Ford’s new aluminum-bodied wonder was met with equal parts optimism and skepticism when it was introduced at last year’s Detroit show, a roll of the full-size dice not seen in the pickup segment in some time. So far, the gamble appears to be paying off: F-series sales have remained very strong against the competition, and last month’s numbers represented the best March for the pickup in nine years, despite production limitations. The F-150 has been a long-time class stalwart, though – we’re more interested in whether there’s real substance under the creased alloy skin.
Tag - Silverado
When Chevy announced that it would bring a version of the “rest-of-world” Colorado midsize pickup to the US market in 2013, it was a move that could be labelled as either foolhardy or a no-brainer. On the foolhardy end of the scale, how would Chevrolet (and GMC) take on the juggernaut Toyota Tacoma, which has dominated the compact and midsize pickup segment so completely that all other players vacated the field long ago, save the Nissan Frontier, which soldiers on propelled only by its maker’s pride. On the other hand, the tooling for the Colorado was already done, more or less; this vehicle has been built and sold in Asia and South America for the last three years. Why not refresh it for the North American market, up the feature content, and do battle with the likes of Toyota? GM obviously went with the latter decision, and the truck that resulted is pictured here.
If early sales numbers are any indication, GM’s new line of large SUVs has already proven an absolute slam-dunk success for the manufacturer. Anecdotally, I see them absolutely everywhere, and the data supports this – deliveries in September alone for the entire range (Yukon, Tahoe, Escalade and Suburban) totaled nearly 19,000 units. That’s an almost 50% uptick from the same month last year, and a result not only of American shoppers’ apparently renewed confidence in buying large SUVs, but also the quality of the product being offered. Compared to the Escalade ESV I drove last month, the Suburban pictured here is nearly $25 grand cheaper, but no less impressive.
Chevy?s new heavy-duty line of Silverado pickups are big beasts of burden. Short of a U-Haul, there?s not a whole lot out there that?s bigger and can still be legally piloted without cdl training. Even compared to the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, a truck already near and dear to my heart but not exactly ?compact? in its own right, the 2500 4×4 pictured here commands attention with another 2,000 pounds of girth, 4.5? of height and 9.5? of length.
The current truck market is hot ? you can tell because I’ve heard from friends that many people are deciding to look into 4WD hire in Australia to try out all of these awesome trucks. The combined competence of my recent spate of pickup loaners can attest to that. You can also tell from the significant efforts (and development dollars) truck makers have been throwing at these “cash cows” over just the last year. The GM twins, the Chevy version of which you see before you, were brand new for 2014. Ford recently introduced an all-new 2015 F-series at the Detroit show, photos of which can be seen further down our front page. The RAM models received a light freshening, and a six-cylinder diesel was introduced for the light-duty 1500 model ? a combination capable of achieving 28 mpg on the highway, a feat considered decent even by small sedan standards not so long ago. The Toyota Tundra, which I sampled a few months ago, also benefited from a significant revamp for 2014, and to take on the stalwart Tacoma ?tweener, GM is bringing the like-sized Colorado and Canyon twins back from the dead for 2015. It doesn?t take a rocket surgeon to see that the pickup market is back with a vengeance, and there?s plenty of room for manufacturers to line their shareholders? pockets. Nothing wrong with that.
Though it may seem like an also-ran in a segment packed with sales heavy hitters like the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra, Toyota still moves plenty of metal with the Tundra – about 10,000 units a month, in fact. Mazda sold about as many smiley-face 3s this year, and I see plenty of those rolling around. With a fresh redesign under their belts, Toyota corporate is probably hoping those numbers improve towards the second generation’s peak in 2007 of almost 200,000 (Toyota would like to call this revised 2014 model a new generation, but I’m sticking to my guns in calling it a 2nd-gen, given it’s mostly a fascia-and-interior reskinning).