For nearly a decade, automakers have all but ignored mid-size trucks, issuing few new models — or even updates — and expecting few sales. They focused instead on high-volume full-size trucks and all sizes of SUVs and crossovers.
Sylvan Lake, AB -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/08/2014 -- Chevy's all-new Colorado and the upmarket GMC Canyon are headed to dealerships now, looking to jolt the moribund segment to life. After a day of testing these GM twins in and around Del Mar, it's clear they'll bring life and then some, easily leaping to the top of the mid-size truck segment.
Having little competition helps.
Ford and Dodge pulled out of the segment several years ago, citing weak demand and the increasing affordability and efficiency of their full-size trucks. Chevy's previous Colorado was a halfhearted effort by the automaker's own admission, and it was axed in 2012. Honda's oddball Ridgeline didn't live up to its potential, and Nissan's current Frontier feels like an antique.
The last time any of these pickups got a thorough redesign was in 2005. That same year, mid-size trucks made up 4.1% of all vehicle sales, a number that withered to 1.5% by 2013, according to Edmunds.com
Yet GM sees possibilities in the segment, and points to Toyota's Tacoma as evidence. It, too, dates to 2005, but Toyota has given it regular tweaks to keep the Tacoma relevant. And it gobbles up the lion's share of the segment — 160,000 of the 228,000 total sales in 2013.
This is the truck GM is unabashedly targeting with its Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. But GM is also hoping to entice back crossover owners who may have liked the utility of a truck but didn't want to pay a penalty in ride quality or comfort.
With its steel chassis and completely aluminum body, the vehicle’s centre of gravity changes and becomes lower, making the ride more dynamic. The vehicle feels more manoeuvrable for weaving in and out of traffic and the weight transfer is less significant. Thankfully, Ford has improved the braking but the recalibrated power steering still seems a tad over-assisted.
As for the rest, we liked how quiet the ride is and its improved overall comfort. There’s no doubt that this new generation will force the competition to react.
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