2013 Light-Duty Review

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Joseph Terry/L&MT

While most manufacturers of light-duty trucks and vans won’t launch new products for the 2013 model year, Nissan North America is entering the increasingly competitive small-van market.

Slated to reach showrooms in early 2013, the Nissan NV200 van will take on the Ford Transit Connect and Ram Cargo Van in the segment and already has made a splash by landing a contract to serve in the New York City taxi fleet.

But the Nissan won’t be the new kid on the block for long; Ford Motor Co. has announced that a new Transit Connect will arrive in North American showrooms by the fourth quarter of 2013.

Also doing battle in the segment is Chrysler Group LLC, which introduced a beefed-up commercial version of its minivan-based Ram Cargo Van in 2012.

For 2013, Chrysler turned its attention to the Ram 1500 pickup, adding a host of upgrades to improve the truck’s fuel economy. Notably, it gets a new engine/transmission combination, but the manufacturer also added an active suspension and a host of aerodynamic upgrades, which were spotlighted in a recent issue (Light & Medium Truck, Nov. 2012) and which are reviewed in this issue’s 2013 model-year roundup. Upgrades to the truck’s interior also are discussed in this issue.

Chrysler is joined by other manufacturers that are turning attention to interior appointments as a way to freshen existing lineups. Nissan and Toyota Motor Sales USA are making minor interior and trim changes to their full-size Titan and Tundra models, while Ford is augmenting a mid-cycle styling upgrade to the F-150 with the expansion of multimedia options.

The midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups from General Motors Co. are skipping the 2013 model year, but there are indications that the updated versions will arrive in the United States sometime in 2013. While Chevrolet is already selling the new Colorado globally, it has set no timeline for its U.S. introduction. GMC in September listed the next-generation Canyon as one of several new models that it will introduce, but also provided no timeline. The U.S. versions of the new Canyon and Colorado will be manufactured at a GM factory in Missouri.

More immediate is the launch schedule for the redesigned full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. These trucks were scheduled for a press preview around mid-December, or about the time this issue arrives on readers’ desks. Check www.lmtruck.com for news about these and other new models.

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© 2012, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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