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Honda Baja Racer Reveals Revived Ridgeline

Baja 1000 meant to prove the mettle underneath the new sheet metal.

by on Nov.04, 2015

Honda's Baja racer is a thinly disguised version of the reborn, 2017 Ridgeline pickup.

Honda’s heading back to Baja, and that’s good news for both racing fans and those who’re simply hoping to get a good look at the reborn Ridgeline pickup.

The Japanese maker turned to the annual SEMA Show to announce it will be competing in the grueling Baja 1000 again, after turning in a series of class victories earlier in the decade. And the truck of choice for Honda Performance Development and the Proctor Racing Group? A modified version of the 2017 Ridgeline.

Keep on Truckin'!

While it’s not exactly factory spec, the truck on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center gives us a good sense of what we’ll see when the 2017 Honda Ridgeline rolls into showrooms not that many months from now.

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Ford Goes Wild(track) With Updated Ranger

Could move signal return of the midsize pickup to US?

by on Sep.14, 2015

The Ford Ranger Wildtrack bumps the midsize pickup into a higher level of refinement.

Ford is going wild as it prepares to launch an updated version of its midsize Ranger pickup in Europe. Make that Wildtrack, a new version of the truck making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week.

The unveiling in Europe further bolsters hopes that the Detroit maker will finally move ahead on long-rumored plans to bring the Ranger back to the American market, filling a yawning gap left wide open when it killed off the old, U.S.-made Ranger a few years back.

Trailblazing!

“With the stunning new Wildtrak at the pinnacle of the line-up, the new Ford Ranger provides customers with an unbeatable combination of four-wheel drive capability, stand-out styling and premium features like SYNC 2 connectivity,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “Ranger is ready for any challenge – offering optimised fuel efficiency, towing and payload capacity, and class-leading wading capability.”

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Ford Recalling Ranger Pickup for Duty in US

Ford expected to respond to growing demand for midsize pickups.

by on Aug.26, 2015

Ford would need to make major changes to the global Ranger for the U.S. market.

Ford may be ready to do an about face and return to the American midsize passenger car market. After repeatedly insisting that buyers were more interested in full-sized trucks like the company’s big F-150, Ford is reportedly preparing a U.S. version of the midsize Ranger model it launched overseas two years ago.

The move appears to be triggered by the unexpectedly strong response to the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models General Motors launched last year. Ford abandoned the segment in 2011 when it stopped production of the older version of its Ranger. It has frequently said the new model was not intended for the North American market, but a revised version is apparently under development.

The Back Story!

The move not only could fill a big hole in Ford’s otherwise strong and profitable line-up but also solve a political problem for the carmaker as it races to reach a settlement with the United Auto Workers. The two sides have until September 14th to reach a new four-year contract, and a potential sticking point was Ford’s earlier announcement it would end production in Michigan of two compact models. The same plant now appears likely to handle the new Ranger.

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First Drive: 2016 Toyota Tacoma

Toyota points Tacoma off road.

by on Aug.18, 2015

Toyota's new 2016 Tacoma is designed to be a very capable off-road machine with an improved suspension and more powerful engine.

Once upon a time, Toyota touted the Tacoma as an answer to the larger pickup trucks built by Ford Motor Co., General Motors and the old Chrysler Group.

The strategy fell apart, but the Tacoma found its niche anyway. Thanks to the strength of the company’s dealer network in the western U.S., it has earned the loyalty of a substantial group of buyers looking for a durable truck that’s a bit smaller than a Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado and capable of going off road.

Truck News!

The introduction of the 2016 Tacoma underscores the growing competition in the midsize truck segment where the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have made a big splash and a new Nissan Frontier will appear soon. (more…)

Toyota Expecting Only Modest Growth for 1st New Tacoma Pickup in Decade

Capacity limits could see loss of share in growing midsize truck market.

by on Aug.06, 2015

Toyota is hoping the next-gen Tacoma will keep the good times rolling sales-wise in the U.S. in 2015.

When the 2016 Toyota Tacoma rolls into U.S. showrooms next month it will mark the first major update of the midsize pickup in a decade, an eternity by today’s automotive standards.

Considering the long somnambulant segment has suddenly roared back to life in recent months, one might expect to see Toyota prepping for a major surge in sales for the 2016 Tacoma. But it’s not. The Japanese maker is looking for modest growth, at best, for the new pickup next year.

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The reason is simple, according to Toyota division General Manager Bill Fay: “We’re very close to maxxed out on our production capabilities right now,” despite adding more capacity at a plant in Baja, Mexico.

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Chevy Trucks Into Chicago with Colorado GearOn Edition

“Adventure without compromise.”

by on Feb.10, 2015

Chevy rolls out a special version of the new Colorado aimed at rugged outdoors types.

For those who want a compact track with the sort of rugged capabilities normally associated with full-size models, Chevrolet plans to roll out the Colorado GearOn Edition at the Chicago Auto Show later this week.

The launch of the Chevrolet Colorado late last year marked the maker’s return to the midsize truck market and has scored at least an initial hit with U.S. buyers looking for something fresh in a segment that hasn’t seen much change in recent decades. Chevy planners have promised they’ll offer a variety of updates over the next few years to target unique niches, starting with the GearOn Edition.

Your Auto Show News Source!

“Chevrolet Colorado answers the call for customers who have passions of all types and the GearOn accessory system enables them to bring more adventure wherever they go,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “And with Colorado offering segment-leading efficiency and capabilities, it’s a combination that maximizes adventure without compromise.”

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Toyota Maintains Post Atop Midsize Mountain with Tacoma

New truck ready to withstand new challengers.

by on Jan.13, 2015

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is looking to remain at the top of the midsize truck market in the future. Photo credit: Len Katz

General Motors put the leader in the midsize truck segment – Toyota – on notice when it introduced it’s two entries into the segment earlier this year, but Toyota responded by reminding the competition that they’re leader of the pack with the new 2016 Tacoma introduced today in Detroit.

Not only did the automaker reassert itself as the segment leader, it’s creating some more buzz that might bring some additional players into the midsize arena. However, until then, the maker is content to create a truck to meet the needs of active drivers on a variety of tamed and untamed surfaces, the suspension was fine-tuned to help deliver a smoother on-road ride, while making it even more capable off-road.

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The new Tacoma will be powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and an all-new, segment-first 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, featuring both direct and port fuel injection. (more…)

Toyota Reveals New Tacoma

Beefier, likely better equipped. But is a V-6 in the offing?

by on Jan.08, 2015

Toyota offers a first official look at the next-gen Tacoma pickup ahead of its Detroit launch next week.

With the North American International Auto Show approaching fast, Toyota has released the first full, official images of the next-generation Tacoma pickup. But the maker is maintaining silence when it comes to specific details about the next-generation midsize truck, despite speculation it will add a new, more powerful V-6 to the powertrain line-up.

That might make sense considering the new competition from General Motors, which is offering both a fuel-efficient four, as well as a V-6, for buyers of its new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models – with a diesel set to come later this year.

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Keep on Trucking!

Long the midsize pickup segment leader, Toyota is facing a potentially serious challenge from GM, while Nissan and Honda are also developing updated models that could chip away at the Tacoma’s long-running lead.

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Toyota Teases New 2016 Tacoma

Debut set for Detroit on January 12.

by on Dec.10, 2014

Toyota is expected to make major changes to the 2016 Tacoma in a bid to retain its sales lead.

With the North American International Auto Show approaching fast, Toyota is offering a first teaser glimpse at the next-generation Tacoma pickup it will unveil on January 12th.

The maker isn’t saying much about the replacement for its midsize model, though Toyota division General Manager Bill Fay recently called Tacoma “part of our DNA here in North America.” Early versions of the truck helped win over the Baby Boomers who have become the loyal mainstay of the Toyota brand.

What a Concept!

Expect to see a more modern, feature-rich model with improve towing and cargo capacity, according to industry insiders, while the 2016 Toyota Tacoma will almost certainly deliver improved fuel economy over the fairly poor 17 mpg City/21 mpg Highway achieved by the current model. (more…)

Toyota Set to Debut New Tacoma at Detroit Auto Show

Adding energy to a resurgent midsize pickup market?

by on Dec.05, 2014

The current Toyota Tacoma.

Adding fuel to a simmering midsize truck market, Toyota confirms it will unveil an all-new version of its aging Tacoma pickup at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

The next-gen 2016 Toyota Tacoma will be unveiled along with two new models from the maker’s upscale Lexus division, said Bon Carter, the maker’s senior vice president pf automotive operations in North America. Toyota has been racing to get the new Tacoma ready for battle with a new line of offerings from General Motors, including the Chevrolet Colorado.

Truck Stop!

Thinly disguised versions of the next Tacoma have been spotted undergoing testing in North America in recent months. As with the bigger Toyota Tundra, designers and engineers in the U.S. had a significant role in the development of the midsize truck, although it is being geared for sale in markets around the world, while Tundra is primarily focused on a State-side audience.

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