Trucks Pickup Truck

Pickup Truck

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2016 Nissan Titan XD

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Nissan’s "right-sized" pickup

After 12 years, Nissan finally introduced a second-generation Titan pickup truck. But more than that, Nissan introduced a “right sized” model that split the difference between a half-ton and three-quarter ton. Called the Titan XD, the truck debuted for the 2016 model year and features lustworthy components like a 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel, a modern cabin, and an integrated gooseneck hitch into the cargo bed. The truck comes in Single, King, and Crew Cabs with three corresponding bed lengths. Nissan’s strategy is undercutting the competition’s three-quarter ton trucks on price, while providing more payload and towing capacity than a half-ton pickup.

While not common, this strategy has been tried before. Chevrolet offered a Silverado 1500 HD in the early 2000s, but canceled the model due to slow sales. Nissan is well aware of this and is attacking the heavy duty market from both sides – both the high-end consumer trucks with every whiz-bang feature and the fleet segment with base model, single cab pickups built for work. Regardless of trim, the Nissan Titan XD is certainly capable of work. A high-strength frame supports the all-new body and the highly anticipated 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 turbodiesel. A heavily updated 5.6-liter gasoline V-8 comes standard. Properly equipped, the Titan XD can haul 2,920 pounds in the bed and tow 12,640 pounds via its gooseneck hitch. What’s more, Nissan’s specs are SAE J2807 compliant, meaning they are indeed true.

Update 06/20/2017: Nissan has released pricing for its late-released King Cab configuration. Check out the Prices section for the full breakdown of each Titan XD configuration.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Nissan Titan XD.

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2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Ford’s baddest truck gets reborn

Truck enthusiasts and journalist alike have long swooned over the Ford F-150 Raptor. Introduced in 2010, the Raptor proved Ford could make a Baja trophy truck and sell it to the average Joe. First equipped with the old 5.4-liter V-8 and then the updated 6.2-liter V-8, the Raptor has always been a heavyweight bruiser when it came to off-road performance and muscle.

Things are changing for the Raptor – and for the better. Completely all new for 2016, the Raptor moves to the new F-150 design that incorporates the aluminum bodywork, beefy high-strength steel frame, upgraded interior, and yes, even Ford’s EcoBoost technology. That’s right, the Raptor is ditching the 6.2-liter V-8 for a high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

While some may be concerned the Raptor has lost its mojo, Ford says the new high-strung EcoBoost puts out more than the old 411-horsepower, 434-pound-foot V-8. The engine is then backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission and controlled by a new Terrain Management system and new transfer case.

Add to that the reduced weight of the V-6 and the new aluminum skin, and the Raptor tips in 500 pounds lighter that the outgoing model. While that’s not as much as the 700 pounds the standard F-150 lost, the 200-pound difference is tied up in the Raptor’s strengthened frame. Yes, strengthened beyond the newly upgraded 2015 F-150 frame.

Other improvements include a dual exhaust system that exits under the shorty rear bumper, larger FOX Racing shocks with more suspension travel, and BFGoodrich’s newly released All-Terrain K02 tires.

Update 07/25/2016: Leaked documents show the 2017 Raptor will start at $48,325 for the SuperCab and $51,310 for the SuperCrew. A slew of packages and options was also released. Check the “Price” section below for the full run-down.

Click past the jump to read more about the next Ford F-150 Raptor.

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Ford 2.7 EcoBoost Falls Short of Engine Award Due to Poor Fuel Economy

Ford 2.7 EcoBoost Falls Short of Engine Award Due to Poor Fuel Economy

Despite having “eco” in its name, the Ford F-150’s newest engine, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, did not woo Wards Auto in its yearly 10 Best Engines test simply because of fuel economy. Wards’ independent testing showed the turbocharged V-6 only averaged between 17.6 and 19 mpg over a 253-mile test loop in a 4WD supercab truck. What’s worse, checking the fuel economy manually by filling up the tank and dividing miles by gallons revealed a dismal 15.6-mpg average.

That’s a far cry from the EPA’s estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg combined and 23 mpg highway.

Adding insult to injury, Wards claims to have gotten better fuel mileage in the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8. While the author didn’t dive into details, the EPA rates the Coyote V-8 at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.

Wards had a lot of good things to say about the 2.7-liter EcoBoost, despite its poor fuel ratings, however. “This all-new F-150 pickup engine is compelling for several reasons, particularly the “hybrid” block construction that uses compacted-graphite iron for the upper part and aluminum for the bottom, as well as aluminum heads with integrated exhaust manifolds.”

Also mentioned were the fracture-split connecting rods, the variable-displacement oil pump, composite oil pan, and “smooth-functioning” start/stop system. In other words, the EcoBoost is a marvel of modern engine building. Sadly, it failed to deliver on its promise of fuel economy – at least for Wards.

While we hold in high regards the validity of the results, we have to wonder if the particular F-150 tester was having issues. We’ll reserve judgment until a broader field of trucks show the same symptoms.

Click past the jump for more information

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab SSV

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab SSV

There’s yet another police vehicle hitting the roads this summer – the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 SSV – a modified version of Chevy’s popular full-size truck. Equipped with several cop-centered features, the Silverado SSV will be well suited for Park Rangers, fire departments, and police special service vehicles (hence the SSV nomenclature).

Powering the Silverado is the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 making 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Like the civilian version, the 5.3-liter comes with GM’s three power-making, fuel saving technologies: direct injection, variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management. All told, the Silverado gets up to 23 mpg highway in two-wheel-drive configurations. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with an auxiliary oil cooler for heavy-duty hauling. Tow/Haul mode and selectable shifting are present too.

To power all the police equipment inside the cab is a 170-amp, high-capacity alternator with a massive 730 cold cranking amp battery. An extra dome light, a 110-volt outlet, and four upfitter switches are added as well. A-Pillar spot lights, wig-wag headlights, and auxiliary wiring for emergency lights in the grille are all available.

Chevy also includes a few features to keep costs down for the government agencies that buy these trucks. First is a common key set that allows one key to operate their entire fleet of Silverados and Tahoe PPV vehicles. No more lost keys or judicious labeling of key sets. GM’s new Duralife brake rotors also keep maintenance costs down over the long haul.

The Silverado SSV is available in two- or four-wheel-drive and come in Crew Cab form with either the 1WT or 1LS trim packages. Tons of aftermarket police equipment is also through third-party venders for outfitting the truck for specialized uses.

Chevy hasn’t release pricing for the Silverado SSV package, but expect costs to be more than the standard Silverado. Currently, a 1WT Crew Cab truck in 2WD costs $34,795 with no options selected.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

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2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon

2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon

Ram Trucks has just released the details and photos of its latest and greatest Power Wagon, a refreshed version of the heavy-duty, off-road champ that can handle nearly every strenuous task thrown its way. While the Power Wagon isn’t the only off-road-based truck out there today, it is certainly the only one capable of trudging deep ruts, climbing rocks, and fording 30 inches of water while hauling 1,490 pounds in its bed.

And yes, people actually do that.

While the obvious comparison is with the Ford Raptor, the trucks compete on two different playing fields. Designed as a high-speed desert runner, the Raptor is lighter and more nimble than the Ram while its suspension is designed to absorb jumps and bumps at tremendous speeds. Those Fox racing shocks work very well in those circumstances, but aren’t so great for towing or hauling.

That’s where the Power Wagon picks up. Built on the back of a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty truck, the Power Wagon has the strength of the heavy duty combined with the off-road prowess of a Jeep Wrangler. The fact both the Wrangler and Power Wagon come from the same manufacturer shouldn’t come as a surprise. They actually share some hardware – at least in concept — namely the front axle’s electronic sway bar disconnect. With the push of a button, the massive solid axle is free to twist in full flex, keeping its 33-inch tall tires on the ground no matter how severe the terrain gets.

The list of impressive hardware continues throughout the three-quarter-ton truck as the Ram powers its way through Prius’ nightmares and Raptors’ dreams. Click past the jump for the full run-down.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon.

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2008 Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin

2008 Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin

The Ford Sport Trac’s urban alter ego debuts at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, proving that Ford can deliver aftermarket attitude straight from the factory. The 2008 Sport Trac Adrenalin is a sport utility truck that combines the utility and functionality of a pickup with a bold new attitude and genuine sense of street style.

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