In something of a surprise, Chevrolet’s new midsize Colorado pickup truck outgunned the favored Ford F-150 to nab top honors as Motor Trend Truck of the Year.
The decision was a vindication for General Motors which is betting heavily on a revival of the once wildly popular midsize truck segment despite a huge fall-off in demand over the last two decades. GM itself walked away from the segment earlier in the decade before returning with two much more modern offerings, the Chevy Colorado and the near-twin GMC Canyon.
“Colorado is a smart, capable, and refreshingly honest truck that makes a strong value and efficiency statement,” declared Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Ed Loh. “It’s perfectly sized and suited for the needs of many of today’s truck users.”
The midsize truck segment was actually larger than the full-size market as recently as the 1970s and early 1980s, but sales have plunged to around 270,000 a year, or barely a fifth of their one-time peak. Industry analysts have suggested that’s due to several factors. For one thing, buyers can typically get into bigger, more capable vehicles – while sacrificing relatively little in mileage – for only a modest price premium.
Manufacturers also have been slow to update their midsize entries in a market that highly values fresh product.
(Click Here for our review of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups.)
GM’s new Colorado and Canyon models have been widely hailed for their fresh design and for offering a range of features not found in other, older products in the segment, including a video display that can be configured with the latest voice-activated navigation system – as well as a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. The maker also plans to add a new diesel powertrain alternative next year in a bid for mileage-minded truck buyers.
Winning Motor Trend’s annual award “shows how Colorado is changing the game by offering truck customers fresh new choices,” proclaimed Sandor Piszar, Chevy Trucks marketing director.
(Chevy Colorado goes off-road with ZR2 Concept. Click Here to check it out.)
Whether the award will resonate with potential buyers remains to be seen, though Chevrolet is expected to widely promote the victory in its marketing efforts. Sales of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, as well as of the 2015 GMC Canyon, have gotten off to a reasonably solid start, though most observers believe it is too early to tell if the two trucks will have staying power.
Both Toyota and Nissan are reportedly planning major upgrades to their own midsize offerings, the Tacoma and Frontier, in a bid to battle back. Honda, meanwhile, is readying an all-new version of the Ridgeline it recently pulled from the market.
(Nissan launches teaser blitz for all-new, full-size Titan truck. Click Here to see more.)
But, at least for now, officials with Ford and Chrysler say they have no plans to re-enter the midsize segment. That could change, they acknowledge, if the market shows a strong resurgence of demand.
The Motor Trend Truck of the Year award was announced weeks after the magazine choose the Volkswagen Golf “family” as its Car of the Year recipient for the 2015 model-year. That served up another setback for Ford which had been hoping to see its all-new, 50th anniversary Mustang land on the podium.
Motor Trend’s trophy is considered one of the more well-recognized by consumers, if for no other reason its longevity. But there are a wide range of automotive awards handed out these days, and one of the most influential is the North American Car and Truck of the Year which will be announced at the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Selected by a panel of nearly 60 U.S. and Canadian auto writers, its finalists will be revealed later this month.
(EPA rates new 2015 Ford F-150 tops for mileage in full-size segment. Click Here for the complete story.)
One response to “Chevy Colorado Nabs Motor Trend Truck Honors”
IME a lot of mid-sized pick-up owners were people who didn’t need a truck but felt it was cool to drive one so they bought a smaller sized model. Trends come and go so consumers will decide what they like at the moment. Lower fuel prices have obviously spurred larger vehicle sales. Ford’s F-150 arrived too late for this award so they will get the nod next year.