• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

A reader is looking to move up from his Ford Escape to a pickup so he can help his children move and potentially tow a boat

Jan 8, 2021

Ive been driving a Ford Escape for the past few years, but Im thinking of making a move to a truck; itll be handy for moving my twins to university next year. Im not sure if I should go with a small or big truck. I would like a diesel engine in case I decide to buy a small boat for the cottage. I know diesels are great for towing. Do you have a recommendation for a reliable diesel truck?
– John
Richardson: Ah as soon as John gets himself a pickup truck, hell become everyones friend. Runs to the dump, moving kids, bringing home large items. All his neighbours will be knocking on his door.
Story continues below advertisement
Gentile: Youre absolutely right. Its so handy to have a truck, and theyre more popular than ever. There are even some electric trucks coming down the pipeline from at least seven U.S. companies including the Tesla Cybertruck, the Bollinger B2 and the GMC Hummer EV.
Richardson: Which are all hugely expensive and unavailable for at least a year, and nothing but status symbols.
Gentile: Not all are status symbols the electric Ford F-150 isnt a status symbol in my books. But youre right; theres a long wait, and theyre pricey. The GMC Hummer EV isnt coming to Canada until the fall of 2022. Still, its interesting to see these new EV truck contenders.
Richardson: A friend of mine has his $100 deposit in for the Tesla Cybertruck. Im not even a truck guy; itll just be so cool, he told me. Why do I have such idiots for friends?
Gentile: I could suggest a couple of reasons …
Richardson: The problem with actually owning a truck is that when you use it just for regular transport, youre driving something thats twice as heavy as you need, slurping back far more fuel than you have to and taking up way more space on the road and in parking lots. But this is Canada. A lot of drivers wont even consider driving something thats not a truck.
Gentile: Thats true. And truck buyers are very loyal to their brand, too; theres very little cross-shopping.
Story continues below advertisement
Richardson: You know, I cant recall a single pickup-truck driver among my friends whos switched brands in the last decade.
Gentile: My dad drove the F-150 for nearly 50 years straight. He never bothered to cross-shop with another full-size pickup like the Chevy Silverado or Ram 1500.
Richardson: Well, John doesnt need a full-size truck unless hell be towing a full-size boat. If its not a work vehicle, hell be quite happy with a mid-size, which will give him better fuel consumption.
The 2020 Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel.
Courtesy of manufacturer
Gentile: Not so fast. John wants a diesel engine. The Ram 1500 has a 3-litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine, which is great. Its powerful and fuel efficient, averaging 9.7 L/100 km combined driving (11.1 L/km in the city and 8 L/km on the highway). Thats impressive for a big truck.
Richardson: Ive driven that Ram diesel, even towed a big boat with it, and my mileage was better than my old Toyota RAV4 V6. I was astonished how little fuel it used for something so strong. It was quiet, too. I had to check the badges to be sure it was a diesel.
Gentile: And its so luxurious inside with lots of modern technology, including a centre touch screen thats large and easy to use. But John may want to consider a smaller, mid-size truck. That segment keeps growing, too.
Story continues below advertisement
Richardson: Not for Ram, it doesnt the former Dodge brand only makes full-size and heavy-duty pickups. But both Chevy and Ford are happy to pick up the slack. Pick up! See what I did there?
Gentile: Mark, this is a dad-joke-free environment.
Richardson: Pah. In any case, my choice for a diesel-powered mid-size truck is the Chevy Colorado. You can get it with three different engines, but if you choose the diesel, itll have a tow capacity of 7,700 pounds, which is probably way more than enough for Johns future boat.
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup.
The Associated Press
Gentile: I love the Colorado; its a good size and it has pleasant road manners. It doesnt feel like youre driving a monster truck. The styling is pretty sleek, and it comes with two different bed sizes 5-foot-1 or 6-foot-2. But John should also consider the Colorados cousin, the GMC Canyon.
Richardson: Colorado or Canyon, theyre two peas in a pod with the same basic mechanicals. It just depends what features John wants and what hes prepared to pay for.
Gentile: And the GMC Canyon costs slightly more than the Chevy Colorado $29,998 versus $28,880 right now to start for a five-passenger crew cab. But if you want that powerful 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, itll cost a lot more cash because you have to move up the model chain $34,310 for the Colorado and a hefty $42,788 for the Canyon!
Story continues below advertisement
Richardson: Those are todays prices, after rebates, for the 2020 models, which are basically the same as the more expensive 2021 models. People think pickup trucks are cheap, and they see the entry-level prices in the $20,000s, but they usually cost more than SUVs once theyre properly specced. And diesel always demands a premium.
Gentile: If John wants to avoid paying a premium and skip the diesel, he should also check out the Ford Ranger with the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine. Its very fuel-efficient and powerful, but it does start at around $32,000.
The 2019 Ford Ranger.
Brendan McAleer/The Globe and Mail
Richardson: The Ranger is a new product for Ford, and its very strong competition to the Colorado/Canyon in every way. Theres no diesel option, but that EcoBoost engine can tow 7,500 lbs when you add the towing package, which you can do with the most basic version. Right now, with a $2,000 manufacturers rebate, this brings it in at $32,800 before taxes. Thats a tidy savings from the GM truck.
Gentile: The Ford Ranger is definitely a better deal than the Colorado or Canyon. But if Johns heart is set on a diesel, spend a few grand more and go for the Chevy Colorado. If he needs more towing power, move up to the full-size Ram 1500 with the turbo-diesel engine.
Richardson: But dont forget, John, these arent apples-to-apples figures, and once you start adding some extra options, those prices vary between brands. But cost aside, youll be pleased to have any of these trucks in your driveway.
What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at globedrive@globeandmail.com and use What car as as part of your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.
Story continues below advertisement
Shopping for a new car? Check out the newGlobe Drive Build and PriceTool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs.Click hereto get your price.
Stay on top of all our Drive stories. We have a Drive newsletter covering car reviews, innovative new cars and the ups and downs of everyday driving. Sign up today.