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New pickups steal the show in Detroit

Jan. 16, 2015
Other than, maybe, a long-nosed highway tractor, nothing says USA to the world like a pickup truck. And, like their medium- and heavy-duty cousins, pickups evolve to suit the times. Style counts – but it doesn’t pay the bills. A good truck, for an American Trucker, has to do the job it’s built and bought for.
Other than, maybe, a long-nosed highway tractor, nothing says USA to the world like a pickup truck. And, like their medium- and heavy-duty cousins, pickups evolve to suit the times. Style counts – but it doesn’t pay the bills. A good truck, for an American Trucker, has to do the job it’s built and bought for. So, without further ado, let’s review the latest wave of innovation in the small truck marketplace as presented at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit.Ram
The 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel is a new off-road package that will be added to Ram Truck’s full-size pickup lineup in the second half of this year. The Ram 1500 Rebel features: a one inch raised ride height for improved off-road approach, departure and break-over angles; Bilstein supplied front and rear shocks with unique tuning; a new steering calibration; a softer rear stabilizer bar for improved dynamics; and new specialty 33-inch LT285/70R17E Toyo Open Country A/T all-terrain tires mounted to the all-new 17-inch silver and black cast aluminum wheels. “Offering an off-road-style package on the Ram 1500 has been on our to-do list for some time but the right combination didn’t present itself until now,” noted Bob Hegbloom, president and CEO of the Ram Truck division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC. “The Rebel drops right into a core segment of the truck market.” The 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel will be available exclusively as a crew cab model with 5-ft. 7-in. bed length in 4x2 or 4x4 configurations. Both the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, generating 305 hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque, and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 cranking out 395 hp and 410 lb.-ft. of torque engines will be offered, connected to Ram’s TorqueFlite 8 eight-speed automatic transmission. A video of the Rebel reveal at the Detroit show is here.Nissan
Nissan took the wraps off its long-awaited 2016 Titan XD full-sized pickup: touted not only to be the first of a new line of Titan models but also of what Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s president and CEO, called its “commitment” to “localized” production. Powered by an all-new Cummins 5.-liter V8 turbocharged diesel engine cranking out 310 hp and 555 lb.-ft. of torque, the 2016 Titan XD Crew Cab will be the first of three cab configurations, two frame sizes, three powertrain offerings and five grade levels to be available later for the entire 2016 Titan model lineup, Ghosn noted. "With the 2016 Nissan Titan XD, we aren't just going for 'best-in-class.' Instead, we are offering the 'Best New Class,’” Ghosn pointed out. “The Titan offers the effortless towing and hauling of the larger, more expensive heavy-duty trucks yet has the fuel-efficiency and affordability of half-ton pickups.” [To view a gallery of Titan XD photos, click here.]Toyota
Redesigned from the ground up, Toyota’s all-new 2016 midsize Tacoma pickup is going to feature a new V6 gasoline engine option that the OEM touts will provide more power while sipping less fuel. “This truck is a bad ass,” said Bill Fay, group VP and GM for Toyota’s U.S. division, during the Tacoma’s unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. “The new Tacoma will be powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and an all-new 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, featuring both direct and port fuel injection,” he added. Primary development of the 2016 Tacoma took place at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, MI, the OEM said, where engineers added high-strength steel to the pickup’s frame to enhance rigidity and overall strength, with ultra-high strength steel integrated into the body shell using a new hot stamping process to reduce weight. Toyota added that new 2016 Tacoma will be offered in five grades in both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations and should be available in dealerships by late summer this year. [To view a gallery of Tacoma photos, click here.]Hyundai 
Hyundai Motor America recently showed off its Santa Cruz crossover truck conceptbased off what the OEM called “extensive customer research,” particularly with vehicle buyers under the age of 30 – especially women. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine that cranks out 190 hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque, with highway fuel economy estimated to be in the high 30 mpg range, Hyundai explained that the Santa Cruz is designed to pack the capability of both a crossover and pickup onto a small sport utility vehicle (SUV) frame. Designed to offer what Hyundai calls “comfortable seating” for five inside, the cargo bed features a unique tailgate extension features so it can be extended to a length nearly equal to that of a mid-size pickup. Hyundai stressed though that the Santa Cruz, by design, isn’t an alternative to a truck, so towing, payload and ground clearance weren’t primary design goals. Rather, Santa Cruz is intended to attract small SUV and sedan buyers who are seeking greater utility, without the compromises that traditional trucks often require. [To view a gallery of Santa Cruz photos, click here.]Ford But wait, where’s the best-selling truck in the world? Well, F-150 fans, as you’ll recall the new all-aluminum 2015 Ford F-150 was the star of last year’s Detroit show – and our #1 ranked gallery for 2014 as well. So, for those of you who can’t enough, here’s a re-view. For plenty more new light-duty vehicle coverage, visit American Trucker’s old friend Sean Kilcarr over on the Fleet Owner side of the web.

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