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The Segment Is White Hot, And Yet There’s Untapped Potential



The Dodge Ramcharger existed up until 2001, and served as a full-size SUV to rival the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Ford Bronco. It was as two-door body on frame vehicle based on the Dodge Ram of the same time period, and carried the sort of presence you’d expect something like that to have, especially the second-generation model. Ram, now a standalone brand of ten years, remains absent of an SUV in the lineup. While we are aware that FCA is leveraging Jeep when it comes to selling sport utility vehicles and crossovers, but case for the company offering a Ram-branded SUV based on the Ram 1500 pickup (or even the Ram HD?!) has arguably never been stronger.

Chevrolet Tahoe 2 Door SUV

The Chevrolet Tahoe has long complimented the larger Chevrolet Suburban as a more personal and discretionary choice of the two. Despite the massive similarities between the two vehicles (just a couple of inches in wheelbase, third row legroom and rear trunk space are the only differences between them), their respective demographics and psychographics could not be more different, according to Chevrolet marketing data. The Suburban customer is primarily of a six-figure single income family household with multiple children, while the Tahoe attracts customers from dual income households, sometimes with no kids. And whereas the Suburban sees its use as a family hauler and a fair bit of towing, the Tahoe usually just serves its role as a commuter with a more imposing personality than your average crossover. So, with a strong SUV market, and the fact that the Tahoe is primarily a personal use vehicle, we see this as a low-risk opportunity for Chevrolet (and GMC, for that matter) to venture off into this white space, and pick up where the GMT400 Tahoe left off when it was discontinued in the nineties.

Ford Excursion

Rivaled in size and stature arguably to only the Hummer H2, this massive Ford SUV was bold enough to offer customers incredible size and capabilities thanks to its F-Series Super Duty pickup truck bones and powertrains. There hasn’t been a vehicle like it since, and it’s gained this Hummer-fighter a cult following over the years. Some shops out there are even building an unofficial “modern” Ford Excursion for those with enough cash to pay for one. And as Ford has begun to recognize the largely untapped potential of the off-road SUV market, a new Ford Excursion would be the perfect answer for the flourishing overlanding crowd, where customers with big pockets hold an appetite for even bigger vehicles. It would also complete the lineup wonderfully, with the small “baby Bronco” starting things off, followed by the Ford Bronco midsize SUV, then the full-size Expedition, capped by a herculean Ford Excursion.

Jeep SUV

Jeep Commander

It’s understood that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer (if it actually ends up being called that) will cap the brand’s lineup as the ultimate expression of size and opulence for the quintessential American SUV brand with military roots. It’s expected to be a slightly larger version of the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it will, in theory, take customers away from the Land Rover brand, which has stirred controversy over its new unibody SUV that’s named the Defender. The well executed Jeep Commander could attract old Defender die-hards, with a proper FCA body on frame architecture and all of the off-road chops the Jeep Brand can deliver on. In our perfect fantasy, it would be based off the Ram SUV we mentioned earlier, but with more of a rugged flair to it.


GMC Typhoon

Give GMC a unique product. Make it go fast. That is all.

Chevrolet Truck and SUV

Ford Bronco Rival From GM

As first reported here, General Motors was planning a mid-size body on frame SUV for the American market with a new platform that would underpin the next-generation Chevrolet Colorado and GMC pickup trucks, as well. Instead, the company opted to cancel this program, and take a more conservative approach with a massaged-over architecture that will just support pickups. This totally blows the chance for the automaker to properly compete with the highly anticipated Ford Bronco 4×4 SUV, as well as the iconic Jeep Wrangler. The automaker currently sells a Colorado-based Chevrolet Trailblazer in select markets, which we think would do well here. Unfortunately for us enthusiasts, the American market gets an urban crossover with the Blazer badge slapped on it instead.

Suzuki SUV

Mini Jeep Wrangler

The Suzuki Jimny showed the world that capable body-on-frame SUVs can still come in small sizes and maintain highly desirable shapes at the same time. In fact, demand has been so strong for the Jimny that Suzuki has reportedly been unable to keep up. And it’s not even for sale in America. That smells like opportunity for Jeep, which currently offers the Renegade as a subcomact SUV solution both here and abroad, but in our hearts, it’s something like the Jimny that we really want.

Did we miss anything? Like us know in the comments below.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

One Comment

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  1. All great ideas, but what about the performance truck segment, thing Ford Lightning (both gne’s), Chevy 454SS, and the SRT RAM. Given the size of current full sized pickups, the mid sized might be a better platform. A supercharged V8 Ranger Lightning, or Chevy Colorado would be cool indeed, add lowered and tuned suspension, big brakes, etc.

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