This is Vulpine's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Vulpine's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Interests: Writing, Railroads, Aircraft, Automobiles, Camping, Jeeping, Photography
Recent Activity
What ever gives you that idea, Rick Irvin? It's not like every pickup driver lives out on a 1,000 square-mile ranch after all. In some eyes, the slightly smaller tank offers a perceived savings on a per-fill-up basis by tens of dollars (after all, six gallons now costs more than $20) and the old mechanical technology tends to still be more reliable than a lot of today's electronic technology.
Then take that really, really big trunk lid off once it crossed the border, right?
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2013 on Can Ford Create a New Ranger? at PickupTrucks: News
While the Colorado was smaller than the Silverado, it was certainly bigger by far than the S-10--making it a smaller large truck rather than a larger Small truck. Me? I'd prefer it if they kept the original S-10 size.
Actually, TFY, they are; by saying that nobody wants "A" product then they must want "B", no matter how much they don't LIKE "B". And that is exactly the argument certain people here have been trying to say for almost a year--despite so many people saying they want "A" despite its lack of availability. Now, one of those certain people has completely reversed his argument of, "I'm all for choice" to, "choice is an agenda" when somebody brings a subject he patently despises into the discussion and refuses to acknowledge any proof presented AS proof because it disagrees with his personal viewpoint. Yes, we do know who you are.
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
@ Big Al: That does come very close to what I have in mind as a modern compact. The whole thing is just about 15 feet long with a 7-foot bed, which really can meet the need, though the drop sides are just a little low for my taste. I could live with that, though, if it has decent tie-downs for things that extend above them. Also, at roughly 5' wide, it should be able to carry the typical 4'x8' sheet of plywood flat on the bed, though obviously needing to have tie-downs to keep it from sliding off the back. As for the 3,000 pound axle, I'm well aware of a tiny six-foot trailer made right here in the US that boasts a 3,000 pound axle, so I'm not at all surprised by the load capacity. I also like that it really is compact compared to our typical Road Whales™. Engine might be a little small at only 90 horses, especially when such a rig might be useful for light loads over longer distances (imagine that thing as a bike- or toy-hauler) and capable of easy running on expressways. Not sure I'd want to run it much over 80mph, but with some highways carrying a 75mph speed limit and knowing some drivers would push it, then maybe 150-180 horses might be a better choice, even if it does drop the mpg from 55 to 40.
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
Yay, Jeff!
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
Personally, I'd rather the manufacturers go back to the A-la Carte ordering system so buyers can get EXACTLY what they want without all the fluff that's more distracting than helpful. People may actually end up buying and paying more than a "equivalent package" by getting it exactly the way they want it.
I think that's kinda the point, Mike G. The SUV and the small cargo van has replaced the pickup as a delivery vehicle due to its smaller size and better (not great, however) gas mileage. We all KNOW there is a market for smaller trucks, but the Big Three in particular don't want to acknowledge that while even Toyota proves that their smaller trucks sell better than their full-sized ones here in the US.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
@Big Al: I am aware that the Nissan is assembled in Mexico, at least for now, while the Opel/Vauxhall/Renault is assembled, I believe, in Germany. This means that GM avoids the import costs by reselling the Nissan at least until they can get a Mexican or Canadian plant assembling their in-house-designed models. This also eliminates what would likely be a 1- to 2-year delay ramping up NAFTA production. It won't be the first time that a manufacturer has done something similar until they could get a local model online.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
@Evan: You know, some people don't want "packages", they simply want a truck that does the things they want it to do and do it reliably. I've been lucky that no new car I've purchased has been a lemon, but members of my family have had that happen and quite honestly they get totally disgusted with that vehicle after a certain amount of time. Nobody wants a car that has gone through three transmissions in the course of 15,000 miles. Nobody wants a car that simply starts falling apart almost as soon as the warranty expires. Those people WILL get upset and WILL talk down that brand possibly for the rest of their lives. (My dad, for instance, never bought another Pontiac after that transmission fiasco--and he practically lived Pontiac prior to that.) So if FT has a downer on Ford trucks, maybe he feels he has a legitimate reason. Meanwhile, the RAM both looks good and for now seems to have a remarkably strong reputation building over the last few years--especially when you consider that the majority of the recalls are for relatively minor things and that Chrysler is going out of its way to make their customers happy. If I were in the market for a full-sized truck, this Black Express definitely has my interest--a lot more so than Ford, which only has one thing I really like about their trucks--the 'suicide door' on their extended cabs.
Many crossover/SUVs will see a downfall when smaller pickup trucks return to the States. There's at least some chance that the bigger ones will see some decline as well, simply because those big trucks can't fit in most new home garages and many newer subdivisions in suburban America won't allow big trucks to sit in the driveway or yard where it can be seen from the street or even by next-door neighbors. I don't think we'll see the return of the minivan as a family car any time soon, but as a single's "love machine" or a micro-motorhome it still has some potential. Then again, the plain--often blacked-out full-sized van developed a reputation as a "snatch"-mobile and "stalker-mobile".
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
Why does this thing look so much like a 2002 Saturn Vue?
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2013 on 2013 Land Rover LR2 Video at KickingTires
@Big Al: I can't tell if you're serious or just being sarcastic. "Are the Vauxhalls rebadged Fiats?" just about made me laugh out loud, as even here in the States people know that Vauxhall is Opel (at least, those who watch UK's Top Gear show). Still, one point here that a lot of American commenters on this site aren't willing to accept is that smaller IS coming, it's only a matter of time. Yes, we'll also be seeing the bigger Euro-vans as well, but those will almost exclusively be relegated to cargo-van duties and Class B and C motorhomes while the smaller ones will fill a niche for those businesses that simply don't need the space of a larger van or don't want to spend as much money as those larger vans cost. Either way, the RWD van is about to disappear as the FWD offers a lower load floor and usually better economy than their American-designed predecessors. Ford and Chrysler have already dropped their traditional vans, Ford importing the Transit Connect from Turkey (at least until they retool an American plant) and Chrysler converting the Caravan into a cargo van while both import larger models from Europe. Of course, both these models readily offer themselves for conversion to all-electric by again having such a flat, low floor and lighter overall weight. With the typical range of an all-electric soon to exceed 100 miles and for some maybe even 200 miles, they perfectly fit the need for delivery and service vehicles within metropolitan areas.
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
While I'm not disagreeing with you, Lou, you have to remember that the full-sized cargo van became the highly stylized custom vans for many and eventually led into the Class B motorhome (of which you can still find them being built today, though most now have raised roofs and lengthened bodies due to extensive fiberglass bodywork in place of the old sheet metal.) I do believe it's possible that the minivan will return as a semi-popular custom rig, in the same way as those older full-sized rigs did. Lacking the extensive glass and redesigning the interior similar to a pop-up camper with little porthole windows in the rear quarters--especially with the rear-view cameras eliminating the need for glass at the back door/hatch--could totally change that soccer-mom look and make them desirable again. Meanwhile, the SUV is now the soccer-mom vehicle and the pickup truck is quickly headed in that direction; replacing the SUV as demonstrated by the drastic fall in full-sized SUV sales.
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
The return of the minivan; now as a cargo van and small bus instead of a family car. Interesting as now the minivan is taking the exact reverse route of the old full-sized cargo vans that got customized into people haulers. Who know? Maybe we'll start seeing custom-painted Elkhart™ Vans again--only smaller.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2013 on 2013 Nissan NV200: First Drive at PickupTrucks: News
Any vehicle that is left outdoors is practically guaranteed to have something stolen from it eventually--if not the vehicle itself; especially if that something is left out in plain view or is completely exposed--as in the bed of a truck. The only way to prevent such theft is to secure it in a manner that makes it much more difficult to steal. Even travel trailers have been stolen right from their owner's driveway or yard simply because nothing was done to prevent the thief from taking it. Lou's trick of welding the nut on his fog lamps is proof that a thief won't take what he can't grab and run. On the other hand, if he can't grab it and run, he may destroy it just for spite. You want to protect what's in your truck, you need to first make sure it can't be seen and second secure it in a manner to make it more difficult, time-consuming and noisy to take. That's why many SUVs and hatchbacks have a 'modesty curtain' over the cargo area and why many pickups now use a locking, hard-shell tonneau cover over the bed (which also happens to help protect the tailgate itself). Of course, some of these protections do limit the usability of the vehicle itself. The locking toolbox across the bed rails is a great idea, but even that needs to be secured in a manner to make it more difficult to steal intact. I've noticed some brands are now offering "cargo management" systems which include the ability to slide the toolbox fore or aft in the bed--which unfortunately also makes it much easier to steal. That toolbox needs to secure from inside the box itself, making the thief have to pick or break the lock just to get at the bolts to release it from the bed. Interestingly, where I live the favorite things to get stolen are all made of metal. Electrician's trucks are having wiring stolen overnight. HVAC operators are having new and used air conditioners, condensers, etc. stolen right out of their trucks. (Regretfully, fully functions systems are getting stolen right off of houses and businesses as well.) Even overhead wiring from both the electric companies and Amtrak is being stolen right off the poles, though I have to admit that takes some real guts or stupidity to monkey with 5,000 volts or more and get away with it. In other words, you can't prevent a determined thief from getting what he wants, but you can at least make it more difficult, which will discourage the less-determined thief.
@Mark Williams (the author): While I understand you couldn't pull out a camera in the back areas of the proving grounds, did you happen to see any pickup trucks that did NOT look like a Ram? I want to know if Marccione is following up on his support for a Jeep-based truck.
First off, I've owned a black vehicle and it's no harder than any other color to keep clean. Sure, it shows up dust and mud more readily, but it doesn't take anything special to keep it looking good. A regular wash and keep it waxed will have it looking good for years. As for tires, I personally use the Bridgestone Dueller Revo-2 and really like it. They're listed as light truck tires and are made for higher tire pressure than what I see typically (even higher pressure than what the tires on my F-150 are rated) and carry a 50,000 mile warranty. Mine have 20K on them now and still look nearly new. One thing I like about the Black Express is the simple fact that it is NOT A GHOST! I'm sick of seeing all these white, silver and grey cars that simply disappear at dusk, dawn and in bad weather (snow, rain, fog, etc...), especially when the driver forgets or refuses to turn on their lights. Too many wrecks have happened because, "I didn't see that car coming!" Sure, highly polished black disappears at night, but then you have your lights on just to see, which means you are easily visible yourself. And finally, of course stone chips will show up on any color except grey/silver--that's the color of the primer beneath it! Most owners--most owners who really care about their vehicles, anyway--won't just stand their complaining, they'll touch it up simply to protect the metal beneath from rust. (Sheesh what a bunch of babies!)
I think I've just seen a full-sized truck that gets my interest.
Here in America, families own two or more cars/trucks for ONE reason--each family member old enough to drive has their own car. Well, when they can afford it. The husband is usually the do-it-yourselfer while the wife is the shopper/family hauler. The kids usually want a 'toy'--something simply fun to drive. As such, a pickup of one form or another tends to be the hubby's daily driver, with a larger SUV the typical second choice. The wife tends to go for either a sedan or smaller SUV for a combination of economy and comfort. Granted, this is a stereotype. The interesting thing is that right now there are far more SUVs being driven than pickup trucks both in industry and by the typical commuter--unless that industry is based on manufacturing, construction or utilities service. Then it's either pickups or full-sized vans. Delivery services tend to use larger vans such as the Sprinter or Step-Van-styled trucks, but that's beside the point. If/When compact trucks do return to the States (as I'm sure they will as fuel prices rise again and alternative fuels come into demand) then at least some full-sized trucks will be replaced as will many of the large-to-mid-sized SUVs. The open bed does have an advantage over closed beds since home appliances and furniture can be carried home just as easily in one of those as in a larger truck. After all, not one home appliance is heavy enough to overload even the smallest compact truck ever seen in the US while many are simply too large to fit in most SUVs' cargo area. What this means is that many of those "work" trucks listed above may be getting purchased for that occasional-use scenario (like mine) but are otherwise used more for appearances sake than for actual work.
Obviously there is a lot of very opinionated commentary here and I won't deny most of them have a point--though they may ignore certain demonstrated feats of endurance by the Toyota. It seems that Toyota is developing a pretty strong foothold in Pennsylvania farm country even with the popularity of Ford overall. However, "most reliable" means different things to different users. The Toyota mentioned in the article itself wasn't cared for in the least for the abuse it took on that show. The only things done in every case had to do with simply clearing the engine of water or other contaminants, at which point it cranked and fired up every time--even after getting tied down to the top of a building getting imploded and effectively driving out from under the rubble. On the other hand, that last test could have gone a lot worse for the truck had it been beneath the building instead. On the other hand, reliability for most people means that they only take minimal care of it to keep it roadworthy and here the Toyota still seems to stand out--until you start looking at some of the much older 'survivors' that look like rolling junk but simply won't die. I've personally seen a '60s vintage Dodge 200 just this year thats in physically rough shape but apparently not rusted out--though at least one paint job was done by spray can. I have a photo of it buried away somewhere I'll need to dig out. But when looking at motor vehicle registrations, you need to keep in mind that Chevrolet seems to have the record, as Chevrolet advertised for years that they had the largest number of older trucks still registered for use on our nation's roads. Again, I've personally seen more late-'60s, early-'70s Chevys and GMCs on the road where I live than old Fords (and that one Dodge). The Fords don't seem to start dominating until you look from the mid-'80s and up. What I'm saying here is that when you take any bias out of the picture and look at what's really on the roads, each brand has its period where it seems most reliable but when it comes to actual durability it seems Chevy currently holds that record, even if it doesn't have the highest miles on those older trucks. I might also point out that any time you can just walk up to a war-surplus Dodge ambulance, replace the 6-volt battery and crank it up, that old flat-head six MUST have something going for it. Then again, my own 23-year-old Ford F-150 hadn't been driven in over 10 years before I purchased it and after replacing the brakes and one exhaust manifold, it seems to be running pretty strong.
Of course, papa jim, that's no longer true. The SUV has become the station wagon of today while the pickup truck has become the SUV for many (not all) people. The simple fact that I see so many pickup trucks where I live dressed up as sports wagons, so many with their beds covered by a hard tonneau that makes them totally impractical for hauling, shows that the surge of "Appearance sales" definitely had an impact and still demonstrates that while their replacement for Appearance's sake has faded somewhat, quite a few are still nothing but boy toys. After all, 6% of a hundred thousand is 6 thousand and that's not even one brand's total sales. If, as some here like to crow, there are some 2 million trucks sold in this country each year (personally I think that number is exaggerated) that would mean that some 200,000 trucks each year are nothing but toys for their owners. Now, as a certain commenter claiming to be from Denver has so clearly pointed out, toy trucks are a fad and will forever be useless to REAL truckers. Hmmmm. If he's right, then exactly HOW many compact/mid-sized trucks actually sold during the '70s and '80s when they were at their height and how many full-sized trucks will sell in the '20s and '30s when that fad ends?
The only problem with your last argument, DM, is that we're not the only ones who have stated that the tariff is still in effect, as you have so clearly commented on "The Truth About Cars" blog. There's certainly enough evidence that the tariff is still in effect AND that it is having an effect on what vehicles we have available here because of it.
@Big Al: While I understand your disgust with certain commenters here, I have to note that I wasn't a victim if the multi-post UNTIL I posted through a purely satellite link over the US holiday period. Having been in communications as a career, I'm quite aware of how such systems will compare sender and receiver copies and make multiple attempts until the 'count' matches. Even a single bit's difference will be enough to trigger a re-send of the data. The system is then supposed to delete the un-matched copies but in this case appears to accept them. The MAC numbers you are reading as changed may NOT be the source's own MAC but rather the MAC of the network device that source is relaying through. If, for instance, you were to look at the MAC of my typical post with those of the comments that got duplicated over the holiday, you would see that I came out with multiple MACs myself. This is due as much to using a different device as it is using a completely different network. If said individual posts from home, work, a laptop and maybe travels to different sites like Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, etc., those numbers will change. This doesn't even consider the ability to spoof such numbers, too--though those are usually pretty easy to read through to find the real source. Occam's Razor points out that the simplest answer is most likely the correct answer, even if it isn't always the most logical one.
Way to take words out of context, Glenn. Where did I hint that there was a GROWING demand for mid-sized trucks? I will repeat myself that there is a bigger demand than YOU WANT TO BELIEVE. However, should the new Colorado be based on a more compact size than the previous model, you might be surprised and discover a *growing* demand. Should the future F-100 (or whatever Ford chooses to call it) be smaller than the last-gen Ranger, you might discover a *growing* demand. Until that happens, the demand will probably remain pretty static. Since Toyota only has one legitimate competitor in that class at the moment and that competitor's quality seems questionable at best, Toyota simply cannot build enough of them to keep up with that static demand.