Pickup trucks have been among the most popular vehicle types in the U.S. for years. However, for the most part, consumers have to choose from a range of full-size, heavy-duty automobiles. That is the perfect match for some, but the prospect of a smaller model pickup is often intriguing for a select group of drivers. These trucks can still be used for off-road driving or work-related tasks, but they also offer a number of benefits ranging from better fuel economy to different off-roading capabilities.
According to CBS Local News, the compact pickup truck market hit its peak in the mid-1980s, when as many as 1.4 million models were sold. That number dwindled to roughly 250,000 in recent years, as the majority of buyers gravitated toward full-size vehicles. Luckily for interested parties, that all could be changing soon.
More manufacturers taking notice
A number of automakers have begun turning their attention to the midsize truck segment. While models such as the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier have been on the market for some time, other manufacturers are returning to the stage after a prolonged absence. General Motors came onto the scene with a bang, showcasing models like the 2015 GMC Canyon and 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. Both of those pickups hope to allow drivers to complete whatever tasks they have in mind, whether it's hauling or camping.
GMC Vice President Tony DiSalle hopes that the added details included by the brand, which increase the overall comfort and driving experience, will be enough to set the trucks apart.
"Things like refinement. Things like materials, comfort, roominess, fuel economy. All of those elements have basically been dissatisfiers for years amongst consumers in midsize pickups," DiSalle told CBS Local News. "We see that as a real opportunity."
Focusing on fuel economy
While many factors influence what truck a driver will buy, regardless of its size or segment, fuel economy is one quality that will not be overlooked. This quality is one that has increased in importance in recent years, and today, the fuel economy of a vehicle is an aspect that can drastically sway a driver's opinion.
Automotive News reported that Ram and Ford may be ahead of the pack in this regard, as they frequently employ turbocharged technology, which can improve fuel economy. The rise of diesel engines has also increased the efficiency of trucks, making certain models more attractive than others.