There are few areas of the automotive industry that are more competitive than the truck market - and given the dominance of the Big 3, it's no surprise that American trucks have become increasingly innovative over the course of the past few years. With so many new designs and drivetrains either just entering production or currently in the pipeline, it's an exciting time to be shopping for an American truck, whether it be an SUV or a pickup.
We've put together a list of what's new for American trucks that you can either buy now or in the very near future. Let's take a quick look at the intriguing developments that are waiting for truck shoppers to discover.
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado has been completely redesigned, and aside from a notable restyling effort both inside and outside the truck's cabin, the real story is the full-size pickup's revamped drivetrain line-up. The Silverado's 4.3-liter V-6, 5.3-liter V-8, and 6.2-liter V-8 have all been given direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation technology in order to provide a boost in power and improved efficiency. The real winner of the three is the 4.3-liter V-6, which moves from barely-adequate 195 ponies to a chest-thumping 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. The mid-level 5.3-liter, eight-cylinder engine produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, while the 6.2-liter unit delivers 420 horses and 460 lb-ft of twist.
Although the next-generation 2015 Ford F-150 is still under-wraps, Ford took the all-new 2015 F-Series Super Duty trucks to the State Fair in Texas this September and showed them off for the very first time. The line-up, which consists of familiar models like the F-250 and the F-350, continues to be available in both single and dual-rear wheel models, and a new version of the brand's 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8 is also in the cards. The Power Stroke has been thoroughly revised in order to generate 400 horsepower and a stunning 800 lb-ft of torque. An updated turbocharger handles the forced induction duties for the diesel engine, and the hardcore F-450 model gains some chassis tweaks to help boost its towing capacity (although final figures have yet to be released).
The 2014 RAM 1500 is one year removed from a refresh that saw it claim the title of smoothest-driving full-size pickup thanks to its available air and coil suspension systems. For the upcoming model year the Ram 1500 is set to shock the industry yet again via the introduction of a turbodiesel engine - the first such unit to be offered in a light-duty truck in nearly two decades. The Ram 1500 will be available with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 that is similar to the one already found under the hood of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The EcoDiesel, as it is being called, offers up 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, and it is yoked to a segment-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the efficient drivetrain has yet to be officially tested, but 30-mpg is not out of the realm of the possible during highway cruising.
The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban gains a new platform that is mechanically almost identical to that underpinning the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup. The full-size people mover gains more flat-sided styling compared to the previous model, and it also gains the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter engines that are found under the hood of its truck cousin. When contrasted against the 2014 edition of the Suburban the new model is within two inches in terms of length and one inch when it comes to width, giving it the same massive character that it has always enjoyed. The vehicle's interior has been heavily updated, and towing remains impressive with a maximum of 8,500 lbs of trailer weight that can be handled by the SUV.
The 2014 GMC Sierra has been given the same underpinnings as the Silverado. While its engines and chassis might be identical to those offered by the Chevrolet, the GMC Sierra pulls ahead with unique upscale styling cues and, of course, the presence of the luxury-laden Denali trim level. New for 2014 is the expansion of the Sierra Denali's drivetrain options to include the 5.3-liter V-8 in addition to last year's 6.2-liter mill, as well as the elimination of the all-wheel drive system that once took the place of a traditional low-range four-wheel drive option for the premium truck.
There hasn't been a lot of official word concerning the details of the 2015 Ford Expedition, but that hasn’t stopped a series of tantalizing rumors from making the rounds. The upcoming Ford Expedition is expected to step away from its current 5.4-liter V-8 engine - a unit which has fallen behind in both power and efficiency when compared against the competition - in favor of the same 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 offered in the Ford F-150. This would make 365 horses and over 400 lb-ft of torque available to the Expedition. Even more interesting is the chance that the Ford full-size SUV will also gain a 10-speed automatic transmission (which would further improve fuel mileage) as well as the availability of an optional 5.0-liter V-8.
It's been a long time coming, but it seems almost certain that Jeep will be reviving the Grand Wagoneer nameplate for the 2015 model year. The 2015 Jeep Grand Wagoneer will represent the brand's second chance at producing a viable three-row full-size SUV after the disappointment that was the cramped Jeep Commander. Word is that the Grand Wagoneer will crib its platform from the Dodge Durango and will offer a mix of high-end luxury features with the kind of off-road performance that Jeep sport-utility vehicles have become synonymous with. Expect an eight-speed automatic transmission as well as a choice between the brand's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 under the hood.
The 2015 GMC Yukon offers a different styling take on the same mechanical package offered by the Chevrolet Suburban (Yukon XL) and the Chevrolet Tahoe. What's intriguing about the GMC Yukon (as well as the smaller Tahoe) is that the vehicle might be given a chance to stretch its legs off-road as well as on the pavement by way of a special all-terrain edition. Yes, the Z71 Off-Road package has traditionally been offered with both the Yukon and the Tahoe, but General Motors is hoping to put together an even more focused set of rugged, go-anywhere features that could help increase consumer interest in both of the high capacity people movers.
Our first glimpse at the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is just around the corner, with the mid-size pickup (and its GMC Canyon compatriot) ready to debut in a month's time at the L.A. Auto Show. Pegged as a dramatic update to the largely uninteresting models that preceded them, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are likely to offer a four-cylinder turbodiesel engine in addition to standard gasoline power plants. The trucks will share details with the mid-size pickups that GM already sells in overseas markets, and could conceivably present a serious challenge to the Toyota Tacoma's mid-size market dominance.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with a very slick restyling effort, with particular attention paid towards giving the capable SUV's passenger compartment a high end luxury feel in its most expensive trim levels. The Jeep Grand Cherokee also benefits from a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel (same as the unit that will be offered under the hood of the Ram 1500) that produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Standard across the entire Grand Cherokee lineup is an eight-speed automatic transmission, a gearbox that offers a considerable fuel mileage advantage even when paired with the 470 horsepower 6.4-liter V-8 that motivates the ultra-quick SRT model.