Look and You Shall Find It!
We heard a Ram Trucks executive refer to the new engineers behind the scenes designing and building the newest half ton pick-ups as “paradigm pioneers.” Ram engineers have done a superb job at anticipating the wants and needs of half-ton pickup drivers. That has paid off handsomely for Ram, establishing it as a true contender in an arena that has long been dominated by Ford and General Motors. Industry experts say that after separating the truck division from the Chrysler Dodge nameplate in 2009, Ram has carved out its role as a leader by breaking the mold of what a truck should offer and proven that people are willing to pay more for their truck purchases, too.
The Ram’s base engine for the 1500 is a 305-horsepower V6. Ram’s 395-horsepower V8 will deliver better acceleration, but it’s the 240-hp turbodiesel with 420 pound-feet of torque that gets 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway that has people talking. Ram says that its 2019 1500 model with the V8 engine will tow up to 12,750 pounds and have a max payload of 2,300 pounds. But beyond measuring up capability-wise. Ram has firmly established its brand as the leader of the pack when it comes to smooth ride and luxury trim levels. Ram reports that they have pulled in drivers who previously owned SUVs and sedans and attained one of the highest marks in brand loyalty. Yes, a Ram pickup is cool, comfortable, and luxurious enough to drive as both your workhorse and your weekender. Who ever heard of reclining rear seats in a pickup?
The good news is that everyone is forced to keep up, and nowhere is the competition more obvious than in the full size pickup segment. We could talk about technology and entertainment features, but let’s just say that all of the new trucks have just as many bells and whistles as any vehicle segment plus features that take into account all the new if somewhat less experienced pickup drivers. Things like hill descent control can make a novice look good off-road, while parking assist features allow confident maneuverability for city slickers.
Across its Silverado 1500 lineup, Chevrolet strives to deliver something for everyone—from bare bones to luxury cruiser. There are three cab layouts, three bed sizes and three engine choices across six trim levels. The Silverado engine lineup ranges from its base V6 up to a 6.2-liter V8 capable of towing 12,000 pounds. We drove the Centennial Edition Silverado Z71 4WD LTZ with 5.3-liter V8 engine matched to an eight-speed automatic, good for 355 hp, 383 lb-ft torque and rated to tow up to 11,000 pounds. Features included a chrome exterior trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and LED foglights and taillights. With Z71 signifying an off-road package, it also featured a heavy-duty locking rear differential, front tow hooks, a seven-pin wiring harness connector, special shock absorbers, a heavy-duty air cleaner, hill descent control, underbody shield and recovery hooks.
Ford is the leader to beat in the 1500 category, and it offers hundreds of available configurations across its top-selling F-150 lineup. Aluminum body panels and an aluminum bed gave Ford bragging rights in claiming the F-150 to be the lightest truck in its class. The latest news is the 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine with 250 horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque as a sixth engine choice for F-150 customers. The diesel is EPA-estimated at 30 mpg highway and boasts 11,400 pounds of towing capacity and 2,020 pounds of payload capacity. While maintaining a watchful eye to hold its firm positions of leadership in the 1500 segment, Ford is putting equal emphasis this year on answering the call from truck customers looking for an affordable, rugged, and maneuverable midsize pickup. Torture-tested alongside Ford F-150 trucks, Ford promises that its 2019 Ranger will be also be “Built Ford Tough,” featuring a 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine and class-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission.
If you’re already a pickup driver, you’ll find the newest model year offerings compelling as each automaker attempts to prevent its buyers from straying elsewhere. And if you’re not yet driving a truck, that’s probably just because you haven’t yet discovered the one perfect for you—because it’s out there for sure! We really can’t think of any reason that a truck would NOT be a good choice for just about any type of driver!