Access denied! The mid-size trucks that Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Triton buyers can’t buy, including the latest on the hot Ram Dakota, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier – Car News
As the next generation Ford Ranger is about to be launched, it’s time to check out some of the mid-size pickups on the global stage that Australians are currently missing.
For this list, we’re looking at current and future frame-built trucks, which means none of the smaller, lighter utilities like the new Ford Maverick (already a runaway sales success in America) or Hyundai Santa Cruz this time around. .
Likewise, we steer clear of the overpriced and oversized Ford F-Series style biggies, opting instead to target the ‘Goldilocks area’ of the Australian vehicle market – the best-selling mid-size pick-ups that actually match our urban roads, our driveways and parking lots.
They are there, but not here, so let’s look at the most interesting ones…
2x Ram Dakota?
Ram has been absent from the Toyota HiLux class since the last Dakota to roll out of its North American market since 2011.
Instead, the Stellantis-owned brand relied on the full-size 1500, as well as rebadged versions of other automakers’ smaller pickups, namely the 2016-2019 Ram 1200 (a Mitsubishi Triton rebadged for the UAE market) and the Brazilian Fiat Toro. Ram 1000-based – to appeal to consumers looking for a more compact truck experience.
But Dakota is back, baby! At least that will be in the spirit, with not one but two mid-size trucks reportedly expected before the middle of the decade.
The first could end up being a reincarnated version of the Jeep Gladiator. Scheduled to be unveiled next year and perhaps wearing the Ram 1200 badge, the “Project 291” is expected to offer exceptional off-road capabilities, V6s in gasoline and diesel options and a very rugged build.
The second proposal with the Dakota name attached is an altogether more forward-looking beast, as a smaller electric alternative to the massive Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EVs. Expected in 2024, it could beat the Ranger/HiLux in this electrified space by a considerable margin.
If it materializes, it should take advantage of Stellantis’ upcoming “STLA Large” architecture that will underpin the group’s “AWD Performance and American Muscle” models of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, according to the company. including the Dodge “eMuscle Car”. ‘. It is assumed that the Dakota EV can offer up to 660 kW of power and 800 km of range.
Whether one or both Dakotas sweat, let’s hope Australia is in the brand’s sights.
If you picture a pickup version of the Prado that sits above the HiLux but below the full-size American Tundra, you might get an idea of how and where the Tacoma fits in Toyota’s truck hierarchy.
It’s a full range of North American-made and targeted Toyotas that Australia misses, since the Tacoma also spawns the 4Runner (and the beloved FJ Cruiser is no longer sold here), and shares a lot with the Tundra and its behemoth Sequoia SUV. Last year, some 265,000 were sold in North America, as this generation approaches its seventh anniversary.
Engines are current Toyota petrol staples (2.7 liter I4 and 3.5 liter V6), there are the usual cab variants and wheelbases vary, bridging the gap between medium and larger trucks.
Which means, inevitably, the next-generation Tacoma that could surface as early as next year will transition to the upgradeable Toyota New Global Architecture GA-F components introduced by the LandCruiser 300 series. planned will be supplemented by an all-electric version over time, while the independent rear suspension should replace the old leaf springs. Sophistication is the name of the game here.
Don’t hold your breath for an Australian debut, as we’re very locked into the next HiLux release. It’s the best-selling vehicle in the country, period, after all.
The existing Nissan D23 Navara received a substantial facelift at the end of 2020, and the PRO-4X Warrior versions offer an impressive Aussie upgrade for serious 4×4 buyers, but there’s no hiding the years of advancement of this 2014 vintage mid-size pickup from Thailand.
In North America (or elsewhere!), however, their version of the Navara has long been something different. Bearing the Frontier name but based on the older D40 series available in Australia for a decade from 2005, it remained pretty much unchanged for years, until the redesign you see here came a long time ago about a year.
New exterior panels, a restyled interior, updated multimedia and improved safety are the main changes, but underneath that blocky bodywork is a modified version of that old D40, with the leaf spring rear as the D23 Australian (slightly smaller) dropped out in most cases. models almost eight years ago now.
As is mandatory in all North American-market midsize trucks, big gas engines dominate, and the same goes for the Mississippi 3.8-liter V6/nine-speed auto combo. It’s assembled alongside the Titan big truck, rides on Nissan’s long-lived F-Alpha platform and is linked to the Y62 Patrol.
Now, a Frontier Warrior with that kind of powertrain would really give the next Ranger Raptor V6 a hard time. Sadly, being left-hand drive only and actually long in the tooth below, we’re unlikely to ever see this big, handsome beast bound along the Brighton or Balmain badlands.
But what the Frontier offers Australian pick-up buyers is a possible glimpse of what the next-generation Navara could look like when it finally drops sometime before 2025.
Now for something completely different.
Chinese state-owned brand Dongfeng currently owns a 3.17% stake in Stellantis, which oversees the Peugeot/Citroen/DS, Fiat/Alfa Romeo/Lancia/Maserati, Chrysler/Dodge/Ram and Opel/Vauxhall brands, among others.
But while it was just the Peugeot/Citroën group in the 90s, a joint venture was stuck, which years later resulted in this beautiful truck that bears the Peugeot Landtrek badge.
Assembled in China, Africa and South America, it was launched in late 2019 as a modern, comfortable and affordable mid-size pickup with sturdy underpinnings and high-tech equipment levels, including a dashboard very elegant board.
Although the Landtrek is branded Peugeot, it is sold elsewhere as the Kaicene F70 and Changan Hunter rivaling the LDV T60, meaning it can also serve the low end of the segment against the GWM Cannon.
So why is this apparent shoe not available in Australia? No RHD factory production yet excludes this, while it lacks safety features considered essential in Australia such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
But being Stellantis’ flagship brand, there could be a Peugeot version of this all-electric Dakota/1200 to come, so don’t overlook the Landtrek badge for Australia in the future.