Trucks seem to be more popular than ever in this country, and while plunging fuel prices have played their part, so have the automakers: They’re now showcasing some of the most technologically advanced trucks ever, offering innovations under the hood, in the cabin and even in the material used to build them. In fact, some have even begun to adopt the kind of proactive safety systems first introduced on today’s next-gen cars.
Must See Trucks at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show
Unveiled in Detroit: 2016 Nissan Titan XD
Showcasing a 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8 from Cummins that delivers some 555 lb.-ft. of torque, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD spearheads the next generation of Nissan full-size pickups—although the XD actually breaks new ground with proportions between those of typical full-sizer and an HD pickup. Of course, the 2016 Nissan Titan roster will feature more traditional, gas-engined models as well, albeit with non-traditional truck touches like today’s most popular driver assistance and connectivity technologies, along with an expressive “anatomical” design. Other highlights will include an innovative “Utili-trak” cargo management system and premium LED illumination.
- What changed? Nissan’s thinking about full-size pickups, with the automaker going all-in on the XD model that will be able to haul up to 12,000 lbs. and boast a payload of 2,000.
- When is it available?The 2016 Nissan Titan will go into production in Canton, Miss., at a future date.
- How much? TBD.
Unveiled in Detroit: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
The 2016 Ford F-150 Raptor roars onto the scene sitting on a ruggedized version of the same all-new platform that underpins the standard 2015 Ford F-150. The Raptor sheds both its SVT branding as well as its eight-cylinder engine, swapping in a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that has been tuned to produce more than the outgoing mill – so for those of you keeping score at home that means more than 411 horses and 434 lb-t of torque. An ever bigger surprise is the new 10-speed automatic transmission that comes standard with (and is exclusive to) the Raptor, which pairs with four-wheel drive and a next-generation Terrain Management system to handle the rough stuff. Fox Racing shocks, a wider track and body, and a 500 pound weight loss compared to the 2015 SVT Raptor complete the new model’s package.
- What changed? The Ford F-150 Raptor is all-new.
- When is it available? Fall of 2015.
- How much? Pricing has yet to be discussed for the Raptor.
Photo Credit: Megan Green
Unveiled in Detroit: 2016 Toyota Tacoma
The small truck space is suddenly a crowded one, and the 2016 Toyota Tacoma gets a quickie redesign to help it keep its edge as the most popular mid-size pickup model. Although last year’s 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine carries over, a new 3.5-liter V-6 is in the cards and promises better efficiency. Toyota hasn’t told us how much power the fresh six-cylinder engine is producing – last year we got 236 ponies from a larger 4.0-liter mill – but we were told that the four-cylinder model gains a six-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment, while the V-6 offers a six-speed auto or a six-speed manual on the options sheet. The Tacoma’s frame is now stiffer, its suspension has been tuned for greater comfort, and interior and exterior styling have been revised.
- What changed? It’s an almost-new effort from Toyota to bring the Tacoma up to snuff in the face of suddenly-stiff competition.
- When is it available? A release date has yet to be pinned down by Toyota.
- How much? Pricing for the Tacoma hasn’t been published at this time.
Unveiled in Detroit: 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel
Attitude is everything with the 2015 RAM 1500 Rebel, which stands out from the other options in Ram's full-size pickup family by way of its extroverted styling. This includes an enormous 'RAM' grille, a flared hood, blacked-out trim, LED fog lights, new bumpers, and an interior that plasters 'Rebel' on the seat bolsters. Under the hood you've got the choice between Ram's standard 305 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 or an optional 395 horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8, and the Rebel benefits from 33-inch tires, skid plates, tow hooks, an air suspension system that offers a one-inch ride height increase, and Bilstein shocks - all of which are intended to help when driving off-road.
- What changed? The Ram 1500 Rebel loads on a bunch of all-terrain gear along with aggressive styling to create a special edition truck that should appeal to weekend warriors.
- When is it available? Expect the Rebel to arrive this Spring.
- How much? There's no price available at this time for the 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel.
Photo Credit: Megan Green
2015 Chevrolet Colorado
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado has helped reinvent the mid-size pickup segment, boasting smaller dimensions--and higher fuel-efficiency marks--than is full-size Silverado sibling, yet still providing its fair share of robust capabilities. For example, when equipped with its 305-hp V6, the Colorado can tow up to 7,000 lbs., even with an EPA rating of 26 mph highway; the standard four-cylinder powerplant produces a peppy 200 hp and 27 mpg highway. The Colorado provides plenty of versatility, too, with GM’s CornerStep rear bumper and EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, and there’s also plenty of technology and stuff on board, from OnStar 4G LTE connectivity (with a mobile wi-fi hotspot) to driver-assistance measures like forward collision alert, lane departure warning and a standard rearview camera.
- What changed? The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is in the first year of an all-new generation.
- When is it available? It’s at dealerships now.
- How much? From $20,120.
2015 Ford F-150
One year after its much-heralded world premiere at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 comes back to Detroit just at its starting to reach customers. As reminder, both those folks and show-goers alike will be able to see F-150 highlights like a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, a 360-degree camera system with split-view display, LED lighting, the BoxLink cargo management system, stowable loading ramps, SYNC with MyFord Touch technology, and what Ford touts as best-in-class towing and payload ratings.
- What changed? Everything, although the biggest change was no doubt Ford’s decision to rely on a military-grade aluminum for so much of the truck’s body, a moved that helped slice the curb weight of some models by upwards of 700 lbs.
- When is it available? Now.
- How much? The MSRP of the 2015 Ford F-150 starts at $25,420.
2015 GMC Canyon
The 2015 GMC Canyon slots into the GM roster as the Professional Grade complement to the Colorado, which means it provides the same kind of benefits but in a more sophisticated package. And, as a further distinction, the brand just announced a new 2015 GMC Canyon Nightfall edition with a blackout-style design upgrade that also includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, remote start, a factory-applied spray-in bedliner, a polished exhaust tip and all of the goodies from the well-equipped Canyon SLE model, including a GMC IntelliLink setup with 4G connectivity and a mobile wi-fi hotspot.The Nightfall edition will be sold with both four- and six-cylinder powerplants, in rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations.
- What changed? The entire truck.
- When is it available? Canyon sales are ongoing, with the Nightfall edition due in the second quarter of 2015.
- How much? $20,995 is the starting price of the 2015 GMC Canyon.
2015 Chevrolet Silverado
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado--named North American Truck of the Year at last year’s Detroit auto show--returns to the frigid Motor City with some sizzling momentum, delivering 57,837 units in December and raising volume by 35.8 percent; that’s a faster growth rate than for either its Ford or Ram rivals.
- What changed? The Bowtie brand builds on the Silverado’s 2014 success with style, performance and technology upgrades for 2015. Among the enhancements: for new exterior colors, highlighted by two shades with limited availability--Sunrise Metallic and Pewter Metallic; a new eight-speed automatic transmission for the truck’s available 6.2-liter V8; and upgrade Chevrolet MyLink technology, now with text-messaging alerts, Siri Eyes Free integration, 4G LTE connectivity and mobile wi-fi capability.
- When is it available? Now.
- How much? Customers can get into a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado with an MSRP of $25,575.
2015 Ram 1500
Autobytel congratulates the 2015 Ram 1500 as our Truck of the Year. And yes, that does make it two in a row for the Ram, as Autobytel editors once again lauded the brand’s innovative EcoDiesel model for its ability to post the highest fuel-economy ratings of any full-size pickup while still serving up 420 lb.-ft. of torque and a max tow rating of 9,200 lbs.
- What changed? Technically speaking, changes here are limited to a new instrument-panel welcome screen for upper-level SLT and Laramie grades, as well as a new exterior color: Black Forest Green. However, 2015 represents the first full model year for the Ram EcoDiesel model, with the 2014 models launching in March of last year and the brand announcing the 2015 versions just six months later.
- When is it available? The 2015 Ram roster is ready right now.
- How much? The 2015 Ram 1500 stickers from $25,410.
2015 GMC Sierra
The 2015 GMC Sierra is easy to distinguish from its Bowtie-branded partner in most ways, but they do share similar amounts of marketplace momentum, including December sales growth that exceeded 30 percent and a +10 percent jump in annual volume.
- What changed? In keeping with its upscale, Professional Grade positioning, the 2015 GMC Sierra adds premium trailering mirrors for the new model year, complete with LED rear-guidance lamps, and the range-topping Denali editions welcome Magnetic Ride Control suspension technology. The rest of lineup also keeps in step with the Silverado by adding OnStar’s 4G and wireless hotspot features, along with two more exterior colors (Emerald Green Metallic and Stone Blue Metallic), enhanced IntelliLink capabilities, and, in models outfitted with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
- When is it available? At the present time.
- How much? The starting price for the Sierra is $26,605.
2015 Toyota Tundra
The 2015 Toyota Tundra was significantly redesigned just last year, but there are also are more new ones to enjoy during this one.
- What changed? The only full-size pickup portfolio with an all-V8 roster, the Tundra team has drafted two new players for 2015: a Bass Pro Shops Off-road Edition and a new TRD Pro Off-Road model, and these aren’t just appearance packages.The TRD Pro truck, for example, won its class at the most recent Baja 1000 race. Of course, the Tundra also adds features designed to help with more everyday tasks, highlighted by a rear under-seat storage tray for certain double-cab models and a spray-in bedliner that now is ready for all models.
- When is it available? The 2015 Toyota Tundra is available now.
- How much? Sticker prices for the 2015 Toyota Tundra start at $29,020.
2015 Nissan Frontier
Suddenly about to become the only previous-gen pickup in the mid-size segment, the 2015 Nissan Frontier will look to attract customers with a high-value price point, a reputation for performance, and a particularly wide of models that includes king- and crew-cab configurations, with all- and rear-wheel drive, and multiple bed lengths. And for what it’s worth, the 2015 Nissan Frontier does own a 12-lb.-ft. torque advantage over the most powerful new GM mid-sizers.
- What changed? Nissan fine-tuned Frontier packaging by adding a moonroof for SL long-wheelbase models, debuting a new exterior color (Arctic Blue Metallic), and upgrading the Pro-4X, SV and Desert Runner with standard NissanConnect technology.
- When is it available? 2015 Nissan Frontier models are in stock now.
- How much? $17,990.