Looking back on this truck-filled year

Crazy times have defined 2016, there’s no denying that. Between the outlandish election cycle, the grievous terrorist attacks around the world, and the growing list of celebrity deaths, this year has shaped up as the oddest in recent memory. However, in the automotive world, and even more specifically the truck segment, things are going extraordinarily well.

We’ve seen the debut of several new models, been teased with a handful of interesting concept trucks, and even seen automakers pull some surprises. That’s what we’re looking at here – our top five truck happenings in 2016.

Our list covers the biggest and most anticipated debuts of the year, and even the hottest rumors floating around the interwebz. From Ford and Chevrolet to Nissan and Toyota, these debuts mean big things for truck buyers and fantasizes. So without further ado, let’s jump into it.

Continue reading for more information.

2017 Ford Super Duty

2017 Ford Super Duty
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The Ford Super Duty is an immensely popular truck for a multitude of reasons. It also represents the second half of Ford’s F-Series lineup, shared with the F-150. Combined, this pickup truck line is the best-selling vehicle in America, and has been for 39 years. The 2017 model Super Duty is big news since this is the first ground-up, start-from-scratch remake of the Super Duty since the name was coined for the 1998 model year. To say this is a big deal is a gross understatement.

The new Super Duty borrows many of the F-150’s design cues. In fact, the cab section and interior are all shared with the F-150. The Super Duty also uses the same type of aluminum for its body panels. The parts that make the Super Duty an insanely capable truck are all unique to it, however. The frame is fully boxed, the front end is unique, and the powertrain includes gasoline and turbodiesel engines with heavy-duty, six-speed automatic transmissions, and the brakes could stop a run-away train.

Yes, the Super Duty’s entry into he market is a big deal. Just don’t let those Chevy or Ram guys try telling you otherwise.

Read the full review here.

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
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Chalk another one up for Ford – the 2017 F-150 Raptor is here and boy does it make an impression. This truck has been hotly anticipated since the new generation F-150 launched for the 2015 model year. This Raptor represents its second generation and improves on the first generation’s outstanding off-road prowess. It uses massive, three-inch diameter Fox Racing shock absorbers, thick suspension parts, rides on BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, and boasts six drive modes for optimal computer control. But perhaps the biggest headline maker is the high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. This twin-turbo monster kicks out 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. The Raptor comes in both SuperCab and SuperCrew variants. Both come with the same off-road equipment that help it hold the title of Baja champ.

Read the full review here.

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension High Resolution Exterior
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Chevy apparently has something to say to Ford and its new Raptor. The General debuted a concept truck back in 2014 called the Colorado ZR2, but most folks saw its production as a long shot. GM was bad about teasing and not delivering. However, the Colorado ZR2 broke that terrible streak and is hitting dealership lots in the next few months.

The Colorado ZR2 is based on the standard-issue Colorado, but get a heavy does of steroids for its suspension components and underbody skidplates. It features Spool Valve shocks, which are typically reserved for super cars. This marks GM’s second use of Spool Valves; the first was the fifth-generation Camaro Z/28 – a certified track star.

The truck can be had with either the 3.6-liter V-6 or the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. A six-speed automatic backs both, and the 4WD system comes standard. The ZR2 might not be in the same size class as the Raptor, but folks (including yours truly) will undoubtedly compare the two. Let the games begin!

Read the full review here.

Nissan Titan

2017 Nissan Titan High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Nissan Titan is completely new for the 2017 model year and it was 2016 that saw its debut. 2016 also saw the entrance of the Titan XD into the market, the Titan’s heavy(ish)-duty brother. Both the Titan and Titan XD represent a huge leap forward for Nissan’s truck branch. The previous Titan was far past its prime when 2016 rolled around. The truck was more than a decade old, after all.

The half-ton Titan’s roll-out technically isn’t finished. Nissan has yet to debut the entry-level V-6 that’s promised. V-8 models are already rolling off Nissan showrooms powered by a heavily revises 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. The Titan XD uses this same gasoline V-8, but also offers the legend-in-the-making 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 turbodiesel. This high-tech engine makes 310 horsepower and a stump-pulling 555 pound-feet of torque.

The Titan is undoubted vastly better than before and with the offering of the “tweener” Titan XD, Nissan should see some respectable sales numbers and profits over the next few years.

Read the full review here.

Toyota Tacoma & TRD Pro

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro High Resolution Exterior
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Ah the Toyota Tacoma. The bread-n-butter of mid-size pickups. Toyota assembles enough of them to encompass the globe five times – or so it seems. While my math might not be official or accurate, the Tacoma’s sales volume certainly is. Needless to say, the Taco is an important truck for Toyota. More important for the marketing folks and the small percentage the like high-speed desert racing, Toyota recently launched the second-generation Tacoma TRD Pro for the 2017 model year.

Like the Raptor and Colorado ZR2, this truck is build for the desert trails and sand dunes. It features 2.5 inch-diameter Fox Racing shocks with external bypass cylinders and a healthy dose of extra strong suspension parts. The truck also comes with Toyota’s Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select systems. Acting as computer-controlled traction aides, these two help the Taco Supreme get through just about any terrain. In fact, the Crawl Control system works much like a low-speed cruise control, allowing the computer to modulate throttle and braking, while the driver concentrates on steering and not hitting stuff. Oh, and there’s also an electronically controlled locking rear differential.

The 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro might not be the huge success Ford has with the Raptor, but it performs the same halo duties that help draw potential customers into showrooms.

Read the full review here.

Honorable Mention

Jeep Wrangler JL & Pickup

2018 Jeep Wrangler Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2018 Jeep Scrambler Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Jeep has been extremely busy developing its next-generation Wrangler JL and its pickup derivative, the JT. Rumors have swirled all year long about the Jeep. Would it use solid axles or would it have an independent front suspension? Will Jeep finally use a turbodiesel engine? Will there still be a manual transmission option? How capable will the pickup version be? All these questions and more have been hotly debated on fan forum sites and within the comment section here on TopSpeed.

While we don’t have any new information on the upcoming Jeep Wrangler, it sure has dominated the headlines of 2016 – at least out here on the bleeding edge of breaking news within the pickup universe. We can’t wait to see what Jeep has in store, though sadly we’ll have to wait. Perhaps the news will show up on our “Five Awesome Truck Things That Happened in 2017” article. Boy, we’ve got some lead time on that topic…

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler here and the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Pickup here.

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