2018 GMC 1500 SLT “Military Edition” 4WD Crew Cab Pickup

Pirate Radio Review : Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray!

Four wheel drive – Onyx Black metallic paint – Jet black leather trim – 5 passenger – 229” long – GVW 7,250 lbs. – 53.4 cubic ft. of cargo room in box – Backup camera, navigation and cruise control – XM/AM/FM Bose stereo – 10 speakers – 8” touchscreen – 5.3 liter 8 cylinder engine with 355 horsepower – Six speed automatic transmission – $67,110.00  list price        Built in Silao, GJ, Mexico – 520 miles of range, 17 mpg combined, 16 mpg city, and 20 mpg highway – 26 gallon tank


2018 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4 x 4 “1794” Edition

The Tundra was presented at Pirate Radio for a review – Matt Arguello and George Gray helped me do the honors.  Listen……

Four wheel drive system with 2-speed transfer case and limited-slip differential  Vintage brown metallic paint – Premium brown leather/suede trim – 5 passenger – 229” long like a Chevy or GMC half-ton crew cab – Heated front bucket seats – Weighs 5,670 lbs. and has 5.5’ bed – Radar adaptive cruise control and lane – departure alert – Power sunroof and rear glass, pre-collision warning and auto high beams – XM/AM/FM JBL stereo with CD player and 9 speakers  – 7” touchscreen 5.7 liter V-8 with 381 horsepower (401 lb.ft. of torque) – Zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds – 6 Speed automatic transmission – 18”  alloy wheels with black accents / 275/65R18 off-road radials – $54,692.00  list         Built in San Antonio, Texas – 14 MPG combined mpg, 13 city and 17 highway – 38 gallon tank



2017 Toyota Tundra 4 x 4 Crewmax Limited

This Tundra was taken to Pirate Radio for an analysis by DJ George Gray:

Four Wheel Drive – Quicksand (tan) paint – Black leather interior – 7” touchscreen with navigation system – 5 passenger – 229” long like a GMC Sierra – Heated front bucket seats – Weighs 5,600 lbs. and tows 9,800 lbs.  XM radio and  premium 8 speaker stereo – 5.7 liter V-8 with 381 horsepower  Torque is 401 – TRD performance exhaust and remote engine start – Power moon roof with sunshade and power sliding back glass – 6 Speed automatic transmission –  2 speed transfer case – 20”  aluminum alloy wheels and 275/55R20 all-terrain radials – $51,985.00  list price – 15 MPG combined, 13 MPG city and 17 MPG highway – 38 gallon tank

Built in San Antonio, Texas

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD/Pro 4×4 Double Cab Pickup

The Pirate Radio Morning Show Crew (George Gray and Matt Arguello) took a look at the Tacoma over at KELS FM104.7 Studios.  Listen in:



Cement gray paint – 5’ bed – Heated black leather buckets – 5 passenger seating – 7” touchscreen – Weighs 4,445 lbs. and has 9.4” ground clearance – 212” long – Entune premium stereo – 3 .5 liter V-6— 278 horsepower / torque is 265 lb. ft. – Six speed automatic transmission – Four wheel drive with locking differential – Backup camera and navigation – $45,087.00 Window Sticker – 23 MPG on the highway – 20 MPG combined rating – 18 MPG city.  21.1 gallon tank – Made in San Antonio, Texas   

2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD Black Edition


Pirate Radio DJ George Gray joined me in analyzing the Honda Ridgeline Black Edition during the “Morning Show”:

The original Honda Ridgeline came out in 2005, and immediately caught the attention of the public, with competitors putting similar vehicles on their drawing boards.  None produced anything like the Ridgeline, however, and after 2014 Honda even dropped production.  Now the Ridgeline has returned with several improvements and I tested a black one during a recent week.

The Ridgeline can tow 5,000 lbs. and carry 1,584 in its 4′ wide pickup bed with a trunk underneath.  The tailgate is dual action, the interior is mammoth, and the ride is definitely car-like.  A nice car.

The V-6 puts out 280 horsepower and the transmission is a six-speed in this all-wheel drive Black Edition Ridgeline.  The Honda weighs 4,500 lbs. and gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway.  It gets my stamp of approval.


Crystal black metallic paint – Heated black leather five passenger interior – Navigation system with 8” touchscreen – Radar, or adaptive cruise control – LED headlights – 8 speaker stereo – Pushbutton/remote start – LED headlamps – 280 horsepower V-6 – Six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive – Backup camera, blind spot detection and lane watch – Lane departure warning and collision-mitigation – $43,770.00 – 21 MPG combined rating

2016 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab

20160817_193554_HDRListen to a review of the Nissan that took place at Pirate Radio, 104.7FM:


This past week I received for review a new Nissan pickup, the Frontier 4×4 (PRO-4X) four-door crew cab.  Nissan, formerly Datsun, has been in business for 102 years (since 1914), and is now the sixth largest vehicle manufacturer in the world.  The original company name was derived from the three founders’ initials, DAT.  “Sun” was added 17 years later when the company introduced a small car (son of DAT).  “Son” means loss in Japanese; hence the name Datsun.    

At one time, I actually owned a brand new 1971 Datsun pickup when I lived near Cape Canaveral, Florida.  It was the model 1600 and I don’t think it cost over $1,600, even though it was brand new.  I bought it for going to the beach with surfboards loaded up in back, but I subsequently gave up surfing for marriage, and  traded off the Datsun for an automobile.

This Nissan pickup I recently tested was the PRO-4X upgraded model with Bilstein performance shocks, triple skid plates (oil pan/fuel tank/transfer case), 16” two tone finished, six-spoke alloy wheels, locking rear differential, P265/75R16 white-letter tires, hill descent/start controls, Rockford Fosgate CD/XM satellite stereo, spray-on bed liner, Bluetooth phone, and special white-faced gauges.  The Frontier pickup comes in a rear-wheel drive configuration, but the PRO-4X that I tested is four-wheel drive.

The M.S.R.P. for the 2016 PRO-4X is $36,525.00, including freight ($900.00), floor mats ($135.00), and the Pro-4X luxury package ($2,100.00).  The luxury package included navigation (5.8” screen), moon roof, hands-free text messaging assistant, and heated outside mirrors.  Power is supplied by a 4.0 liter, 261 horsepower V-6, backed up by a smooth, five-speed automatic transmission.  Torque rating in this truck is 281 lb. ft.  The four-wheel drive is “shift on the fly”, up to 62 mph – 2 speed transfer case included.  Weight of the vehicle is 4,548 lbs., and the wheelbase/length numbers are 125.9” and 205.5”, or just over 17 ft. long.  The fuel economy figures are 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, with a 21.1 gallon tank.  My observance for the week turned out to be 17.3 mpg.

I didn’t anticipate that the Frontier would offer such a comfortable ride and quiet cabin. I enjoyed the smooth five-speed automatic, and the vaunted V-6 performed a lot like a V-8.  Nissan builds this Frontier with a fully-boxed frame and they provide 10” of ground clearance, factors helping the pickup when encountering the bumps and boulders.  For my type of driving the 5’ bed keeps the vehicle manageable for maneuvering in traffic and parking.

The leather seating was coupled with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and console-mounted emergency brake.  The buckets (driver side – eight adjustments) kept me comfortable all week and the floor shift and storage compartments were sensible.  Styling of the truck is fine, and a feature that I liked was the Forged Copper metallic paint as well as the husky luggage rack on top of the cab.

Nissan has little competition in this mid-size pickup segment, so they get to enjoy brisk sales of the Frontier; 52,255 for the first seven months of 2016. They’ve gotten it just about right with this model, and to me it would be a safe pick if I were in the market for a new pickup.

2016 Toyota Tundra 4X4 “TRD Pro” Pickup


George Gray and myself looked over the Tundra outside the Pirate Radio studios and went inside to discuss the unit:

 The Toyota Tundra full-size pickup, available since model year 2000, is a capable replacement to the old Toyota T100, and is available with three engine choices.  They are the 4 liter V-6 and two V-8s, with the largest one putting out 381 horsepower and 401 lb. ft. of torque.  It’s what’s called the iForce 5.7 liter DOHC aluminum V-8 with (i)ntelligent variable valve timing and flex fuel capability.  It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with console-mounted shifter, and such were the drive train specifications of my test vehicle this past week.20160531_124019_HDR

The Tundra that I drove was the TRD Pro CrewMax with an M.S.R.P. of $47,118.00, including options and freight.  Base price of this model is $45,060.00, and options on it were the paint protection film, chrome tailgate inserts, bed mat, spare tire lock, performance air filter, and allow wheel locks.  It was part-time four wheel drive with electric control and trailering equipment.  The interior was black leather and seated five, a premium stereo with satellite radio was on hand, and Bluetooth connectivity was present.  20160531_194851

      The “standard” bed that comes with this CrewMax is 78.7” long, wheelbase is 145.7”, length is 228.9”, width is 79.9”, height is 75.8”, and the truck weighs 5,375 lbs.

Styling of the TRD Pro was upgraded to include black door handles,  TRD badging, ten-spoke black finish alloy wheels, and BF Goodrich Rugged Trail T/A 275/65R18 black letter tires.  All the full-size pickups from GM, Dodge, Nissan, and Ford are good-looking, as is the Tundra.

Ride, cab noise, guidance, and visibility were all great in this vehicle.  The gas tank holds 26.4 gallons, and the EPA ratings on the previously described engine was 13 city, 17 highway, and 15 overall.  I observed 15 miles per gallons during my time with the Toyota.

Toyota sold well over 100,000 Tundras last year, so it is a popular choice for shoppers.