“The new Nissan Titan offers a roomy interior that rivals the other popular full-size trucks on the market today.”
Truck lovers could fill an afternoon running a careful eye over the new trucks at the Vancouver auto show.
Here are my five picks for special attention:
2015 Chevrolet Colorado
The all-new design is turning heads all across Canada. This mid-size truck fills a void here. Still expected to work as hard as a full-size truck, the Colorado can tow more than 3,039 kilograms (6700 lbs) a 2.5L I-4 engine is standard with an optional 3.6L V6 with a six speed automatic transmission. This truck includes all the modern day technologies including 4g LTE hotspot with WI-FI connection through OnStar, which provides service for seven devices.
Base price: $21,695.
2015 Ford F150
The combination of a body made of aluminum body and high strength steel in its frame make this truck up to 317 KG (700 lbs) lighter. This truck was inspired by Ford’s concept vehicle, the Atlas. It has 11 new class-exclusive features, including 360-degree camera view, integrated loading ramps stowed in the pickup bed, 400-watt power outlets inside the cab, LED headlights and side view mirror spotlights, and remote tailgate release. There are four engine choices, the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, 2.7L EcoBoost, 5.0 Ti-VCT V8, and the 3.5L EcoBoost.
The 3.7L V6 delivers 282 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. The 2.7L V6 has 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. The 5.0 V8 has 385 horsepower with 387 lb-ft of torque and the 3.5L V6 is pushing 282 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. These are all capable engines depending on your requirements.
Base price: $24,899
2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
It is the only light duty diesel available here. It has a 3.0 L V6 Diesel engine with a torqueflite eight speed transmission. Not only will it give you 420-pound feet of torque and plenty of towing capabilities, it will also reduce CO2 emissions and runs on B20 Biodiesel. Many trims are available from work-truck-ready to full luxury. This truck has something for every buyer.
Base price: $31,140
2015 GMC 3500HD Denali
It is a beast. This truck is built to pull with 10,251 KG (22,600 lbs) of trailer towing capacity. The 6.6L V8 turbo engine delivers 397 hp and 765 lb ft of torque and is paired with a 1000 series Allison transmission. With interior upgrades such as triple door seals, hydraulic powertrain and body mounts, 12 way power adjustable bucket seats, heated leather wrapped steering wheel and a Bose sound system you can operate this beast and still feel comfortable doing so.
Base price: $67,305
2015 Nissan Titan
This Titan can tow up to 4309 kg (9,500lbs) thanks to 385 lb-ft of torque from its 5.6 L DOHC 32 valve V8 engine producing 317 hp at 5,200 rpm.
If off-road driving is part of your plans then the Titan is ready. With the Prox-4x package you get heavy duty skid plates protect the oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and lower radiator. The 4WD system utilizes a shift on the fly two-speed transfer case, which allows you to 4WD at a moment’s notice. Low range can be selected when the terrain requires it. The electronic locking rear differential is ready at a flip of a switch giving much need traction on slippery surfaces. Rancho performance shocks are available with the off-road package. The new Nissan Titan offers a roomy interior that rivals the other popular full-size trucks on the market today.
Base price: $40,498
“RAM has seen huge sales growth over the last few years due to constant improvements instead of waiting years to update its rigs.”
“There’s a huge incentive for auto manufacturers to try to introduce unique trucks in an effort to expand their existing model lines and fatten corporate treasuries.”
by Larry Pintz
Over the past two decades, America has become a land of truck drivers as SUVs, crossover SUVs, minivans and pickups have grown to account for the majority of light vehicle sales in the United States. In fact, the most popular vehicle in the world for more than three decades has been the Ford F-150, which, according to Morgan Stanley, accounts for 90 percent of Ford Motor Company’s global profits.
Given that kind of profit margin, and considering that in a typical year 16 million new vehicles are sold, there’s a huge incentive for auto manufacturers to try to introduce unique trucks in an effort to expand their existing model lines and fatten corporate treasuries.
For the most part, these efforts succeed. Neither a Cadillac Escalade nor a BMW X5 seem as strange as they did a decade ago. But here are other efforts that seemed like a sure bet but somehow missed the mark.
1978 Subaru Brat/2003 Subaru Baja
The product plan: Chevy was reaping fat profits with its rear-wheel-drive, midsize, car-based El Camino, as was Ford with the Ranchero. Subaru took the plunge with the four-wheel-drive Brat. The carmaker repeated their folly with the 2003 Baja.
So what happened? Brat stood for “Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transport.” Based on the company’s compact sedan platform, the Brat’s practicality was limited by two rear-facing seats mounted in the cargo bed, which offered little protection from weather or accidents. The Baja was a similar effort, minus the cargo bed seats.
1982 Dodge Rampage
The product plan: Like Subaru, Dodge eyed the fat profits made by Chevy and Ford with their car-based pickup trucks and designed the Rampage to fill the void. Unlike the Subaru, there were no chairs in the cargo bed.
So what happened? In light of the second Mideast oil embargo, Dodge converted their product line to front-wheel drive. So, the Rampage was built on a compact, front-wheel-drive car platform with four-cylinders. However, domestic buyers expected their trucks to have eight cylinders. Result? – This tiny truck’s name was a ruse.
1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible
The product plan: Since truck buyers increasingly use their vehicles as lifestyle accessories, why not offer the ultimate four-wheel fashion accessory, a convertible pickup?
So what happened? You have to admire then-Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca and crew for offering something that had never been tried. Nevertheless, whether bought for image or utility, trucks have to look as is they’re ready to work. By contrast, droptops must look seductive. The Dakota offered neither.
2001 Pontiac Aztek
The product plan: Design a car-based crossover SUV with Pontiac design cues hung on a minivan platform to give the vehicle a sense of excitement while saving development costs. Then, name it after a dead civilization, but misspell the name.
So what happened? This is a car that made sense only inside the airless world of GM’s numerous corporate committees. That said, the Aztek has one interesting idea: the center console doubles as a removable cooler. Other ideas, such as the optional tent, were regrettable. And need we mention the styling?
2002 Lincoln Blackwood
The product plan: Casting a jealous eye at the success and profitability of the Cadillac Escalade, in reality little more than a leather-lined Chevrolet Tahoe, Lincoln did the same to its bestselling Ford F-150 pickup.
So what happened? At the time, Ford’s CEO, Jacques Nasser, didn’t fully understand the American market, which might explain why the cargo bed was lined with carpet. Even worse, the cargo bed cover was permanently attached; so it was better at hauling polo mallets than cargo pallets. Ford lost millions on this truck.
2004 Chevrolet SSR
The product plan: Chevy unleashed this convertible pickup concept truck at the height of Detroit’s obsession with retro styling. It elicited such a positive reaction at auto shows that Chevy chose to build it. Given Chevy’s lineup at the time, it’s no wonder.
So what happened? The old saw about those who do not learn from history being doomed to repeat it applies here. While the SSR looked better than the Dakota convertible, its miniscule 4-foot cargo bed rendered the truck useless. Toss in lots of chassis flex and a lofty $40,000-plus price tag, and its fate was assured.
Larry Pintz writes for Hagerty, the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca.
“The Ram truck has generated a lot of excitement in 2014 and has won numerous awards…”
Pickup trucks continue to push new sales records every year and with more and more advancements in technologies and lightweight materials, we are witnessing a dramatic change to the automotive industry.
The 2015 Ford F-150 is a reinvention of North America’s most popular pickup. It is 317 kilograms (700lbs) lighter, due to its aluminum body. It can tow up to 500 more kilograms (1,100lbs) and carry up to 240 more kilograms (530lbs) of cargo. The other benefit of losing all this weight is the fuel economy numbers, projected to be five to 20 percent better gas mileage. Four engine choices, 2.7 litre EcoBoost V6 delivering 385 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque, a 3.5 litre EcoBoost V6 twin turbo that produces 365 horsepower and an incredible 420 lb-ft of torque, a 5.0-litre V8 with 385 horsepower with 387 lb-ft of torque and a 3.5-litre with 283 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. Some new technologies incorporated in this truck include; a 360-degree camera that offers the driver a bird’s eye view to help manouevre the vehicle out of tight spots, LED headlamps, LED taillamps, integrated loading ramps, and a trailer hitch assist rearview camera that helps line up their truck and trailer without the use of a spotter.
Starting at $17,999
The 2015 Ram 1500 Diesel features a 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 with an eight-speed TorqueFlite transmission, delivering an impressive 7.1 L/100 km highway fuel economy, powers. The Ram also includes active grille shutters to improve airflow for improved aerodynamics. There is also an airbag option available that can lower the ride height to create less drag. The Ram truck has generated a lot of excitement in 2014 and has won numerous awards. In Canada, Ram has maintained a strong following and with a diesel engine offering, the light truck market just became more interesting.
Starting at $19,995
The 2015 GMC Canyon has breathed new life into the midsize pickup market. This vehicle is equipped with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and is mated with a six speed manual transmission, with a six-speed automatic available as an option. You can also order a more powerful 3.6 Litre V6 with 302 horsepower engine, but it is only available with the automatic transmission. Available 4G LTE with Wi-Fi connection through OnStar turns your pick up into a mobile hotspot. Brand new body style will attract a lot of attention, especially on the west coast where midsize trucks were so popular.
Starting at $22,395
The 2015 Chevy Silverado HD marches in with an all new exterior styling designed around improving airflow, which helps the 6.6-litre Duramax turbo diesel or the 6.0-litre Vortex V8 maintain full power during heavy towing and higher temperatures. Auto grade braking and diesel exhaust braking help keep towing in check on those steep hills. Starting on a hill is no problem thanks to the hill start assist that holds the brakes until you press the accelerator. The trailer sway control automatically senses if a trailer is swaying and brings it back in line by applying both the truck’s and trailer’s brakes. The rear bumper has steps integrated into each corner making it easier to access the pickup’s box.
Starting at $39,995
The 2015 Toyota Tundra is equipped with a 5.7-litre i-force V8 engine producing 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque can tow up to 4,760 kg (10,500 lb). The Tundra went through a complete makeover last year with dramatic changes to the body. The grille is much larger and gives the truck a more aggressive look. The 1794 Edition is a Western themed truck that features 20” chrome clad alloy wheels, chrome surround grille with 2 bar silver inserts, a chrome and silver bumper, 1794 Edition badging, power moonroof and a heavy duty towing package. The Tundra tailgate opens very easily with the hydraulic assist and can close with as little as two fingers.
Starting at $27,225
“The versatility and usability of these trucks appeal to small business owners, families or even outdoor lovers…”
We saw glimpses of this with Ford’s concept truck but did not expect it to become reality so soon…
The all-new 2015 Ford F150 turned some heads at the Vancouver International Auto show including mine.
Here’s close look at what’s new and different. I think the first thing that impresses is the new styling. The LED back lit headlights are a real stand out and the grille is a three-bar traveling all the way down to the bumper, very nice.
Next noteworthy change is the super lightweight military grade aluminum alloy body, weighing almost 318 kgs less than the previous model. We saw glimpses of this with Ford’s concept truck, the Atlas, but did not expect it to become reality so soon. No waste of materials building this new truck. Any unused aluminum during manufacture is reclaimed.
When it goes on sale late this year, there will be five trims available: XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch. Chrome appearance packages are available with them all. Monochromatic sport appearance packages are available with all but the King. Optional power running boards drop down into position only when the doors are opened and remain tight against the body.
Some of the safety concerns expressed around driving a pickup are addressed with the use of sensors in the advanced personal safety system that control deployment of the dual stage front airbags, front seat side airbags, and side canopy air bags. Advance-Trac and roll stability control comes standard.
MyKey technology allows you to program the ignition keys with reminders to drive at appropriate speeds, limit the volume on audio system, limiting the vehicles top speed, muting the audio system until the front seatbelts are fastened.
There are second-row inflatable safety belts, which work like a traditional belt but include a tubular airbag that inflates in the event of a crash and distributes the force of the impact across a wider area of the passenger’s chest
A feature called Curve control, automatically provides more aggressive four-wheel braking when the truck is going into a corner too fast.
There are host of safety systems. Adaptive cruise control, allows drivers to set a cruising speed and use radar technology to monitor traffic ahead and maintain a safe distance between vehicles. The lane keeping system is designed to help avert unintentional drifting of the vehicle outside the intended driving lane. It automatically detects the left or right-hand road lane markings using a camera mounted between the windshield and interior rear-view mirror. The Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert uses radar hidden in the taillights to detect a vehicle entering a driver’s blind spot while driving or backing up.
Can’t believe I’ve got this far talking about a truck without mentioning power! – One of the engine choices is a new 2.7L EcoBoost engine that has undergone more than 16 million kilometres of testing. The other motors are the new 3.5L V6 EcoBoost that combines the efficiency of twin independent variable camshaft timing, and flex fuel capabilities, a 3.5L EcoBoost engine, which we are familiar with and a 5.0L V8.
The trucks equipped with EcoBoost engines will benefit from standard Active Grille Shutters. Active Grille Shutters stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. They automatically close to reduce aerodynamic drag at cruising speed.
Fuel economy numbers and prices should be released soon.
It was worth every penny of the $12,000 I put into it…
I can remember buying my first truck in 1986 like it was yesterday.
It had to be a specific make and model: I was looking for. A Toyota 4×4 pick-up, black in color and it had to be in good shape. I wanted it to be bone stock with as little mileage as possible.
I found one in the paper that was on the lot at a dealership in Surrey. Quickly I called them to inquire and they said they had a couple of people with deals written up, but it didn’t look like they were going to go through, so if I wanted it I had better get down there right away (Naive at that age to fall for and old trick like this).
I had to get a ride from a friend and I remember it was snowing so it was slow getting there. When I arrived it was running and they were anxious for me to drive it. I took it around the block and parked it in a vacant lot, hopped out and started to inspect it. I immediately noticed rust and some body damage. Clearing the snow off inside the truck box, I could see more damage. It looked like someone had dropped a bowling ball into it from about a high ledge. I could smell antifreeze and noticed some oil leaks.
I headed back to the dealership disappointed. The salesman was there to greet me. He asked if I had any concerns and I started to point out the obvious. He quickly dismissed them as cosmetic and said do you want to write a deal on it because he has people in the showroom wanting to buy it. I told him I was not interested.
On the ride home, I thought how quickly I had to grow up and look at everything as if someone was going to take advantage of me, sad reality. The next day I picked up the latest copy of Truck Trader and spotted the exact make and model I was looking for. I bought the 1983 edition for $9,000 from a family that only used it once a week to drive to Abbotsford and back to Coquitlam for supplies.
It was perfect; funny how God puts things in your path and everything works out in the end. A week later I started to work on it. I acquired some used 33 inch tires and installed a 4” lift kit. I drove that truck every night after work to show it off.
I washed it so many times I thought the paint was going to come off. A year had past and I purchased many more items for the truck. A major car show was coming up soon and I decided I would put it in the back of the shop and work on it so I could enter it into the show. Giving up my truck for a month was tough and I had to make a few sacrifices to get around.
My first car show was a hit. I came in second place and I was determined the following year I would be back with something they have never seen before. I poured most of my paychecks into my truck and took it off the road for two months to prepare for its transformation.
I called up the owner of Interco Tire and asked about some Supper Swamper tires. He said he had a set of 44×18.5×15 tires in his office that nobody has seen before. At that time the largest they made were 42”. I told him to send them to me I would figure out what I had to do to fit them under the truck. When they came in they looked big. So big I was getting worried. The custom leaf springs came back from the spring shop and I knew my calculations were correct. With all the multiple shocks in place, chassis freshly painted, motor work done, a lower gears installed it was ready for the tires. I cleared away the debris pile that accumulated around my truck. Placed the floor jack under the rear axle and started to jack it up. With the rear tires on and clearing the fenders it was time to move to the front. When I started to lift the front I noticed how high the hood was getting, at that point I knew I had built a monster.
With all the tires in place I slowly drove it out of the shop. The sun gleaming down on the freshly polished paint and the smell of paint burning off the exhaust system still sticks in my mind. Outside it looked like a beast; people were slowing down to take a look. The show was a week later and I came home with first place. Mission accomplished. It was worth every penny of the $12,000 I put into it.
Then I sold it for $15,500 in 1990 so that I could afford to get married . . . need I say any more?
Tell me your truck story and please send pictures.
Stepping into a pickup today is like stepping into a luxury home with even more technology…
Years ago, we would see a pickup truck at an Auto Show (a rare find) and think this would be perfect on the farm; it has a bench seat that would fit all three of us!
My how things have changed, stepping into a pickup today is like stepping into a luxury home with even more technology. Trucks are now outselling cars, so manufacturers must keep looking for innovative designs to entice the consumer into selecting their vehicle over the competition. There are many trucks on the road today but let’s look at the three domestic brands, all of which will be represented at the Vancouver International Auto Show.
Ram introduced the EcoDiesel V6 engine in its 2014 1500 model and the consumer frenzy was on. A half-ton pickup with 420 lb ft of torque and 4182kg (9200 lbs) max towing capabilities, great!
Better fuel economy, where do I sign?
Ford announces the 2015 F-150 with an aluminum body and a completely new design, this had Ford customers holding off on their new purchase until this comes out, which I do not think was Ford’s intention.
GM changes not only the design of their truck but much of their drivetrain. So much so, that it was named North American Truck of the year.
Consumers are demanding these changes, they want better fuel economy but still are able to tow just as much. They want more comfort but still have a practical interior. They want comfortable suspension but still perform off-road if necessary.
Manufacturers have to consider all this when designing a new truck. They set up focus groups all around the country asking how they can improve and what features consumers want in a truck.
So what’s driving sales, what do pickups have over cars and why are they so popular? Versatility, you can transport large items, haul your favorite ‘toy’, take your family in comfort to the cabin, get out and play in the mud. I am not saying you can’t do this in a car but with a truck there are no limitations and that’s what intrigues people into this type of vehicle.
You can do so much more with a truck, the possibilities are endless. The truck is just the beginning, the customization then begins. Research shows that on average a truck owner spends between $5,000 and $7,000 in aftermarket accessories within the first six months of ownership. Truck owners want to personalize their vehicles for practical reasons and some artistic reasons, but rest assured, if you can dream it there is somebody out there building it.
Ten years ago, I would have said things are slowing down and there might be a change coming, but it didn’t happen and things picked up and it keeps picking up. I now think it will continue and in another ten years, we will see even more choices, enabling us to take the time to enjoy life on and off road.
What are my favourite trucks? – It’s a question readers ask me all the time in the supermarket and on the street.
Though not in order of preference, here are my ten choices.
2014 GMC/Chevy Silverado/Sierra
The half-ton pickup has gone through some monumental changes this year. What an improvement with a very comfortable and refined interior on all trim levels, and three engine choices, the Eco Tec 4.3-litre V6, 5.3-litre V8, and a 6.2-litre V8.
2015 Chevrolet Colorado
Very similar in design to its big brother the Silverado, this midsize truck fills a void in Canada. Still expected to work as hard as a full-size truck, the Colorado can tow more than 3,039 kilograms (6700 lbs) a 2.5L I-4 engine is standard with an optional 3.6L V6 with a six speed automatic transmission.
2015 GMC 3500HD
Denali is a beast. This truck is built to pull and with 10,251 KG (22,600 lbs) of trailer towing capacity it does just that. The 6.6L V8 turbo engine delivers 397 hp and 765 lb ft of torque and is paired with a 1000 series Allison transmission. With interior upgrades such as 12-way power adjustable bucket seats, heated leather wrapped steering wheel and a Bose sound system you can operate it in comfort.
2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost
With more than 100,000 Eco Boost engines being produced monthly, you can bet a majority of these engines are finding their way into the 2014 F150 pickup. It holds the record in Canada for highest pickup sales, and at 12.9/9.0 L/100 km (city/highway) it keeps the money in your wallet a little longer.
The 2014 Ford Raptor is still one of my favorite off-road vehicles. It has electronic locking rear differential, shift on the fly 4 wheel drive, advance trac with roll stability control, and trailer sway control. Front and rear mounted cameras to add a second pair of eyes to the terrain around you and a 6.2-litre V8 engine to help you get up and over that hill.
2015 Ford F150
All new design features and a completely aluminum body and high strength steel in its frame make this truck up to 317 KG (700 lbs) lighter. It has 11 new class-exclusive features, including 360-degree camera view, integrated loading ramps stowed in the pickup bed, 400-watt power outlets inside the cab, LED headlights and side-view mirror spotlights, and remote tailgate release.
2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
This is a much-anticipated truck from Ram With a 3.0-litre V6 Diesel engine with a torqueflite eight-speed transmission. Not only will the Ram EcoDiesel give you 420-pound feet of torque and plenty of towing capabilities, it will also reduce co2 emissions and run on B20 Biodiesel. It’s a game changer.
2014 Ram 3500
The largest and most capable pickup Ram has to offer. Alterations to the frame including eight separate cross members, hydro formed frame rails and high strength steel add up to a truck that is capable of towing of towing up to 13,607kg (30,000lb). A 6.7l Cummins turbo diesel engine delivers 385 hp and 850 lb ft of torque.
2014 Toyota Tundra
New body style this year, impressive hood and fender design. The western themed 1794 Edition commemorates the founding year of a Texas ranch where the Tundra plant is situated. This interior is covered with Saddle tan brown leather seats and rich maple wood grain panels throughout. It is powered by a 4.6-litre or a 5.7-litre engine.
Can it compete with the big boys? This is the year to see.
2014 Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma has continued to increase popularity and is a very agile four-wheeler. The double cab gives plenty of room for all your buddies and the 4.0-litre V6 engine can get you to your favorite fishing hole and back. With the addition of some modern day technology such as Backup camera, heated seats, 6 airbags, and a power invertor, this truck has everything I am looking for in a pickup.
The full-size truck market is big business for automakers and a big deal for the business and people who depend on them. (more…)