Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and full name will be omitted – leaving your first name, initials or nickname, your preference.
In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- More of FCA’s giant SUVs?
- What’s a good $5,000 pickup truck?
- I want a used Toyota Yaris?
The first question comes from a fan who’s curious about FCA’s giant SUVs coming in the near future.
Q: Via Twitter (@NathanAdlen): Tell me what you think about FCA’s giant SUVs coming soon. I know that there will be a big Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
What about other FCA SUVs based on that platform. Like a Chrysler or Fiat?
A: Hi there!
We are expecting news about FCA’s Jeep Grand Wagoneer in the near future, but we still have no concrete/confirmed information about it. Still, the idea that the platform FCA will be using will underpin other FCA products makes a ton of sense. Nearly every branch of the FCA group could use a giant SUV platform.
FCA’s giant SUVs could underpin:
- Jeep: We already know about the upcoming big Jeep. Most people think it will be just the Jeep Grand Wagoneer – based on a 1/2-ton Ram platform, but there could be more. Some suggest that a smaller version could be built, possibly the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee… meaning it would no longer be a unibody vehicle. This is hard to swallow, but one thing that resonate is the real possibility of the big Jeep SUV getting the newest EcoDiesel power plant.
- Chrysler: Rumor of a big Chrysler SUV have floated around ever since they killed off the mediocre Chrysler Aspen back in 2009. Right now, Chrysler only has two products and truly could use something to keep it alive. There’s only so much the Pacifica and ancient Chrysler 300 can do. There was a rumor at Allpar.com (among other publications) that there may be a big, three-row SUV for Chrysler called the Chrysler Atlantic. Obviously, this would be based on the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer – which will be based on the new Ram 1500 platform.
- Fiat: Fiat is having a hard time in the United States – they just announced the death of their tiny Fiat 500; finding a hit for this market is proving difficult. I have heard absolutely nothing about a huge Fiat SUV – but the idea of having a Fiat SUV to compete against the popular Kia Telluride/Hyundai Palisade may tempt Fiat suits.
- Dodge: Sure, the Dodge Durango is FCA’s only proper three-row crossover (the Dodge Journey is more of a smaller hatchback/wagon type-thing), but it’s getting kind of old. One popular rumor is that there will either be a Durango replacement. This body-on-frame vehicle could compete directly against the Chevrolet Tahoe. So, the rumor goes.
- Alfa Romeo: Now Alfa Romeo DID announce a larger brother to the Stelvio that would have three rows. There was NO mention of a body-on-frame SUV. It seems more likely that it will be a crossover based on the Stelvio platform and it could be called the Castello. I sincerely doubt they would want a big, chunky, frame-based SUV to add to their portfolio.
- Ram: Yep, lots of whispers of a Ram SUV that would take the fight directly to the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition. There is no indication from Ram that this will happen. Still, it’s a hell of a lot more likely than a giant Fiat SUV!
Sorry to say, there’s nothing concerte out there yet. It all depends on what FCA decides to do with their upcoming big Jeep SUV. Fortunately, we’re pretty good at getting the inside story for Jeep products, so we should have some good stuff to share soon!
The next question comes from a fan who wants to find a good $5,000 used pickup truck for his new business!
Q: Hi Nathan. I don’t have crazy money for the trucks that Andre and Roman talk about. But I like your way of looking at the value of inexpensive cars and stuff.
No Toyota or Nissan!
I want a small midsized truck that can haul no more than 1,000 pounds. I have a new business where I fix kitchen equipment. I don’t haul much, but it’s too bulky for my Rav4. So I decided to get a good used truck that would just be for work and fun.
Here in Texas the trucks are expensive unless you get something terrible. But I want to get something cool like a Tacoma or Frontier with a off road package but without the expense. See I want to have a real off road truck without spending so much money!
Is there anything you can think of that should look at that will run about $5,000? I don’t mind getting some new stuff for it. I just want something small and that kicks ass off road.
Lone Star State
There are a ton of trucks that could fit your requirements. So, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier are off the table? Shame, there might be a few out there that fit in your price range.
If you must get a small/midsize truck that hauls a bit and can be excellent off-road, I like the 2000s Chevrolet S10 ZR2 and Jeep Comanche. I’ve had real experience with both and they are very inexpensive to repair, augment and buy.
Best of luck!
The last question comes from a reader who wants to buy a 2017 Toyota Yaris.
Q: Via Twitter @NathanAdlen) Is the 2017 Toyota Yaris a good car?
A: Hi Dal
Great little car. It’s basically a Mazda2 with Toyota badges, but that’s a good thing. They get good mileage, are inexpensive to own and are kind of fun to drive too!
Speaking of Toyotas…
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nathan AdlenEasily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.