laid-back position too many reclining seats get set to.

As far as the newer standard-cab models offering a shorter length (with short-bed box), it's not the size of the box that I gripe about, it's the fact that I have to step UP into the cab, the fact that it's almost 20' long (Ok, 18' if you go standard-bed) and nearly 6' wide. It's the fact that the whole thing is bigger than any modern car on the road and bigger than some of even the '60s-vintage cars which were huge in their day.

Even with my seat belt on, I feel like a single pea in a tin can; a halfling riding a thoroughbred horse. I have to reach way over to the side and forward to adjust the radio or AC controls which actually causes me to turn the steering wheel a bit while I'm driving if I need to make a change. Fortunately for me, the aftermarket radio I installed (original obviously stolen as proven by broken mounting posts in the console) has an IR remote control so I don't have to reach to the radio to change volume, station, etc. The thing is flat-out huge--even if it is comfortable.

The D-50/Nissan/Ranger/Luv/S-10/etc. of the late-'70s-early-'80s still gave you a 6' bed for a regular cab and measured in at about 12'-14', an easy slide-in seat that didn't force you to climb in (unless it was 4x4) and to me was far more comfortable as the trucks simply 'fit' the driver better. That's the size I want to see return simply because very few people driving today's trucks need (I didn't say want) anything bigger and a good portion of them don't WANT anything bigger, either. I fully understand that YOU feel more comfortable in today's road whales, but I would be happier with something smaller. I promise you that if I ever do buy a 'new' (meaning never before titled) truck, then the Canyon/Colorado is the largest I would accept.

Heres my opinion on what needs to be done with Chevy trucks. Chevy should take some lessons from Ford and Ram without completely copying them. First there should be a premium packaged Silverado sparing nothing. For sake of a better name call this a Silverado Gold or the Silverado Limited and basically take the GMC Sierra Denali grill and all and badge it as a Silverado. Going a few steps further but not to be shared with GMC throw in a package of options including medium blue, red, or saddle colored heated and cooled leather seats with soft touch door panels and dashes (no hard plastic on this package). Then throw in an eight speed automatic transmission, keyless entry and start with remote start, auto dim mirrow with outside temperature and compass readouts, complete tow package with heavy duty suspension and radiator, one piece thicker metal extra chrome front and rear bumpers, tucked in frame with extra paint and corrosion protection, and a more refined suspension. Offer this as 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive (customer choice) on a limited basis and see how it is received.

Next offer a Silverado SS with the Corvette V-8 with the front and sides of the Tahoe. Offer this in a single cab and an extend cab but no crewcabs. The soft plastic bumpers would be ok on this since this will be a performance only truck. Offer with a 6 speed manual or optional high performance select shift auto with console shifter only and bucket seats. Lower the suspension and only offer in 2 wheel drive. Make this a street performance only. Offer this in Onyx Black, Victory Red, Brilliant Silver, Pearl White (don't give this bland colors). Put a performance suspension and lower the truck. Put a short bed on it. Don't try to compete with the Raptor or the Power Wagon just make a performance truck that is limited production and that draws attention to the Chevy brand. Do not make this truck to make a profit on it if Chevy breaks even on it that is enough. Do this to market the Chevy brand and call attention to Silverado. Make your profits on the Silverado Limited and the other upscale packages.

Unlike Ford continue to have a basic Silverado working truck without too many frills. Ford has priced themselves out of the basic work truck business and there is still a need for a basic truck even if you have to leave the hard plastics on this model.

Colorado/Canyon offer an e-assist 4 cylinder motor with compatiable transmission like what the LaCross has. Try to keep the price within range of what a small truck should be without pricing this truck out of the market but squeeze some more mpgs out of the motor.

These are my observations but after reading some of the comments Silverado needs to have new life injected into it. Since it is the bread and butter for GM and Chevy it needs to have its own identity. More attention needs to given to Silverado.

I have thought for a long time that all three, Dodge, Ford, and Chevy have been so consumed by who had the biggest payload and largest towing capacity, that they lost sight of how much these things weigh. All of the trucks are now in catagories one higher than ten years ago. Half-tons now can carry and tow what a 3/4 ton could and 3/4 are the same as one ton's were ten or fifteen years ago. If they would just take at least the half-ton back to the ratings they used to have, it would probably lighten the trucks up by several hundred pounds. That would obviously help improve fuel economy. If you need more to tow or haul buy a 3/4 ton

Small trucks that have good power and MPGs are everywhere except in the USA. We just need to get the Government and truck manufacturers to bring them here.

28.8 miles per gallon in my last fill-up of the 2wd 2004 mazda b2300 manual transmission reg. cab. I did drive it like a grandma though, and where I live there's a lot of long stretches of 50 mph. And it's so small I hardly consider it a truck. I for one am willing to sacrifice power for fuel economy, but I think I'm in the minority. I wonder what a 4 cylinder ecoboost could do in an f-150? I've heard the main reason for not bringing the new ranger to the U.S. is that an f-150 is capable of about the same gas mileage in a much larger and only slightly more expensive truck. I'll believe it when I see it though. I'm still waiting for that 30 mpg f-150. Heck i'm still waiting for 25 mpg. The new ecoboost was supposed to be fuel efficient, but from what I hear it's only slightly better than a v8 if any.

@Jeff S how has ford priced the F150 out of the market for no frills vehicles? the ford is a little bit more but my work truck has crank windows the 3.7 from ford is comparable to the optional 4.8 from chevy in power vs the stadard 4.3, and the ford has a six speed vs, a 4 speed, and is more efficent . just saying not many ways you can bundle a 6.5 ft reg caab pick up with vinal split bench, AC auto, am/fm.

The reason many "urban Cowboy" types are coming to pick ups is b/c they still need certain capabilities like ground clearnce and four wheel drive. Remeber 15 years or so ago there where things caled blazers and Broncos, and Suburbans that didn't cost twice the price of a comparbly equiped GM pickup. With most SUVs these days becoming high top station wagons. Case in point my little brother drives a 98 ford exploer 4 door 4x4 to go camping with friends and such, if he where to replace it he would not be able to use a new explorer for his needs, he can get a comprably equiped f150 Crew cab for cheaper than a pathfinder or 4runner this will force him out of an small practicle 4x4 suv into a fullsize pick up that gets better milage the problem has arissin that soccor moms feel safe in an SUV but want it to do car things instead of realizing that they are trucks that have extra seats/ interior room instead of a bed.
The new SUVs are extremly expensive a new suburban base 2wd cloth seats cost only $755 les than a Ford Raptor , the Tahoe is cheaper but by the time you ad 4x4 its only $160 cheaper. while i find SUVs to be more appealing i went with a Raptor b/c it was cheaper and was one of the few trucks that could go where i grew up taking the Family suburban, the new suburban just cannot make it on those roads. That is why people are switichiung to pickups.

@Carilloskis--I am talking about a V-6 base single cab work truck,. The cheapest F-150 I have seen where I live is 25k after a 8k discount. The Ford dealership where I have my wife's car service at does not have any F-150s below 30k and most are 40k and up. I realize that it is more profitable to sell loaded down trucks but unless you buy a used truck without a warranty and usually they are very high mileaged you will be looking at V-6 Silverados. Even base Silverados are hard to find but not impossible. I realize a lot of the readers on this sight probably will buy the loaded down trucks but if you are looking for a new base work truck that you don't want to worry about getting dirty or putting dents in you are very limited. I am not trying to be anti Ford I am just making an observation. I think premium trucks should be offered because there is demand for them and truck makers are in the business to make money but there is still demand for affordable no frills trucks. I guess if the Big 3 totally abandon that market then the Chinese could come in and assemble their own versions of work trucks in the USA. Not saying that this is what should happen but Ford especially has gotten away from this market.

@ Big Al from Oz

You are right about our midsize market for sure. The new Frontier premiered in 2005 here. The great thing about the Frontier is that it hasn't really been changed much since then, so now we can pickup used 2005+ models for $10K +/-, and with probably $3K-$4K in maintenance and mods turn it into a pickup with some sick capabilities. That is going to be my next project.

@phillyguy
Keep everyone posted on your progress. It sound like a good idea. The 4 litre V6 should have a lot of potential as it is supposed to come from a great series of engines.

@Niel, I bought an 88 Toymotor and also drove it for years. Based on that hard-knocks experience I wish to remind people of a few overlooked facts. 1) THOSE WERE THE DAYS Of 55MPH SPEED LIMITS, 2) The motor was gutless, 3) The suspension had no compliance nor articulation 4) The EFI was finicky at high altitude and might or might *not* start, and to top it off 5) I kept records and that has been the most expensive-to-maintain & unreliable POJ I have ever had in my possession!

Fast forward to my late model 4.6 Ford 4x4 which gets same MPG but at 80 instead of 55.

@Jeff.S

The cheapest F-150 you have seen is 25K AFTER an 8K discount? So basically the cheapest F-150 you have seen was a truck that had an MSRP of 33K...I don't know where you got that figure from but one can still aquire a regular cab shortbed 2WD V6 F-150 for around 23K BEFORE any discounts and/or rebates.

Hell I got my 2011 FX4 Supercab 5.0L for 28K (After Rebates of course)

Just saying that affordable F-150's are still out there...Ford may not advertise them or carry them in great supply at their dealships...But they can still be ordered.

Here's a really nice looking truck from Fiat/Chrysler and it makes for interesting reading about small trucks in NA.

http://www.freep.com/article/20120706/BUSINESS01/207060343/Chrysler-exec-sees-market-for-small-pickup

@Vulpine - The other day, I gave you the distance from the top of the steering wheel, (at medium tilt) to the back glass of regular cabs, old vs new. This isn't a stat you can look up on the interwebs, I measured it myself as I've got an '86 F-250 reg cab that I keep as a farm truck.

Now if you're 5'9" at 200 lbs, there's no way the steering wheel of your '90 F-150 is "almost a straight-arm length away". Especially not when you're at 2 clicks from the seat's rearmost position.

If your truck "feels huge" inside, I have to ask and with all due respect, how short are your limbs?

@Jeff S
I do believe that loaded pickups are the gravy for the manufacturers, we have the same here. But here it has become quite competitive. I think they are competing with SUVs.

@Carilloski
People buy SUVs for the carlike performance. Most people who own 4x4 never use it. 2wd SUVs are a newcomer in Australia. Maybe people want something inbetween a people mover and a station wagon.

@: Big Al from Oz --I agree with you they are competing with the SUVs. Ford especially has been aggressively competing for this market and has been successful with the Platinum and King Ranch Packages. GMC Sierra Denalis are the closest thing that GM has to that and I would have to agree with some of the comments here that it has been at the expense of Chevy. I myself am not in the market for one of these but if this is what customers want then give it to them. It does look like Ram is stepping up to the plate and taking a page from Ford's play book.

Al I don't know what it is like in Australia but I know a lot of small self- employed independent contractors that really need a truck and use a truck for what it is intended for. For them a truck is not a recreational vehicle it is a tool in which to earn a living. My handyman who is very busy has a 2004 F-250 crew cab with a powerstroke, vinyl seats, 5 speed manual, 2 wheel drive, basic white color, but basically stripped but with air. He paid in the 30s but for what he needed he had too pay a little more (an HD 3/4 ton).l It took him months to find one back in 2004 and he had to drive almost to Illinois to find one. There were none to be found in the Cincinnati area (he got the last one they had). He recently tried to find another F-250 to replace his old one but gave up because he did not want to spend close to 50k for one. He put a couple of grand in his old one and is going to run it till either it completely dies or he retires.

@Nate.M--I am not disputing that you might not ever find one it is much harder if not impossible to find one near me. Maybe Chevy makes more of them than Ford or maybe the Ford basic out sells the Chevy but one is much more likely to find the Chevy than a Ford. I really don't have a dog in this fight but just from looking at the internet and looking at the truck lots where I live that has been my observation. Many people are buying loaded down 4 wheel drive crew cab trucks as family vehicles instead of SUVs while a lot of self-employed contractors that need and want a basic truck are having a harder time finding one. I only know this because I talk to them. I do think there might be room for some affordable competition in the work truck segment and if the major truck manufacturers are phasing out affordable options then maybe there is room for a foreign maker that could set up an assembly plant in the US to meet the demand. We will see what happens but that is my observation. I don't want to get in a bashing contest because I am brand neutral and believe all manufacturers make a good product. They have just gotten away from more affordable work trucks for those that make a living with their trucks.

@Jeff S
In Australia most tradesman buy a mid-level spec'd dual cab and tow a tandem wheel trailer. They use it as their personal driver as well for fishing, off roading etc.

You don't see many private or tradie dual cabs that aren't 4x4s. The private upmarket pickups are used for recreational activities and off roading.

Fleet and businesses buy base model 2wds with a 6x8 tray on the back. These have a much larger capacity then alot of your half tonners. They can carry up to 3 000lbs.

I know the new base model Mazda BT50s come with a lot of standard "options" like bluetooth, MP3,A/C, power windows etc but have vinyl floormats and cloth seats. These start in the lower mid $20 000.

We have a Chinese dual cab pickup with a 2 litre turbo diesel that has power everything 4x4 that costs in the mid $20 000. These are little bit bigger than the old mini trucks. A lot of tradies are buying them. I asked one tradie what he thought of them and he said they are great for the price, and when your done with them you can throw them away.

@Jeff S
Here is a link to the BT50 site in Australia. Mine is a GT and is extremely similar the one on the opening page but it's silver. I got it for about $45k plus the extras and on roads which ended up at $51k.

This will give you a direct comparison with what you can get in NA, even against your half tonners.

http://www.mazda.com.au/vehicles/bt-50?gclid=cnfbrpxthlecfu-hpaodbeu4bg#/home

@Big Al from Oz--Thanks for the information that is interesting. I think there would be a market for that Chinese truck in this USA. Not everyone needs a work truck to last forever nor do they need all the bells and whistles as long as they could get close to 10 years out of it that would be enough and it was price right. Again I am just stating this because affordable work truck options are disappearing.

IMO ... A truck is a truck, but there is a nice big gap in the market now that could be filled by something other than a truck.. and here's what it looks like and some of the features it would need.

Imagine a 2 door RWD muscle car with about 300hp and 25mpg city. Maybe something that looks like the cadilac ATS coupe.

Give it a pickup truck tailgate
Make that flat rear window retaractable toward the front.
fold flat rear seats that expose an open hard plastic cargo bed.
The rear cargo entry is 4 feet wide - enough so you can slide in a 4x8 sheets of plywood.
Place the rear seats way to the back, super reclined and low. Sure uncomfortable to get into and get out of, but producing industry leading and never before seen rear leg and head room.

No not a pickup truck, but in a pinch, you can haul 4x8 sheets, bikes and big things upright.

Some good discussions on this article. It is nice to have a discussion without getting into fanboy comments. I have enjoyed reading all the comments and I hope that all the manufacturers are reading these comments. Have a nice day.

Superdave,
You are right about the 80's Toyota. Mine had makuni carb not EFI so I didn't have the trouble you spoke of. I totally agree about the 55mph speed limit. My 4x4 would only top out at 80-85 mph with the A/C on. The 22R only had ~100 hp. My '85 had a solid front axle, which while tough, rode like a billy goat. It probably wasn't the safest vehicle in the world either. I remember how light weight the doors were, there were not reinforced door beams like they use today. Again, it was a very simple 4x4 with no power steering. Mine had A/C and a AM/FM cassette radio and that's it. I even had to pay extra for a sliding rear window.
Still a VERY reliable truck and only cost around $8,000 new.

@Neil --I had a 85 Mitsubishi Mighty Max single cab 2 wheeld drive four on the floor with air, sliding rear window, and AM/FM cassette. It had paper thin metal and nothing in the doors but it lasted me over 14 years. It had no power steering and no power brakes but it did not need them. The trucks today are much safer but it was a great truck and I literally hauled anything in it.

In this great big world of ours there is plenty of room for a whole spectrum of trucks (and SUVs). Different people use them for different things. The only thing that really irks me is when a person implies that another is stupid or wasteful because "4x4 is never used" or a certain choice is too big, too small, too fancy, too plain, overpowered, wimpy etc.

The key is to get the right size & equipment for what you are doing. For me that is currently a half ton 4 door to tow a camp trailer when we go camping. After my daughter is grown it might be something else.

@: SuperDave --Well said. You should be able to get what you want and what best suits you. Just because a full size 4x4 crewcab does not meet my needs doesn't mean that it would not meet yours. The same thing is true with smaller trucks. Someone who prefers large trucks should not tell others that they just need to either buy a large truck or not drive a truck at all. If anything I agree with Vulpine that a few of the manufacturers should add a true compact truck on the scale of an 80s Toyota. The market for pickups is large enough to sustain additional choices.

@Jeff S you can still get a base work truck with V6 from Ford, you can use the internet and try to find one at a dealer that carries them on the lot or order one, i know of Ford and GM deaers that carry work trucks inaddtiion to normal consumer modles, but i know alot that dont. Most of those trucks go to fleet buyers who order in bulk so there is not a need for on hand inventory. Where i live the Chevy Dealership stock work trucks and chassy cabs, the Ford dealership doesn't stock f150s that are less than 40k msrp , but our work trucks are ford and we ordered them, it depends on the market you are in, all manufactures have build and price features on their web sites that allow you to option a vehicle the way you want, and see the msrp other companies like zag show you what people pay for their new vehicles. My truck is a 2010 F150 Raptor 5.4l with lux pkg , my work truck is a 2010 F150 regular cab long box 2wd 4.6l with crank windows AM/FM, and AC i was able to test drive a comprable raptor at a dea;er before ordering mine, but not the xl work truck, bc the people who make that decision look at the bottom line price, anual fuel costs, and reliability. I have driven the Work Truck from Utah to Colorado Springs and it was not fun my butt was sore and my back was stiff, radio reception was non existant, (our previous work truck was a chevy and i made the same drive in it as well with the same results) . I go to visit my brother in college at the same location and take the Raptor its very compfortable got a good sound system etc. but i drove the Work truck bc i didn't have to pay for gas the point being that most people will spend the extra couple grand for the nicer options if they are buying the vehicle for themselves. Business and the govenment focus on cost and go with whats cheap and order it.

@Big AL from OZ,
What i was saying was that there use to be in this country when you went camping in the national forest youd see suvs that had to use 4x4 to get there jeep cherokees/grand Cherokees, blazers big and small, explorers, and suburbans, depending on the number of people they brought. I remember my dad taking all 7 of us(little sister wasn't born yet) in our 95 suburban or some treturous mountain passes in colorado in 4 low in a down pour it was muddy up to the hubs of the truck, other families at the camp ground where in other SUVs. Back then people bought SUVs b/c they needed them either for families size and/or their hobbies. You cannot tell me that only soccor moms drove arond in little blazers, but as urbanites decided they wanted SUVs they started asking the manufacture make them more like a car. Look at GM's 1999 SUV lineup vs todays, in 99 you had a Suburban that looked and drove exactly like the silvarado and shared the exact same frame, you had a tahoe that was the same but was shorter than the suburban and came in an even shorter 2 door model , they had the Blazer in 2 door and 4 door, and the Traker, for the urbanites who wanted something less truckish. Fast forward to today you have the equinox has replaced the blazer, if you want a 4x4 suv you have to step up to the Tahoe. you also have the Traverse which is the same size as a Tahoe, the problemb is that their drive systems are not 4x4. alot of use with an active out dor life style use 4x4 on a regular bais and need true 4x4. i pulled alot of crossover SUVs out of mud and sand with both my 05 suburban and my Raptor. the compbination of 4x4 and interior volume is forceing alot of former true SUV owners into 1/2 ton crew pickups. Large families like mine are getting shortchanged as new suvs like the suburban dont have the ground clearnce required to go out on many forestservice roads, but all the socor moms at my littles sis soccor games compllain how it doesn't have a fold flat rear seat, i replie its b/c of towing and locking rear diff so theres no room but they don't care they bought a status symbol instead of what they need and are forceing the people who need those vehicles to suffer with undesired extra cost options and a less trucklike preformance. we rented a 12 suburban for my bro's colleged graduation, and my mom hated it b/c it was too muck like a car , she even said that if we where al younger we could not do the trips we did as kids b/c she felt the new suburan shouldn't leave the pavement. She loves driving my Raptor but hates the milage.

People,

Please use paragraphs and organize your posts. The long ramblings with no line breaks are are hard to read.

@Carilloskis--Thanks for the information. Hopefully they always have available work trucks even if you have to order one. I agree with you that the better suspensions and seats are preferable. I have noticed that my2008 Isuzu 4x4 crewcab with the leather seats and the better suspension is much more comfortable than any of the trucks I have had in the past which have tended to be more base and no frills. In comparison my Isuzu is almost like a limo. Have a good day!

@DenverMike: Ok, you asked a valid question. My arms when seated and extended forward are approximately 30" long from the seat cushion to fingertips. The distance from back glass to top of steering wheel is 35" with the stock cruise-control equipped wheel. The wheel diameter itself is 15".

I decided to take a few other measurements:
* Top of wheel to floorboard: 34"
Bottom of wheel to top of seat: 8 1/2"
AC/radio controls to back glass: 42 3/4"
Inside cab width at shoulders: 61"
Overall truck width measured across top of bed behind cab: 75"

As I said, to me this truck is huge and I'm only average sized though a little overweight.

I will note that the wheel to be a tilt wheel tilted to its highest position, but I cannot find any control to change it and I doubt I would want to lower it much or it would be pressing against my thighs.

Even my wife--at 6' tall and 300 pounds can fit comfortably behind that wheel with the seat all the way back.

Carilloskis: I do understand where you're coming from with that long statement; today's SUVs are not like yesterday's models. On the other hand, Jeep has managed to make a true, "small" SUV in the Wrangler Unlimited which offers reasonably comfortable seating for 5 (sorry, no really big families) along with their jacked-up wagon GC, Commander, etc. The point is that if someone simply needs a family hauler, then a truck doesn't really make sense to me.

On the other hand, when someone needs a light hauler and doesn't have more than two kids/family pets to carry at any given time, then a small, extended-cab compact-to-midsized pickup is all they need. In my case, no kids, one mid-sized dog and very light hauling needs (more bulk than weight) means that the D-50, etc.-class truck is all I need or really want. I took what was available for the price with the truck I now own, but had I been looking for new, my choice is severely limited to two Japanese brands and effectively one American brand (that I'm no longer really a fan of).

Choice is good. Let the people get what they want instead of trying to say One-Size-Fits-All. Fine. If Ford wants to make big, then don't complain if customers go elsewhere for small.

@Vulpine
What I would love to see is the NA trucks exported everywhere as I think there would be a sizeable market and the NA market to open up and allow these trucks we get over to you guys.

I see in the news that Obuma is complaining to the Chinese about tariffs on US cars imported into China.

Maybe he should look in his own back yard and get rid of the ridiculous 25% chicken tax. Because according to the NA pickup manufacturers there is only a small market for small pickups.

@Vulpine --Atter having my 2008 Isuzu I-370 crewcab which is a cousin of the Colorado/Canyon for 4 years I have a little more favorable impression of the GM intermediate truck twins. The cheaper trims have a little too much plastic and rough but my model is a little nicer fiinished and the ride a little smoother. I would like a little better mpgs but the 5 cylinder motor has planty of power. Maybe the auto transmission could use a few more gears than the four speed but it is not that bad. It is as big as I would ever want it to be. After 4 years of ownership I have a more favorable opinion of the Colorado/Canyon than I thought I would. I do think it needs somne updating but so do the Tacoma and Frontier which are both overall solid trucks worthy of consideration. I hope that the replacement Colorado/Canyons are better but overall I am safisfied. I think Consumer Reports and a few other reviews have given the Colorado/Canyon a bad wrap even though they are far from perfect. My Isuzu has been very reliable and has given me good service. I would expect that Colorado/Canyon would be about the same as my Isuzu. They are both sound trucks.

@Vulpine - if your 1990 has tilt, the turn signal stalk is what controls it. Usually if a Ford of that era has cruise control it will have tilt as a combined option.

You push the turn signal stalk forward. It helps to apply some slight dowward pressure on the steering wheel itself with your right hand as you push on the turn signal stalk with your left. It feels kind of flimsy but I never had an issue with mine breaking. I ended up setting it to where I liked and never touched it again as I was the only one who drove it.
You might not need to apply the slight downward force on the wheel if it is as you say - in the highest position.


Thanks, Lou. I hadn't been able to find any instructions on that. I'll give it a try. 1 to 2 notches down would be just a bit more comfortable for me.

@BigAlFromOz: You have an interesting idea there, since as far as I know you don't have many trucks the size of American pickups there. I know GM has brought certain Holden auto models to the States, so why couldn't they ship some US-sized trucks to OZ on the ship's return voyage? The only issue would be the LH controls vs RH controls. The Jeep Wrangler already comes in RH drive versions even here in the States. (It's a popular mail delivery vehicle where winter driving is more hazardous.)

Yes, I do know about Ford's and GM's mid-size trucks (i.e.Ranger/Colorado) and while they are at least smaller than US full-sized trucks but current reports are still that these new models are A) bigger than the older ones and B) not intended (yet) for US markets. I could lose almost a full third of the size of my current truck, which itself is slightly smaller than the newest ones, and be quite happy. Yes, even the 7" ground clearance (on a 2wd?) could be dropped by a third without any complaint by me.

Then again, I happen to like nearly all the Holden cars listed on their showroom and even the OZ Fords don't look too bad. Question: what's their reliability like there?



The comments to this entry are closed.