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

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2014 Full Size Truck Comparison: Truck Power

Are you looking to buy a new truck?  Well, you have plenty to choose from on the dealership lots.  The 2014 trucks are out and are ready to play!

Every year there are plenty of changes, upgrades, and additions to each of the big three's full size pickup trucks, and each year truck connoisseurs compare their strength, capacity, comfort, and price.  This year we will do the same, but will add a fourth truck, the Toyota Tundra, into the mix.

Now before you American Pickup purists leave this website vowing never to return since I have gone "Furrin", hear me out and lets truly see where the Tundra has strengths and where it has weaknesses.  For those of you who are screaming "What about the Nissan Titan or the Honda Ridgeline?", first, I can only handle so much import at a time, and second, the Ridgeline is not really a truck...

So, without further adieu, lets talk truck.

First on everyone's mind these days in truck comparisons is truck strength.  However, a change in the days of previous decades is that the consumer's desire for power is balanced by their need for fuel efficiency.  With that in mind, a current truck consumer has to step back and say "Wow, where did Ram come from?"  No, I am not inherently a Dodge fan, but with their recent changes one has to appreciate that they are now changing the industry.  This year Ram is premiering their half ton truck with a diesel engine, leap frogging the innovations Ford brought to the market a few years ago with the Ecoboost V6.

In the engine capability realm, we must compare apples to apples as much as possible, so lets look at the power of each engine class.  In the V6 market, the Ford Ecoboost is still top dog. 
  1. Ford Ecoboost 3.5L V6:  HP - 365, Torque - 420 lbs
  2. Ram Pentastar 3.6L V6:  HP - 305, Torque - 269 lbs
  3. Chevy EcoTec3 4.3L V6: HP - 285, Torque - 305 lbs
  4. Ford 3.6L V6:                   HP - 302, Torque - 278 lbs
  5. Toyota 4.0L V6:               HP - 270, Torque - 278 lbs
In the mid range engines, Ford's 5.0L V8 just edges out Chevy's 5.3L V8 this year, though both have added strength in recent years.  Dodge is not listed in this area, as their mid range V8 is not currently available.
  1. Ford 5.0L V8:                   HP - 360, Torque - 380 lbs
  2. Chevy 5.3L EcoTec3 V8:  HP - 355, Torque - 383 lbs
  3. Toyota 4.6L V8:               HP - 305, Torque - 327 lbs
And in the large V8 area, Chevy's 6.2L V8 comes in at the top this year.
  1. Chevy 6.2L EcoTec3 V8: HP - 420, Torque - 460 lbs
  2. Ford 6.2L V8:                   HP - 411, Torque - 434 lbs
  3. Ram Hemi 5.7L V8:         HP - 395, Torque - 410 lbs
  4. Toyota 5.7L V8:               HP - 381, Torque - 401 lbs
You will notice that the one setup I did not include is the new Ram 6 cylinder diesel for their half ton trucks.  The 3.0L Ecodiesel is rated at 240 HP and can deliver a whopping 420 lbs of Torque.

As stated above, buyers also want efficiency.  So since these four makes have attempted to enhance their efficiency, here are the best at saving fuel:
  1. Ram 3.0L Ecodiesel:        30 MPG
  2. Ram 3.6L Pentastar V6:   25 MPG
  3. Chevy 4.3L EcoTec3 V6: 24 MPG
  4. Chevy 5.3L EcoTec3 V8: 23 MPG
  5. Ford 3.6L V6:                   23 MPG
  6. Ford 3.5L Ecoboost V6:   22 MPG
  7. Ram Hemi 5.7L V8:         22 MPG
  8. Ford 5.0L V8:                   21 MPG
  9. Chevy 6.2L V8:                21 MPG
  10. Toyota 4.0L V6:               20 MPG
  11. Toyota 4.6L V8:               19 MPG
  12. Toyota 5.7L V8:               18 MPG
  13. Ford 6.2L V8:                   18 MPG
Although one could argue over the newness of Ram's most efficient options and the balance needed between power and efficiency, nobody could argue that Toyota's efficiency is anywhere near that of the 3 "American" brands.

Check back next week for the next installment of the 2014 Full Size Truck Comparison: Towing and Room.

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.

Friday, February 17, 2012

2012 Toyota Tundra Vs F150, Silverado and Ram, A 2012 Comparison

For those of you looking to buy a 2012 model year half ton truck, never before has their been so many choices available. Only a few years ago there were only a couple of truck makes that stood out above the rest, but today most of the other trucks have caught up.

Ten or fifteen years ago, the only reasons to buy a Toyota truck were low prices, good fuel mileage, and durability. If you needed a truck that could haul a large load or pull a fifth-wheel camper you definitely did not slow down for the local Toyota dealership. If you wanted a roomy cab with lots of extras, Toyota trucks were not for you. Times have definitely changed.

With Toyota's introduction of the Tundra several years ago, it has continually strived to compete in the half-ton pickup market. They have made their larger truck more bulky, more powerful, and more comfortable in order to catch up with Ford, Chevy and Dodge. But have they? Do Toyota Tundra's "measure up," or are the American made half-tons still the better buy for truck buyers?

First off, Toyota has made the mistake of sacrificing too much fuel economy for power. For years Toyota has been known for their economically viable choices in the automobile markets. However, with their change of focus in the pickup market, Toyota has chosen to go more for a high horsepower truck than an economic truck. That will definitely get them a look from people wanting a strong looking and feeling truck, but at a time when fuel mileage is key, Toyota has placed themselves near the back of the pack with Dodge for Fuel mileage.

Yes, their 4.6 L version gets 20 mpg, but that model does not come close to the payload and towing capacities as the other trucks. The 5.7 L version gets 18 mpg, and, although it outpaces both the Chevy (5.3L) and Ford (5.0L) standard engines in HP (Toyota 5.7L - 381 hp, Chevy 5.3L - 315 hp, and Ford 5.0L - 360 hp) it lags in fuel efficiency and still comes up short in max payload and towing. The Toyota engine packages just don't yet have the right mix of efficiency and power to appeal to the mass of truck buyers in the American market as well as Chevy and Ford, yet. I would expect them to put in the effort to catch up in efficiency as quickly as they caught up in horsepower.

There are a few areas where Toyota did a good job.  First, Toyota's Tundra has added a huge amount of size to the cab interior in recent years. Many people see Ford as one of the roomiest cabs in the truck market today, but the only interior dimension that they beat the Tundra in is in head room, and that is only by 1 inch. The Tundra's shoulder, hip, and leg room is leaves room for any rider or driver to stretch out and enjoy the ride.

Second, although Toyota trucks have not been known for their interior extras and innovations, the Tundra has come a long way. The 2012 Tundra has an optional 4-disc changer, when Chevy is removing their 6-disc changer option. It also has bluetooth wireless and rear seat DVD system options. These bring the Tundra up to date and more. The Tundra also has 2 115 volt power outlets making the truck great for everyone who loves the outdoors or using their truck as a work truck.

And Third, just looking at the Tundra exterior, it looks like a large, muscular truck. Although the outer look of a half ton truck does not necessarily sell it, it can definitely help. Most men that buy half ton trucks want the strongest and most dependable. The Tundra's large front end definitely conveys strength and the Toyota symbol is synonymous for most people for dependability.

I would most likely place the 2012 Toyota Tundra in third on the American full size, half ton pickup market, just behind Ford and Chevy. The Tundra is considered one of the most dependable pickup trucks out today, but they have yet to fine tune their engine packages for the best mix of horsepower and efficiency. Also, with recent changes in Ford and Chevy frames and suspension, Toyota will have to adapt to keep up with their maximum payload capacity and their towing capacity. They have plenty of horsepower available in the 5.7L to tow as much, so some changes must be made elsewhere.

Although I did not consider Tundra a truck I would be interested in before researching for this comparison, I would definitely consider them now, when buying a new truck. I have listed some changes they need to make, but overall they are very competitive with the Ford and Chevy and their overall look and size are quite appealing.

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?