This is a very exciting time for off-road pickup truck enthusiasts everywhere. High performance off-road truck concepts continue to excite and entice us. The all-new Ford Raptor should start arriving at dealerships at the end of November 2016 (according to Ford). The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is already on sale. All signs suggest that GM will debut a production version of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 at the 2016 LA Auto Show this November, and the midsize ZR2 should go on sale sometime in 2017.
Who will step up to the plate next? Which manufacturer will produce a Ford Raptor competitor or a Ford Raptor killer?
Lets focus on the most popular pickup truck segment in the United States, the half-ton (150 or 1500 series). Each one of the half-ton truck manufacturers offer off-road packages for all to enjoy. Chevrolet has Z71, Ford has FX4, GMC has All Terrain, Nissan has PRO-4X, Ram has Rebel, and Toyota has TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro. While all of these packages are attractive in their own way, only the Ram Rebel and Toyota Tundra TRD Pro offer the extra visual spice and character to separate from the herd.
What if you wanted to go to the next level? Obviously, there is consumer demand for trucks such as the Ford Raptor. The Raptor manages to capture the ultimate go anywhere and do anything spirit. Does it mean that the majority of Ford Raptor customer will use the truck to its full potential? Heck no! However, all will enjoy its comfortable on-road ride and invincible character. D0 most of us need a Ford Raptor? No. Do most of us want one? Yes!
Ram rolled out what the Rebel TRX Concept truck at the 2016 State Fair of Texas. Within a week over 600,000 people watched TFLtruck’s video of the debut and we received over 2,800 comments about this 575 horsepower HEMI-powered off-road monster. Most of the comments said: “Ram, build this truck!”.
The overall formula is relatively simple. Give the truck an over-the-top (for a mainstream manufacturer) off-road suspension, preferably with a name-brand shocks technology. Basically, make the truck about 6 inches wider for a badass stance, give it around 14 inches of wheel travel, stuff a serious off-road tire underneath (35-in or 37-in), have a 4×4 system and axles to back up the looks, and add power (preferably a loud V8). Wham! You got yourself a high performance off-road truck for general consumption.
Nissan surprised us at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show with the Titan Warrior concept. The concept was based on the heavier Titan XD platform with the 5.0L Cummins turbo-diesel V8. Other ingredient were the same: wider track, more ground clearance, special suspension, and a badass image.
So, who is next? I mean, which mainstream manufacturer of a half-ton truck will produce the next factory off-road performance truck? I am not talking about an “after market” manufacturer producing a truck similar to the Chevy Reaper. Will it be Nissan or Ram? Both are still considering the business case for such a truck, but will the Titan Warrior or the Ram TRX ever see the light of day? We just don’t know at this time. Even they green-light these trucks today, it will take around two years or more before these trucks hit the dealerships.
Will GM or Toyota take it to the next level with a Silverado ZR2 or a Tundra Baja editions? There is no way of telling at this time.
What do you think about this subject? Should Ford Raptor have some serious competition in the half-ton segment?
Kent “Mr. Truck” Sundling and I discuss this any many other pickup truck topics in our new book “Truck Nuts: TFLtruck’s Guide to Pickup Trucks“. I hope you will check it out.