It appears Ford’s watchful eye on the revival of the midsize truck market has determined there is room for the Ranger after all. Yep, after four years without a U.S.-spec Ranger, the Blue Oval is currently (and more openly) discussing the possibility of bringing back the compact truck. What’s more, the Bronco SUV is being mentioned as well.
The discussions are taking place between Ford and the UAW, with the union seeking promises on job security at the Michigan Assembly Plant. The plant currently builds the Focus and C-Max, both of which are scheduled to be relocated to another manufacturing facility after 2018. Ford now needs something to fill the gap and the business case for a less-expensive, more fuel-efficient truck is growing.
In order for the Ranger to work, the truck would have to cost $5,000 to $6,000 less than the F-150 and get 30 percent better fuel economy, according Ford’s truck group marketing manager, Doug Scott. That means the Ranger would have to have a base price of roughly $21,000 and get nearly 28 mpg combined.
If Ford didn’t start with a fresh design, the automaker would have to modify the current global Ranger to meet U.S. emissions and safety regulations. General Motors did the same with the 2015 Chevy Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon trucks, both of which are loosely based off the global Colorado.
On the Bronco side, reports suggest the Bronco would be a midsize, body-on-frame SUV perhaps based on the Ranger. Again, Ford already has this vehicle in production in Thailand for sale in markets across the globe. Called the 2015 Ford Everest, the SUV would compete with Jeep in offering a competent off-roader.
If the Ranger and Bronco get the green light, expect them for the 2019 model year.
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Nissan has just dropped a comprehensive list of updates and changes happening to its 2016 vehicle lineup, including its trucks, body-on-frame SUVs, and utility vans. Most concerning is the news the venerable Xterra will not live past the 2015 model year. Yep, after 15 years on the market and more than 750,000 examples sold, the rugged, two-row SUV is headed out to pasture.
Thankfully that’s the saddest news on Nissan’s truck front. Leading the polar opposite express is the introduction of the 2016 Nissan Titan XD – the three-quarter ton truck that is supposed to drive like a half-ton but pull like a one-ton. Fans of the truck already know the big news is under the Titan XD’s hood. That’s because a Cummins V-8 turbodiesel is cradled between the fully boxed frame rails and kicks out an impressive 555 pound-feet of torque.
Nissan also hints at the Titan’s other optional powertrain, saying three engines will be offered. My guess is an updated version of the 5.6-liter V-8 currently found in the truck, along with a V-6 – possibly turbocharged – for the base level truck.
Also related to the Titan, Nissan says it will release more information on the three-row Nissan Armada at a later date.
The Frontier, Nissan’s aging midsized truck offering, is getting very minor update that include new colors and greater moonroof availability in lesser trim levels. Nissan’s workhorses, the NV and NV200 vans, also get very minor updates that include paint colors, now-standard side-impact air bags, and greater availability of the SL Technology package.
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The Land Cruiser has always been an icon of off-road prowess and effective people-moving since its introduction in 1957. Over the years, the Land Cruiser has morphed into a leather-lined luxury flagship that resides at the top of Toyota’s U.S. vehicle lineup. Now for 2016, the Land Cruiser sports updated front and rear ends, along with an updated cabin with plenty of features.
The Land Cruiser takes after Toyota’s youth brand, Scion, in the fact it only comes in one trim level. Unlike most every car and truck on the road, every Land Cruiser comes equipped with all the bells and whistles without having to pay extra for options. That leaves customers to choose interior and exterior colors.
The Land Cruiser also gets updates in the mechanical department. A new eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the old six-speed unit, while the venerable 5.7-liter V-8 carries over unchanged. Toyota’s Crawl Control has been added, while its Torsen center differential, Multi-terrain Select, A-Trac system, and KDSS hydraulically adjustable sway bars remain.
Inside there is room for eight passengers, with seating for three in both the second- and third-row seats. The third row seats still split in half and fold against the cabin walls to provide extra cargo room and the second row still folds flat. All told, the Land Cruiser can carry 81.7 cubic feet of cargo. If that isn’t enough space, the SUV can tow 8,500 pounds on its standard receiver hitch. That’s 300 pounds more than last year.
Continue reading for my full review of the refreshed Land Cruiser.
The Land Rover Defender is about as iconic as they come, getting its start some 68 years ago and remaining relatively unchanged despite the six decades that’s past. However, nothing lasts forever and the classic Defender is on its way out, soon to be replaced by a more modern vehicle that will hopefully be available worldwide thanks to updated emissions and safety standards. To commemorate the Defender’s ride into the sunset, Land Rover has commissioned three special edition models in a “Celebration Series.” The trio includes a Heritage Edition painted in the classic soft green, a top-of-the-line Autobiography Edition, and this – the off-road ready Adventure Edition.
The Adventure Edition package includes some specific upgrades that make tackling an African safari trip or mountain expedition that much easier. Most noticeable are the knobby Goodyear MT/R tires and swanky alloy wheels. The large front skid plate and side rocker panel guards also top the list. Topping the Defender itself is a full size roof rack and engine snorkel. Add to that the special Phoenix Orange paint color accented by the black hood and grille to call attention to itself, and the Adventure Edition Defender makes for an appropriate send-off.
To help commemorate the current Defender, Land Rover went back to the Defender’s roots – tracing back to Red Wharf Bay where the rugged SUV was dreamt up. A plan was brewed to trace a Defender’s silhouette in the sand before the tide erased it forever. However, the tracing was no stick drawing, but an outline that stretched a kilometer across. Check the video below the jump.
Click past the jump for more info on the Adventure Edition Defender