“One of the more popular things to do these days is to install a suspension lift along with larger tires and wheels.”

Purchasing a new or used truck is exciting, but personalizing it is even more fun!

Believe me when I tell you, buying the truck is the cheap part. I have seen people over the years spend upwards of $25,000 or more on customization. One of the more popular things to do these days is to install a suspension lift along with larger tires and wheels. If you’re going to tackle this yourself, here are a few things you should know.

Installation: Many manufacturers offer manuals for installing lift kits but some installations are quite intricate, requiring some welding or cutting in order to add some necessary components. In this case, having a mechanic or a few knowledgeable friends around will help make the job go smoothly.

Additional Modifications: Upgrading to taller tires also means that a number of components may require part upgrades or some tuning to compensate. For instance, a truck’s engine is tuned at specific gear ratios to propel the vehicle. When adding taller tires, the gear ratios must be changed accordingly, since the engine has to spin much larger, heavier tires. You will also be required to purchase a speedometer recalibration tool, so you have an accurate reading. Again, consult with more experienced individuals for further insight.

Highway Driving: Larger, wider tires can sometimes result in instability on roads or a noisy, uncomfortable ride, particularly at high speeds. Also, more aggressive off road tires tend to wear faster on the highway and traction might not be as great as you would expect on wet roads.

Weight: Larger tires are heavier, which can put a lot of strain on your suspension, particularly if it is a stock suspension. Trusted, durable suspension components and lighter aluminum wheels can sometimes help to reduce the strain.

Handling: Adding a truck suspension lift kit will undoubtedly raise the vehicle’s centre of gravity, resulting in less stable turns. This is a common problem when installing lift kits, but is mostly just a matter of becoming accustomed to a vehicle’s change in performance.

Legality: Some lift kits create such a serious change in your suspension system that it may not be legal. Check the suspension regulations within your province to be sure.

A Few Useful Accessories: Before installing a lift kit, it’s a good idea to first examine if any components will be affected by your vehicle’s new height. Here are a few useful accessories that may need to be upgraded:

Brake Upgrades: Stock brakes do not always accommodate larger tires, or will wear easily due to the added strain.

Drivetrain and Differential: Axles, gears, differential covers, lockers and more ensure that your drivetrain is up to par with your suspension.

Replacement Parts: Longer Control Arms and Track Bars to compensate for the additional height of your truck.

Shocks: For those taller lifts, longer shocks will ensure the smoothest performance both on and off road.

Other Parts: Steering linkage, slip yoke, drive shaft length, u-joint angle, and brake lines are all worthy of consideration before installing suspension lift kits.

Also, search the internet.

There are many sites which offer complete instructions on various suspension lifts. You can download a copy before you make the purchase, and know exactly what is in involved.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“The new Nissan Titan offers a roomy interior that rivals the other popular full-size trucks on the market today.”

2015 Chevrolet Colorado
2015 Ford F150
2015 GMC 3500HD Denali
2015 Nissan Titan
2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

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

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“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.”

1978 Subaru Brat
1982 Dodge Rampage
2004 Chevrolet SSR
2002 Lincoln Blackwood
2001 Pontiac Aztek
1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible

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.

“I have seen trucks and vans with upwards of $50,000 worth of equipment lying on the floor without any real security.”

IH theft 01

If you leave your vehicle with your tools or valuables in it for just a moment and you might as well advertise free equipment for the taking.

At job sites, fences have to be erected to keep people out and many end up hiring security guards so crooks can’t get at the valuable building products at night.

Despite the level of awareness for the need for tighter security at building sites, too often it doesn’t extend to the vehicles used to transport the valuable equipment and materials.

I have seen trucks and vans with upwards of $50,000 worth of equipment lying on the floor without any real security.

People that drive open bed pickup trucks have a real challenge when it comes to security.

You can buy a canopy and secure it that way, but sometimes you need to carry large and unusual shape objects and the rear gate of most canopies are not designed to be left open while driving.

There are a few ways you can solve this problem. One way is to install a permanent toolbox that mounts to the rails of your truck box, and has either two lids or one large lid that opens from either side or back to front. These toolboxes are available in plastic, steel, and aluminum.

I recommend steel or aluminum, which will cost you between $550 and $850. This type of toolbox works well for people that carry smaller amount of tools and supplies around.

If you transport larger amounts of these items, then I suggest a job-site box, which is a large container that can be left at a job site. They are very secure and come in a variety of sizes.

Van drivers can outfit their vehicles with shelving units down one or both sides. These also come in differing sizes and configurations enabling you to tailor them to your specific needs.

You can also incorporate small parts bins to organize fittings and larger ones to house small tools – they will keep your stuff from rolling around on the floor.

You should also think about installing a steel bulkhead partition behind the driver seat, because I have seen tools launch themselves like missiles toward the driver as the vehicle comes to a sudden stop.

Actually, it’s not really a matter of choice because Worksafe BC requires companies to install these protective barriers in commercial vehicles.

To secure a van from intruders you can buy what’s called a hasp-n-lock. This type of lock is a puck style lock with two plates of steel around it. When installed correctly, it is almost impossible to remove and keeps your tools and equipment safe. It is available at most locksmiths and costs about $175.

One more idea is to install window screens to prevent any smash and grabs from happening. It sounds like a lot of work, but remember, it just takes a split second and everything is gone.

Be proactive instead of reactive and stop crime before it happens.

For a good overview of what is available in toolboxes, van shelving and bulkheads check out www.knaacksecure.com.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Bob McHugh concludes his quest to find the best deals on 2014 model year vehicles…

Chevrolet Silverado
Honda CR-V
Infiniti Q70L
Kia Sportage
Ram 1500
Toyota Avalon Limited
VW Passat

There are only days to go before for the smoking hot sales prices available on 2014 model year vehicles disappear.

Most are due to expire on December 1, but some will continue and there may be even deeper cuts on remaining stock in December. That said, as we head towards year-end and dealer inventory levels shrink, so will a buyer’s bargain vehicle choices.

First, a couple of consumer tips to consider:

  • Even if a local dealer doesn’t have a specific vehicle you’re interested in buying, the local dealer may be able to obtain one from another dealer. If long distance shipping is involved, however, that cost is likely to be tacked on to your purchase price. So, get that information up front and avoid an extra cost surprise.
  • The special clear-out offer price is from the auto manufacturer, so the discounted price at the dealer level is still a suggested one, which means it’s negotiable. So, you may be able to drive an even better bargain.


Family Cars

A $3,200 cash credit is offered on the mid trim level Comfortline edition of the Volkswagen Passat 2.5L with a manual transmission, which is listed at $25,975. This German engineered, and built in the USA, mid-sized sedan has a very roomy and well finished interior.

Kia is also offering up to $5,000 off the list price on selected editions of its Optima family sedan. This generation Optima got AJAC’s Best New Family Sedan Award when introduced in 2011 and there are no major changes to the 2015 edition. Optima MY2014 list prices range from $24,695 to $34,795.


Luxury Cars

A whopping $10,000 can be lopped-off the list price of a loaded with features Infiniti Q70, a super-luxurious large sedan that prior to MY2014 was known as the Infiniti M37. The Q70 has distinctive flowing style lines and a long hood. It offers a nice blend of luxury and sportiness with strong powertrains and nimble handling characteristics. The only drawback is that you still have to come up with $52,237 plus fees and taxes.

The Toyota Avalon ($37, 355) is a more affordable large luxury sedan alternative and a $4,000 cash credit (dropping its price to $33,355) makes it even more attractive. Toyota last redesigned Avalon for MY2013 and gave it a more sophisticated and sleeker look with upgraded in-cabin technology plus much-improved handling.


Sport Utility

Kia is offering a $5,000 cash credit or 2.99% financing for 84 months on its smallest utility vehicle, the Sportage. A revamp for the 2014 model year included an engine upgrade, revised styling and new features. The base engine is now a direct-injected 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine that offers more power yet consumes less fuel. The top SX trim level is powered by a 260-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and MY2014 list prices range between $22,995 to 38,295.

The base LX front-drive version of the Honda CR-V (price $25,990 – the top line Touring trim is $35,790) can be purchased with 0.99% financing for 36 months. Redesigned for MY2014 this hugely popular compact utility has been a paragon of reliability and is a benchmark for this class. The CR-V comes with a fuel-efficient 2.4-litre engine mated to a CVT automatic transmission.



The truck sector is a world onto itself when it comes to pricing, as the variety of models and options offered are staggering. Steering through the ordering process can be a challenge, but Chevrolet is offering cash credits ranging from $3500 to $6,000 on the (redesigned last year) Silverado 1500. List prices range from $26,540 to $56,860.

A $10,000 cash credit is also available on the Ram 1500 Quad Cab SXT 4×4. The base engine is a 3.6-litre V6. Optional engines are the venerable 5.7 litre Hemi V8, which comes with new FuelSaver technologies or a 3.0 litre EcoDiesel V6. MY2014 prices for the 1500 Quad Cab 4×4 range from $37,295 to $51,595.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Trailer sway can be a scary experience, especially if it is a large trailer. If this happens, do not panic…

IH 2014-Ram-3500-front-three-quarters-2

Towing a trailer for the first time can be stressful and backing up can bring out words you didn’t know you had in your vocabulary.

For the beginner, the best thing to do to develop your skills is go to a large, empty parking lot and practice.

The key fact to bear in mind before you start is that the trailer will move in the opposite direction of steering input when backing. Many people find it easier to position their hand at the bottom of the steering wheel; the trailer will go towards the same direction the hand travels. Do not rely on your mirrors, turn around and look at the trailer. When there is any chance of damage, use a spotter who can tell you to stop before damage occurs.

Remember, it will get easier with practice. Honest.

The way you load the trailer can determine how easy you can tow it. While loading, keep in mind that the tongue weight should be 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the overall trailer weight. One of the main causes of trailer sway is not having a large enough percentage of trailer tongue weight compared to gross trailer weight. To help prevent the trailer from swaying back and forth, a few things can be done. Try placing heavier cargo in the front of the trailer, ahead of the trailer’s axle. Also center the cargo left to right and use tie downs to keep the load from sliding. Trailer Sway can also lead to a loss of vehicle control.

When starting out with a new load on a trailer, make sure it will not sway by gradually increasing your speed in intervals until highway speed is reached. If the trailer does begin to sway, try adjusting the cargo and equipment accordingly and then repeat the test. If repositioning the load and equipment did not help reduce the sway, a sway control or a weight distribution system with sway control may be needed.

Trailer sway can be a scary experience, especially if it is a large trailer. If this happens, do not panic. Take your foot off the accelerator and coast to a slower speed; avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel. Apply the brakes slowly when you are down to a safe speed.

Check your hitch ball, coupler, and safety chains every time you tow. Many people with long trailer experience use a checklist to be sure all equipment is hooked up and in good condition. Damage can happen quickly when something goes wrong. For example, safety chains wear through very quickly if they are in contact with the pavement.

Never allow anyone in or on your trailer while it is being towed and speed limits for trailers are generally lower than for other vehicles. Leave a little extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you. Even if you are using trailer brakes, you will not be able to stop nearly as fast as you can without a trailer.

A good general rule is to double the two-second rule, making sure you maintain at least a four-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. For heavier trailers, you will need to leave even more space.

The longer the trailer, the further you will have to drive straight into intersections before beginning your turns. Watch your mirrors carefully and go extra wide, at first, until you get used to it.

When approaching a hill, you will want to keep your speed consistent whether you are going up a hill or down. When descending, be extra careful not to overwork your brakes. Use a lower gear that will keep a consistent speed without constant use of the brakes. Pull off the road occasionally to let your brakes cool and to check your trailer brakes.

Stay focused on your driving and do not try to perform other tasks. Remember to check your rear view mirror frequently, relax and enjoy the drive.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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.

2015 GMC Sierra Denali 3500

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.

Ford F150 Lariat EcoBoost

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.

2014 Ford Raptor

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 Tundra

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.

2014 Toyota Tacoma

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Remember that your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won’t help you stop any faster…

Winter driving in British Columbia (Photo: Ian Harwood)
Winter driving in British Columbia (Photo: Ian Harwood)
Artwork. (Photo: Ian Harwood)
Artwork. (Photo: Ian Harwood)
A winter wonderland begs cautious driving. (Photo: Ian Harwood)
A winter wonderland begs cautious driving. (Photo: Ian Harwood)

The temperature is starting to drop, the leaves are clogging up the streets and snow is beginning to fall in parts of B.C. (more…)

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