2017 Pickup Trucks for Pros
Comfort and safety add to pickup practicality
By Steve Sturgess
More features have made working pickup trucks for pros that double as recreational vehicles when off duty more attractive than ever. There’s big news in driver-assist safety features, such as lane keeping and collision avoidance.
With the available 3.0 V6 EcoDiesel engine, the Ram 1500 is the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup at 29 mpg among the best pickup trucks for pros. It is also a good ride, thanks to link coil suspension with the option of four-corner air suspension. Fuel-saving features include a standard eight-speed transmission.
The engine lineup has the EcoDiesel with 240 hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, a 3.6-L Pentastar V-6 at 305 hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque and 25 mpg, and the 5.7-L HEMI V-8 with variable-valve timing (VVT), giving 395 hp and 410 lb.-ft. of torque, providing up to 22 mpg.
New for the sporty Ram 1500 Rebel are standard features that include Ram’s Uconnect 8.4 media hub, automatic dual-zone temperature control, premium gauge cluster, anti-spin differential, security alarm, remote start and rear backup camera.
Ram 2500, 3500
Ram’s heavier duty 2500 and 3500 line adds the Power Wagon and Ram 2500 4×4 Off-road Package to the best pickup trucks for pros list. The Power Wagon design includes new interior, wheels and grille. The 4×4 Off-road Package features a list of essential components available on 2500 Crew and Mega Cab 4×4 models that include hill-descent control, tow hooks, transfer case skid plate, Bilstein shocks, limited slip differential 18- or optional 20-inch off-road tires, and wheel flares.
Standard 6.4-L HEMI is on Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Limited trims. Bilstein shocks are standard on Laramie Longhorn and Limited 4×4 models.
For 2017, Ram continues with 31,210 pounds of towing, 7,390 pounds of payload and 900 lb.-ft. of torque on the Ram 3500 with Cummins 6.7 diesel. The 2500 can haul up to 17,980 pounds and has a payload up to 7,390 pounds.
The Ram Power Wagon comes standard with the 6.4-L HEMI V-8 engine and unique suspension. Engine options for the heavy-duty Ram pickups are 5.7-L HEMI V-8 engine delivering 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, 6.4-L HEMI V-8 with 410 hp at 5,600 rpm and 429 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm and has VVT and cylinder deactivation for economy.
Ford introduced new front and rear styling for the new F-150 and anti-collision advanced technologies. Engines are improved as well. The new line-up includes an all-new 3.0-L Power Stroke V6 turbo diesel and enhanced V6 and V8 gas engines.
From XL to top-of-the-line Limited, all Ford F-150 models receive new grilles, headlamps and bumpers. A sculpted tailgate and stamped “F-150” are flanked by new tail lamp designs.
F-150 has a standard 3.3-L V6 engine offering the same 282 hp and 253 lb.-ft. of torque as the previous 3.5-L V6. The diesel and the EcoBoost engines are paired with a 10-speed transmission.
The 5.0-L V8 features increased power and torque. It’s also paired with the 10-speed automatic transmission for the first time.
Ford Super Duty F250, F350, F-450
With last year’s major redesign, the 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty has the military-grade aluminum alloy and high-strength steel cab that reduces weight up to 350 pounds. Weight savings are invested into more robust components that provide more towing and hauling capability. The all-new, fully boxed frame is up to 24 times stiffer than the previous frame.
Among the best pickup trucks for pros, the F-450 SuperCrew 4×4 truck now features maximum gooseneck towing of 32,500 pounds. Maximum fifth-wheel towing increases to 27,500. The gross combined weight rating for F-450 Super Duty is 41,800 pounds. Maximum conventional towing increases to 21,000 pounds without the need for a weight-distributing hitch. Maximum conventional towing for F-250 with all-new trailer tow package and single-rear-wheel F-350 increases to 18,000 pounds.
Super Duty offers adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support for heavy trailers. F-350 delivers maximum gooseneck towing capacity of 32,000 pounds, fifth-wheel towing capacity of 27,500 pounds and a gross combined weight rating of up to 40,000 pounds.
Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500
New for 2017 is the standard Teen Driver feature. It enables parents to view the vehicle’s maximum speed, distance driven and the number of times active safety features are engaged. Low-speed forward automatic braking is added to the available Driver Alert Package. Fuel fill is now capless.
Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 ranges include regular cab, double cab and crew cab, all offered with 4WD.
Silverado trim levels include: WT and LS available on all cabs; Custom on the double cab – 1LT available on all three cab styles and configurations and 2LT is available only with 4WD; LTZ – 1LZ offered in 2WD and 4WD; and 2LZ offered in 4WD only; and High Country only on the crew cab.
The line-up is simpler at GMC with a base model, SLE, SLT and Denali – with regular cab offered only in standard and SLE trims; and Denali offered exclusively as a crew cab.
Regular cab models are offered with a 6-foot 6-inch box or an 8-foot box. Double cab models are available exclusively with the 6-foot 6-inch box, while crew cabs are available with a 5-foot 8-inch box or the 6-foot 6-inch box. Silverado High Country is the top-end model and is offered exclusively in the crew cab body, with the 5-foot 8-inch or 6-foot 6-inch cargo box, with 2WD or 4WD.
GMC Sierra 2500HD, 3500HD
The Chevy and GMC 2500 and 3500 HDs have many of the same new features as the 1500s with the addition of the Alaskan Edition from Chevrolet, which includes the snowplow prep package.
A new Duramax 6.6-L turbo-diesel V-8 engine with 445 hp features integrated cruise control, auto grade braking and diesel exhaust braking. Digital Steering Assist enables easier handling and maneuverability. There’s also an available gooseneck/fifth wheel trailering prep package. GMC now offers an All-Terrain X HD package on SLT.
Regular, double cab and crew cab models are offered across the lineup with the same combinations of cab and box as the Silverado HDs. GMC Trim levels include Sierra, SLE, SLT and Sierra
Denali. Sierra Denali is offered exclusively as a crew cab. Sierra All Terrain HD premium off-road package is offered on SLT crew cab 4WD models.
Nissan Titan XD
The all-new Nissan Titan XD – eXtreme Duty – was launched in 2016 to fit between traditional mid-size and full-size pickups. It has the standard Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine. The XD offers the towing and hauling capability of full-size trucks – maximum towing capacity of 12,640 pounds and maximum payload capacity of 2,420 pounds – with fuel-efficiency and affordability closer to a mid-size pickup. The diesel was later joined by Nissan’s gasoline 5.6-L Endurance V8.
For the 2017 model year, Titan XD continues with a new single cab joining the earlier crew cab design. And a king cab body configuration is due spring 2017. Enhancements for 2017 include five new option packages – the Heavy-Duty front axle, Leather package, Texas package, Chrome package and Platinum Reserve bed utility package.
Helping handle the power and torque of the Cummins engine is a heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin automatic. The 5.6-L gas engine is backed by a Nissan 7-speed transmission and is rated 390 hp and 394 ft.-lbs. of torque.
Titan XDs with the 5.0L Cummins diesel have a maximum payload of 2,420 pounds and a maximum towing rating of 12,640 pounds. Equipped with the 5.6L Endurance gasoline V8, the maximum payload is rated at 2,910 pounds and has a maximum towing rating of 11,590 pounds.
The new half-ton model introduced mid 2016 is available in crew cab and single cab models. A new king cab joins the line-up soon. The 390-hp 5.6-L Endurance V8 gasoline engine is standard, along with 7-speed automatic transmission. A new V6 will follow later.
Titan crew cab is offered in five grade levels: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve, while the single cab is available in S and SV grades. The Titan single cab is designed to provide an affordable and rugged entry-point in the commercial fleet/work truck market. The new king cab will be available in S, SV and PRO-4X grades.
Titan 4×4 models feature hill descent control, hill start assist, and electronic locking limited-slip differential. PRO-4X models feature Bilstein off-road shocks.
In addition to a new TRD Sport grade, Tundra gets new styling, convenience and safety features for all 2018 models. The new Tundra TRD Sport is available on 4×4 and 4×2 grades in CrewMax and double cab configurations and is powered by the 381-hp 5.7-L i-Force V8 engine.
The TRD Sport is just part of an overall refresh for the 2018 Tundra. Safety is enhanced on all Tundra models with the addition of Toyota Safety Sense as standard equipment. This active safety suite bundles a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, auto high beams and adaptive cruise control.
For 2017, the Tundra comes standard with the 4.6L i-Force V8 with 310 hp and 327 lb.-ft. of torque. The 5.7L i-Force V8 is rated at 381 hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. It is offered in both gasoline and Flex Fuel models. Both V8s come teamed with a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, with 4WD optional. Towing capacity is 10,500 pounds.
Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon
The 3.6L V-6 is paired with the 8L45 eight-speed automatic transmission on both models. They also have a new optional 2.8-L Duramax diesel that offers the mid-sized pickups’ top fuel economy of 30 mpg. An exhaust brake with the Duramax enhances control. A trailer brake controller is now available with the 3.6L V-6.
Cab and bed configurations include an extended cab with a 6-foot 2-inch bed, a crew cab with a 5-foot 6-inch or a 6-foot 2-inch bed. With the tailgate down, the longer bed allows hauling of 8-foot-long items. Colorado is offered in Work Truck (WT), LT and Z71 models.
Standard CornerStep rear bumper and locking EZ lift-and-lower tailgate ease loading. Inside the bed is two-tier loading that allows for a platform. There are 13 tie-down locations throughout the bed.
StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, trailer sway control and hill-start assist are standard, as is the rear-vision camera. LT models have available forward collision alert and lane departure warning.
The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is the second generation of Honda’s innovative midsize pickup truck. It is a rugged mid-size pickup with a large cab, a higher level of dynamic performance and robust cargo-hauling and towing capabilities, including a maximum 1,584-pound payload capacity and up to 5,000-pound towing.
A more powerful and efficient direct-injected 3.5-L i-VTEC V-6 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission with wider ratio spread, and available new Intelligent Variable Torque Management torque-vectoring all-wheel drive mean good fuel economy and all-weather traction.
The 2017 Nissan Frontier features two available engines: 4.0-L DOHC V6 engine rated at 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque, or a 152-hp 2.5-L inline 4-cylinder engine (king cab only) – mated to either a 5-speed manual (I4), 6-speed manual (V6) or 5-speed automatic transmission.
Cabs are king cab or crew cab body styles and a choice of two bed lengths equipped with available Utili-track Channel System, locking tailgate and cargo bed light. All are available in two or four-wheel drive.
Enhancements for 2017 include the addition of a new S Work Truck Package with spray-in bedliner, bed rail caps, splash guards and rubber floor mats. Frontier S grade now features a body-color rear bumper. Long bed models are available with Frontier crew cab SV and crew cab SL.
For 2017, the mid-size Tacoma gets an extra-rugged off-road in the TRD Pro that adds to the new generation Tacoma introduced last year. In addition to the TRD Pro, the 2017 Tacoma gets revised amenity packages for SR5 models.
Tacoma has two available powertrains. Its entry-level 2.7-L DOHC four-cylinder with VVT-i produces 159 hp and 180 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Optional is the Atkinson-cycle 3.5-L V6 with VVT-iW technology. Along with its 278 hp, the V6 makes 265 lb.-ft. of peak torque.
The engines can be backed by a six-speed automatic or a manual transmission (six-speed for V6; five-speed for I4). When equipped with an optional V6 Tow Package, the Tacoma can pull up to 6,800 lbs.
The 2017 Tacoma is available in 31 models based on two cab types, the extended access cab and four-door double cab, each available in 4×2 or 4×4 configurations. The truck is available as work-ready SR, value SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, top-of-the-line Limited and ultimate off-road TRD Pro.
The access cab models have a 73.7-inch-long bed. The double cab is offered in two versions: the 60.5-inch bed or the 73.7-inch bed. The bed deck features two-tier loading and an integrated deck-rail utility system with four standard adjustable tie-down cleats.
Truck Box Trends
Perhaps the most important accessory to your work truck is what will eventually become the center of your universe: the truck box. Choosing a truck box is an important decision, so research the different available options, and find the best fit for your rolling office. Following are a few of the latest and greatest on the market.
Delta Champion 70 in. Aluminum Single Lid Full Size Crossover Tool Box with Gear Lock
The Champion 70 in. Aluminum Single Lid Full Size Crossover Tool Box with Gear Lock features an RSL Lid Design, which has an outer shell, an insulating middle layer, and a reverse beveled-edge lid liner. The combination of these three layers creates a strong, rigid aluminum lid. Delta Champion features a high-strength body with wide top rails and self-aligning hoop lid strikers that lock the lid down tight for improved security. An off-set gas spring lid lift allows easy access from the driver’s side as well. www.homedepot.com
Husky 70 in. Topsider Black Low-Profile Truck Box
The Husky 70 in. Topsider Black Low-Profile Truck Box is designed to fit full-sized trucks. It offers maximum rear-window visibility and complements today’s sleek truck designs. The paint is electro-statically applied to maximize the resistance against abrasion and corrosion. It has stainless-steel pulls, locking handles and automotive-grade weather stripping. The truck box also has a long-lasting, gloss black powder coat finish. www.homedepot.com
WEATHER GUARD New Defender Series
WEATHER GUARD’s Defender Series is designed specifically for professional-level protection. Compatible with any storage need, the Defender Series is now available with more than 20 products across five categories, including Saddle and Cross Boxes, All-Purpose Chests, Lo-Side and Hi-Side boxes. Push-button locks, a reinforced front panel and two dual-stage rotary latches with looped strikers add security. Additional product highlights include multiple styles and colors, weather resistance, gas strut support and sleeves, a plastic storage tray, a no-drill mounting kit, and a seven-year warranty. www.weatherguard.com