LAKE LEELANAU, Mich. — Five years ago the midsize truck segment was a one-horse race. The Toyota Tacoma reigned supreme, thanks to a sterling reputation for reliability, great residuals and a fiercely loyal fanbase. Then in 2014, the second-generation Chevrolet Colorado burst onto the scene, injecting life into the stagnant segment and racking up nearly half a million sales through 2018. This led to the reintroduction of the Ford Ranger in 2019 and the new Wrangler-based Jeep Gladiator, that brand's first truck in nearly 30 years.
Although we've driven them all extensively, it was time to see which of these midsize trucks is really the best. We gathered them for a few days in the forests of northern Michigan. Six of us — four editors and a pair of video producers — were on hand to rate the trucks and document the whole affair. The goal? To determine the strongest one overall, using our bespoke scoring formula to see how each truck measured up in critical areas. These trucks have a tougher task than their full-size brethren. They need to pack comfort and utility into a stylish form, while providing value relative to the Silverado, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.
Toyota plans to use a new truck platform to underpin the next-generation Tundra and Tacoma, according to a report from Automotive News. Unnamed sources within Toyota revealed the news, saying the platform is known internally as "F1" and will be used in those pickups on a global scale.
Of course, the Tundra is a full-size pickup, while the Tacoma is midsize. This means that Toyota's truck platform needs to have a degree of modularity, similar to the company's TNGA platform that underpins both large and small cars. Toyota sources report that the shared platform is nearing completion, and we can expect to see a truck built on it as soon as the 2021 model year. If that's true, it's almost certain we'd see the platform hit the Tundra first. That truck's roots trace all the way back to 2007, and the truck is really feeling its age against the modern domestic pickups. We've also seen spy shots of a Tundra mule running around, trying hard to conceal what's underneath.
The current-generation Toyota Tundra debuted back in 2007, with a few updates here and there over the years. The truck itself might be ancient in car years, but the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro gets a heavy update after being dropped from the lineup in the 2018 model year. The design hasn't changed much, but Toyota has put its money where it matters on this truck.
Fox racing shocks now provide damping on all four corners. The rear shocks are paired with reservoirs to hold additional oil volume, supporting higher temperatures in extreme use. Then TRD springs are paired with the Fox shocks to give the truck a two-inch lift — beefier leaf springs are used out back. All-in, this gives the truck 1.5 inches more wheel travel up front and just over 2 inches in back compared to the previous TRD Pro. What do you do with all the extra suspension? Well, hit some rough roads and get dirty.
MADRID — Formula One champion Fernando Alonso has taken a test drive in the Toyota Hilux truck that won the Dakar Rally this year. The Spanish driver was in South Africa for the test along with former Dakar Rally champion Giniel de Villiers. Toyota won this year's race with three-time winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. Alonso says the session "was definitely fun, different," and added it was interesting to see how much beating the vehicle could take while going over rocks and bumps. The Spaniard retired from F1 last season and is reportedly considering racing in the Dakar Rally. He has been competing in endurance races and will be back for a second run at the Indy 500 this year. Alonso said Wednesday on Twitter: "Great to experience different cars and approach to racing in Motorsport."
What a day! Thanks Toyota Gazoo to make this test happen. Great to experience different cars and approach to racing in Motorsport. #toyota #motorsport @toyota_sa @toyotamotorsportgmbh pic.twitter.com/n4ERIGoAXW — Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) March 27, 2019
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Mitsubishi took the wraps off a concept off-road truck called the L200 Absolute at the Bangkok International Motor Show, and we completely approve. The truck isn't just a normal L200 with an appearance package. No, Mitsubishi went in and modified the suspension, added a ton of body cladding and even some carbon fiber.
We don't think about Mitsubishi as much ever since the Evo was discontinued here, but this truck provides a bit of hope that one day the Japanese brand could be cool again in America. To begin, Mitsubishi widened the truck's track to make room for the beefy Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires wrapping the black off-road wheels. Then the suspension was modified to give the truck a two-inch lift — it was also given a new shock and spring setup for off-road use, providing more suspension travel. Sadly, Mitsubishi does not say more about it, but we're happy that this truck will be much more capable when the trails get rough.
The 2019 Chicago Auto Show features an array of heavy-duty trucks, smaller trucks, other kinds of trucks, and well, more trucks. That means new versions of the 2020 Chevy Silverado Heavy Duty and 2020 Ford F-150 Super Duty, a refreshed 2020 Toyota Tacoma and a trick tailgate on the 2019 Ram 1500. Here's some impressions, plus our take on the 2020 Subaru Legacy sedan.
— Toyota updated the 2020 Tacoma with some light but useful enhancements. An improved infotainment has new audio features and larger screens. The grilles and wheels are different, but nothing drastic. Toyota still offers nice differentiation across the Tacoma lineup, and the design tweaks are subtle but thoughtful. Toyota tends to stretch out the Tacoma's generations, so it's wise to keep modifying and iterating to keep pace in this competitive segment.