Pickups for 2016 are bigger and tougher
The 2016 full-size pickups offer more features, more power, more fuel choices and more communication options to increase productivity.
Filtering through earlier this year was news about model-year 2017 trucks that will be introduced later in the year. Ford’s big news is the next generation of the Super Duty work-truck range. It will be introduced with the aluminum alloy cab and pickup box that saved 700 pounds for the F-150.
However, while the all-new underpinnings add significantly to the durability of the new truck, they shave off half of that weight savings. Still, it offers a handy savings of 350 pounds. It will be the end of 2016 before it goes into production but for many, it will be worth the wait.
And there are diesels in the picture at the lighter end of the full size trucks. Ram (Dodge) continues to offer the 3.0L diesel, which has become very popular in the 1500 model for its 29 highway mpg. Now it’s seeing new competition from Nissan with the Titan XD, already available at dealers. This is the first of an all-new Titan range but the added excitement here is its 5.0L Cummins ISV-5 V-8 diesel.
There’s also a lot happening with mid-sized pickups. As the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon gain momentum, enters strong competition from an all-new Toyota Tacoma. Even the Honda Ridgeline is new after a two-year hiatus. By fall, there will be a 2.8L diesel option for the GM compacts, upping the ante with a promised 32-mpg highway rating.
Ford F-150 and Super Duty pickups
The 2016 Ford F-150, part of Ford F-Series and America’s best-selling truck for 38 years, continues to evolve with addition of revolutionary towing technology, new appearance packages, Ford’s connectivity package Sync 3 and an alternative fuel capability. For the full story, click here.
The 2017 Super Duty has been announced but it will not be available until the end of 2016. Significantly different from the 2016, it gets the aluminum cab that was first announced several years ago for the F-150.
It also gets a boxed heavier-duty frame and bigger axles and brakes than previous Super Duty models, so where the F-150 slimmed down by 700 pounds with the use of the lightweight material, the Super Duty will only be 350 pounds lighter, but it’s all in the right direction, improving fuel economy or increasing payload and trailer capability. For more, click here.
Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups
New front-end designs with a bolder, more sculpted appearance differentiate the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra from previous models. And there’s a new grille design for base model, Elevation, SLE, SLT, All Terrain and Sierra Denali
For 2016, the big GM pickups now feature digital steering assist power steering on some double cab and crew cab models to add stability when trailering or heavy hauling. There’s also a new gooseneck/5th wheel trailering package, with a spray-in bed liner that equips these models to tow larger trailers right from the factory.
Now available, it features a frame-mounted hitch platform and tray that accommodates a gooseneck ball hitch or 5th wheel hitch mounting brackets, as well as a cargo bed-mounted trailer harness. For more, click here.
The 2016 RAM 1500 is the current fuel economy leader with its 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine offering 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and 29 mpg highway. It is mated to the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission.
Together, the powertrain system delivers a combination of fuel efficiency and towing capability of up to 9,200 pounds. The 5.7L Hemi V-8 is standard. For more on the Ram 1500, click here.
RAM HD pickups
RAM 2500 and 3500 offer gooseneck or 5th wheel capability, an in-box connection junction and a standard Class 5 receiver hitch with a four- and seven-pin connector on the bumper.
Two dual alternator systems on the heavy-duty pickups, providing additional power for higher electrical loads from commercial vehicle up-fits and accessories. RAM Heavy Duty models equipped with the Cummins 6.7L diesel engine offer dual 220-amp alternators. Both the RAM 2500 and 3500 equipped with the new 6.4L Hemi V-8 gas engine also offer a dual-alternator that combines 220- and 160-amp units.
For more, click here.
The big introduction for the all-new Titan pickups was January with the diesel-powered Titan XD. Gasoline models were available mid-year. The XD features a new cab and the unique Cummins ISV-5 diesel.
The 5.0L V-8 in the Titan gets the Turbo Diesel badging with the engine rated 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. The truck entered production at the end of 2015. For the full story, click here.
The Toyota Tundra has grown into a true full-size pickup. Redone for the 2014 model year, it was further improved for 2015, including standard V-8 power across the board, a new TRD Pro model with special off-road suspension and an available spray-in bed liner. For the full story, click here.
The mid-size pickups
In the mid-size pickup field there are two new offerings, the all-new Toyota Tacoma and the smaller, lighter car-like Honda Ridgeline. For the full story, click here.
New for 2016, the Toyota Tacoma features high strength steel to enhance rigidity and strength. Ultra-high strength steel was integrated into the body shell using a new hot stamping process that reduces weight.
EPA estimated city/highway/combined mpg for the 4×2 with an automatic transmission is 19/23/21. Estimated fuel efficiency for the 4×4 with a manual transmission is 19/21/20 and 19/22/20 for the automatic.
The Honda Ridgeline follows closely the unique car-like package of the previous model, while introducing a more modern, comfortable and connected pickup targeted at the customer who needs an occasional-use truck without spending the sum that pickups lately command.
It’s based on a unibody design yet has all the practicality of a midsized conventional body-on-frame truck like the Colorado/Canyon pair from GM or the Tacoma or Frontier. It is closer in concept to the long-past El Camino and Ranchero, except it has 4/5 seating and four doors. And it’s a well-appointed 2017 pickup instead of a mid-‘80s model.
−By Steve Sturgess, stevesturgess.com