Here in America, we like our vehicles to be big, strong, vigorous and capable of jumping over large rocks—as well as hauling large rocks, when needed. Possibly even jumping over some rocks while hauling some rocks. It is one of our proudest national traditions. As a result, the truck market is as viciously competitive as it is crucial to automakers’ bottom lines, and this month alone we’re seeing what Ford and Toyota are bringing to this knife fight.
Today’s morning roundup is about trucks, and also why you really, really need to stop stealing Hyundais and Kias all of the time. I don’t want to point fingers at anyone specifically—we’ve all at least considered it once or twice, right?—but it’s still a pervasive problem and it needs to end. Let’s see what’s cooking.
The New Ford Ranger Isn’t Here To Mess Around
David’s got the story on the all-new 2024 Ford Ranger that you should read, if you haven’t already. I’m here to talk more about the Ranger’s importance to Ford as a business both globally and here on its home turf. Make no mistake: this truck is a big deal, and its unveiling this close to the new 2024 Toyota Tacoma doesn’t feel like a coincidence. We’ll get to that in a second.
What you need to understand is that the last Ranger was kind of rushed into our market in 2018. I’ve heard from multiple sources who know what they’re talking about that the Blue Oval brand vastly underestimated the sudden popularity of General Motors’ Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. So the only move it had at the time was to bring the global T6 Ranger—built in Thailand and popular in Australia, South America and parts of Asia—to North America with some heavy updates, even though it was already nearly a decade old and never originally designed for our market.
But while the Ford F-150 handily owns the full-size truck market, the Ranger and Canyon/Colorado were locked in a bitter battle for second place well behind the Tacoma every year they were on sale. And in 2022, Ranger sales sunk pretty low behind the GM twins. (It’s also possible the smaller Maverick cannibalized some Ranger sales, but I’m reluctant to hang everything on that given the Maverick’s issues with slow production.)
Either way, the midsize truck segment is a super important one here and abroad. And Ford really wants to come correct with this new, designed-for-America Ranger: more powerful V6 engine options, better tech, an improved frame and the Ranger Raptor version we’ve all wanted for years now.
Here’s Automotive News on the truck battle that’s shaping up here:
Ford resurrected the Ranger nameplate in the U.S. in 2019 and is looking to snap a three-year sales slump here, where the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma outsells it more than 4-to-1. Toyota plans to unveil the next-generation Tacoma this month, and General Motors has redesigned its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon for 2023.
Despite its challenges in the U.S., the Ranger is a top seller in a number of global markets. Ford already has launched the redesigned model in most of those markets and hopes to replicate its overseas success stateside.
“The all-new Ranger has already proven itself on almost every continent with sales leadership in 18 countries and all of Europe,” Kumar Galhotra, the president of Ford Blue, said in a statement. “Now it’s ready for North America.”
Now, if you’re wondering about Ford’s quality issues and known challenges with launching new products, the company says the Ranger is a test of its new processes:
For example, the company will start production with only certain cab and engine configurations. Other options, such as the 2.7-liter V-6 engine, won’t be available before the fall.
“We’re really focused on delivering a quality vehicle,” [marketing manager Gretchen] Sauer said.
It may not be F-150 levels of important, but it’s not something Ford can afford to screw up.
Come At The King, You Best Not Miss
So GM and Ford both now have redesigned midsize trucks for 2023. But both of them have gotten their asses handily kicked by the Tacoma for years now. It’s been the sales king for years. To see how wide its lead actually is, check out these stats from TFL Truck: in 2022, Toyota sold 237,323 Tacomas, compared to 117,016 of both the GM twins together and just 57,005 Rangers.
Yes. The Tacoma is that big of a deal. So it feels unlikely that either the new Ranger or Colorado/Canyon can fully unseat the Tacoma, but will rather try to just close that gap as much as possible. And now they too must contend with an all-new Tacoma, the first one since 2015, which debuts May 19. It’s already had more leaks than the trunk of the Detroit Diplomat but none of that will dampen enthusiasm for one of the most-loved, most depended-on trucks in existence.
We know this new Tacoma is getting a hybrid V6 engine, a manual transmission option and extended cab and crew cab versions. We’ll find out the rest next week, but expect this to be the biggest truck debut of 2023—and one of the most important new vehicle debuts, period.
Rivian Gets Some Good News For A Change
Speaking of trucks, if you’re an employee, customer or investor in Rivian you can breathe a small but much-needed sigh of relief. Its Q1 results, posted yesterday, were better than analysts expected.
It’s been a tough period for the EV startups in general. Besides the normal reality that Making Cars Is Hard®, companies like Lucid, Lordstown, Rivian and Canoo have dealt with limited startup capital in an uncertain economy, supply chain constraints, labor issues, EV price wars, and uncertain demand for their products in some cases.
That last point is one of Lucid’s biggest problems. It’s a tall order to hinge your company’s fortunes on an $89,000 luxury sedan in today’s market. But people are generally more bullish on Rivian, given America’s love for pickup and the fact that the EV truck market is still a nascent one. So while Rivian has the usual headaches and its future is far from certain, Q1 of 2023 showed some signs of light. Here’s Bloomberg to explain:
Rivian Automotive Inc. reported a narrower-than-expected loss to start the year and reaffirmed its annual production plans as efforts to cut costs buoyed the electric-vehicle maker. Shares climbed as much as 7.1% in premarket trading on Wednesday.
The company lost $1.25 a share on an adjusted basis in the first quarter, according to a statement Tuesday. Analysts had expected a deficit of $1.56, based on the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue of $661 million was roughly in line with Wall Street’s projections.
The Irvine, California-based company has been seen as a leading contender to break out of a pack of EV startups that launched production in recent years, particularly after its blockbuster market debut in 2021. But Rivian has stumbled as a public company amid supply-chain snags and operational challenges while attempting to accelerate production.
Nice. I’m rooting for Rivian here. Not all of these companies are going to be the next Tesla but it’d be good to see an auto industry where new players can compete and disrupt things.
Hyundai And Kia Thefts Are Up Despite Supposed Software Fix
Bad news, folks. Despite a recent software fix, thefts of various Hyundai and Kia models are actually way up this year so far. The cars’ lack of an immobilizer means they can be easily stolen with a screwdriver and a USB cable, a process that went viral on TikTok. The problem is so pervasive that countless cities are suing the Korean automaker now too; it’s shaping up to be a huge mess.
Part of the problem is that these are slightly older cars that don’t have the kind of over-the-air software updates that are becoming common now, so owners have to get a recall notice and then take them to a dealership. According to this Associated Press report, Kia has only installed this software on about 5% of the affected cars so far. From that story, emphasis mine below:
Data from seven U.S. cities gathered by The Associated Press shows that the number of Hyundai and Kia thefts is still growing despite the companies’ efforts to fix the glitch, which makes 8.3 million vehicles relatively easy targets for thieves.
From Minneapolis, Cleveland and St. Louis to New York, Seattle, Atlanta and Grand Rapids, Michigan, police have reported substantial year-over-year increases in Hyundai and Kia theft reports through April. An eighth city, Denver, which was hit early by the theft outbreak, reported a 23% decline from 2022 levels but still endured a high number of thefts.
So far this year, Minneapolis police have received 1,899 Kia and Hyundai theft reports, nearly 18 times the number for the same period in 2022.
“The scope of the problem is only expanding and is exponentially worse than it has been in the past,” Brian O’Hara, the police chief of Minneapolis, said in an email. “We have some weeks where nearly as many Kias and Hyundais are stolen in a week as had previously been stolen in a year.”
Which is terrifying to think about. Basically, if you have a 2011-2021 model year Kia and/or Hyundai, get it fixed ASAP and find details on how here.
What would it take for Ford or GM to topple the mighty Tacoma? Can it even be done?
Not sure if it’s been mentioned here yet, but isn’t Toyota releasing a new version of their Stout pickup, which is priced below the Tacoma? Or is that just for non-US markets, where an earlier Stout was available?
It would be great it Toyota DID offer a simple small truck with a sub-$20K price for the base model, provided that it had at least SOME Hilux/T100 DNA in it (re: durability).
There are a couple of reasons, which go back to killing off the Ford Ranger back in 2012. I had a 97 and 04 and loved both them. I held onto the 04 until the rust started eating it terribly. I would have bought another Ranger without thinking, but that option was gone. Ford wanted me to be in an F-150 and that didn’t fit with my garage situation. Looking around at the market, I decided to buy my first Jeep Wrangler after driving Fords for 20ish years, which led to the Toyota I have now and my classic CJ.
I had the Wrangler and thought about the Bronco, but it’s Ford’s coupled with the dealers’ fault I didn’t pull the trigger. I now live where the markups on everything Ford are still terrible, while Toyota sells their vehicles for MSRP with discounted financing. Early Pandemic times, I was able to get my 4runner for $3,000k under MSRP. The 4runner drives much, much better, and my dealer experience has been solid.
Now, I’m probably never going back to Ford.
GMC/Chevy looks great. With modern payloads and improved mpg. I wonder why full size truck sales are a thing.
I didn’t know the yoots were still stealing those cars. I thought some other trend would have displaced that by now. Hey, Yoots! Tongue tattoos. Everybody’s doing it. Post your video. Be somebody.
“What would it take for Ford or GM to topple the mighty Tacoma?”
Lower pricing and maybe some good hybrid options. Actually I think the vehicle that is likely to topple the Tacoma is the Maverick.
Ford and GM better be glad that Toyota doesn’t give us the Hilux (the Tacoma is basically a watered-down Hilux), or else they’d be DONE
Detroit gives 90%. That’s why Toyota is so successful. But rather than improve their shit, they just got pissy and cried and complained and made that stupid coward chicken tax, so Toyota just made them here instead and they still humiliate the American brand trucks.
LOL I’d buy a Frontier before a Ranger or Colo/Canyon
I hope Rivian and Lucid succeed. We need viable non-Tesla EV companies. Rivian made the first EV that’s viable for commercial use.
It’s funny how you’re using a tired trope from the 1980’s when talking about American truck manufacturers vs Toyota
If anyone is content to let their stuff linger and change nothing these days, it’s Toyota. Enthusiasts love to hate on the Chrysler L bodies for stagnation, but the basic 4Runner platform my dad bought in 2004 is still in production.
I’m not saying it’s not a winning strategy for Toyota. It’s just a tired trope and double standard.
If the chicken tax were the issue, why would they not just build the Hilux in North America instead of the Tacoma?
I realized I should get off my butt and get a Hyundai before it’s too late. There’s a nice one parked down the street. I’m just downloading the app right now…
Maybe build something, you know, good. The year was 1999, Ford sold 348,000 Rangers to Toyota’s 155,000 Tacomas and Chevrolet’s 233,000 S10s(and 57K Sonomas). Ford’s fault for leaving the game too soon, left money on the table and GM/Toyota scooped it right up.
I wonder how many rangers would sell if they kept making the old 2012 model.
The truck thing will remain the same until they care enough to build and design to the same level of Toyota. They have had 50 years of this story, but still half ass it most of the time, and wonder why? Trucks are not hard, doing shit right can be tough to do. Sorry, not sorry. This ain’t brain surgery guys.
I’d rather pay out the butt for a Toyota than take a chance on half assed products.
by your logic the Tundra is garbage?
Okay, hear me out:
Electric Tacoma with a frunk full of tacos.
No, that isn’t an answer to today’s flush. It’s a dumb idea from my dumb brain. Cold cocktail shrimp is meh. But tacos? IN A TACO? I’m just saying, don’t rest on your Puffalumps, ‘yota. Fill the bed, too.
Dang. That was good!
/Nissan Frontier enters the chat
I actually like the new Frontier a lot, and I notice that I’m seeing way more of them lately. I hope that continues.
The Wife has a 2020 Kia Soul that is key-started, so a prime target for those chuckle heads. She had it into the dealer for an oil change, and they performed the update while she was there. We had just gotten a steering wheel lock, and the tech said “keep it. The thieves won’t know the update is done, so it’s a good deterrent, still.”
MIL was in the market for a new car, and even though she preached Kia for years (due to the warranty), she looked at me like I had two heads when I nudged her that way. She said she’s afraid of it getting stolen, and even though I told her it wasn’t an issue, she politely ignored me and went another way.
Kia/Hyundai are going to need to get this cleaned up, or sales are going to slip.
I’d rather let my daughter date George Santos than own either of these brands.
He told me he’s dated her.
He told me she bought him a new Soul.
Santos isn’t into girls my man. (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
Was being a smart ass. The rumor was he ‘plays on both teams”. But maybe it’s just something he said?
I think the domestics would need to come in much cheaper than the Taco to grab any significant sales from Toyota. I suspect they’ll all be in a similar price range so the Taco will continue to dominate.
The problem Ford had was the lack of price differentiation for the Ranger and F150 You could get a similarly equipped F150 for a couple thousand more, precovid anyway, and in some cases less.
I just bought one of the affected Hyundai models. Hopefully, the TikTok thieves are put off by the 3rd pedal. Fingers crossed.
There is no better anti theft device than a manual transmission. Absolutely none of the kids stealing cars have any idea how to operate one. Hell The Autopian ran an article a couple weeks back about some dumbass kids in my area (which has a horrific problem with car theft that the local government doesn’t care about) who tried to steal a WRX and had to run off with their tails between their legs because they couldn’t get it in gear.
Problem is, they don’t realize it’s manual until they break out your window and rip up your column. I seriously doubt they look to see if it’s and auto first. A big bright yellow/orange club on the steering wheel is a little more obvious
Maybe I missed the part about Galdiators?… For my Jeep people- In 2022 jeep sold 90k Gladiators, so more than Chevy, Ford, Nissan, GM- Technically they came in second. (yes I know they have the twins numbers together)….. But going by the Ford Truck F150 rules of sales superiority those two are separate models and companies.
That new Tacoma is a whole mess of ugly. That should help its competition, but it probably won’t. I mean, BMW still sells stuff despite the ugly.
BMW’s current customer base doesn’t care. They care about being noticed and perceived as wealthy, and there’s no such thing as bad press for them. Being noticed for being in an ugly car is exponentially better than not being noticed at all for the conspicuous consumption crowd. At this point I’m convinced that BMW is in on the joke and is trying to see how far they can push it. The XM Label Red is probably the ugliest current car in existence…and if it isn’t it’s facing stiff competition from the iX within its own showroom.
I call the XM Label Red “Pork Vader”.
I’m glad someone said it.
The truck answer is Hilux the time is right for an affordable compact pickup.
I would eat into Taco sales, but other competitors much worse. Make it with a hybrid option. Make it affordable with a 3-5 year lease. 2 or 4 wheel drive, 2 or 4 door. Toyota you know the plan.
So, the answer, for Ford at least, Is to produce as many base Maverick hybrids as people want.
The Hilux would have to go though some changes for the US market.
Because of the much higher payload, they ride very stiff, like a 2500 or 3500 HD truck.
That’s the problem with the Euro (or rather, rest-of-the-world) category of trucks, all of them are smaller, but they are designed for actual hard work, heavy loads, tough off-road, and less as a family vehicle.
That said, I would still take it over a Tacoma if it was available.
The only way that Ford or GM could beat the Tacoma is if Toyota stopped selling the Tacoma completely. It’s been the default “best smaller pickup” choice for 20+ years now, nothing from any brand will be able to top that.
The Gladiator, specifically, is a strange beast and it feels weird to include it in a list of contenders against the Tacoma. It’s a pickup for Jeep people, not a Jeep for pickup people.
The Gladiator owners I have met have all had Jeep Wranglers before. They want some pickup functionality in a Jeep, rather than a pickup with offroading capability. It may compete with the Raptor and maybe the TRD Pro, but they aren’t offering anything that’s in competition with the whole line of mid-size pickups, so they aren’t going for the top of that heap.
Then again, Jeep claimed the top-selling PHEV spot for at least a bit, so I could be underestimating the appeal of a pickup for Jeep people. I do see more of them than I would have expected.
All Good points, but the Gladiator is still a truck… A convertible truck that can tow nearly 8k….. SO the fact it is solidly in second place in sales is something significant to note. (90k for 2022 BTW)
I do not mean any disrespect toward it. Everyone I know with one loves it. I just don’t think Jeep intends to make something that would be likely to be used as a fleet vehicle or the like. The Tacoma has a wide variety of configurations that cover a lot of needs. I think Jeep is likely to be more solidly second as Ford and GM are going full quad cab and not offering as much to compete with the Tacoma, either.
I’d love to see Jeep offer a 4xe Gladiator. Being first to offer a PHEV pickup would really be a nice boost.
I don’t think anything will unseat the Taco or its platform mate the 4Runner. Both vehicles are institutions at this point and offer something that’s important to literally every buyer-reliability. They’re incredibly simple and can be kept running with toothpicks and bubblegum until the heat death of the universe…and at that point it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d still run if you tried to start one.
The domestics are never going to be able to go tit for tat with Toyota on longevity. You can buy a Taco and safely assume the next 10-15 years are going to be trouble free. While too many people in this damn country buy trucks to drive to the mall and back…if you’re one of the 5-6 people total that are going to do actual truck stuff longevity is king.
I have no reason to consider a midsized truck and probably never will…but if I did I’m going Taco every single time. Plus Toyota also offers something no one else does…a manual transmission, and apparently it’s sticking around for the new one as well. I give Japanese manufacturers a little bit of crap about how ridiculously obsessed with manuals they are and the fact that they refuse to develop a halfway decent automatic…but offering a manual in the Tacoma is a wildcard box no one else checks and I guarantee every single manual Taco is spoken for before it even hits the dealership lot.
I put 327K miles on my Taco and it was still running fine when I sold it and if I were going to buy another truck It’d probably be a Taco (because I can’t afford a Rivian) but I don’t know how trouble-free it would be. I had plenty of issues during the 11 years I owned and drove that truck a few of which would have sent it to the scrapyard if I didn’t have a toyota mechanic as a close friend. We had the head off of it twice due to a sticking exhaust valve causing misfires, I stretched the timing chain enough for it to jump a couple teeth and lose compression, and the CEL was on almost solid the last 7 years I owned it throwing P0420. I’d get it fixed every year to pass inspection and it’d last about 10 months then come on again. I lost track of how many times we replaced both O2 sensors and the cats trying to exorcise that daemon. The AC compressor went out around the 5 yr mark, Alternator at 10, idle air bypass valve majiggy went out twice during that time too. The rest was regular wear and tear, front brakes around a dozen times (but never the rears), clutch, rear main seal, some bushings, starter solenoid contacts, and that damn P0420 yet again…
I’d still buy another Taco but I’d still set aside some $$ each month to save up for repairs.
I bet the manual take rate is significantly higher outside the US, and hence why it is offered. I would never buy one without it, so the Taco would be my choice.
If I had to buy a midsized truck it would be my choice as well. It adds some engagement to a vehicle type that’s inherently the opposite of engaging for the most part.
Probably more that the Tacoma’s been the only manual game in town – even when others got back in the segment – so they very well could have dropped it as the last one standing.
Tacoma hasn’t been in sync with global markets, which usually receive the Hilux. But seems like at least powertrain-wise, the new one could be more aligned if they’re pairing the manual to a different engine that works both here and in other markets.
This is correct. Toyota trucks are not infallible but their reputation is. While the Taco has the reputation of being unkillable, there was the frame rust issues that led to every single frame needing to be replaced or the underfilled transmission issue that affected every auto trans for a period of time.
Every other mid-size offering (including the Ridgeline), on paper, beats the Tacoma from payload, to towing, bed size, comfort, tech & features, etc. The Tacoma lags behind in all metrics with its c-channel frame and rear drum brakes.
Despite this, Toyota would need to royally screw up the new Taco to an order of magnitude beyond a typical Ford launch, if we were to ever see that truck fall from the top.
I, for one, am very excited to see all these new midsize trucks coming out.
As a sedan driver, I love staying up-to-date on the grille designs that will be going straight through my skull when I’m T-boned by one of these running a red light while the driver is trying to work the Starbucks app on their phone.
I also request an update on when the automotive press will stop carrying water for Hyundai/Kia, a company that has shown shockingly little aptitude for getting the important details right, from basic anti-theft implementation to direct-injection engine design (and manufacture) to a wantonly predatory dealer network to Jesus Christ, literal child labor.
I own a Hyundai and I agree. If they don’t manage to iron out all of the fine detail stuff they’re at best unintentionally missing and at worst willfully ignoring then the progress they’ve made on producing compelling cars will wind up being for naught. They’re not going to to be able to shake the bargain bin reputation they’ve earned unless they tighten up…and soon! Ideally yesterday….
Amen. The PR agency or agencies for Hyundai and Kia deserve all of the PR awards for invoking the reality distortion machines that point attention at the latest shiny while pushing myriad problems off stage.
As a Kia owner, I look on with horror the problems Ddrdan articulated PLUS the Hyundai IONIQ 5 electrical issues that brick the ICCU. I should be a prime potential customer for Hyundai/Kia, but to any vehicle buyer paying attention a Hyundai/Kia purchase is a risky choice.
I’m typically pro Hyundai/Kia because I’ve had some good experiences with the brands, but boy am I down on them for the reasons you state. The anti-theft debacle should be GM ignition cylinder levels of scandal for them right now.
Hyundai/Kia have designed some genuinely interesting products that I and a lot of people I know are keen on. The electrics are a step ahead of most. The Santa Cruz is a cool niche pickup, a product you don’t see anymore. Their sporting options are getting better and better. But man, they have some major, MAJOR quality issues, and unlike some other brands that run into quality concerns, they haven’t stood behind their products at all. They’re no longer the value brands that you can look past these sorts of errors anymore.
Gimme a Chevy LUV or Ford Courier for the 21st century, all these supposedly mid-size trucks are bigger than the full size ones from not that long ago. The Maverick is still a tad too big for my tastes.
They rely on the size inflation making us think that today’s small is small. And it works. My mom saw a Maverick and thought it was the size of a Courier. 10″ wider, 8″ taller, and 28″ longer than the last Courier. It’s wider and taller than a 1999 Ranger, and longer than many configurations. But we’re so used to larger that it looks tiny to some.
Agreed. Would love to see a graphic of new Ranger vs older F-150s vs current F150 to compare growing dimensions over time. (maybe also alongside average US population weight gains…)
I don’t think Ford and GM necessarily want to topple the Tacoma. I suspect they want mid-size buyers to consider bumping up to their full-size options more than they want the mid-size sales.
The compact pickup is the area that we could see some real competition if someone wants to step up to the Maverick. It’s a place to pull people into pickups from other vehicles, and it is an underserved segment. A lot of room to offer something with a longer bed and shorter cab, something higher end, or something more powerful, as well as just a direct competitor.
I don’t think Ford or GM consciously set out to limit their midsize trucks ala Porsche with the Cayman and 911. But it has to be a consideration that the F series and Silverado/Sierra product lines are absolutely the backbones of their respective companies, and any significant risk to sales of the big boys is existential. The Tundra is surely a moneymaker for Toyota, but not in the same way.
I think if domestic automakers wanted to make a killer midsize truck, they could. After all, they know trucks better than anyone. And Toyota’s reputation only counts for so much in trucks (look at the all-out effort on the 2007 Tundra that never resulted in meeting sales targets). But I’m dubious that they will, simply because they’d rather sell a full size model. And the reality is that for most people who don’t post on automotive blogs, the full size is a small compromise in dimensions, fuel economy, and upfront cost, in exchange for a large increase in usability.
I guess my conclusion is that the Tacoma will remain the sales leader in midsize trucks, but that is mostly because Toyota and the domestics have decided to focus on where they are already the sales leaders, not because of any overwhelming virtues.
I agree with you on all but non-online folks considering a full-size a small compromise, though the soon-to-be-wider Ranger makes that compromise smaller than ever. I know quite a few non-online folks who want the midsize or smaller because of those compromises being too much for them. That said, a lot of them probably ran with something like a 1999 V6 Ranger before they moved up to a mid, so maybe their next one will be a full-size.
I’d love to see some excellent engineering go into make a smaller mid-size with close-to-full-size capability. Not just because I’m interested, but also because it would be interesting to see who chooses larger pickups when capability is near-equal.
As a fan of good engineering, I’d also like to see what’s possible. I think it would be a stretch though, because a century of “bigger = better” has pervaded the vehicle-buying landscape, and the smaller options are seen as cheap, even when that isn’t fair. The fact that fuel economy has improved so much on larger trucks really makes the trade off smaller as well.
Yeah, that’s kind of why I suspect that larger pickups would still sell regardless of capability. Bigger means better to US vehicle buyers, and especially to a lot of the target audience. It’s not worth it to most companies to try to make a really capable smaller pickup. But they can’t stop me from wishing they would.
I’ve owned a full size truck for about 20 years, but would drop to a midsize in a heartbeat if I could find one that would have the towing capacity I need, in the trim I would want.
I guess it depends on what you mean by Full Size Capacity. If you mean towing, My Gladiator tows a 6k trailer regularly (in Tx, which means no hills…..) and it does it… fine (It supposedly can tow nearly 8k). It tows more than my 93, 00 and as much as my 07 chevy 1500 full size. If you mean cargo capacity (bed) well then there is a significant difference. I’d argue that the Mid Size is the old Full Size, The regular (F150-1500) are the old HD’s and the HD’s (2500, 3500, F350) are nearly Tractor trailer sized….
You’re not wrong on the adjustment, but buyers have gone the other way. I see way more HD pickups now than I used to. Some of that is the weight gain of everything. Camp trailers, bed campers, and even some of the utility trailers have gotten heavier than they used to be. Some of it is just the marketing push of higher capability numbers. People towing a couple jet skis twice a year buy the more capable pickup just in case, because they keep hearing about 20k towing on a Super Duty or whatever. It’s easy to do–you are making a big purchase, so you want something that’ll do everything you might do, even if you aren’t honest with yourself about what you are likely to do.