The modern pickup truck that we see today has evolved a long way from the simplistic commercial vehicles of yesteryear that were used for the milkman deliveries and farm work. Gone is the stigma that only a farmer can own a truck, and instead the pickup truck has slowly evolved into the family car of choice for most consumers and a status symbol for others.
The modern-day pickup truck has more luxury features than we used to see on the most exclusive and expensive luxury cars, and there is more pickup truck options now than there ever was before both domestically and foreign. There is truly a pickup truck that is suitable for every taste, and just about every new driver will consider a pickup truck at least once.
But, there has also been a good deal of failures in the pickup truck industry, and many have left a bad taste in the mouths of consumers. Vehicles like the Lincoln Blackwood left us not only scratching our heads but also wondering what the automaker was thinking. These blunders in the pickup truck industry are few and thin but they do happen, which has created a good deal of letdowns over the last few decades.
Nevertheless, we are going to be taking a look at some of the most disappointing pickup trucks of the last three decades, and what these trucks did to really let the pickup truck community down as a whole in terms of design and features.
When it comes to a truck that really let the automotive community down in a variety of ways the 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS is the first truck that comes to mind. While this was a legendary truck in many aspects, and these models are highly valuable but in the end, this one was a letdown.
The 454 SS could have been better in a variety of ways, and this would have made the truck even more legendary. For starters, a larger color palette would have been nice, as well as an extended cab option for those that have a family but still wanted to have a cool truck.
Perhaps one of the trucks that you hardly ever see on the road, the F-150 Flareside is a rare choice in the storied F-150 lineup. What made this truck a letdown for enthusiasts was a lack of colors first and foremost, as well as a lack of options which left the truck in a single cab configuration.
We think that the Fireside could have been a much bigger success for Ford, as the step side was for Chevy when it was produced well into the current decade.
When GM launched the Cyclone and the Typhoon under the GMC banner both models were quite popular, but on the Chevy front we never really got a special edition compact truck.
The 1992 Chevrolet S10 Cameo was a stellar pickup truck in the way that it looked, really bringing a new style to the S-10. But, the 1992 Chevrolet S10 Cameo didn’t have any performance features that made the truck any more unique than the regular model and this was a huge letdown for Chevy enthusiasts.
When GM redesigned the GMC Sonoma in 1993 they introduced a more modern and rounded truck to a pretty crowded market, and this was why the truck managed to be one of the best sellers for GM in the pickup truck industry.
But, the 1993 Sonoma was a letdown in many aspects because GM boys were hopeful that there was going to be a small block V8 in the truck that was similar to Dodges Dakota, and this never came to fruition which was sad and quite a negative to say the least.
Another impressive truck that was making the rounds during the nineties was the redesigned Ford Ranger, but the company had instilled some high hopes into the minds of consumers with the Splash.
This was a beach-ready package that offered the Ranger consumer base a stylish package that offered a good amount of style, but the truck was a letdown in other aspects as it didn’t offer anything unique in the way of performance or versatility whereas the Dodge Dakota had a small block V8.
Then there's Mazda, a brand that was known for revolutionizing the rotary engine and selling performance cars that were fun to drive and cheap. But, the B Series truck was a complete let down when it rolled onto the production floor as a Ford Ranger with a different grill and some sporty tail lights.
The automotive press was hoping for a truck that was fun to drive and lived up to the Mazda image, and instead, we got a Ford Ranger with some lipstick on.
The first Dodge Dakota was a revolutionary truck in many aspects, and this is what propelled Dodge into a successful run during the nineties with a variety of innovative vehicles. The 1996 model was a letdown in a variety of ways, and the model slowly recovered as the years went on.
The four-cylinder model was badly underpowered, and the V8 was problematic at best until the 5.9 R/T was released later on and made up for the lack of power in earlier models.
Believe it or not, there was a Dodge performance truck during the nineties and it was the 1997 Dodge Ram SS/T. This truck was a rare breed of style that hadn’t been seen on a big Dodge Ram since the Little Red Express, and the model was a great idea at first.
But, the 1997 Dodge Ram SS/T could have been better and a lot of enthusiasts were letdown by the fact that there were only a single cab configuration and no improvement in performance over your run of the mill Dodge Ram.
Chevrolet has been innovating with its Silverado line of pickup trucks for some time, and the nineties models that came out in 1989 were some of the most popular trucks that have ever been sold with a variety of different body styles and options.
One of the major drawbacks to an extended cab truck was the fact that getting into the backseat could be a pain, but the 1998 Chevrolet Silverado 3-door changed this. Many enthusiasts were letdown by the fact that there wasn't four-doors, which came on the next generation trucks.
When the Chevrolet Silverado was redesigned in 1999 the automotive community had high hopes for the new truck, which was introducing a brand new body style and interior. The 1999 Chevrolet Silverado 5.3l was a letdown in a couple of aspects, which for starters centered around the fact that the engine was a 5.3L V8 instead of the powerful 5.7L that had been seen on the previous outgoing models.
This was just one of the many letdowns that continued into the next pickup truck generation.
Underachievers happened over at GMC as well, with the 2000 GMC Sierra. The truck could have been a completely different model than the Silverado and it would have given consumers something that was truly unique, but the truck ended being a carbon copy with nothing really to differentiate it.
This was during a period of time when GM was being extremely lazy when it came to rebadging vehicles, and the 2000 GMC Sierra was the product of this new breed as well.
The heavy-duty pickup truck market is flooded with entries that define the laws of hauling and what a commercial truck should do, and one of those models was the 2001 GMC Sierra 3500.
But, this truck was lacking a lot of the innovation that the automotive public was looking for, and with the GMC slogan being “We Are Professional Grade” there were high hopes for this truck to really take the heavy-duty market to the next level, but sadly it didn’t offer anything unique.
What was actually quite the revolutionary thought, the 2002 Lincoln Blackwood was the first pickup truck to ever be sold under the Lincoln marque. The truck was unique in many aspects but it was a huge letdown in others.
Let's take the satin truck bed, for instance, this was a completely useless feature that made the truck almost impossible to own because you could never really haul anything. The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood also lacked any real performance improvements over the Ford F-150, and thus the truck was quite the dud and only sold for one year.
During the early 2000s, the Harley Davidson motorcycle brand was becoming more popular than ever, and Ford was quick to jump on this bandwagon with their 2003 Ford F150 Harley Davidson pickup truck.
The 2003 Ford F150 Harley Davidson was a letdown in a few aspects, with the first being the lack of any real performance which you’d expect out of this kind of a pickup truck. The other letdown was the fact that the truck was not available in a single cab, which would have been cool.
Similar to how the Splash was a letdown years earlier, the 2004 Ford Ranger Edge was also a letdown for die-hard Ford fans as well. The first thing that made the Edge a letdown was the fact that the truck had no performance improvement over the run of the mill Ranger at all, and the interior was also not improved.
You’d expect a truck like this to be a little more fun to drive, but in the long run, the 2004 Ford Ranger Edge was a letdown that could have really improved the reputation of the aged truck.
Perhaps known as the least popular Dakota of all time, the 2005 Dodge Dakota Redesign was an improved truck in many aspects but fell short in others.
The main complaint with this truck was the cheap plastic interior that was a Dodge trademark around this time. The lack of the Hemi V8 that you’d find in the bigger ram models was also a letdown for many consumers who were hoping to get the new Hemi engine in their Dakota pickup trucks for the first time.
Another surprising entrant back into the pickup truck race was the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT, which was a step above the previously failed Lincoln Blackwood. What made the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT a letdown was the fact that the truck really didn’t offer any improvements over the Ford F-150.
Sure, a new dashboard and interior were added but for the most part, the truck was nothing that was unique or worth the much higher price tag over the Ford product. The only improvement was the fact that the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT offered an alternative to the Navigator.
Mitsubishi was trying hard to revamp their image during the early 2000s, and what better way to do it than to offer a pickup truck. The company had a long-standing partnership with Chrysler and as such, they were able to source the Dodge Dakota for their new Raider pickup truck.
The 2007 Mitsubishi Raider was ultimately a letdown to consumers, offering little more than a slant-nosed Dodge Dakota. The only benefit was a much-improved interior that was more comfortable than ever, and this was a huge improvement over Dakota’s cheap plastic.
When the boys over at Dodge decided to cram a Viper V10 engine into a Dodge Ram truck, the automotive community was a little surprised and excited, but when it came time to refreshing the truck Dodge did nothing to make the new offering worth the crazy high price tag.
The 2008 Dodge Ram SRT 10 was a revamped truck in terms of a styling refresh, but the aged V10 engine was no better than the previous models that had come before it and this was sort of a letdown for the Mopar hopefuls.
By the late 2000s, the Dodge Dakota was not looking pretty anymore, and consumers were generally staying away from the Dodge offers. From the aged Magnum V8 engine to the plastic interior, the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier were just better trucks in every way and Chrysler did a last-minute redesign to try and ignite sales.
The 2009 Dodge Dakota Redesign was nothing special, and the truck sold so poorly that you might have never seen one that looks like this.
The late 2000s were a bad time for the boys over at Chevrolet too, as the Chevy Colorado had become a non-threat in the compact truck world. Being overtaken in sales even by the aged Nissan Frontier, the Colorado was looking bleak, to say the least, and GM decided to finally throw a V8 into the fray.
While the 2010 Chevrolet Colorado V8 was a great try, the finished product was nothing of an improvement over the outgoing model and the sales for Colorado didn’t manage to pick back up.
The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado was supposed to be a year that really saw the truck improve on a lot of its downfalls, but instead, this model remained largely unchanged. The Hybrid model went the way of previous Hybrid GM trucks and hit the crusher, and there was still no SS model to be seen which made a lot of die-hards really upset considering the boys over at Ford had themselves a Raptor and the Harley Davidson model to enjoy.
The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado could have really brought an interesting model, but instead, there was nothing to report.
Suzuki was teetering on the edge of demise in the domestic market, at least their passenger car division anyway. The company was trying everything to generate some last minute interest and sales in their brand, and thus with the help of Nissan, the 2012 Suzuki Equator was born.
Sadly, the truck was quite a let down for core Suzuki enthusiasts as it was just a Nissan Frontier which itself was already quite aged. The 2012 Suzuki Equator could have been so much more, especially considering the legacy of the Suzuki Samurai.
With the new aluminum F-150 stirring up headlines, the 2013 model was a bit of a letdown for most consumers. The 2013 Ford F150 didn’t really offer anything unique in terms of packages other than the Raptor and the limited edition Harley Davidson model, and many enthusiasts had hoped that the Raptor would come in a single cab configuration as well, but it didn’t.
We can only assume that Ford was putting all their eggs into the aluminum model, and thus this model year didn’t get the love.
With the aluminum F-150 stirring up headlines around the world, GM had to redesign their pickup truck to compete, and thus the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado was rushed to the market to appease the Chevy boys who wanted to compete with their neighbors.
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado was a massive letdown, to say the least, offering nothing that was remotely unique other than new exterior styling to make the truck separate from its Ford competition - there was still no SS model to be seen either.
Here we have a truck that caused such a buzz for Ford that it was in the headlines for months because Ford took a huge gamble and decided to build their truck mostly out of aluminum which had been unheard of prior to this.
The 2015 Ford F 150 Aluminum was a unique truck to look at, to say the least, but the finished product was not much of an improvement over the outgoing model and this was a letdown for many enthusiasts that decided to trade in their previous F150 models for the new one.
GM had discontinued the Colorado because of lagging sales and a declining market for midsize pickup trucks. But, based on increased consumer demand and lower fuel prices GM decided to redesign Colorado and bring it back.
The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado was a highly anticipated truck in many aspects, but when the final product came it was quite a letdown once again and this time for a few reasons. First was the lack of a V8, which the outgoing model had. And secondly, the new Colorado was much more expensive, which sent many consumers over to Nissan dealerships.
For the last decade or so, the Tacoma has been the dominant force in the midsize truck game, and Toyota really hasn’t had to fight for its crown. People know that the Tacoma is just a better product, and they flock to it.
The 2017 Toyota Tacoma was a highly anticipated redesign of an already popular truck, but the finished product was an overpriced variation of the current truck that we have seen already. Toyota also still didn’t offer a V8 engine in their midsize truck as well, and this was also a letdown.
Sources: Motor Trend, Edmunds