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pickup trucks

pickup trucks

  A pickup truck is a light truck with an open-top rear cargo area. Many pickups have short rigid sides and an opening rear gate, while others have a flat tray back.

Land Rover Defender

It is indeed a sad day as we learn of Land Rover’s plans to end production of the iconic but barely road-worthy Defender .

Automotive News reported that recent sales stats of this lovable truck are in a tailspin during its last years on the market before saying ‘bye bye’ for 2015.

U.S. federal safety, emissions and import duties on small trucks keep the go-anywhere vehicle from roaming our shores with its lack of compliance to such thing as crumple zones and airbags. The one Defender we did get is long gone even in England: the V-8 automatic convertible two-door. Almost all green and very charming, these were the rich-guy Wrangler Jeep of the 1990s.

In the markets where it is sold outside the UK, like continental Europe, 50 years of history is almost a negative feature versus ultramodern crossovers. The Defender’s main problem is that it drives like a ’lorrie’ and is more uncomfortable and thirsty with diesel than one too.

Europeans have simply lost interest in the Defender, with Land Rover selling a mere 561 units in the first eight months of 2013, according to JATO Dynamics.

The historic SUV first saw production in 1983 and was sold within the US in very limited numbers. It was built on both a 90-inch or 110-inch wheelbase and featured a variety of different powerplants - both gasoline and diesel – and body configurations.

The Defender ’s extreme prowess off road and its rarity have earned it a cult following among enthusiasts. Such conditions have kept values for Defenders rather elevated for those in the US – even causing some to enter the country via the black market and away from Uncle Sam’s watchful regulatory eye.

However, there may be a silver lining in losing the Defender . A replacement for the hard-hitting rover is likely in the works and would be built well within the safety standards of governments world-wide and feature amenities buyers no longer consider optional. Power steering, a suspension that absorbs bumps and strong A/C are all features the Defender lacks.

Much of JLR’s cash is tied up trying to resuscitate Jaguar, so the Defender is taking a back seat in the new world of Euro6 and Cafe fuel standards.

"The Defender replacement remains far from ready due to a lack of volume and weak business case," analyst Max Warburton with Bernstein Research wrote in a recent report on Jaguar Land Rover.

Land Rover did show the DC100 concept at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show , but according to Warburton, the project has since been scrubbed.

He says Land Rover is currently mulling over an aluminum-bodied vehicle that would employ the current Range Rover’s underpinnings as a possible Defender replacement.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Land Rover Defender.

Posted on by TB +  

The arrival of a diesel engine in the luxurious and easy-driving 2014 Ram 1500 pickup is huge news. Until this point, diesel engines for all truck lines have been restricted to just 2500 and 3500 models.

Ford and Chevy continue without a small diesel engine in their light trucks, and are about to feel the hurt from the new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.

As much as car buyers traditionally loathe the idea of diesel engines, truck buyers adore it.

Under the chrome Ram hood, the 3.0-liter, V-6 diesel option even delivered a (momentary) 36 mpg via the standard eight-speed automatic during a light cruise on the test route. But that is not even the best part.

The Ram EcoDiesel packs all the benefits of 25-mpg-plus highway efficiency, but none of the typical diesel engine noise or the driving dynamics of an 18-wheeler. This is a machine whose huge torque reserves and lighter front end join forces to make a smooth, quiet and nimble truck. All that comfort on the air springs front and rear has virtually no major tradeoff in the capabilities tallies versus the F-150 or Silverado .

While both of those leading trucks — Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado — are also quite refined in the drivetrain these days, none offer the absolutely S-Class -rivaling smoothness of the Ram 1500 Laramie over bumps.

Un-laden half-ton trucks might have smooth engines, but are still a pitter-patter of suspension clatter in back on good sunny days. On bad snowy or rainy days, that inherent over-sprung feel can become downright treacherous over mid-corner bumps.

Jittery and gas-guzzling pickups are starting to feel mighty obsolete in direct comparison to the swanky new Ram EcoDiesel.

Click past the jump for this exclusive TopSpeed Driven preview of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which is arriving in showrooms across five trim levels starting in December.

Okay, so we all loved the Ford F-150 SVT Lightning from the 1990s and 2000s, but it was never really a useful truck. You couldn’t take it off-road; well, we’ll rephrase that to you shouldn’t have tried taking it off-road; and it wasn’t much for towing either. So, it was basically a sports car with a bed...

After discontinuing the SVT Lightning, following its 2004 run, Ford went to task developing a new SVT pickup that was everything the Lightning wasn’t. And now we have the SVT Raptor : a jacked up F-150 with up to 12.1 inches of suspension travel, a snarling V-8 engine with 411 horsepower, and likely one of the best-balanced four-wheel-drive systems in a pickup.

Well, being car lovers, what else could we ask for? For Shelby to get its tuning hands on this beast it push it to extremes so obscene that the FCC is investigating it, of course — 575 horsepower, to be precise, thanks to a supercharger and some other tasty bits. Unfortunately, Shelby is limiting this supercharged, baja monster to only 100 units, so you’d better get to buying before supply runs out.

For those of you that can’t swing the $60k-plus required to own this Shelby-tuned pickup, World’s Fastest Car Show from Motor Trend has a test video (above) that at least sheds some light on what you’re missing out on.

You know as well as we do that Justin Bell wouldn’t take the Shelby down a six-lane highway in Southern Cali and tell us how smooth it runs. Rather, he opted to thrash the Shelby SVT Raptor in a more fitting manner by taking it to the Vegas Off-Road Experience (VORE) and gave it the hammering that Shelby intended it to have. We’re not too sure if Shelby saw the video yet, but It either loved the fact that it got a good workout and video evidence of its performance, or it billed Mr. Bell for the massive wear and tear on the suspension, tires, engine and brakes.

Either way, at least we get a nice look at this rare Shelby rig. Enjoy!

Posted on by Simona  

This weekend at the State Fair of Texas, Chevrolet unveiled two concept cars based on the 2014 Silverado pickup . Both concepts give Silverado customers the chance to see the incredible capabilities of the new Silverado , and this concept is set to haul volunteer firefighters to the firehouse or out on a call.

The Volunteer Firefighter concept is based on the Silverado Double Cab equipped with the Z71 Off Road package. It was specially developed for the the service of grassroots first responders, with input from the National Volunteer Fire Council. Along with its task-based paint scheme and special logos, the new Firefighter concept features lots of sirens and a full complement of rescue equipment.

No details were offered on which engine Chevrolet fitted in this concept, but we believe it will be offered with the 5.3-liter, V-8 that delivers a total of 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Chevrolet Silverado.

Posted on by Simona  

Along with the 2014 Silverado HD , Chevrolet also unveiled two concept trucks that show "the extremes of preparedness." Both concepts were unveiled at the State Fair of Texas, but they will also be on display in November at the 2013 SEMA Show .

The first of the concepts is the Black Ops — a sinister-looking based on a Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 4x4. The concept features a black exterior paint combined with custom-fabricated lower body armor, and a lockable, a bed-mounted Truck Vault storage unit. The concept also features a solar power pack, a pair of gas masks, gloves, military first aid kit, a folding shovel and rope.

There are no details on what engine is under the hood at this moment, but we expect it to carry the same engine found in the standard Silverado, which is a 5.3 liter, V-8 that delivers 355 horsepower or the range-topping 6.2-liter, V-8 engine with 420 horsepower.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Chevrolet Silverado.

Toyota is coming back to this year’s SEMA Auto Show , and it’s bringing along the Dream Build Challenge for an encore run.

Last year, the competition was won by NASCAR racer Kyle Busch, who took home the title for his work on the 2013 Toyota Camry, or as he later on christened it: the Rowdy Camry .

This year, another NASCAR driver, Parker Kligerman, will team up with Kyle Busch Racing to be one of the four participants in the complete custom build of four unique Toyotas. In the case of Kligerman, he has the task of using another Camry and create a rally-inspired version that has been dubbed the "CamRally".

Meanwhile, freestyle skier Simon Dumont will be teaming up with Oakley to work on a Toyota 4Runner , or as it will be built and called, the "Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner".

Representing the world of Supercross are a pair of the sports biggest stars, Justin Brayton and Josh Grant, both of whom will collaborate with Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross to build the "Let’s Go Moto Tundra " pickup.

And finally, BMX rider Drew Bezanzon has the Toyota Corolla all to himself. He’ll still get help from Skullcandy to build what we can only imagine to be an audio box on wheels, thus its aptly named handle, the "Corolla Crusher".

All four entries will be in attendance at the SEMA Auto Show where just like last year, the fans get to decide which build stands out ahead of the pack.

Click past the jump to read about last year’s winning build, the 2013 Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition by Kyle Busch

Posted on by TB +  

With the roaring applause still ringing from the recent debuts of the new Silverado 1500 , Tahoe and Suburban , Chevy has also revealed a pretty heavy revamp for the 2015 HD trucks.

It seems the welcome reception to all the other new bow-tie trucks means that the 2014 model year will be very short: GM pushed up the HD release so that all the factories can start gearing up for the hugely-improved 2015 model year.

The Silverado HD’s updates are actually much deeper than a facelift, with the largest changes coming from the way the truck body is mounted to the chassis. Chevrolet is using a new type of welding process that is claimed to bring large increases in all rigidity measurements, cabin quietness and ride comfort.

The new nose looks pretty great, actually. Chevy ’s truck styling really seems to be very sharp these days. Projector beam lamps update the nose nicely, and a very dramatic chrome grille has far more shaping and structure to its surfaces.

Improvements to cooling and aerodynamics are hoped to increase highway fuel economy, where these big trucks really start to chug whatever fuel they are using at anything over 65 mph.

Drag is a real issue for these machines, and any HD owner will tell you that an 80 mph cruise with a trailer can switch the usual miles per gallon into gallons per mile.

Other changes include a totally-redesigned cabin, seats, infotainment and the whole vehicle’s electronic architecture. Under the hood, the engines are carryover but have a new engine management that integrates all the towing and stability safety features into its work flow.

What this boils down to for buyers is better economy, higher payload and towing stats, and a cruise control that now claims to be able to maintain a set speed even with a heavy trailer out back. Previous cruise controls for many cars will pop off and fail to keep a speed if doing so might make the engine stall.

So it is truck-a-palooza at Chevrolet this winter. Are buyers swayed by the new looks and vastly superior cabin?

Click past the jump for a closer look at the new sheetmetal, plus all the mechanical specs of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and Silverado 3500HD.

Posted on by Simona  

Today, Ford released the 2015 F-Series Super Duty at the State Fair of Texas — company’s preferred place to reveal its trucks. For 2015, the F-Series Super Duty models receive the second-generation 6.7-liter, Power Stroke V-8 turbo-diesel engine, an updated F-450 that now delivers more towing power than ever and a restyled King Ranch edition.

The second-generation Power Stroke V-8 engine was updated with a new GT37 turbocharger and Ford combined it with a TorqShift, six-speed transmission that uses an uprated torque converter to handle the extra power and torque.

For updated the F-450 with new wheels, a strengthened frame and improved suspension. All these changes help it to deliver an increased towing capacity, but Ford chose to remain coy on the official towing numbers.

As for the King Ranch edition, Ford updated the exterior and interior in an attempt to allow it to remain one of the most luxurious trucks on the market.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty.

Posted on by Simona  

GMC released the official details on its 2015 Sierra HD lineup, which so happens to align perfectly with Ford revealing its competitor: the 2015 F-Series Super Duty. The model comes with a choice of two engines, two automatic transmission, an updated exterior look and an all-new, more comfortable and technology-infused interior — carried over from the 2014 Sierra 1500 .

GMC specially designed the all-new exterior in the wind tunnel to reduce wind noise and enhance powertrain cooling for more consistent performance. GMC also worked hard on the interior to make it quieter and more comfortable, with ample storage for work or travel and the intuitive connectivity of IntelliLink.

The 2015 GMC Sierra HD will be put on sale in the first quarter of 2014. Customers can choose from three models — 2500HD, 3500HD models and Denali HD — 18 different assemblies and more than 150 possible vehicle configurations. This should give customers plenty of freedom to build a Sierra HD that fits their needs perfectly.

Click past the jump to read more about the GMC Sierra HD.

Posted on by TB +  

The Toyota Tundra really needs an all-star halo truck to liven up its competent but forgettable range of full-size trucks, which are redesigned for 2014. This exclusive speculative preview of the 2015 Tundra Baja 1000 imagines how a Ford Raptor rival from Toyota would compare with the hot-selling off-roader from the segment-leading F-150 .

The Tundra reached its U.S. sales peak in 2007, when the big rig was all-new and came from its billion-dollar assembly plant right in the heart of Texas. Since then, the Tundra has struggled to even crack 100,000 units, which is a major sore spot when even the dullest Toyota sedans like the Corolla are able to rack up more than triple the total volume of the Tundra.

So what is missing from the Tundra ’s three cab styles, short and long bed options, and three engines that top out with a potent 5.7-liter V-8 making 383 horsepower? The Tundra is missing more than a few million loyal customers, first and foremost, versus the long-trenched buyers of Ram , Ford , Chevy or GMC trucks.

Even the also-ran Nissan Titan PRO-4X is trying on some new off-road hero truck ideas for next year’s all-new model. For slow-moving
Toyota ? So far, the world’s most admired car maker has only dipped its toes into the pool.

The new 1794 Edition of the Tundra packs more fake silver trims than a Nokia factory, and the Toyota Racing Development 4x4 stickers its dealers like to apply do not seem to have the same effect as the Raptor ’s unique grille, huge fender flares, Fox racing suspension and sand-basted attitude.

TRD is just about the worst acronym imaginable, so this TopSpeed preview of a Tundra off-roader is dubbed the Baja 1000.

Click past the jump to get a closer look of the 2015 Toyota Tundra Baja 1000.


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