Midsize trucks might be one of the USA’s inventions.
Nowhere in the world you will see so many midsize pickup trucks like you can on roads of the USA. Okay, Mexico and Canada aren’t that far away in number of these trucks, but United States of America remained its biggest market. While in the North America these types of vehicles are cultivated, in the most other countries midsize pickup trucks are often considered as compact trucks thus almost neglecting this type of pickups at all.
While the similar can be said about all pickup trucks, US market was specific in that way that demanded neither small, compact sized trucks nor it needed bigger more powerful and gas guzzling rides. That resulted in “invention” of a whole new sub-class of trucks (even switching some compact models to midsize), one that was more capable to fit everyday needs of working men and women.
However, it passed some time since either auto manufacturer announced new model of this type of pickup trucks. Currently there are only three automakers offering such trucks: Toyota, Nissan and GM. Honda’s Ridgeline is somewhat similar to them, but many experts agree that it is more of a crossover SUV than a truck, sometimes even called SUT (Sport Utility Truck). Only other alternative that we could think of at this particular moment is Ford’s Ranger but this truck is also closer to compact truck than midsize and anyway it was discontinued in 2012. If you want to buy midsize pickup, you could choose between Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier or Toyota Tacoma.
Many trucks of this type were recently discontinued because of the poor sales and because car manufacturers shifted production towards full-sized trucks simply because they offer better profitability. People want them more too, since those pickups have better capabilities and diversity and their fuel economy is better.
However, demand for midsize pickups recently increased which resulted in lower depreciation of these vehicles compared to the everything else motor industry produces! To further illustrate this trend Blackbook shared the following details:
Used vehicles depreciated a very moderate -1.3% across all segments during June. However, the Midsize Pickups category saw very limited depreciation, with just a -0.7% monthly change for model years 2007-2011.
The difference in depreciation is even more noticeable when the twelve-month depreciation rate is compared. Used vehicles overall have depreciated -13.7% during the last twelve months. However, Midsize Pickups have seen just a -5.1% change during the same time period.
If you own a midsize pickup truck, consider yourself lucky since it will lose its value very slowly or at least at a steadier pace than what is common for the most of other vehicles. If you are however in market for one, then don’t be surprised if sellers demand more money than what it could be normally expected.
In light of that analysis, this week we’ll take a look at some of the best selling midsize trucks, starting with those that barely made it to the list and ending with the midsize pickup that everyone wants!
Like the first part of its name, ‘Dodge’ (which until recently was reserved for a Chrysler’s truck division, now called just Ram), Dakota also formally does not exists anymore.
It was introduced back in 1986 (1987 model), as a midsize truck and it followed premiere of another Dodge truck, Ram 50. It was never quite satisfied with being just ‘in the middle’ it always wanted more and so it was bigger than its rivals — Ford Ranger and Chevrolet S-10. It had an option of V8 engine, but it didn’t stop at only that feature, since it introduced some other new technologies for pickup trucks like ‘rack and pinion’ steering.
There were three generations of Dodge Dakota and there was even one, albeit small topless series. Over the years, police and fire departments used Dakota pickups as off-road and patrol vehicles.
It was produced until 2009. when it was officially discontinued with the last truck leaving assembly plants in August 2011. The main reason for giving up on this truck was poor sales and so the decision was made without the option of some other truck replacing it in the future, since midsize and compact trucks became too unpopular among drivers. At the beginning of 2000s it had sold more than 140,000 units and that number decreased to less than 20,000 vehicles, before bosses at Chrysler axed it for good in 2009.
Ranger is another discontinued pickup truck model. Even though it is still growing strong outside of the US, following the shift of the domestic market from compact and midsize trucks to full size, Ford also decided to discontinue these trucks last year.
It was introduced as more economical version of F-Series, focusing on better fuel efficiency. It was very similar to the best selling Ford’s vehicles, F-Series, while newer revision had some concepts taken of SUV line.
Officially Ranger has two generations, but it had so many redesigns that it’s hard to find similarities between two models within only one generation. There is a rebadged Mazda version in the form of B-Series (it was called simply Mazda Trucks in the United States) or even a Electric Vehicle version of the truck.
The last Ford Ranger rolled off the assembly line on December 16, 2011, but they were offered to fleet owners even after that date.
Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
Colorado and the its counterpart Canyon are Chevy’s contenders in the midsize class. Although, many experts would put them in the compact category, we always felt that these trucks are surpassing this group of vehicles and gunning for bigger leagues.
Its interesting to mention that these pickups were created in collaboration with GM’s forces in Brazil and USA, and Japanese automakers Isuzu. Production started in 2004 and it was redesigned numerous times until 2012 when assembly lines were shut down in the US.
Second generation premiered in 2012 and despite the original idea for these trucks to be sold in the North America, that still didn’t happen but both GMC and Chevrolet are not hiding the fact that they would very much like to change this fact soon. Yet, no official announcements were made until this point, contrary to some rumors that the new truck would be announced this year (some are saying that public introduction of a new model will be made in Fall 2013).
GM’s twins were very popular and in 2005 they reached the peak of their sales with 163,00 units sold. Their sales continue to rise each year and because of the expectations of a new model arriving soon, we are not giving up on Colorado/Canyon combo.
The Nissan Frontier is a medium-size pickup truck manufactured by Nissan Motor Company. When Nissan Frontier premiered in 1997 it was designed to be small, compact pickup truck (marked D22), but after 2004 it was completely redone and became bigger, longer, taller and now it falls in bulkier mid-size pickup truck category (under the name D40).
While it is called Frontier in the North America and some other countries, it is known under other names: Datsun in Japan, Navara in Europe and Australia, Winner in the Middle East etc. These versions were also slightly different that what we see on US roads.
The Nissan Frontier was produced in various versions, for the numerous markets it was sold on. Nissan Motor Company made Frontier with either different V6 engines or the I4 Diesel engines, with either automatic or manual transmissions and several two or four door cab designs.
It is second best selling midsize truck in the US and certainly worth mentioning in this article.
Toyota Tacoma is mid-size pickup truck created by Toyota Motor Corporation, which premiered in 1995. It was made to be a replacement for Toyota Hilux, which was until that moment known also as the Toyota Pickup. Initially Toyota’s truck was a compact pickup truck, with lower pickup truck capabilities, but better handling, comfort, safety and miles per gallon rating.
Toyota Tacoma was created for North American market which demanded truck that could be used as personal vehicle, more than for its commercial or ‘work truck’ use. In its second generation, Tacoma has grown into mid-size truck satisfying demanding North American market.
With sales going strong each year Toyota Tacoma was also declared the best in Truck Trend’s 2012 Best in Class category (that also included some compact sized trucks) and previously mentioned Frontier came in close second spot.
To sum it up, these aren’t bad trucks, people only asked for more of everything: power, space, versatility. On the other hand, there’s still a lot of folks that are quite satisfied with what compact and midsize trucks offer, the only thing is, whether big automakers realize that or not, their price will be higher or lower.