Showing posts with label 2011 Truck Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2011 Truck Design. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chevy Vs Ford: Who Has The Best Truck Brand?

 Every truck owner in the U.S. has their preference of which brand they would drive, and no brands are more competitive with each other than Ford and Chevrolet. For years Ford has put out hundreds of thousands of trucks that are used as family vehicles, work trucks, and emergency services vehicles. They have had a history of producing both cost efficient and comfortable lines and options all in between to satisfy a wide range of consumers.

Chevrolet has developed a brand with a reputation of highly dependable, comfortable rides that can last for many miles. Although they have not always been as competitive with Ford's low prices as they are today, Chevrolet now competes strongly for emergency vehicles and fleet options. If you do not have a preference between the two of these brands, you have never driven either or do not care to drive a pickup truck.

GM Midsize Trucks: GMC Canyon And Chevy Colorodo

The design of both GM and Isuzu, the Chevy Coloroda/GMC Canyon began production in 2004 to replace the S-10/Sonoma. Although the truck is not large, in looks and size it is a step up from the old S-10, and you can definitely see the Isuzu influences in the design, if not, just look at one parked by a Isuzu D-Max which began production 2 years prior to the joint venture.

The Colorodo has a bit more height to the cab, causing the larger look, than the S-10, and compares well with other small to midsize trucks on the market today in size and power. The truck has options for a 4 cylinder, 5 cylinder, and the 5.3 L v8 that is the main powerplant for the larger Silverado. Fuel efficiency for the platform is close to the top of the field in each of the sizes of engines, so even though there is plenty of strength under the hood, your wallet won't sacrifice.

Ford Ranger, Ford's Small Package

Although the Ford Ranger has ceased as a U.S. Ford product, their are still many 2011 Rangers on the market. Ford ceased its production of the Ranger in the U.S. in December of 2011 after 29 years of production of the small pickup truck. Though the Ranger was never known for comfort or a smooth ride, it was, however, known for dependability and utility.

Ford is still producing the Ranger in Australia, although their newest version is a larger Ranger, much more comparable to the Chevy Colorodo or Toyota's Tacoma line. It is understandable that Ford decided to drop the current Ranger from its American line, considering lower sales in small trucks as half-ton trucks have risen in mileage, and they have joined Dodge in dropping the smaller end of their pickup line.

It will be interesting to see, when the U.S. truck market and auto market in general begin to rebound, if Ford will incorporate the flashy new Australian Ford Ranger design into its American Ford Truck brand.

Chevy Silverado / GMC Sierra, The GM Pick Up Flagships

The underlying design of the current Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra has been in production since the 2007 model was released and met with the North American Truck Of The Year and Motortrend's Truck Of The Year awards. Although the basic shape has stayed the same since the initial model, these trucks have incorporated some recent changes that have definitely strengthened the Silverado/Sierra brand.

First, the trucks now come with more packages that offer the 6 speed transmission which translates into higher fuel efficiency. Eventually, as 4 speed transmission are phased out, all of the full size GM trucks will have the 6 speed transmission, mostly to help reach the new cafe standards.

Second, the truck line is phasing out the 6.0 L V8 and replacing it with a 403 Hp 6.2 L V8. This engine, along with the standard 5.3 L, come with a "Cruise Grade Braking" option (Jake Brake) which downshifts the engine to assist with slowing so brakes are not overused.

Some other new options include a WiFi hotspot option which reaches 150 ft from the truck, mobile apps that can link your cell phone to your truck via On-Star, and Bluetooth options that allow you to answer and end phone calls without touching your smartphone. The new Silverado/Sierra truly has every toy you could think of. Some future options for this truck are rumored to include an option for a built in air compressor built into the rear of the truck, and side rails that actually lower down from the body when the truck is placed in park. What will they think of next?

F150, Ford's Bread And Butter

Beginning with the F-1 in 1948, the F series pickup truck has provided versatility and utility to Americans and Canadians alike for well over 60 years. What quickly became known as the F-100 was replaced by the F-150 as the half ton model and the main seller for the F series in the late 1970's. The F-150 is currently the best selling truck when the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra sales are not added together, and it was once the most sold vehicle in the U.S. for 24 years.

The new F-150 has a stronger looking front end to make it closer to the design of the Ford Super Duty trucks. In 2011, the F-150 was given a small cosmetic change which carries over to the 2012 model, including a new grill, a more muscular hood design, and the addition of some more modern designs on the tailgate of the truck. The interiors are similar to the last few F-150's with a few small changes, including more packages with Ford's Sync system available.

The engine changes are some of the best that Ford has made to the F-150 in recent years. With the addition in 2011 of the 365 hp V6 Ecoboost and a relatively new 6 speed transmission that has Ford trucks at tied for the top in full size truck fuel efficiency. With a 411 hp 6.2L V8 also available, Ford has the horsepower competition pretty much in hand.

Although Ford has upped its warranty from the old 36/month 36,000 mile to a more competitive 60/month 60,000 mile warranty they still are behind the new standard of 60/month 100,000 miles. I mean, how many people are going to buy a truck that is as fun to drive and use as the 2012 F150 and only average 10,000 miles a year?

Chevy And GMC HD Trucks

After being totally redesigned for their 2007 models, the GMC Sierra HD and the Chevy Silverado HD quickly became a replacement for the Ford SuperDuty in many ambulance services as well as in work truck roles around the country. The move was largely due to the dissatisfaction with Fords 6.4 L Powerstroke Diesel which had plenty of problems. Whether or not the GM HD brand will maintain its new strength in the HD market is hard to know, considering the early reviews on Fords new 5.7 L Powerstroke seem to be great.

The current model of GM HD trucks has been given a heavier frame, a safer cab with more side protection, and more capability with best in class towing and only 3 Hp less than the Ford SuperDuty. With few changes from their JD Power Truck of the Year model in 2011, the 2012 is definitely pleasing to both sit in and drive.

Ford Super Duty Trucks

With a newly updated exterior from last years model, the 2012 line of Super Duty Ford trucks are bigger and better than ever before. These 2012 Super Duty Fords also include a larger diesel option, increased from the 6.4L Powerstroke to the 6.7L Powerstroke Diesel V8. They also upped the available size gas engine, from the 5.4 Triton V8 that is in most of the F-150's to the 6.2L "Boss" V8 engine.

Besides the bulkier and stronger looking exterior and the definitely stronger engines, the new Super Duty can carry more while burning less fuel than ever before. The fact that the F-250 or F-350 can pull over 8 tons with 400 horsepower and do so with less fuel is amazing. The somewhat recent addition of Ford's Sync system also adds even more creature comfort to one of the largest cabs in the truck market.

 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ecoboost, Take A Second Look!

For those of you who have discussions with friends about who has the best truck, which is strongest, or which truck has the most room, Ford's new Ecoboost line of engines changes the whole conversation. First produced in 2009 for several 2010 models, the Ecoboost engine brings a smaller engine block that packs a double punch of higher horsepower and better fuel mileage.

Although it was initially in a couple of Lincoln concept cars in 2007-2008, it began production as a v6 made in Cleveland, Ohio. Now the Ecoboost line of engines includes a 1.6 L I4, a 2.0 L I4, and the original v6. It soon will include a 1.0 L 3 cylinder engine and a v8 500 hp power plant. In each model, the Ecoboost engine includes turbochargers for more power, and fuel injection changes that allow the engine to consume more air and less fuel.

The Ecoboost engine currently is available in a few different sizes. The smalles version, the 1.6L I4, is an in line 4 cylender with 1596cc of displacement that offers 150 to 182 horsepower depending on the setup. The other 4 cylender, the 2.0L I4, has a 1999cc displacement and offers203 - 240 hp.

The larger engine that is currently available, the Ford Ecoboost v6, is built from the old Duratec 35 engine block. Originally these engines put out up to 285 hp, but with the new Ecoboost package they pack a punch with 365 hp available.

An area in which Ford has needed to progress to compete with other makes has been fuel economy. In the past, Ford has had plenty of horsepower, but has not had a decent fuel economy to go along with it. That has changed.

The new Ecoboost engines, in each size, rank at or near the top in fuel economy in each of the models in which they are placed. In the Fiesta, the 1.6 L gets up to 40 mpg. The Focus, with the 2.0L I4, also gets up to 40 mpg. And the Ford F150 Ecoboost fuel economy is definitely respectable at 22 mpg.

Each of the Ecoboost engines come with turbos to increase their power output. Due to the smaller size, and a desire to not give up power while achieving better fuel efficiency, Ford has included Turbochargers on all of the Ecoboost engines and in some cases it has added two turbochargers.

The I4 engines, both the 1.6L and the 2.0L, each have one turbocharger. These turbos are made by Borg Warner, an award winning U.S. company that makes powertrain parts and was founded in 1928. The 1.6L Ecoboost uses the Borg Warner KP39 Turbo and the 2.0L uses the larger K03 Turbo.

The 3.5L V6 has twin turbochargers, however. It uses the Garrett GT15 turbo manufactured by Honeywell. These turbos can add over 100hp to an engine which is why this V6 can be used in both full size trucks and in sports cars.

Although the Ecoboost engine has largely been publicized as an available engine for the F150 and the Mustang, the line has made its way as an option in most of the current Ford models. The V6 is available in the F150, Mustang, Explorer, Flex, Taurus, and certain Lincoln models.

The I4 1.6L is offered as an option on the Focus currently, but will soon be offered on the Fiesta and is also offered in the European Ford's: the C-Max and the Volvo S60. The 2.0L I4 is currently offered on the Edge and Explorer, but will soon be found in the Focus, the Taurus, and some Range Rover models.

Monday, November 28, 2011

An American Half Ton Truck Comparison

Every year, America's truck makers sell 2-3 million half ton and larger trucks in the United States. The top seller, depending on which numbers you use, is always Ford. While numbers show that Ford has a good product, it does not necessarily mean they have the best product. Many truck buyers have certain aspects they look at to decide: handling, power, comfortability, and more.

The following is a look at how each make measures up in the areas of power, comfortability, design, durability and price.

Each of the 3 major 2012 trucks have engine packages available with big horsepower, and along with it, hefty torque. However, to match the Chevy's improved gas mileage in its 5.3 L V8, you have to go to Ford's EcoBoost 3.5L V6. That's right, V6. The V6 version of the new Ecoboost line of Ford engines gets more horsepower than Chevy's 5.3 L V8, but I'm afraid the only thing harder than convincing truck buyers to buy a V6 for fuel efficiency would be convincing them that this new V6 will be able to produce 365 HP for more than 100,000 miles. The Ecoboost line has been in production for a few years now, but it will take a while to convince most truck buyers that it can handle the abuse needed. Past deisel truck owners may have less trouble believing, however, as Cummins has been providing Dodge with V6 deisel engines for years.

The Dodge trucks offer good horsepower, but they continue to produce gas guzzeling hogs that seem to automatically put their turn signal on for every gas station. With a rumored addition of a 6 speed transmission in 2012, Dodge could finally begin to close the fuel mileage gap on Chevrolet.

Nobody wants to ride around in an uncomfortable truck, and, to be honest, most of the trucks from the early '90s and older would be considered extremely stiff and uncomfortable compared to the trucks of today. All three have made changes in recent years to improve on interior space, ride, and amenities inside the cab. For the models that I compared, crew cab XLT, LT, or SLT, there were few differences in dimensions, but a couple did stick out. The Dodge and Chevy have a couple more inches in front and rear hip room than the Ford, but Ford more than makes up for it with 4 and 5 more inches of rear leg room than the Dodge and Chevy respectively.

In the past few years, many changes have come in Pickup Truck Design. From large grille, hood, and fender areas, to built-in tool boxes and steps, these are not your father's pickup trucks! For the most part these design changes have been for the good, although, larger trucks do mean it is harder to get in and out. Size can be adjusted for with some great truck accessories like side steps or running boards.

Design is one area in which I see Dodge as having made great strides. With their re-worked front end, larger cabs, and new amenities, such as the built in toolboxes over the rear wheels, which they make make standard in 2012, Dodge has really tried to capture the imagination of the truck buyer. Dodge has once again made their work trucks an asset to their owners.

Ford and Chevy seem to have focused their changes on style of the front end and beefing up their frames and suspension. Ford has included their built in tailgate step which was needed to reach into their deep bed. Chevy has, on the other hand, made some needed changes to interior design to give more head room.

I have three concerns in the area of durability.  First, although it is definitely too early to truly judge the durability of these models, there have already been several recalls involving both the Dodge Ram and F-150. Most of these are due to electrical problems that are mostly cautionary, one for the Ram is for rear axle issues for trucks with manual transmissions.

Second, the F-150 seems to be placing its future in its new EcoBoost V6 due to its need to keep up with Chevy on fuel economy. Even though this engine is focused on better gas mileage, there will certainly be some light truck tires worn out by its power. While the V6 could very well be the best new engine out of Detroit, I have serious doubts about putting long term trust in a 3.6 L V6 to pull and carry heavy loads. Only time will tell. For those of you that have tried this engine out, be advised, there is rumor that Ford is working on a V8 version of the engine that, if able to compare in economy, could be an amazing package.

Third, the manufacturer's power train warranty makes the above distrust more profound. The Ford power train warranty of 5 yr/60,000 miles continues to lag behind those of Dodge and Chevy whose warranties are 5 yr/100,000 miles. If Ford wants buyers to feel comfortable buying their new EcoBoost V6 they should beef up their warranty to show how much they trust their handiwork.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Eight Ball, Side Pocket...

For those who liked the debut of the Dodge side-rail toolbox, more may be to come.  Word is that the 2012 Dodge will have side-rail toolboxes standard on all Dodge trucks, or at least have them as an option on all truck packages.

This change follows the recent surge in truck makers adding resourcefullness to their trucks.  Recently Ford added steps built into the side of the truck and the tailgate.  These new steps are long needed due to the depth that Ford added to their truck beds a few years ago.  Before adding these steps reaching something in the bottom of the truck bed from beside the truck was nearly impossible while stepping up to the tailgate with a raised bed on a Super Duty has always been a chore to say the least.

The Dodge side-rail toolbox gives the owner the ability to have a small toolbox space without giving up bedspace, adding more bed weight with a big box, and puts it all within easy reach from the side of the truck.  With Dodge Ram trailing the field in overall truck sales, Dodge should use this platform and become the "innovative" truck maker, adding some more needed extras to their trucks.

Some other options that may be available soon on trucks are power receptacles at the rear of the truck bed and a stow away air compressor and hose built into the side of the truck bed.  Both of these new options have been seen on some Chevrolet show models.  Anyone else have any ideas about some needed new options?