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Finally! The Midsize Diesel Truck Has Arrived

July 29th, 2015

2016-Chevrolet-Colorado-Duramax-TurboDiesel-058

Today is the day we found the Holy Grail of the U.S. auto industry.

For years, decades, even, American consumers have clamored for and pined after a truck. Not just any truck, though. The market is flooded with trucks. There are, and have been, big trucks, small trucks, efficient trucks, thirsty trucks, foreign trucks, domestic trucks, capable trucks, wimpy trucks, and so many more.

Simply put, there has been no shortage of trucks in America.

But there’s one truck that buyers here haven’t been able to buy. It’s the one we all said we’d purchase if it ever arrived here, and now it’s time to see who was telling the truth and who was full of steam.

For today, dear friends, we can finally say the midsize diesel truck has arrived.

This fall General Motors will release diesel-powered variants of the Colorado and Canyon midsize pickups.

Chevy is offering the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel in mid- and upper-trim LT and Z71 crew cab models with both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Pricing will begin at about $31,700 and go $38,700, while the Canyon will command a few thousand more.

Autoweek said,

Chevy thinks the diesel, offering greater efficiency and expanding the Colorado lineup with more choices, could be enough to make a strong run at the Toyota Tacoma, the top-selling midsize pickup. Toyota sold 88,801 Tacomas in the first six months of 2015 — more than double the Colorado’s 41,575. Chevy also figures the diesel might take on the only full-size diesel pickup, the Ram 1500 Eco Diesel, and expects the diesel Colorado to get 30-plus mpg, better than the Ram’s 29. The gas-powered Colorado gets 26 mpg on the highway.

A diesel-powered Tacoma is the ultimate dream for many people, but it’s pretty clear that won’t happen in the U.S. anytime soon. This could be GM’s chance to finally own the market, if buyers keep to their word and buy the trucks in the volume they’ve promised.

Will you test-drive one of the new midsize diesel trucks from GM?

-tgriffith

Used Chevrolet Colorado
Used GMC Canyon
Used Toyota Tacoma

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Here’s Your Chance to Sell Your Truck Back to the Automaker

July 28th, 2015

2012 Ram 1500

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has flexed its muscle and leveled Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with a massive fine and buyback program, in addition to requiring strict oversight of future recalls.

A fine of up to $105 million is the result of a settlement between the government and FCA over allegations of misconduct in 23 recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. Part of that misconduct includes failure to disclose defects and not properly conducting recalls.

The bigger consequence is FCA’s agreement to offer to buy back upward of 500,000 Ram vehicles.

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Electric Cars Grabbing Headlines, Changing Lives

July 24th, 2015

Porsche Pajun small sedan

Would anyone have guessed in 2005 that auto headlines midway through 2015 would focus so heavily on electric vehicles? From Tesla to Porsche and from upstarts to downfalls, electric cars are succeeding, failing, creating controversy, and setting records everywhere we look.

We recently covered the news about the fast-depreciating Nissan Leaf, and we’ve covered the rise of Tesla in these virtual pages since the Roadster was just a baby.

We’ve also seen the fall of Fisker, Coda, Aptera, and many more hopeful EV makers that never sold more than a handful of vehicles before going belly-up.

Here are some of the more interesting headlines from the last week or so regarding the best (and worst) in the EV world. If there’s any doubt that electric cars are here to stay, these stories might change some minds.

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The Arrival of the $70,000 Pickup

July 23rd, 2015

2016 Ford F-150 Limited

The only pickup ever made with a carpeted bed was a Ford product.

The Lincoln Blackwood survived in the United States for a single year after being touted as a luxury truck. People didn’t buy it because it had one major problem: It couldn’t perform as an actual truck.

The Blackwood was sold for the 2002 model year and available with rear-wheel drive only. The exterior of the bed had aluminum pinstripes running over fake wood inserts, while the interior was finished in plush carpeting and covered with a powered tonneau cover.

Truck guys laughed at the truck, while luxury buyers scoffed at the idea of needing a $52,000 truck.

Fast-forward to the 2016 model year, and Ford seems to have figured out the equation for building a luxury pickup that will be able to get used as a truck.

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Leaf Loses Nearly Half Its Value, Other Electrics Follow Suit

July 22nd, 2015

2013 Nissan Leaf

All cars depreciate, but few have sunk in value as much or as quickly as the 2013 Nissan Leaf.

Low fuel prices have suppressed the sales of electric cars and created a glut of new ones on the market. That alone is enough to bring prices down, but there’s another force at work that has devastated used values of the Leaf and other electrics.

If you’ve ever considered a new or used electric car, now is the time to get in the market and find one of the best deals out there.

First, though, we should look at why prices have dropped so much.

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Chrysler Believes Its 200 Will “Win This Game”

July 21st, 2015

2015 Chrysler 200 C awd-pic-4853819023233321592-640x480

Sixteen vehicles currently compete in the midsize sedan market in the United States. There are some big names in that group, including the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry.

Competing with those big names isn’t an easy task, as the likes of the Nissan Altima and Mazda6 have discovered.

Some automakers have found success after years of development and can compete with the big boys. The Hyundai Sonata comes to mind, which comes in with a slightly lower price and longer warranty. The cars at the bottom of the list typically include the likes of the Chrysler 200.

Chrysler brand head Al Gardner wants that to change, and thinks the 200 can win the whole segment.

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Tesla Prepares for Ludicrous Speed

July 20th, 2015
Prepare ship for Ludicrous Speed!

Prepare ship for Ludicrous Speed!

I wish I could call up my best friend from high school and tell him that Ludicrous Speed is real.

We spent a good portion of our teenage years in front of a television watching the Mel Brooks classic comedy Spaceballs.

In it, Rick Moranis plays the villain Dark Helmet and needs to chase after the good guys. He doesn’t think light speed will be fast enough, so he skips it, passing over the next-fastest Ridiculous speed and heading straight to Ludicrous speed.

Naturally, hilarity ensues.

Now we have news that Tesla, the same folks responsible for bringing us Insane Mode on the Model S P85D, will create its own version of Ludicrous speed.

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How Much Is Too Much Horsepower?

July 17th, 2015

2015_bmw_m5-pic-1944578703047994224

707 horsepower.

640 horsepower.

Numbers like this used to represent the hottest, most expensive supercars on the planet. Today they describe the output of cars obtainable by middle managers and financially savvy blue-collar workers.

The Challenger Hellcat (707 hp) and the upcoming Cadillac CTS-V (640 hp) are examples of supercars for the masses; cars with power so great they border on dangerous.

Is all of that power necessary, or is it the result of thoughtless engineering meant only to upstage the competition?

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The Coolest Innovation in Truck History

July 16th, 2015

ram truck ramps

Well, here’s another one for the “Why didn’t I think of that?” file.

Have you ever watched videos of people failing to load motorcycles or ATVs into pickup beds? If not, it’s a highly entertaining pastime I enthusiastically recommend.

People try all sorts of crazy ideas to get their small vehicles inside their big vehicles. Sometimes they use makeshift wood ramps, sometimes they create some kind of bridge, and sometimes they just use brute strength.

There’s obviously a need to transport small vehicles, and the good people over at Ram trucks think it’s high time that task becomes easier. And probably a lot less funny.

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Tacoma Versus Colorado: The Better Truck Falls Behind

July 14th, 2015

2015 chevrolet colorado-pic-3672756912968334547

Two trucks named after places are in the midst of an epic battle for superiority.

One is a long-standing stalwart in the industry while the other has evolved into something all-new after returning from a short hibernation.

The Toyota Tacoma, named after the third-largest city in Washington, and the Chevy Colorado, named for the 38th state to join the United States, compete in the U.S. to capture market-share.

Oddly enough, the truck that looks better on paper is the one losing the battle. In fact, it’s getting destroyed.

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