Showing posts with label Chevrolet Trucks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chevrolet Trucks. Show all posts

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2014 Truck Comparison: Truck Towing and Room

So now that we are sufficiently knowledgeable about how strong the 2014 full size trucks are, lets see  how much they can haul, both inside and behind it.  Even the strongest struck is not much good if it can't carry a load or if it is a pain to ride in due to lack of room.

Many of the gains in truck amenities over the past two decades has come in the addition of room and in the addition of towing capacity.  Trucks have become large family vehicles in many cases and can haul more weight than most people need.

So lets take a look at who has the most room inside and just how much they can haul and pull.  You will want to note, all towing capacities and hauling capacities depend on which package you buy, including cab size, engine size, 2WD/4WD, and more.  For the purposes of this comparison, we will be using the best numbers for each make reported from their own websites.

First, lets all agree that a "half ton truck" does not carry just a half ton.  With enhanced suspension and stronger frames, these trucks do much more.  Here are the maximum hauling capacities:

                 Ford                          3,120 lbs
                 Chevy                       2,101 lbs
                 Toyota                      2,040 lbs
                 Ram                          1,910 lbs

Notice that Ford is well beyond the other three.  Chevy, Toyota and Ram are all within a couple hundred pounds of each other, but Ford is a half ton more in capacity.  Impressive.

Next, the Towing Capacities:

                 Chevy                      12,000 lbs
                 Ford                         11,300 lbs
                 Toyota                     10,500 lbs
                 Ram                         10,450 lbs
                
These weights are fairly close, but one should note that with all of the changes and improvements made by Dodge over the past few years, their hauling and towing capacities have a bit further to go.  Although, their top fuel efficiencies would probably take a hit if they did so.

Another note for Ram buyers, the new Ram EcoDiesel V6 is not included in these two lists since Ram had not released their hauling and towing numbers at the time of this comparison.

Finally, the cab room comparison will look at the head room, hip room, and leg room of each of the main types of half ton truck packages: Single Cab, Extended Cab, and Crew Cab.

Single Cab Numbers:

                          Head Room     Hip Room     Leg Room
     Ford                    41"                 60.5"             41.4"
     Chevy                42.4"               60.7"             45.3"
     Ram                   39.9"               62.9"              41"
     Toyota               39.7"                 62"              42.5"

Extended Cab Numbers: (Front/Rear)

                          Head Room     Hip Room     Leg Room
     Ford               41"/39.6"       60.5"/65.4"   41.4"/33.3"
     Chevy           42.8"/38.6"     60.7"/60.2"   45.3"/34.6"
     Ram               41"/39.7"       63.2"/62.9"     41"/34.7"
     Toyota          39.7"/38.7"     62.6"/62.6"   42.5"/34.7"

Crew Cab Number:  (Front/Rear)

                           Head Room     Hip Room     Leg Room
     Ford                 41"/40.3"      60.5"/64.6"   41.4"/43.5"
     Chevy            42.8"/40.5"     60.7"/60.2"   45.3"/40.9"
     Ram                 41"/39.9"      63.2"/63.2"     41"/40.3"
     Toyota           39.7"/38.9"     62.6"/60.4"   42.5"/42.3"

I won't even attempt to break all of those numbers into a snippet of information, so you can just compare and get an idea of which trucks have the shape of cab best to fit you.    I will say, however, that it does look as though Chevy makes the better truck for those who have longer legs.

Be sure to check back next week to catch the full size comparison of amenities and price.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2013 Half Ton Truck Comparison

Every year the big three truck makers, Chevy, Ford, and Dodge, come out with their newest model of truck heaven, complete with new gadgets, more horsepower, and a flashy change to the outer appearance. This year is no different. As the 2013 full size trucks are beginning to roll into car lots across the country and people are trying to compare the three truck to decide which is best for them, many will be torn between the strength of one and the comfort of another. With so many choices, you may also be looking to compare the new 2013 full size truck models. Well, here is some help, my 2013 version of the Full Size Pickup Truck Comparison.

Over the past few years each truck has made many changes to their full size truck package. Chevy beefed up their front end appearance, Ford added a double turbo V6, and Dodge revamped their whole truck. But what else have they been working on?
In this truck comparison we will look at stats and specifics in the areas of power, comfort, design, durability, and price to see which full size American truck is best for you. While nothing can surpass the feel you will get on a test drive of one of these trucks, I will try to give you the closest idea of what each truck is like.

2013 Truck Power Comparison

For the last 3 or 4 decades, the big three truck makers have each put out their fair share of audacious commercials or videos showing their truck pulling the other two on a trailer, or racing ahead of the others, or even tying their truck to a train. No doubt, truck power is one of the largest selling points of any truck brand. Today, truck buyers need a truck that can go from play toy to work truck at a moments notice, so power is still of great importance.
 
First, I will begin with the oldest of the three models, the Chevy Silverado. Although this package is older than the other two (the base of this model began production in 2006), They have done plenty right. With plenty of awards when the model began production and again when it had upgrades in 2011, Chevy got many things right. One area where they do lag behind now is in power. Although the 5.3L V8, Chevy's best V8 engine, is very efficient and provides plenty of towing power, its 315 horsepower fall behind the field. Chevy does have its 6.2L V8 with 400 hp, but it is far less efficient and drinks fuel.
 
Second, Ford's V8 powerplant, the 5.0L 360 hp V8, has been eclipsed by the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost powerplant. The Ecoboost has 365 hp, largely due to their twin turbos, and gets an efficient 22 mpg (hwy). Ford's GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating), a measure of towing capacity is a massive max of 17,100 lbs. This capacity is only reached with the V6 Ecoboost package and the 6.2L V8 package which has 411 hp.
 
Lastly, the Ram 1500 is the newest of the three designs and is rolling out their new Pentastar V6. This V6 has lest power than the Ecoboost, with 305 hp, but paired with the new "TorqueFlite 8" 8 speed transmission it is touted to get an amazing 25 mpg (hwy) when combined with a few other efficiency changes Ram has added (to be discussed below). The Hemi is still available with more hp than last year (395) and will be available with the new 8 speed tranny next year.

2013 Truck Design Comparison

With each of the truck makers, Chevy, Ford, and Dodge (Ram), looking to create the most "manly" looking truck while also trying to get a step ahead in design innovation, the full size truck models have had many changes over the past 10 years. Larger front ends, larger wheels, and more accessibility are ideas that have driven the truck designers in the immediate history.

A few years ago, I, and most other Chevy drivers, would never have thought that the current Chevy Silverado design would have gotten "old." Although it has been spruced up a couple of times since, this exterior has been on the road since the 2007 model year and 6 years is an eternity in such a competitive industry. The Chevy front is muscular, yet relaxed, and although it is not as flashy as its counterparts, its solid look still gets plenty of attention on the road. Add into the picture the excellent frame and suspension changes that have been made to it over the past 5 years, and the overall design is a good one.

Ford has continued to slowly morph their design from almost a decade ago, yet it looks new almost every year. The current model is very similar to last year with a couple changes to spruce up the grille and some small changes to tooling on the sides and tailgate. The front end design has grown slightly taller and more muscular over the past few years, especially with the development of the grille area and the additions to some exterior accessories, such as a tailgate step, this design is more flashy and aggressive than its Chevy counterpart.

Nowhere near the Dodge design from the early 1990's with the huge front end, the new Dodge is aggressive, flashy, and refined at the same time. The negative angle slant of the grille, tapering down on the sides and moving back to a solid cab and box creates a line for the truck that catches every eye. With new tooling on the hood, changes to the headlights and fog light design, and a new look to the grille background, this model is easy to look at in every way. Add that to standard side boxes and the 2013 Ram is a the best designed truck this year.

2013 Truck Price Comparison

These definitely are not your father's pickup truck, and, furthermore, they are not your grandfather's pickup truck prices. With more aluminum, high strength steel, leather, electronics, safety technology, and better design come a higher price tag. Add to that the fact that the government is pressing for higher fuel efficiency and it is easy to see how prices could go even higher in the near term.

The low end of these truck brands are slightly more expensive than they were a couple years ago, but are definitely still within reason. The regular cab model with their least expensive package and engine for each come to $22,590 (Ram with 4.7L v8), $22,595 (Chevy with 4.3L v6), and $23,670 (Ford with 3.7L v6 [not the Ecoboost]). These are the "bare bones" models, but they come with much more standard than they did in years passed. Cruise control is standard in the Chevy and Ram, and power windows and locks are standard in all.

The upper end of these American Pickup trucks are much more of an expensive purchase. The largest cab version with the best available package of these models come to $39,290 (Chevy with 5.3L V8), $44,275 (Ram with 5.7L Hemi), and $46,400 (Ford with 5.0L V8). Each model has its own ways to amaze you and every ride is fun in these models, but fun definitely costs. The Chevy LTZ model is the best buy in my opinion with the best Chevy engine and still $5,000 less than the next truck. The Ford is even more in their Platinum model when you add their larger v8 or the v6 Ecoboost.

2013 Truck Durability Comparison

Although the Chevy, Ford and Ram are making stronger trucks with better frames and more efficient engines, they are also including more and more technology that can become a liability over time. Everyone loves a new truck with all the bells and whistles, but for every new innovations in today's trucks, there is one more item that can break.

In last year's 2012 Full Size Truck Comparison I lamented that there could be some long term issues with Ford's new V6 Ecoboost engine, but so far there have been no mass recalls and the Ecoboost packages are the first ones off the lot. They are not easily found in used truck listings and often have a wait to receive them when buying new. Shows what I know. Although a long term issue cannot be totally ruled out as the package has only been out for 2 years, the early indication would show that it is not a likely problem.

Ford does have a problem, however, when it comes to their Powertrain Warranty. Ford has remained at a 5 year 60,000 mile warranty for powertrain issues, whereas Chevy and Ram both have a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty. I know they are both 5 years, but how many truck drivers only average 12,000 miles per year? That comes down to only 33 miles per day. Best put off that long road trip Ford owners.

2013 Truck Comfort Comparison

Gone are the days when a truck was a stiff ride, sure to shake you out of your seat. Also gone are models that come standard without power windows, automatic transmissions or even CD players. Most of those come standard now. And the stiff ride has been replaced with suspension systems that ride more like a car than an old work truck.

With that said, not all trucks are alike in ride, accessories, or amenities. To a certain extent, the level that a person is comfortable in a truck is due in large part to the feel to which they have become accustomed. By that, I mean that if a person is used to driving a Chevy and likes how the seat feels and how the truck handles, they are more likely to feel out of place in a Ford or Dodge. However, there are plenty of high points in each of the trucks that anyone could appreciate.

For one, Chevy has long been seen as one of the more comfortable rides in the truck world. The Steering is easy, the seats are comfortable on a long ride, and the layout of the driver's area is easy to master. Where Chevy has fallen behind is in not having an overall integrated electronics screen like Ford and Dodge, not updating the interior materials, and having done away with its premium audio package that used to include Bose speakers.

Ford, known for their work trucks and off-road handling, has become quite a comfortable ride in the past few years. Their steering has gotten much more responsive, their cabs are definitely the best at keeping sound out, and their Ford Sync system, complete with touch screen and integrated computer system, has led the industry into a whole new realm of electronic possibilities. Ford does have a little work to do in their seats, however, which can become quite painful on a long ride.

The Ram has undergone a load of changes in the past couple years, especially inside. They have totally revamped the materials used inside, including the leather on the doors and their seat materials. This year's truck includes a rotary dial to select gears rather than a column shifter (initially only on the V6 Pentastar models and later on the Hemi models). The rotary dial is more similar to the inside of a luxury sedan, so we will see how the rugged Ram owners appreciate it. Dodge has also added a new integrated electronics system with touch screen to follow the Ford Sync. Dodge has done some work on their suspension to make their ride less stiff, but their coil springs in their rear suspension means less carrying capacity.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Changes In The 2013 Full Size Pickups

Every year the big three truck makers roll out their new year's model some time after summer, each with their own new bells and whistles. Sometimes the new model is just a slightly changed version of the prior year's truck, and sometimes the truck maker brings out a whole new design, looking to capture truck of the year awards and every truck buyer's attention.

For the most part, truck makers - Chevy, Ford, and Dodge - only truly change their truck model every 4 or 5 years or so. They simply make minor tweaks and adjustments and add new colors or a new interior option and then slap a new year on it. This year the overall models are not changing, but several big changes are happening with powertrains and such along with some preparations being made for big changes in the next couple of years due to changes in "Cafe" standards.

The following sections will break down the changes for each of the big 3 American full size truck models, along with some coming changes in 2014 and so forth. And finally, I will add a comparison of the reported changes. I will come out with a whole 2013 Full Size Truck Comparison when the models are released with finalized Hp ratings and so forth. Please feel free to share any other changes you have heard of in the comments section at the bottom.

What's New On The 2013 Ford Trucks

The new full size model for the Ford lineup, the 2013 F150, will also be staying with its same basic layout, but will include more visible updating, especially to the front of the exterior. Although the basic look is the same, Ford has reworked the grille, the headlights, and the hood, to give the F150 a slightly flashier feel. Ford's F150 is currently working off of a 2009 platform, so they are 2 years younger than the Silverado, and in less need of a new platform.

Ford will also be including a return of the F150 Limited from 2011. The high-end model has all of the upgrades and includes the hard to find V6 Ecoboost engine with its 365 Hp and 22 MPG. It is not known, as of yet, if Ford will make the V6 more common on their lots, as over the past two years they have been very difficult to find and always brought at or close to full price.

With preparation to ready their fleet for the new fuel standards, Ford is reportedly dropping as much as 700 lbs from their trucks, but will not be doing so until probably 2015, a year after GM.

Changes To The 2013 Full Size Chevy Truck

Although the Chevy Silverado is a great truck and has a large share of the market, the 2013 Silverado does not bring much to the table as far as new improvements. This year's Silverado has only added some incidental changes to minor stylings (location and size of logos, addition of some chrome, etc). Instead of spending time changing the 2013 model, GM has, instead, decided to spend more effort working on the 2014 line and allow the strengths of the old model carry it for one more year.

Chevy's current strengths (many options, dependability, comfortable ride) are great but with the upgrades you will see in the other two trucks combined with their upgrades the past couple of years, Chevy is beginning to fall behind. Although this may not mean a mass exodus of brand loyal customers from Chevy to Ford or Ram, GM will have to worry that more of their loyal customers will simply wait until next year.

Where Chevy has the other two makers trying to catch up is in preparation for the next set of Cafe standards. Chevy is reportedly preparing to drop 500 lbs from the truck in its coming 2014 model which will be coming with small block V8's and standard 6 speed transmissions.

The New 2013 Ram Full Size Trucks

The Ram full size trucks have, by far, the most upgrades for the 2013 selling year. Ram, no longer "Dodge Ram", has a new, higher front grille, a new, bumper design, and now it has standard halogen headlights and LED rear lights. Small changes, yes, but so are the newly available rain-sensing windshield wipers and power folding side mirrors. All of these have been available in one way or another in the other two trucks, but Dodge has definitely stepped up its game.

Under the hood, Chrysler has given the Ram a definite upper hand. Ram has added horsepower to its V6 area to compete with Ford's Ecoboost. The Pentastar V6 has 305 Hp which is still 60 less than the Ford, but is almost as much as Chevy's 5.3 Liter V8. It is also matched up with Ram's "TorqueFlite8" eight speed transmission. The Hemi has 5 more Hp to add to its might, and will also receive an upgrade to the eight speed transmission some time mid-year. The downside, for some, is that the trucks with the eight speed will lose the column shifter and use a European-sports car like dial to the right of the steering wheel on the dash. Which brings me to the interior...

The Ram designers have reworked their interior with new materials to bring the model up to date for 2013. The Ram has also added a touch screen panel in the center dash along with a multifunction, 7 inch screen to replace the gauge cluster. These additions, along with a new locking feature that includes the tailgate and side boxes, similar to Chevy's Avalanche, have made the Ram truck much more modern and user friendly at the same time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How Important Is Truck Durability?

For many years, along with "who's truck is strongest" you would also hear "my truck has over X miles."  Truck makers would parade owners across each commercial with 200,000 miles or 250,000 miles.  Many truck buyers would buy their trucks looking forward to having that truck for years into the future.

Is truck durability as important as it used to be?  How many people do you know with trucks that have over 200,000 miles?  Aside from friends who have diesel trucks that drive long highway trips, I would be hard pressed to find many friends with over 150,000 miles.  Why is that?

First off, many people are much more caught up in having a "new" vehicle these days, and are accustomed to having a monthly payment.  Therefore, when their truck has worn off it's "new" and it is close enough to 5 years old, most truck owners will trade for a new truck.  Often, truck owners today are trading their trucks in prior to them reaching 100,000 miles, so 200,000 miles is pretty much not happening.

Another reason people are trading up and not maintaining an older truck is the fact that most vehicles today are much more difficult to maintain.  With computerized components and sensors everywhere under the hood, most truck owners no longer work on their own vehicle.  The tools needed and the training needed is just too much for most.  Add to that the fact that repair shops cost more these days for those same reasons and more, most people are not willing to incur the high dollar repair costs that come after a factory warranty is over.  Give people a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty and tada: most cars are traded in before their warranty and car note are finished.

Perhaps the main remaining reason for good truck durability is resale value.  One of the larger reasons to choose one truck over another today is how much you can get for it when you trade it in.  It's a vicious cycle. 

There are those truck owner's still around that keep their trucks for a long time.  Those of you who fit in that group are generally much more comfortable working on your truck, take much better care of your truck, and place much less importance on "newness."  Take a look around, however, because you are a shrinking group.  Sadly, far less truck drivers take the time to learn their truck and how to keep it maintained with each generation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Many U.S. families have at least one light truck or SUV in their driveway, and most people have little knowledge which light truck tires to buy when the time comes. Although many tire brands claim to have great products, there are some that separate themselves from the rest, in durability and in drive-ability. There are also some small differences in tread patterns and designs that can have a big impact on handling, especially in certain terrains.

This site will help you figure out what you should be looking for in a new light truck or SUV tire, what brands are the best, and what kind of warranty you should expect. Although different tires have varying prices in certain areas, no matter where you are, the right tire is paramount and there are always good deals to be had.

One of the first things that a buyer needs to know when looking for new light truck and SUV tires is what kind of terrain do those tires need to handle. Do you drive predominantly off road or very little off road? Do you live in areas that tend to ice over or do you deal more with rain on the roads? The tread pattern and depth of your tires need to be able to meet the demands of the terrain to give you maximum contact, better grip, more safety, and optimum durability.

Some truck or SUV owners make the mistake of buying big, off-road tires for their truck simply because it makes their truck look bigger or better. By doing so they are spending more money for less mileage.  Along with that, not being able to hear yourself think due to the hum created by the larger gaps between treads can drive some people to hate their truck.

Some tire brands have great ratings on highway tires, offering excellent ability to move water and gain grip. Those same brands may have terrible ratings for their off road or all terrain tires, or they may offer little to choose from in those areas. Knowing which type of tire you need will help you easily eliminate certain brands and focus your research on others, saving time and possible disappointment.

One area where light truck tire makers are definitely different is with warranties. Although most offer warranties on their street tires, many of them do not offer warranties on off-road or all-terrain tires. Some tire retailers will offer a supplemental warranty in the form of a replacement policy, and although they may have similar terms, small and large retailers come and go, so buyer beware. However, if the retailer is a known national brand, or if the supplemental warranty is sold through a third party company, you may have to weigh the benefit of added coverage against the added cost to the tire.

Although some money can be saved by going with a lower brand, such as General tires or another off brand, buying a brand with a warranty is much more preferred. One of the best brands with great warranties on their on and off road tires is BF Goodrich. This and a few other companies offer warranties that average around 60,000 miles, which is plenty for any light truck tire.

Although many of the light truck tires on the market today will give an excellent ride, some of them do not. Probably one of the worst riding sets of truck tires I have had were a set of Dunlop 32"x11.5" tires. These tires were all terrain tires and had a good warranty, but the flex of the sidewall along with the design of the tread made the tire seem unstable when taking a tight corner. A good way to avoid this problem is to buy from someone you trust to give you accurate information.

If you need more information on a partiucalr tire, there is a great deal of it online. Be sure to look at ratings on multiple forums regarding the tires you are looking into. More often than not, if the particular tire you are researching has decent to great views on every forum, you will have no problems. If, however, your light truck tire has a few poor ratings, think twice. Remember, you are buying a tire for a light truck, not a one ton deisel truck, it should provide spring and a smooth ride. If nothing else, be sure to ask the sales staff where you buy the tires. They would probably prefer to sell you a different tire if it means return business, unless the staff are mostly young workers that will be gone in a few years.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Looking For A Smaller Truck?? A Small / Midsize Truck Comparison

Since the 1970's, Americans have wanted to have the biggest and strongest trucks available.  However, today many Americans and many people worldwide prefer a truck that is smaller, easier to get in, uses less fuel, and yet is still capable of performing serious work. For those people, small or midsize pickup trucks are the better choice and give them the capability of having a strong truck for less money all while conserving fuel.

For quite some time, Ford and Chevy have had great small pickup trucks on the market and, besides the loyal Toyota following, have had a large share of the market. Today there are several different midsize pickup trucks put out by Toyota, Ford, Chevy, and Nissan to choose from and each have their own strong suits.  No, Dodge was not listed among the midsize truck makers. As of 2011, Dodge no longer is making its Dakota, opting to focus on full size trucks and crossover vehicles.

Although many people these days are willing to give up a little size and power for better fuel economy, most are still wanting some elbow room and some creature comforts. Even though small and mid size trucks are aimed primarily at providing utility with economy, they do not have to give up all comfort.
Each of the four makes came within an inch of each other in front headroom, with the nod going to the Toyota Tacoma with 40" of front headroom, and the smallest being the Ford Ranger with 39.2". In hip room, however, the Nissan Frontier has some wiggle room. The Nissan has 55.8" of front hip room, where the other makes have on average 53". The Ford Ranger also comes in an average of 3" smaller in front shoulder room.

As far as interior comfort and accessories, the Toyota and Chevy are slightly stronger than the others. Toyota, for one, offers a rear back-up camera, has a JBL stereo system, and has included their new Entune system, similar to Ford's Sync. Toyota did not, however, have a leather seat package that I could find. The Chevy Colorado had available leather seats and was the only make to have Blue-tooth as standard in every package.

Any small or midsize truck comparison should have two types of fuel economy comparison: a comparison of the best overall mileage, and a comparison of the best mileage with their largest engine.  This is simply because there are two main types of people who are searching for a small or mid-size truck: those who want a utility vehicle but must have fuel efficiency and those who need strength and comfort but are willing to sacrifice a little for a little better fuel efficiency. With this fact in mind, for each make we will look at how they compare overall with their smaller engines here, and will compare the larger engines in the horsepower comparison.

Coming in with the highest overall fuel efficiency is the Ford Ranger. Ford's 2.3L I4 power-plant touts an excellent 22 mpg city / 27 mpg highway. This is the same power-plant that is in the Escape and several other Ford vehicles. It puts out 153 Hp, so it is not Herculean, but for a utility vehicle with primary importance on fuel conservation, the Ranger is king of the small and mid-size trucks.

The other trucks were a bit behind the Ford EPA rating, with some not really focusing on stretching the mileage. Coming in second in overall fuel mileage is the Toyota Tacoma with their 2.7L 4 cylinder engine at 25 hwy mpg and a slightly higher 159 Hp output. Third is the Chevy Colorado with a 24 hwy mpg from their 2.9L 4 cylinder manual power-train that puts out 185 Hp. Finally, the Nissan Frontier is slightly lacking with a 2.5L 4 cylinder that gets 23 hwy mpg but only puts out 152 Hp.

Information to compare these trucks on payload and towing capacity is slightly difficult to ascertain. The Ford website does not have any info, that I could find, about the Ranger's payload or towing capacity. (I am sure some Ford fanatic will prove me wrong!) The largest payload by any of the other three is the Nissan Frontier. The Frontier has a 1524 lb payload capacity, which is over a half ton. Following the Frontier is the Colorado with 1465 lbs and the Tacoma with 1430 lbs.

Only the Tacoma and the Frontier, however, published their rated towing capacity, so between the two of them, the Frontier has a 6400 lb towing capacity. That is just 100 lbs above the Tacoma which can pull 6300 lbs.

Sure, these are nowhere near the huge towing and payload capacities of some of the full size trucks on the market today, but they are, however, more than sufficient for most jobs. These trucks would be excellent for any person needing to carry or pull an occasional load, and won't break the bank to purchase

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2012 Diesel Truck Comparison

U.S. diesel truck owners take pride in the truck they drive and believe it to be the best diesel truck available. Furthermore, most diesel truck owners seek out the same brand year after year. In all truck purchasing, brand loyalty has been and remains paramount. Even still, for truck owners who just love trucks, a comparison must be made year after year to compare the year's new models. With that in mind, the following is a side by side comparison of the 2012 models of America's diesel pickup trucks.

With many truck buyers power is king, be it in how much they can pull, carry or how fast they can get up to speed. Others look more for comfortability, handling stability, or new innovation. Are you wandering who has the best diesel truck this year? Are you thinking your truck has the strongest engine? Whatever your taste, whether you are looking only for new Chevy trucks, Dodge diesel trucks or just a big strong truck, I have for you a true comparison of the specs, what the experts say, and, because I can, what I like and dislike about each make.

For those of you who read my 2011 Diesel Truck Comparison, this one is definitely similar. Be assured that with every bit of news released about the coming 2012 models and the changes and upgrades that this page will be updated to reflect the new model year.

Many of today's truck buyers want to know how much a truck can pull. Many diesel owners either use their truck for work and have to haul trailers full of equipment or material and even those who don't use it for work have large boats or campers to pull. So who can pull the world? I'm sure that everyone has seen the videos of one truck carrying another, all while pulling a third truck up a mountain of rock. Manufacturers definitely tend go overboard in advertising claims, but these trucks can definitely move mountains. With that said, often it is less about how much your springs and bed can hold and more about what you can pull. Trailering or tow capacity is one of the most important factors for many work truck owners and with that in mind, here are the best at pulling.

Chevy comes in as the best trailering capacity at 17,800 lbs. With the added engine strength and a newly bulked up frame and suspension, Chevy has upped the ante. The 2010 2500HD had a maximum towing capacity of 13,000 lbs, 4,800 lbs less than the 2011 upgrade. No longer can the other two diesel truck makers ignore Chevy as serious diesel truck competition.

The Ford came in second in 2011 at 16,500 lbs, up 200 lbs from 2010. With the upgrade to the 6.7L diesel and some modifications to the computer, Ford has further raised the bar. Ford is now claiming that the top end for towing for the F250 is now 17,500 lbs, just 300 lbs off of the Chevy number.

The Dodge, although they are third, has beefed up their towing capacity from 13,400 lbs of towing power in 2011 to 15,450 lbs in 2012. Dodge may be third with this number in its Ram 2500, but they are much closer this year with a number that is likely to keep most of their faithful Ram drivers buying Dodge in the near term.

For a large portion of diesel truck buyers, engine strength is as far as they go. They want to know how many horsepower the engine can muster and how much torque the truck can apply to the driving surface. For years Dodge pounded the competition with Cummins strength, then Ford and Powerstroke became king of power. Who has the strongest diesel truck now?

Well, the diesel engine packages have not changed much for 2012 from 2011. In 2011, both Ford and Chevy brought out many changes, from a new powerplant for Ford to changes in cooling and other areas to Chevy's Duramax. Although their may be some tweaks to transmission gear ratios or shift settings to bring more low end torque, these trucks remain largely the same.

Begining with last years 2011 F-250, Ford currently has the most powerful truck. The 2012 Ford diesel engine, still a Powerstroke Diesel, has 400 horsepower and 800 lb-ft torque. The huge 2012 powerplant, the same as 2011, is the 6.7 L, twin turbo V8 diesel engine. Most of the Ford drivers are glad to say that the 6.4L is gone due to the many problems this powerplant experienced.

No longer is Ford the far and away leader of HD trucks, however. With an upgraded engine, Chevrolet has established itself as a true competitor. After revamping their HD line for 2011, and subsequently getting multiple awards, the 2012 Chevy 2500 HD currently boasts a 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8. The 2012 engine can put out 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. Most people would say that this powerplant is equal to the Ford's; really, what's 3 horses between friends?

Coming in last, not a viewpoint they are accustomed too, is the Dodge Ram 2500. The Dodge engine is the 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel I6, an engine that Dodge has used for a while. The output from this engine is well shy of the other two trucks with 350 Hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Even the Dodge Hemi V8 can match the Cummins, but comes up short with a torque value of only 400 lb-ft of torque. Although Dodge has definitely fallen from the top, many of their dedicated buyers say that you cannot beat Cummins reliability.

As said before, many things have changed in truck design from years ago. In the '80s you could walk up to any pickup and reach into the bed and grab whatever you needed. Not so today. Huge beds, high sides, and massive suspension have totally changed the look of the bed of most trucks. The trucks of 2012 are worlds away from where they were 10-15 years ago. Although most of us like some things about the older models of these trucks, current models have improved on many areas.

The heaviest load in 2012 can be placed squarely in the bed of the F250 Super Duty. The highest payload capacity for Ford is in their single cab F250 at 4,290 lbs. That is 2 tons. Ridiculous. The frame under the Ford F 250 is definitely an equal match for the power of the 6.7L diesel engine.

The Chevy payload comes in at just under the Ford mark with 4,192 lbs. Sure, the Ford can handle one more bag of concrete mix, but most people would find the payload capacity plenty.

Dodge falls just behind the other two with a payload capacity of 3,120 lbs. However, with Dodge's new side boxes and Ford's tailgait step, not only will the payloads get greater in the future, but they will also become more accessible.

All three of the 2012 American diesel trucks have their strongsuits, and which one a buyer chooses is still largely up to personal preference. The reason for this is that most diesel owners will not max out their truck on a daily basis so towing limits and horsepower above 350 is rarely tested. So to help you decide, here goes.

The Ford: Although it has lost its lead in power and now is second in towing and payload, it remains king in space. The roominess inside the F250 is second to none, even older F-250's. The 2012 F-250 has all that Ford has to offer, including the Sync System, new step assists in the tailgate, and a new clean, open look to the interior. For a large person, especially guys over 6' 2" or so, the Ford definitely offers the best cab.

The F-250 also is considered by many to still have the best ride while under load, which is somewhat debatable now with the changes to the Chevy frame. However, the handling definitely still has the Ford feel to it which will keep the Ford-lovers happy.

The Dodge: Although it has fallen behind in the Hp, Towing and Payload areas, Dodge has made great strides in comfort-ability. This Dodge no longer has as stiff a feel as the old Dodges due to a re-worked interior and softer suspension. Don't get me wrong, it still feels much more stiff than the Ford and Chevy, but it is catching up. With additions of side boxes built into the bed and the new larger cab available, some work has definitely been done. Now in the 2012 the extra side boxes are supposedly going to be standard.

The Chevrolet: Yes the truck is stronger and pulls better than it has before, but did they give up on comfort? No! Actually the truck is more comfortable. With additions in the past 2 years to room in the front seat and head room, and the added weight and frame and suspension upgrades, the truck feels bigger and stronger without becoming stiff and bouncy. With the better comfort and the higher MPG from the other trucks, Chevy has a great HD.

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?