Texas buys more pickup trucks than any other state in the Union, and by a significant margin. Automakers go to great length to cater to Texas, delivering Texas-only editions of their trucks and, in the case of Toyota, building a pickup truck plant right in the state. Because of Texans' thirst for trucks, the State Fair of Texas now rivals the major auto shows as the place to unveil new pickups. Let’s take a look at the 10 most significant trucks shown at the 2016 State Fair of Texas.
10 Best Trucks at the 2016 Texas State Fair
10 Best Trucks at the 2016 Texas State Fair
1) 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD with Duramax L5P engine
Chevrolet had the biggest news at the Texas State Fair: A new version of its Duramax diesel, called the L5P, for the HD 2500 and 3500 versions of the Sierra fullsize pickup. Displacement is the same at 6.6 liters, but output rises to 445 horsepower and 910 lb.-ft. of torque. This makes the Duramax the highest-horsepower diesel—five more than Ford’s Power Stroke—but the L5P still trails the Ford by 15 lb.-ft. of torque. Nearly every part of the engine has been altered to accommodate an increase in peak cylinder pressures, and the emissions system has been reworked to make the engine run cleaner.
2017 Chevrolet Silverado record flag pull
On the eve of the Texas State Fair, Chevrolet used a 2017 Duramax-powered Silverado to set a world’s record: They circled the Texas Motor Speedway pulling an 80-ft. x 40-ft. American flag, setting the record for the World’s Largest Flag Pulled by a Moving Vehicle (who knew such a thing existed?). Trickier yet was launching and stopping, a carefully choreographed event to prevent Old Glory from touching the ground. Chevrolet invited 25 members of Chevrolet Truck Legends, a company-sponsored club for owners of Chevy trucks with more than 100,000 miles, to circle the banked oval behind the flag—with another Duramax towing an equally large Texas flag taking up the rear.
2) 2017 GMC Sierra HD with new Duramax L5P engine
GMC has much the same news as Chevy; for 2017, the Sierra HD 2500 and 3500 will get the same L5P Duramax turbodiesel engine, good for 910 horsepower and 925 lb.-ft. of torque. Like the Chevrolet Silverado HD, the Sierra HD gets an intriguing new hood scoop with a built-in water separator that delivers more dry air to the engine in rain and snow.
3) Ram Rebel TRX Concept
This is the truck that stole the show: The Ram Rebel TRX Concept. Ever since Dodge introduced the supercharged Hellcat Charger and Challenger, we wondered when (not if!) the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 would make it under the hood of a Ram truck. And here it is! Power output is 580 horsepower, well short of the 707 in the Charger and Challenger, but the sound from the exhaust—which could be heard throughout most of the fairgrounds—is like something from an alternate reality. Ram also widened the truck’s stance, increased the suspension travel, and fitted a unique interior and cool exterior details like the side exhaust pipes in the rock rails. Will the TRX Concept, finished in a beautiful deep red, become a production model? No official word from Ram, but we hope so. Lobby your local dealer.
4) 2017 Ram 1500 Lone Star Edition and 5) 2017 Ram 1500 Night
Ram also showed a pair of special-edition Ram 1500s, including the Texas-exclusive Lone Star Silver Edition, shown here, which gets a Texas-sized helping of chrome trim. FCA's truck division also showed a blacked-out version of the truck called the RAM 1500 Night, a city-themed truck with 20-in. wheels and blacked-out trim. The Ram truck at the Fair had a Mopar cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust that added 13 horsepower.
6) 2017 Ford Raptor
Another bit of big news from the Texas State Fair: Ford (finally!) announced power ratings for the new F-150 Raptor. The Raptor’s turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 will be tuned for 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque (from a V6!), up 39 hp and 76 lb.-ft. from the old Raptor—and this in a truck that weighs about 500 lb. less, thanks to the F-150’s aluminum body. It also has two additional inches of suspension travel.
7) 2017 Ford Super Duty STX
For many Texans, the State Fair will be their first chance to get an in-person look at the all-new 2017 Ford Super Duty, which adopts the F-150’s aluminum construction and adds a host of useful driver aids and active safety features. Ford also announced a new STX model to compete in the lower price ranges. It will feature 18-in. wheels, chrome trim, and STX badging, and it will sell in the $40,000 to $50,000 range with diesel power.
8) 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
Toyota's move to Plano, Texas—a suburb of Dallas—means the company is now local, so it had a big display at the State Fair of Texas. Nothing new was unveiled, but along with the big Tundra, Toyota showcased the TRD Pro version of the 2017 Tacoma. Changes to the TRD Pro edition include TRD coil springs that raise the ride height one inch up front, progressive-rate leaf springs in back, and 2.5-in. Fox bypass shocks at all four corners. The TRD Pro also gets a locking rear differential, limited-slip center diff, and fluid coolers for the engine oil, power steering fluid, and automatic transmission. The block-letter grille, 16-in. wheels with Goodyear Wrangler tires, blacked-out trim, skid plates, and unique interior trim further differentiate the Tacoma, as does the non-metallic “cement” paint, one of the truck's three available colors.
9) 2017 Nissan Texas Titan
Nissan wants to hit it big in the fullsize pickup business, and when it comes to big pickups, if you don’t make it in Texas, you aren’t going to make it anywhere. Like other manufacturers, Nissan is offering a Texas-specific model known as the Texas Titan. Chief ingredient? Chrome—as in a chrome front bumper, chrome grille, chrome wheels, chrome side steps, and chrome exhaust. The Texas Titan will be offered in SV and SL trims with a choice of powertrains and 2- or 4-wheel-drive.
10) 2017 Honda Ridgeline
Another company looking to make it big in Texas is Honda. The Ridgeline pickup is all new for 2017, and Honda is hoping to introduce Texans to their brand of trucking. A close relative of the Pilot SUV, the Ridgeline is the only unit-body pickup truck offered (as opposed to traditional body-on-frame construction), but Honda promises it will tow an honest 5000 lb—and that means getting a max-weight trailer up a slippery boat ramp. Honda’s in-bed trunk and flexible rear-seat storage have endeared it to owners, and a new in-bed sound system (which basically uses the bed walls as speaker cones) adds a new dimension to tailgating. Will Texans take to Honda’s brand of truckin’? We’ll have to wait and see.