When analyzing the future plans for popular trucks and full-size sport-utility vehicles, it is not always easy to get a clear picture of how an automobile will eventually turn out when it finally hits the showroom floor. Sifting through the clues, rumors and spy shots collected from a variety of different sources, however, can often point towards the details surrounding upcoming product decisions.
With so many trucks and SUVs having been recently re-designed, the cupboard is somewhat bare when it comes to upcoming models. However, we have managed to round up some of the most interesting future pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles waiting in the wings to be unleashed on public roads. Let’s take a look at five future trucks and full-size SUVs that will eventually be hitting the market.
The 2011 Dodge Durango is the vehicle that is closest to being ready for prime time on our list – in fact, by the time you read this it will mostly likely be on sale at Dodge dealerships across the country. The all-new Durango shares nothing with the previous edition’s platform, and this reboot of the full-size SUV now shares its basic mechanicals and chassis with the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Dodge Durango will stretch out its passenger compartment to improve on the Jeep’s seating for five, adding a third row that brings total capacity to seven. The vehicle’s styling has also been smoothed out and is dramatically sportier than the bulging sheet metal found on older Durango models – especially on the performance-oriented R/T model.
The 2011 Dodge Durango will be available with a 290 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 as well as a 390 horsepower, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. A five-speed transmission is standard with each engine, and all-wheel drive can be ordered to replace the Durango’s base rear-wheel drive configuration.
The Land Rover Range Rover is the flagship model of the British luxury brand’s SUV lineup, and it appears to be set for a complete redesign for the 2013 model year. The current model dates back to 2002, which makes a fresh platform that much more important.
Although test mules have been spotted being put through their paces, details about the 2013 Range Rover are still scarce. Here’s what we do know: the vehicle is slated to hit the streets in the fall of 2012, and it will be offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission, a V-8 engine and the potential for a diesel / electric hybrid edition. The vehicle’s chassis will also offer a stretched wheelbase compared to the current vehicle, and extensive use of aluminum and composite materials throughout the design will help to lower the large SUV’s curb weight considerably.
Land Rover has traditionally used the Range Rover platform as the basis for several of its models, including the Range Rover Sport, and rumor has it that a seven-passenger vehicle derived from the venerable premium SUV is also in the cards.
All-new 2011 Range Rover Evoque pictured
It might seem unusual to mention a concept vehicle like the GMC Sierra All-Terrain HD in an article discussing future trucks, but recent history has shown that wild pickup designs have managed to find a way to market relatively unchanged. Specifically, the Ford Raptor high performance off-road toy has put the pressure on GMC to come up with a bad boy behemoth of its own.
The GMC Sierra All-Terrain HD makes use of the same platform as the current Sierra 2500 HD, but it boasts some impressive off-road abilities thanks to 39-degree approach and 31-degree departure angles, as well as 35-inch tires and substantial ground clearance. Underneath the hood is a Duramax diesel V-8 that grinds out 390 horsepower and 745 lb/ft of torque, sent to all four wheels through a six-speed Allison automatic transmission. Inside, the Sierra All-Terrain HD is swaddled in Denali-like luxury features.
Given that the HD line of pickups was redesigned for 2011, it is unlikely that the GMC Sierra All-Terrain HD points towards the future for those work trucks. However, its dramatic exterior styling could serve as the way forward for the aging regular duty Sierra – not to mention the fact that GMC would have no issues putting together the All-Terrain HD as a special edition model in the same vein as the Ford Raptor.
The Chevrolet Silverado pickup (and its GMC Sierra mechanical twin) has been on sale since late 2006, which makes it the oldest of the three domestic pickup truck models. Set to be re-engineered for the 2013 or 2014 model year, future plans for this popular pickup incorporate styling that is will help it differentiate itself from its GMC cousin.
Potential drivetrain upgrades for the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado include direct-injection motors as well as a big V-8 to help the truck compete harder against the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram. Chevrolet will also try to gain an edge in fuel economy by offering a revised hybrid edition of the Silverado to go up against Ford’s EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V-6 motor, with extra attention paid towards not sacrificing too much utility (read: towing) in favor of increased miles per gallon. Chevrolet will also be looking to add active aerodynamics to its trucks in the pursuit of greater efficiency across its entire lineup.
Current Chevrolet Silverado pictured
Squint hard at the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and it’s not too hard to imagine a pickup truck bed replacing the rear two doors and covered cargo compartment. That vision was made a reality this fall when Jeep dealers were treated to a concept Jeep Wrangler-based pickup truck that could go on sale as early as the summer of 2011.
There are as yet no guarantees that the Wrangler pickup will be built, but if it did roll off the assembly line it would share the Wrangler Unlimited’s platform and engine options. This means that the truck would gain Jeep’s legendary Wrangler off-road prowess, making it a real contender for top all-terrain pickup truck performer. The vehicle’s smaller-than-full-size dimensions could also help it turn in better fuel efficiency numbers than some of its larger competitors, sweetening the pot that much more.
Jeep Gladiator Concept pictured