Page 1


MoToR TReNd’s

The PickuP and Suv

OUr PICKS FOr 2014

All-new Aluminum F -150


Ford Takes a Gamble—but the Payof Could be Huge


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Aggressive All-Terrain

Long Wear, Comfort, & Performance

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May/june 2014

• VoluMe 17, nuMber 3

contents 2015 Ford F-150

The big news that could shake up the truck world.

2015 chevrolet silverado & Gmc sierra hd Adding toughness and refinement to two hard workers.

in every issue editor’s desk


emissions check

truck & suv Gear

max Payload

truck trend GaraGe

whale watchinG


The mother of invention ..................................................... Readers sound off .............................................................. What’s here, what’s coming, what’s new.........................

The state of trucking .........................................................

Duct tape ......................................................................... All the latest tools and toys for your ride ......................

Tech tips from the expert..............................................

2004-2012 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon............

lonG-term uPdates

Nissan NV200 SV & Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 .....................................


MAy/june 2014


on the cover

When the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD were unveiled last year, we knew they’d take on styling similar to that of their ½-ton siblings, and that the engines and transmissions weren’t going to change. Now, GM has completed the transition to the new generation of HD trucks. You can consider this the end of the GMT900 trucks and the start of the K2s. The story begins on page 22.

Ford’s engineers have been working on the new F-150 since 2009, when the first prototypes, combining an aluminum body with a highstrength steel frame, were built as part of the initial research. The decision to use aluminum was made before the new CAFE regs were finalized. Read the story starting on page 28.


test, looks & drives

sierra PeQueÑo

GMC Canyon: Ready to square off with the Tacoma ...

best in class

We rate all the sheetmetal that’s out to win ....................

readers’ rides

Rare to common, old to new—a little bit of everything.....

oFF the Grid

Big game hunting in a patch of heaven on earth .............

TRUCK TREND (ISSN 1094-4370) May/June 2014 Vol. 17, No. 3 Published bimonthly by Source Interlink Media, LLC, 261 Madison Ave., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016-2303. Copyright© 2014 by Source Interlink Magazines, LLC. All rights reserved. Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing ofces. SUBSCRIPTIONS: U.S. and U.S. Possessions $15 for 6 issues. Canada $21 per year and international orders $27 per year (including surface mail postage). Payment in advance, U.S. funds only. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Please send address changes to: TRUCK TREND, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.

Increasing Editor’ Desk By Allyson Harwood

The Mother of Invention


ver the past several years, new challenges have been placed squarely on the shoulders of truck manufacturers. Safety, emissions, and fuel economy regulations are getting tougher. Buyers are demanding more from their trucks in capability and comfort. Because of these pressures, we are enjoying an era where none of the brands is bad—each is trying to earn favor with buyers by responding to their demands in different ways. Take a look at the ½-ton market to get a feel for how each of the Big Three does this. Ford enjoys being cutting edge, taking a chance on turbocharged V-6 engines as an alternative to traditional V-8 power, without abandoning the V-8. It continues to look ahead, announcing the 2015 F-150’s body will be made almost entirely of aluminum. This will be the biggest use of aluminum in a non-military pickup truck. In addition, the F-150 offers the best handling and the most responsive steering. Ram Truck is also innovative, and took its own chances, also successfully. Its ½-ton uses active grille shutters, a rear coil-spring suspension instead of traditional leaf springs, plus air suspension—and the eight-speed automatic is controlled with a dial. These trucks even use stop/start. But the biggest chance Ram is taking, the one that could pay big dividends? A diesel engine in its ½-ton, the first time in decades one will be available in this segment. Ram 1500s have the best ride you can get in a ½-ton, and while its coilspring rearend keeps the 1500 from having best-in-class towing capacity, it doesn’t keep the Ram from being a highly capable truck. Chevrolet and GMC have brought modern technology to traditional powertrains, making overhead-valve V-8s efficient and adding to the mix cylinder shutoff—even on the V-6—and variable valve timing. Smart, careful engineering allowed the Silverado and Sierra to sprint into the 21st century. In addition to winning the battle of towing capacity supremacy in the ½-ton market (for now), the 6

mileage while improving capability is no easy feat. When it comes to 1/2-tons, buyers want it all.

Silverado and Sierra have the quietest interiors in the segment. GM is taking another chance by injecting new life into what had been a stagnant segment—midsize trucks— by introducing a new truck there. Adding to the risk-taking: A diesel will be available, too. Think back to when you first heard about these innovations. Some of you might have thought the people in charge of one brand or another were out of their minds. Yet new ideas and technologies are coming to our trucks every year, and coming so quickly that we are getting used to the idea that these huge leaps forward will occur practically annually. It used to be that trucks wouldn’t change much over a seven-year life cycle. Why have changes cranked up so quickly? Part of it is the increasing demand from buyers, but the bigger motivator is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations. While these regulations get tougher every year, we are definitely impressed with what the Big Three have been doing to improve fuel economy. What impresses us even more is that the strides they have made haven’t been at the expense of capability. All three have fuel economy as high as the mid-to-upper 20s, and those numbers could easily hit 30 mpg in the next year or two. Yet these trucks can tow up to 12,000 pounds. The manufacturers can’t PLATINUM ALUMINUM The body of the 2015 F-150 will be made almost entirely of aluminum. This is just one innovation in the truck world.

may/june 2014

sacrifice capability for fuel economy, because if they do, they risk losing sales. Increasing mileage while improving capability is no easy feat. When it comes to ½-tons, buyers want it all: Their ½-ton has to handle payload and be able to tow, be roomy and carry the family in comfort, and have a suspension that’s comfortable when the truck is anything from empty to fully loaded. Oh, and the truck has to do all this while being fast and getting good fuel economy. We know the downsides of such technology: Prices go up (at the dealer lot and in the cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle); the increasing complexity increases the chance that reliability will suffer; and fixing problems isn’t as easy as it used to be. There might be some growing pains over the next few years, but considering the challenges these companies are facing and that were placed upon them, they are doing quite a good job under pressure. While this is my last issue as editor of Truck Trend, it has been a blast to watch the world of pickups and sport/utilities change and improve, and I will continue to enjoy seeing how the OEs innovate in the future. It has been a true pleasure. Thanks for making being a part of this magazine for the last 10 years so much fun. TT NEW


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Oct 3–6, 2013

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NH Sportsplex

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Music City Center

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Jan 9–12, 2014

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> West Virginia International Auto Show Jan 24–26, 2014

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Edward Sanchez ONLINE EDITOR

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HYBRID OPTIONS Your short article in Max Payload, “New GM Full-Size SUVs Could Get Hybrid, Diesel Options” mentioned that “the hybrid versions of the last-generation SUVs never were big sellers” and “the diference in highway fuel economy was minimal.” I was not impressed with the fuel economy diference between gas and hybrid. I never understood why GM used the 6.0-liter V-8 in the hybrid confguration when the 5.3-liter V-8 is much more economical. I would not expect the hybrid buyer to need a heavy tow vehicle. I’ve had my 2003 Suburban (with the 5.3-liter) for 11 years now and am watching the new Suburban closely. I hope to be able to get a diesel or hybrid if the mpg numbers make it worthwhile. John Harris Via the Internet

We asked GM engineers about the possibility of hybrid versions of the Silverado and Sierra and didn’t get a defnitive answer either way, but we aren’t expecting to see them for this generation of trucks and SUVs. GM is rumored to be working on new technology that ranges from new transmissions (10-speed automatics!) to diesels (something between the 2.8-liter for the upcoming Colorado/ Canyon and the 6.6-liter in the Silverado/Sierra HD), and, from what we hear, any of that is more likely than a hybrid option.

OVERRATED I keep wondering what the hype is about wanting a diesel engine in light-duty trucks or SUVs. I have been around diesels for many years, and to me they are dirty, noisy, and smelly. As for fuel economy, you pay thousands of dollars just for the diesel engine, and it takes a long time to recover your cost. If you are going somewhere important and you get one drop of diesel on you, you will smell for the rest of the day. I understand if you need power to tow a large RV, or a large livestock or oil feld trailer with larger F-250 Fords or 2500 Chevrolets. If you need more power in ½-ton pickups, get the F-150 with an EcoBoost engine. For me, it has way outperformed any V-8 Ford, Chevrolet, or Toyota that I have had.

DOUBLE DIPPING I’m a long-term Motor Trend subscriber and occasional buyer of Truck Trend at the store. In the February 2014 Motor Trend, there were “Global Entry” (about the Chevy Colorado), “Strength in Numbers (Truck of the Year),” and “Humongous” (6x6 MercedesBenz). I bought the March/April 2014 Truck Trend hoping (key word here) that Truck Trend would provide more depth, more insight into the Truck of the Year winner, the Ram 1500 (since I’m thinking about getting one). However, that was not the case. Same words, same pictures. And then, basically the same Chevy Colorado story and the exact same M-B story. What incentive do I have to buy (or subscribe) to Truck Trend? You ofer no more detailed stories than already appeared in Motor Trend. I would like to think that Truck Trend could dig a little deeper, ofer more insight/ pictures/analysis than what is ofered in Motor Trend. I paid twice now for the same articles. Good for you (sales), bad for me. Pretty disappointed in the efort. Craig Leonard Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

When it comes to the balance between the stories about trucks, sport/utilities, and vans that run in Motor Trend and the stories on the same vehicles that run in Truck Trend, it can be a difcult tightrope to walk. When

Motor Trend wants someone to cover the launch of a new vehicle, the editor sends the best person for the job. If the right person to cover an event is someone who knows about pickups, SUVs, and vans, in many cases that’s going to be someone who lives and breathes all things truck, SUV, and van. Who better to send than someone from Truck Trend? And when someone from Truck Trend goes on an event, he/she gets as much information as possible. At that point, we are left with two choices: We can omit details for the story for Motor Trend or we can give Motor Trend readers all the information we gather from attending events. When it comes to the Colorado, that story was all the information we gathered at the behind-the-scenes sneak peek we attended, as well as from some interviews we did on site. Truck of the Year is an award that Motor Trend gives out, and it is determined and organized with a lot of help of the staf at Truck Trend. We run the same story every year as Motor Trend, but we always include additional data for Truck Trend readers. The drive of the 6x6 G-Wagen was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we freely admit we ran the same version of that story as Motor Trend. Even though we knew we couldn’t get more, or diferent, information about that vehicle, we felt it would still be of interest to Truck Trend readers.

Clyde Bechthold Booker, Texas

Yes, there are downsides to owning a dieselpowered vehicle. However, I’m a big fan of diesels, and I don’t mind what I consider to be minor trade-ofs. While I agree that diesels from the past were dirty and smelled bad, diesel technology has come quite a long way in the last 10 years. Another thing to remember about diesels is that they aren’t solely about having plenty of low-end torque to help when 10

THE Ram 1500, moToR TREnd 2014 TRuck of THE yEaR, also was fEaTuREd in TRuck TREnd.

may/june 2014


towing—even though that is a huge advantage. Fuel economy is such a huge part of why people like diesel so much that those who own cars such as Volkswagens and Mercedes-Benzes (and soon smaller Chevrolet sedans) swear by diesels. They are so much quieter and cleaner than they were in the past! But I agree with you on some of your points. The price of a diesel engine is often a dealbreaker for shoppers, but if you know you plan on holding on to your truck for a while, it can be worth the investment. It would be nice to see the price of the diesel engine option come down. And one of the biggest shortcomings of living with a diesel-powered vehicle is dealing with diesel fuel stations. Some of them are still somewhat antiquated, and it’s very easy to spill diesel fuel on your hands or jeans. While the tradeofs are worth it for me, and other diesel fans out there, it doesn’t mean diesel vehicles are for everyone. And Ford’s EcoBoost is an excellent alternative.

TOYO OR GOODYEAR? On page 80 of the January/February 2014 issue in the F-150 long-term test, there are two diferent tires. One view has Goodyears and the other has Toyos. Did the long-term truck require new tires after 30,000 miles? I have also seen the specifcations on the Toyota Tundra CrewMax back-seat legroom shown as 34 inches in some articles. I believe this is the legroom for the Double Cab, not the Crew Max. I think the CrewMax has 44 inches. I have a 2008 CrewMax and it has defnitely more room in the back seat than the Ford F-150, but the Ford is much closer with the latest redesign.

mind that you’re comparing an oversize crew cab with a standard crew cab. Make it apples to apples: Compare the Ford’s 43.5-inch legroom with the Tundra Double Cab’s 34.7 inches.

A BETTER 6X6 After reading “Humongous,” (March/April 2014), I remembered seeing something similar locally some years back. True, it wasn’t as humongous or grand as the Mercedes 6x6 G-Wagen, but it showed excellent Vermont Yankee ingenuity. The owner had taken a small Toyota 4x4 (I don’t remember what year it was, but it still had vent windows), lengthened the frame, and added tandem Rockwell axles and a dump body. They wound up with a 6x6 that was more practical than the G63 AMG 6x6. Would you carry cow poop with the Mercedes? I don’t think anyone well-heeled enough to buy one would use it for anything more than a “look how rich I am” status symbol.

This Toyota-based 6x6 is much more useful than the Mercedes 6x6, and it’s great that it isn’t created to be a status symbol. I have to tell you that lots of people here would love to drive this truck. By the way, we believe it’s a 1980-1981 Toyota.

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Frank Aparo Via the Internet

You have a sharp eye! Our long-termer did start out with Goodyears, but because of some snafus that we would consider abnormal driving, there was damage to two tires, so we replaced the whole set. We don’t fault the Goodyears. Regarding the F-150’s rear-seat legroom, comparing 2012 with 2012, the Ford SuperCrew ofers 43.5 inches of space, while the Tundra CrewMax has 44.5 inches of space. But keep in


Tildo Tennelo Via the Internet

HOW TO REACH US for all editorial questions: TRuck TREnd Magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 or email for all subscription questions: email may/june 2014



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Compiled by edward A. sanchez

news, rumors, trends, stuff

Hyundai Sprinter? Hyundai manufactures a variety of commercial vehicles, including buses, fatbed trucks, and car carriers, for markets around the world. It also builds

2016 LR2?

large vans, including the i800 in the United Kingdom and the H-1 in Asian markets. However, we are beginning to suspect the automaker might bring a

full-size cargo van—larger than the eight-passenger i800—to Europe and North America. Our spy photographer caught a camoufaged Hyundai cargo van

that appears to be the same size as the Mercedes Sprinter. This Hyundai prototype was spotted in Europe while testing on public roads.



In England, rumor has it the newest model from Land Rover is going to lose its Freelander name and will likely become a part of the Discovery family of vehicles. This is a photo of the pending “baby Discovery.” In the U.S., the nomenclature is a litle less complicated. We expect this is a spy shot of an early prototype of the upcoming LR2. It’s going to be based on a modified Range Rover Evoque platform and is codenamed L550. The new LR2 will be bigger then the current model, and we anticipate it will borrow some styling cues from the Evoque to give it a more modern look. The big question is whether the increase in size will be enough to accommodate three rows of seats, or if it’ll continue on as a five-passenger vehicle.




2015 ProMaster City Van

2014 Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Ram Truck is continuing its successful collaboration with Mossy Oak camouflage with the 2014 Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition. The Mossy Oak trim originally debuted for 2011 and continues to be popular among hunting- and outdoor-oriented customers. For the first time, the Mossy Oak edition Ram will be available with the RamBox bedside cargo management system on the 5-foot, 7-inch

and 6-foot, 4-inch bed lengths. The interior of the truck gets the Mossy Oak treatment on the instrument panel center column and the door panel inserts. Buyers have the choice of a Canyon Brown or Frost Beige interior, with optional Mossy Oak embroidered Katzkin leather seating surfaces with the Mossy Oak logo embroidered on the headrests. Prices start at $41,180 including destination.

Frontier Could Get Diesel Nissan’s senior vice president of sales Fred Diaz discussed products that could be coming from Nissan, notably the next-gen Frontier and a possibie diesel engine option. We drove a Nissan Navara (global-market Frontier) with a 2.5-liter I-4 turbodiesel and were impressed with its torque and responsiveness. The

Frontier might get Cummins’ 2.8-liter ISF four-cylinder, which produces around 200 hp and 380 lb-f of torque. The only officially announced collaboration between Nissan and Cummins is the 5.0-liter ISV going into the next Titan, but it’s not far-fetched to imagine a Cummins under the hood of the next Frontier.

In addition to its pickups and the Fiat Ducato-based ProMaster full-size cargo van, Ram will soon add to its lineup the 2015 ProMaster City compact cargo van, based on the popular and capable Fiat Doblo cargo van sold in Europe. The ProMaster city could be a formidable competitor to the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200. The long-wheelbase, low-roof model Doblo offers 148.3 cubic feet of cargo space, significantly more than

both the NV200 (122.7 cubic feet) and the Ford Transit Connect (130.6 cubic feet), although specific configurations for the U.S. market have not been announced. The ProMaster City is expected to get an I-4 gasoline engine, likely the 2.4-liter TigerShark I-4. The Doblo is offered with different engine options in Europe, including two diesels, and naturally aspirated and turbocharged 1.4-liter gasoline and natural gas engines.

Silverado Could Get Diesel, Too With the introduction of the 2015 Ford F-150 at the Detroit auto show, inevitable comparisons are being made with the current full-size competition, but according to Automotive News, GM has no intention of ceding any territory to Ford when it comes to fuel economy. GM global powertrain vice president Steve Kiefer hints that a diesel engine of some sort is under consideration for GM’s 1/2-ton trucks. Immediately prior to GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, a 4.5liter Duramax diesel V-8 was showroom-bound,


with target output specs of more than 300 hp and 500 lb-f of torque. Most of the development work is reportedly complete on the engine. Another possibility is the 2.8-liter I-4 turbodiesel that will be an option in the 2016 Colorado and GMC Canyon.


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2015 Lincoln Navigator The 2015 Lincoln Navigator debuted at the Chicago auto show with Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 as the standard

and sole powerplant. In the Navigator, the engine produces 370 hp and 430 lb-f of torque, improvements of 60 hp and 65

lb-f over the outgoing threevalve 5.4-liter V-8. Other updates include the new Lincoln “split-wing” grille, higher quality and more extensive use of leather trim, LED taillights and driving lights, illuminated “welcome mats,” keyless entry and start, available Ziricote wood trim, and standard 20-inch and optional 22-inch wheels. The 2015 Navigator will be in showrooms fall 2014. Pricing has not been announced.

Sprinter 4x4 U.S.- Bound Atention, ski resort operators: The guest shutle of your dreams is about to arrive. If you’re in Europe, it already has. There, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is now available with a 4x4 option, even with optional low-range. From the exterior, the Sprinter 4x4 doesn’t look much different from a standard Sprinter, other than a ride height that’s 4 inches higher in front and 3 inches higher in back. The huge wheelwell gap looks a litle goofy to us, but the odd stature serves a function. The raised height increases approach

angle from 18 to 28 degrees, and the departure angle on the short-overhang model from 22 to 27 degrees. The low range is a modest 1.42 gear reduction

suited more for steep snowcovered roads than climbing rock faces. We could see the Sprinter 4x4 in U.S. showrooms as soon as 2015.

LAnd RoveR ConSideRinG AmARok-FiGHTeR

The once-neglected midsize truck market is suddenly heating up, and we’re not just talking Colorado and Canyon. According to a report from Britain’s What Car?, Land Rover is working on a midsize truck to challenge the Volkswagen Amarok, among other competitors. The report cites Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern as saying the truck would be launched sometime around 2017 as part of an extended Defender family of vehicles. It would likely have a five-passenger, crew-cab body with AWD. The Amarok was cited specifically for its premium market positioning and greater focus on creature comforts than the more utilitarian-oriented global Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, and Toyota Hilux. It’s unknown whether the truck will be sold in the U.S. market, where price is an especially sensitive issue in the midsize segment.

Mopar Muscle PaysTribute to Hemi 50th Anniversary Chrysler’s performance and accessory division is adding to the pantheon of monster trucks with the introduction of Mopar Muscle. The first new monster truck in more than a decade, Mopar Muscle will be campaigned by Hall Brothers Racing and joins its fellow monster Rams Raminator and Rammunition,


in the team’s lineup. Weighing 10,300 pounds, Mopar Muscle is powered by a 2000-hp, 565-cubic-inch supercharged Hemi V-8 engine. Mopar Muscle will be driven by Hall Racing driver Mike Miller, who is so passionate about Mopar

performance, he named his son Hemi. Mopar Muscle will wear a special 50th Anniversary logo for 2014 in recognition of a half-century of the iconic second-generation 426 Hemi, the engine that firmly established Chrysler reputation for performance vehicles in the 1960s. Mopar Muscle recently made its public debut at Ford Field in Detroit at Monster Jam event.

ON TRACK Mike Miller will drive the Mopar Muscle monster truck for the 2014 season.

CooLeST CHevy

The entire body of this 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD is ice. Mods were made to support the 14,000-pound body, welding and reinforcing the frame to eliminate bending and flexing as much as possible. The pros at Iceculture integrated LED headand taillights, and there’s even a pine tree air freshener made of ice. The project was to prove the winter reliability of Canadian Tire’s MotoMaster Eliminator batery, frozen to -40 degrees F. Videos are featured on Canadian Tire’s YouTube channel.

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FiRsT LOOks 2015 Toyota Tacoma, 4Runner, and Tundra TRD Pro

Off-Road Attitude, Factory Warranty Toyota is showing off its line of TRD Pro Trucks and SUVs, giving dirt hounds something to get excited about. Although perhaps not as extreme or extensive as some other factory efforts such as the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, the Wrangler

Rubicon, and the Ram Power Wagon, the upgrades to the TRD Pro models show a sincere effort by Toyota to do more to appeal to off-road enthusiasts. Colors for this action-oriented trio are black, Super White, and Inferno (burnt orange).

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

The Tacoma TRD Pro stands out from its more subdued stablemates with a unique “TOYOTA” block-leter grille, black “TRD Pro” badging, and a front skidplate. Functional upgrades include Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks, TRD-tuned springs with 2 inches of front lif and a decreased spring rate for a smoother ride over uneven terrain, unique 16-inch beadlock-style wheels, BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, and a TRD exhaust. The interior gets TRD-logo floormats and a shif knob.

If you can’t see who Toyota’s aiming for with this full-size brute, you must not be looking very hard. The whole blockleter grille thing? Toyota wasn’t the first to do it. Unlike the Raptor, the Tundra TRD Pro doesn’t have bespoke suspension arms, but does get unique reduced-rate springs with 2 inches of additional front lif, Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks, and a front skidplate. The interior gets unique red stitching and an instrument panel decorative insert.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro The functional upgrades to the 4Runner TRD Pro are fundamentally similar to the Tacoma, with some minor differences. The front springs give the SUV 1.5 inches of lif, and increase wheel travel by one inch, and the wheels are 17 inches. Like the Tacoma, the 4Runner gets a unique block-leter grille and front and rear black bumper accents.

amarok Could ComE to usa

Jonathan Browning, former CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said the German automaker would seriously consider bringing the Volkswagen Amarok stateside if the U.S. government killed its 50-year-old “chicken tax.” This is the 25-percent tariff on foreign pickups that was created in response to a hefy tariff European nations imposed on American poultry. “We do not have any plans to introduce a VW pickup in the U.S. market,” Browning said at the Los Angeles auto show. “But if there were no chicken tax, that would be a good time to reevaluate that.” Browning was recently replaced by Michael Horn, who is intent on increasing the Volkswagen brand’s market share and product offerings in the U.S. It’s uncertain whether Horn is similarly enthusiastic about the prospects of a pickup in VW’s U.S. lineup. Horn officially confirmed at the 2014 Detroit auto show that a production version of the CrossBlue three-row crossover concept would be coming to VW’s U.S. showrooms for the 2016 model year.

FiRsT LOOk 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD CNG Bi-Fuel

2015 CadillaC EsCaladE PriCing

Natural Gas Option Continues on HD Models Chevrolet now offers a CNG bi-fuel option for the 2015 Silverado HD on all bed, cab, and wheelbase configurations of the 2500 model and on SRW 3500. With the available 4.10 axle ratio, the Silverado HD can tow 13,000 pounds with CNG or gasoline.


Maximum payload ratings go down slightly when running on CNG. The engine on the 2015 HDs with the bi-fuel option is the Vortec 6000 V-8. The engine produces 360 hp and 380 lb-f when running on gasoline and 301 hp and 333 lb-f when

running on CNG. The package price for the bi-fuel trucks is $11,000. That compares with the $8395 for the Duramax diesel, but fuel savings could be more than $2000 a year, so the cost could conceivably be recouped in less than six years.

The Cadillac Escalade has always carried a substantial price premium over its less extravagant brethren, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. That tradition continues for the 2015 model, with the short-wheelbase model starting at an estimated $72,690. Price before destination is $71,695. The 2014 Escalade has a $995 destination charge, which we added to the announced price. The increase in starting price before destination charge over the 2014 Escalade is $3995.

ROLL-UP UTILITY WITH A HARD COVER ATTITUDE Titanium is the ultimate combination of hard slats and soft vinyl, resulting in a stylish low-proďŹ le roll up cover with the strength and toughness of a hard panel tonneau. Titanium boasts aluminum slats that are linked together and bonded to a UV resistant, industrial quality leather-grain fabric. It can easily be installed without a drill or special tools.

MaX payload

Interview: Chip Thole, (former) exterior design manager, GM Full-Size SUVs under the spoiler for visual reasons and for functionality, so it’s clean and dry and doesn’t get caked in snow. We also spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel geting them as smooth and clean to the air as we could—around the air dam, front and rear corners and leading edges, and closeout panels under the engine to get the underbody clean.

In every Issue, Truck Trend interviews people involved in designing, building, and equipping current and future trucks. Have any suggestions for interviews you’d like to see? Email us at—Ed.

by Gary Witzenburg Chip Thole loved to draw things, especially cars, from early childhood, and his high school art teacher steered him to the Cleveland Institute of Art. He graduated in 1997 and joined GM Design, partly thanks to a Cadillac project he did there. In the Cadillac studio, Chip was part of the team that created the brand’s Art and Science design philosophy and penned the award-winning Evoq sports car concept that introduced it to the world, then worked on the first-generation Cadillac CTS and SRX before moving to the Corporate Brand Character studio to create advanced concepts. Chip led design of the 2006 Chevrolet Impala, then took on assignments in the U.K. (the Cadillac Cien concept), Sweden, and Australia before being named to lead the exterior design of the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade. He has now moved on to a Buick exterior studio, but he was happy to discuss these all-new SUVs. TT: Was this a fun project? CT: I was thrilled with this assignment for two reasons: the scope of the program—what it means to the company—and the sheer history of it. The 12th-generation Suburban was a cool, iconic vehicle to work on, right up there with any classic American vehicle. I have five kids, so it’s the kind of vehicle I need. I had a lot of real-world experience to bring to the table. And for the first time in history, these SUVs share no sheetmetal at all with the pickup trucks, so we were absolutely free to do them right. That was a huge enabler for us.

TT: What is your design philosophy? CT: I start with what intuition tells me about the market and get the team going on that. You look at trends around the industry—fashion, culture, what people are buying, what they say they want now—and project that into the future. The fun part is puting those ideas to paper and going from there. TT: Like a new Jeep Wrangler or Porsche 911, you needed to change it, but not too much. CT: Today’s Suburban is a great design with a huge share of the market, but there were things we wanted to change. We wanted to take what was good about today’s vehicles, bring that forward and make them new and different with that spark of freshness that people recognize, without making them gimmicky or overdone. These vehicles are high-tech and incredibly capable, with a ton of features, so how do you communicate that? The interior got wider for shoulder room, so we moved the rear track out 28 mm per side, which gave us space between the face of the tire and the beltline for sculpture in the body side. We put the rear wiper up

qproduct Spotlight Cub Cadet RZT S Zero Even if you are against the idea of electric vehicles, this one might change your mind. Cub Cadet’s RZT S Zero is the world’s first fully electric zero-turn riding mower. It uses a steering wheel and has four-wheel steering, making it easy to mow a smaller lawn or a tighter inset area of your lawn. It provides benefits like zero noise, zero gasoline or oil use, and zero gasoline emissions. There are no belts or filters, either. Pricing will start at $3999.Cub Cadet; 866/387-3428.



TT: What design cues on the Chevrolets differentiate them? CT: The Chevy is an evolution that harks back in a modern way to previous-generation Suburbans. I challenged the team to look for a fresh new way to do split headlamps—a Chevy identity feature on Suburbans for decades— and one designer came up with a great idea with the high- and low-beam functions split and stacked like on older Chevys, but in a way that creates a new graphic leading into the iconic Chevy split-port grille. TT: The GMC? CT: More on the industrial side, kind of high-end sculpture, like a Nixon watch—strong, bold and beautiful, with technology baked in. The base GMC comes with the full gamut of LED rear and front turn lamps. The Denali’s face is very iconic, but with a premium chrome trim that stands out from the grille surround with a lot of sculpture on its sides. One goal was give it more character to appeal to competitive customers who may not have looked at GMC before. There’s an atention to detail in textures and finishes that really adds that high-end appeal. TT: And the Cadillac? CT: The Escalade is a different mindset with a different drivetrain and a totally different interior, and we had a separate team working on it. Our primary exterior concern was making sure it was an Escalade first and foremost, so we amplified the front and rear differentiation.

Whale Watching By G.R. Whale

The State of Trucking

ALL BUSINESS Midsize trucks are coming back, starting with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.


know you Texans would like to think so, but I am not talking about you here. It’s the season of speeches. Every mayor, governor, president, or car company executive with a microphone and teleprompter is telling us the state of his city, state, country, or company. Often they don’t say anything substantial in those speeches, but analysts follow anyway to tell us what they said. Now it’s my turn to talk about the state of consumer truckers and their vehicles. Dan Akerson has cemented his albeit short legacy at GM by getting Mary Barra in as the next CEO. Not only does this break any glass ceiling near the RenCen (note that Truck Trend has successfully been run by a woman for years), it puts a product person in charge. The last time a product guy ran GM, its 4WD 1500 pickup was in its first generation with IFS. Now the company will be run by motorheads: Barra (CEO), finance mastermind and Nordschleife-certified Dan Amman (president), and Tim Solso (non-exec chairman), who doubled Cummins’ sales in the dozen years he ran it. This is good for GM, as this trio has a big task ahead. Vans are back big time. Custom vans were far out in the ’70s and potentially more useful and economical than a light-duty pickup. And, yeah, I did just refer to a big, empty metal box as cool. A 400-hp NV? And EcoBoosted Transit Connect? Use your imagination. Smaller pickups (no longer compact) are back with the Colorado/Canyon duo and a 20

new Ridgeline a year later. GM appears first to gamble that the market went away only because no one invested in small trucks as much as they did in full-sizes, not because people really believed you could drive a fullsize without using any more gas. Pricey luxury ’utes—think Britons Bentley and Jaguar and Italians Lamborghini and Maserati—will generate lots of coverage for their excess, perhaps gain their builders some mileage credits, and load up automakers’ bank accounts to offset engineering and production costs for the cars we like: F-Type, Ghibli, LP-610, 911 GT2RS, and so on. In local news, a DUI driver crashed and killed an unbelted passenger in his own car and got four years in jail, while another driver texting when she killed a pedestrian in a crosswalk—and who immediately texted that she thought she just killed someone—got a misdemeanor slap on the wrist. Both are bad behavior resulting in death, so why the discrepancy in keeping them off the road? If you don’t already, you will know somebody involved in a distracted-driving accident. While safety experts debate the definition of distracted driving, the bad habits will likely continue to kill 10 teenagers a day and contribute to more than a million accidents a year. Manufacturers are stuck in the middle, providing features customers want (really, a safe, fun ride is good with me) without upsetting government regulators and their political contributors. How about a driving test that includes car control and the MAY/JUNE 2014

Battle lines are drawn with GM and Ford introducing revamped HD pickups in the same year, while Ford’s ‘aluminum’ F-150 faces off with the Colorado.

ability to simultaneously text and drive? No pass, no license. Some of these people will always be distracted, so who says we need to let them drive? All that distracted-driving data caused the National Transportation Safety Board to propose a nationwide ban on driving while calling/texting/surfing a couple of years ago. Don’t hold your breath for that: NTSB also recommended seatbelts on passenger coaches (not school buses) in 1968. Nearly 50 years later, three-point belts will be required on new coaches beginning in 2016, unless the rule is revised or delayed. Battle lines are drawn with GM and Ford introducing revamped HD pickups in the same year, while Ford’s “aluminum” F-150 faces off with the Colorado in light-duty, and new vans join established players and recent additions to duke it out for “of the year” voters. This should ensure no one vehicle captures all the “of the year” awards because it was the only really new one. The entryluxe crossover skirmish also promises to be a good one, and to keep things interesting, expect a Tesla crossover. Will it be the first company to have built just three models and garner two Motor Trend “of the Year” awards? My advice is to enjoy 2014 before fuel costs go up again, and, for enthusiasts in high school, invest in a technical trade school or engineering degree. These new trucks aren’t going to design, build, and service themselves—and GM’s new CEO began on the factory floor. TT

First Drive | 2015 Chevrolet silverado HD and GMC sierra HD

Adding Toughness And RefinemenT To hARd-WoRking PickuPs By Allyson Harwood





First Drive | 2015 Chevrolet silverado HD and GMC sierra HD


ver since the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD were first unveiled at the State Fair of Texas last year, we knew both brands’ trucks were going to take on styling similar to that of their ½-ton siblings. We also knew the engines and transmissions weren’t going to change. And now that the new body, interior, and other improvements have come to the HD models, GM has completed the transition to the new generation of HD trucks. You can consider this the end of the GMT900 trucks and the start of the K2s. As was the case before, both the ¾- and 1-ton pickups come with a choice of a 360-hp, 6.0-liter gas V-8 and Hydra-Matic 6L90 or a 397-hp, 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V-8 and Allison 1000. Both transmissions are six-speed automatics. Why didn’t GM change the powertrains? As Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer on the trucks, explained, the HD models were all-new under the skin for 2011. It was during that significant update that these trucks got fully boxed frames with high-strength steel. (Unfortunately, the DEF refill spot is carryover—and it’s still hard to reach, as it is all the way against the firewall in the engine bay. Other manufacturers site it behind the fuel door.) As a side note, we were told the HD frames have essentially nothing in common with the ½-tons’ frames, which were new for 2014. While the torque—380 lb-ft for the gas engine and 765 lb-ft for the diesel—are not the

highest in the class, Chevrolet and GMC aren’t worried about it. Their goal with the HDs was to make the power easier to use and make the trucks more capable of hard work. The idea is to ensure that people can use their trucks for hard work with confidence, and to make the trucks easier to use on the job and on the weekend. These were a higher priority than winning the specs battle. Our first opportunity to try the new trucks was at a recent drive event in Arizona. The location GM chose made it easier to drive vehicles unloaded, loaded with payload, and towing, all from a central spot. All the trucks at the event were crew cabs, and it was apparent that the styling on the GMC and the Chevrolet HDs is similar to that of the ½-tons. The Chevrolet is more conservative and classic, while the Sierra HD looks ready for city life. But the commonalities with the ½-tons don’t end there. The new HDs get CornerSteps on either side of the bumper and the optional EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate. The new body brought more than just new styling. The all-new exterior now has generous amounts (two-thirds of the cab, for example) of high-strength steel, helping make the body stiffer. And as is the case with the ½-ton Silverado and Sierra, the extended cab has been dropped, and the HD trucks now come as regular, double, or crew cabs. The HDs will come with a 6-foot-6 or 8-foot bed. For the drive route, we began in a 2500 Sierra HD, a Jet Black four-wheel-drive Denali crew cab. It had a Duramax under the hood

BODY OF PROOF Both the Silverado and Sierra HDs get all-new styling, and the body is tougher than the previous generation’s.



and rode on 20s. Not all the boxes were checked, but this truck’s as-tested price was $65,840. We noted that the crew cab’s frontseat legroom is essentially the same as before, but now there is more space in back. GM is using new seat filler material that makes the seats thinner without affecting comfort. They also changed the angle of the front seats. That combination adds 2 inches of rear-seat legand kneeroom. The cabin, which once looked outdated, has leapt far forward and looks a lot like the ½-ton’s interior. Its amenities include an 8-inch screen in the center stack, MyLink and IntelliLink, and easy touch-screen access to the navigation system and entertainment options. Chevrolet and GMC will be adding the option of Wi-Fi through OnStar later this year. Material quality is great across the board, but the Denali is a step up from that. A cool touch on the Denali is an LED version of the old-school dash-mounted bubble compass nestled between the gauges in the cluster. The cabin is quiet thanks to triple-sealed, inlaid doors and hydraulic body mounts.

PULL UPS Conventional and fifthwheel towing capacities are up for 2015: With the Silverado and Sierra 3500HDs with the Duramax, you can tow up to 19,600 pounds with a regular hitch or 23,200 with a gooseneck or fifth-wheel.

The Silverado/Sierra HD now has best-in-class payload capacity, at 7374 pounds.



First Drive

As with the GMT900 trucks, the Duramax is an excellent engine, quickly pulling the truck to speed from a stop and doing it fairly quietly. Making the cabin quieter risked highlighting any turbodiesel noise, but the turbos and exhaust brake aren’t noisy. When braking, we found the pedal feel firm and the brakes responsive and linear. There were improvements here, too. As the engineers explained, the brake rotors and calipers are


the same as before, but the four-channel, four-corner brake modulator manages the new ABS, stability control, and traction control. Antilock brake efficiency is better as well, and stopping distances are even shorter. Remember when heavy-duty trucks would ride horribly? It was fine at the time, because it was to be expected when you were in something capable of towing that much weight. Not anymore. Heavy-duty trucks are much more


refined than they used to be, as was the case in the Silverado and Sierra HDs. Comfort is now an important selling point. The ride was better than we expected. The 2015’s firm ride isn’t as nice as in a ½-ton, but it’s quite comfortable. The front suspension is independent torsion bar, and the rear setup uses asymmetrical leaf springs. Slight changes to the suspension geometry accommodate the new body, but the suspension is carryover otherwise.

TUG OF WAR There are plenty of features on the HDs to make towing and hauling safer, such as auto grade braking, hill descent control, diesel exhaust brake, and lane departure warning.




We spent the rest of the day driving other Chevrolet and GMC HDs. We took a Silverado 3500HD out that was full of payload, and discovered the truck did very well. As you’d expect in this size category, the truck didn’t even feel like it had a massive load in the bed. The Silverado/Sierra HD now has best-inclass payload capacity, at 7374 pounds. We also learned that the new trucks can carry a 100-pound snowplow and up to 1000 pounds of the equipment that goes along with it—and any 4WD HD is snowplow-ready. The amenities and the changes GM made with towing in mind are impressive. The team of engineers improved the truck’s cooling, which helps ensure reliable towing in hot weather because they made sure the engine’s air intake is isolated from the hot engine bay, keeping the air cooler. There’s

PRIVATE SCREENING The Silverado and Sierra HDs use many of the same cool cues as in the ½-tons, such as an 8-inch screen and easy accessibility to navigation and entertainment options. The interior has been completely redesigned and uses high-quality materials throughout.

more safety equipment and new electronics, too. StabiliTrak with trailer sway control is now standard on all models, including dualies. We noted cool features such as hill start assist and hill descent control, and, as we discovered when we towed in the Silverado HD with the Duramax, the cruise control is integrated with the exhaust brake and auto grade braking. That makes it easier to keep a consistent speed when towing up and down steep hills. Conventional and fifthwheel towing capacities are increased for 2015: Maximum capacities are 19,600 with the DRW 3500 4WD crew cab Duramax (up from 18,000) and 23,200 pounds with the DRW 3500 4WD regular cab Duramax (up from 22,500). Another feature GM added was a new hitch receiver rated for 20,000 pounds. That makes it possible to conventionally tow up to 19,600 pounds. In addition, the 2015 uses more cooling, When a truck is used for work, the driver doesn’t want to think about whether or not the vehicle is going to do everything expected of it. It’s like owning a hammer. You want the hammer to do what’s asked of it without having to wonder if the head is going to stay on the handle. GM has made sure the Silverado and Sierra HDs give drivers that sense of confidence so they won’t have to worry about their truck while it’s on the job. It would’ve been nice to see some more horsepower or torque come from the engines in the trucks, but the engineers have done a great job getting the best use possible of the power that’s available. We wonder about a few other things with the new HDs, though. Will there be 4500 and 5500 versions? It would make sense, since GM is currently the only member of the Big Three not in that segment. Also, will there be a Chevrolet High Country Silverado HD? That move would make sense as well.TT MAY/JUNE 2014

2015 GMC Sierra HD Denali 2500 4WD Crew Cab Front engine, 4WD 90-deg diesel V-8, iron block/aluminum heads 4.05 x 3.89 in 403 cu in/6.6 L 16.0:1 OHV, 4 valves/cyl 397 hp @ 3000 rpm 765 lb-f @ 1600 rpm Allison 1000 6-speed automatic 3.10:1 1.81:1 1.41:1 1.00:1 0.71:1 0.61:1 4.49:1 3.73:1 2.28:1


153.7 in 239.4 x 80.5 x 78.2 in 68.8/67.3 in 51.5 f 9.8/8.2 in 7400 lb (mfr) 2793 lb 10,000 lb 17,100 lb 5 42.8/40.5 in 45.3/40.9 in 64.8/64.3 in 78.9 x 64.9 x 21.1 in 51.0 in 61.0 cu f Body on frame Control arm, torsion bar/ live axle, leaf spring Power recirculating ball 16.1:1 3.6 14.0-in disc/ 14.2-in disc, ABS 8.5 x 20-in, polished aluminum LT265/60R20 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A 7.7 sec


2500 GMC Sierra HD Denali

$54,835 $65,840 Front, f/r side, f/r curtain 36.0 gal Not rated ULSD



First Look | 2015 Ford F-150

By Frank Markus


onsidering how strict fuel economy rules are getting, you would think the decision to make the 2015 Ford F-150’s truck body almost entirely of aluminum would be a case of necessity being the mother of invention. But from what we understand, that decision was made before the latest CAFE regulations were finalized. The team of engineers at Ford have been working on the new truck since 2009. That’s when the first prototypes, which combined an aluminum body with a frame made of high-strength steel, were built as part of the initial research. For the new truck, Ford said towing and hauling capacities can be expected to increase by roughly the body-mass savings, which are only quantified as “up to 700 pounds.” Because the switch from steel to aluminum in the body accounts for 70 percent of the weight savings, the bigger the bodywork, the bigger the savings. Hence: short cab/short box, probably 500 or fewer pounds saved. SuperCrew long box—maybe a bit more than 700. The big-volume SuperCrew short box should come in at around the 700-pound mark. The only major piece of the body sheetmetal that’s not aluminum is the Quiet Steel laminated sound-absorbing firewall, because aluminum just can’t match its performance for hushing engine noise. Pete Reyes, F-150 chief engineer, told us the alloys being used are the same as those in military HMMWVs and aerospace applications. Some aluminum is heat-treated after forming to raise tensile strength to 43,500 psi. We’ve been assured it will resist dents and dings better than steel, and will not be more than 10 percent pricier to repair. In addition, Ford will recycle all scrap aluminum directly back to the aluminum manufacturer. That is said to offset some of the cost of production without reducing the metal’s strength. Roughly 70 pounds were saved in the chassis by increasing the percentage of high- and ultra-high-strength steel alloys (up to 70,000-psi tensile strength) 28

Ford’s Big News Could Shake up the truCk World


Steel where it countS You might convince Joe Plumber that aluminum is oK for the body, but Ford wisely stuck with a strengthened steel chassis.

May/JUNE 2014


First Look | 2015 Ford F-150

from 23 to 77 percent. These alloys reportedly outperform aluminum in overall rigidity and other factors. The rest of the weight savings come from things such as a lighter transfer case. There isn’t much “cascade effect” lightweighting of other components because of the lighter bodywork, as you typically get in a passenger car, because there’s little or no downscaling of the gross vehicle weight or gross combined weight ratings. So the brakes still need to be able to stop the same mass, for example. The idea is that you can save fuel when the truck is empty, or you can haul more weight. There’s more big news under the hood, where four engines are still offered. The entry 3.7-liter TiVCT V-6, which accounts for 15 percent of current sales, gets downsized to 3.5 liters while outperforming its predecessor in every way. Next up the ladder is a brandnew 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that is reportedly unrelated to the 3.5. The 2.7-liter is the first in a new family of Ford engines. It features a light but tough compacted-graphite iron block—a material commonly used to quiet

diesels that’s just beginning to catch on with direct-injected gasoline engines—and is optimized for high fuel economy for customers who do not need to tow 10,000 pounds. The familiar 5.0-liter V-8 occupies the third rung of the ladder, and the top engine is now the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, as the 6.2-liter gets put out to pasture. No output ratings have been announced, and six-speed automatic transmissions will back all four engines. The radiator is going to be larger for 2015 because of the increase in towing capacity. Speaking of tow ratings, Ford says it will rate its trucks according to the recently revised SAE J2807 standard, after which we can expect GM and Ram to follow suit, putting an end to the dart-board ratings we’ve heretofore enjoyed. The truck is wider, but it’s about the same length and height as it was in 2014. The body mounts were also moved outboard, and the entire truck is now stiffer. The biggest change was in the rear suspension: Ford shortened the leaf springs and changed the front eye mount geometry. The team’s goal was to

optimize suspension for the wide variety of load demands on the truck that include everything from running empty to towing or hauling heavy loads. In addition, the engineers went to staggered outboard shocks for handling stability and pinion control of the axle, especially important when towing heavy loads. The front suspension is essentially the same geometry as before, but because the track is now wider by about 15 millimeters, the front suspension points were widened. The new truck’s styling is a pretty faithful productionization of the Atlas concept. While not as bold, the basic grille and headlamp shapes are retained, and top models will indeed get innovative (segment first) LED headlamps that employ a single LED and advanced “ice cube” optics for each of the low and high beam lamps. There will be five different grille designs. The “double-bubble” roof is gone, but the “roof tongue” of sheetmetal extending down above the rearview mirror remains, with outboard sections of the windshield extending farther up for better visibility. The base of the windshield is moved forward to provide several degrees more rake, in the name of aerodynamics. Also on the visibility front, the lower side window beltline has been lowered an inch,

oPen SeSame Super-wideopening half-doors on the Supercab make it easier to squeeze out of the truck in the home Depot parking lot. note that the seat gets well out of the way to accommodate big items. the interiors are dressier, too, with only the base truck getting an all-black dash.


May/JUNE 2014

3.5L Ti-VCT V-6

2.7L EcoBoost V-6

3.5L EcoBoost V-6

5.0L Ti-VCT V-8

Still four engine choices...and only one of them is a V-8. the drop-down in the front window beltline plunges 2 inches lower, and the front edge of the front side window is extended almost 4 inches forward. Similarly, the rear glass is now flush-mounted. Other aero tricks include grille shutters on all models, a deeper front air dam, and a 6-inch plateau on the top of the tailgate to aid in airflow separation. That wide spot at the top of the tailgate also enabled some handy upgrades of the optional tailgate step, which now deploys with one hand in one motion, no secondary unfolding of the step. And the assist railing now stows inside the tailgate, telescoping out and pivoting up instead of remaining visible on the tailgate. Oh, and that tailgate can now be opened by pressing a key-fob button (another segment first). You’re on your own to hoist it closed, though. There’s loads more innovation in the bed. A BoxLink system of four mounting points can accept tie-down cleats midway up the bed wall—often a more convenient location for tying down than the floor corners. These cleats can be removed, and a set of (segment first) telescoping motorcycle or ATV ramps can attach there. The upper lip of the bed is about an inch lower, making it easier to reach into the bed, and bed-side steps are

now available even on the shortest boxes. LED spotlights illuminate the bed, though these seem inferior to GM’s underrail LED lamps. And of course, just being constructed of aluminum means the entire box is considerably more dent-resistant. Inside, the front seats are moved 0.8 inch outboard, so the console can be 1.6 inches wider and more versatile. It boasts slots for two USB and one SD card, plus a 400-watt, 110-volt plug. All F-150s get high-def color screens in the instrument cluster and infotainment center, small 4-inch ones on the cheaper models, and big ones twice that size on top models. Cameras provide 360-degree around-view monitoring and 180-degree forward visibility for poking out of alleys. There’s forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring radar, and self-parking and a panoramic sunroof (two more segment firsts). Another nice touch: SuperCab model rear doors now open 170 degrees (up from 90), offering some prayer of exiting the vehicle in a tightish parking lot. We are impressed with the potential that the new F-150 has to offer, but are eager to find out about the actual numbers. How much horsepower and torque will each engine put

out? What will the towing and payload capacities be? What will the real-world weights be? And how much will the new F-150 cost? As we wait for Ford to release those numbers, though, we’ve already seen the ripples the new F-150 has made in the truck world. We wonder what kind of effect it will have on competitors’ trucks in the future. TT


$25,000-$55,000* Front-engine, RWD/4WD, 2-6-pass, 2-4-door pickup


3.5L/275-hp*/250-lb-f* DOHC 24-valve V-6; 2.7L/300-hp*/320lb-f* twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6; 5.0L/360hp*/380-lb-f* DOHC 32-valve V-8; 3.5L/365hp*/420-lb-f* twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6

6-speed automatic 4200-5050 lb* 122.4-163.7 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 209.3-250.5 x 79.9 x 75.2-76.9 in 6.0-8.0 sec* 0-60 MPH EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON Not yet rated ON SALE IN U.S. Fall 2014


* Estimated


RACE | 2015 Ford F-150


ou’ve gotta hand it to Ford’s team of engineers and its skunk works brain trust. They pulled off a daring feat, testing the new aluminum F-150 at the Baja 1000 without anyone realizing it. Spectators might have thought the F-150 was a cool-looking race truck based on a current-gen Ford. Not that unusual, right? Except that everything underneath the skin—frame, body, engine, transmission, and rearend—was a 2015 F-150, complete with additional high-strength steel in the frame. The race truck was powered by Ford’s new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6. The Baja 1000 was to serve as a hard-core proving ground for the new engine. It was also intended to be a severe test for the truck’s military-grade aluminum body. Ford took the new body materials and stamped them into the old body molds, and put the current generation’s grille, headlights, and taillights in place. The result is an aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150, cleverly disguised as a 2013. The truck started out as an early prototype of the 2015 truck, which had already gone through engineering validation. After the F-150 got its new (old) body, Greg Foutz and the staff at Foutz Motorsports—which had worked on the Ford Raptor R that raced in Baja in 2010—got down to business on the new race truck. The F-150 was essentially under lockdown while at the shop, and anyone who so much as saw it had to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

When the truck was done, the team made a practice run at the Best in the Desert race at BlueWater. Then, they trailered it to Ensenada, Mexico, setting up camp outside of town away from prying eyes. The SCORE tech inspector agreed to a private inspection. The F-150, number 227 for the engine’s 2.7-liter displacement, ran in Class 2, which allows for a turbocharged engine, 3.5 liters or smaller, and six cylinders. It’s basically an unlimited class. Usually, a truck like this would race in Stock Full, but there must be 5000 units produced to qualify for that category. As Foutz explained, the truck was great. They didn’t have to replace a single part. Considering Ford wanted the team to test out the stock intake, muffler, battery, etc. to confirm the toughness of the truck, that’s quite an achievement. While the truck finished, it didn’t get to the end of the race in the allotted time, so it was DNFed. Next was part two of the test. The truck had done so well at the 1000 that the idea came up to drive it back to Michigan. After it was trailered back to the shop in Arizona, Foutz and race driver Chris Parker got in and set out on the road trip. They put a Plexiglas windshield on the race truck and drove five days to get to Dearborn. Not only were they driving a super-secret truck on American highways in broad daylight, they went a step further, taking the truck to several tourist attractions, including the Grand Canyon, Roswell, the St. Louis Arch, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When they arrived at Ford’s world headquarters, they had completed extensive testing of the new truck and engine—and no one had even noticed. TT

TOUR GUIDE The 2015 F-150 went from Arizona to Michigan, visiting tourist stops along the way. Below, the Baja 1000 race team. ALIEN CRAFT Another part of the road trip took Foutz and Parker through Roswell, New Mexico. Even though visitors go there to see UFOs, no one recognized this unidentified Ford object.

32 By Allyson Harwood Photography by Greg Foutz

in Plain sighT

TesTing The F-150’s Newest eNgiNe iNcluded RaciNg aNd a Road tRip

Ford tested the aluminum F-150 at the Baja 1000 without anyone realizing it. May/JUNE 2014


First look | 2015 GMC Canyon

GMC’s Midsize Is Ready To squaRe off WITh The Tacoma


By Edward A. Sanchez




First look


2015 GMC Canyon

The Canyon will have an optional Teen Driver feature that allows parents to set maximum radio volume, speed alerts, and top speed.


n the U.S. market, the lion’s share of attention (and sales) goes to full-size trucks. Ford and Chrysler have thrown in the towel on their smaller offerings, leaving only the F-Series and Ram full-size trucks to carry the pickup torch. GM saw an opportunity in the midsize market, and, after a brief hiatus, is bringing back the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, second generations for both. The 2015 GMC Canyon shares nothing with its predecessor aside from the name, and, until recently, even that was in question. Over the last several decades, differentiating between the Chevrolet and GMC trucks has often been a question of minute details, and even the new 2014 Silverado and Sierra share some obvious similarities. Likewise, the new Colorado and Canyon are virtual mechanical twins, but styling shows a greater degree of differentiation than is typical among many Chevrolet and GMC models. Whereas the Colorado has a more swept-back,

“import”-looking front end, the 2015 Canyon’s nose is a virtual dead ringer for big brother Sierra, just slightly scaled down. Aside from the grille, hood, and front fenders, the two trucks share most of their sheetmetal, with the door, roof, and bed stampings being essentially identical. Mechanically, the Canyon also shares almost all its hardware with the Colorado. A 193-hp, 184-lb-ft, 2.5-liter direct-injected I-4 serves as the base mill, mated to a six-speed automatic, and, in the entry-level rear-drive extended-cab model, with an available sixspeed manual. GM’s proven 3.6-liter “highfeature” direct-injection V-6 is expected to power the bulk of models, with an estimated 302 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 gets a mandatory six-speed slushbox. And the mill we were all crossing are fingers for, a 2.8-liter I-4 turbo-diesel, has been confirmed. Final output numbers on the U.S. model are still pending because of market-specific

emissions equipment, but in overseas models the most recent update on this engine produces 197 hp and a stout 369 lb-ft of torque. We expect horsepower and torque figures for the U.S.-spec engine to be within 5-10 of those of the global model. Unfortunately, the diesel will not be available until the 2016 model year, so those pining for a torquey oil-burner in a smaller truck will have to hold out a little longer. As with the V-6, the diesel will be offered exclusively with a six-speed automatic. Following the Colorado’s lead, the Canyon will be offered with an optional automatic locking rear differential, with the code G80. The differential is optional on SLE and SLT models, and is included in the All Terrain package. Aside from the obvious styling similarities between the Colorado and Canyon, there are a few differences. The headlamps on the Canyon are standard projector beams, a feature available only on the top-trim Z71

UPTICK The 2015 Canyon’s interior is a drastic improvement over its predecessor’s dated and hard plasticclad cabin. Premium features and materials will make this one of the nicest interiors in its class.




Replacement Fuel Tanks In-bed Auxiliary Fuel Tanks DOT Legal Refueling Tanks Toolbox and Fuel Tank Combos Spray-on Tank Lining



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First look | 2015 GMC Canyon

Colorado, and it has standard LED running lights, not offered on the Colorado on any trim level. In addition, the Canyon will have an optional Teen Driver feature that allows parents to set maximum radio volume, speed alerts, and top speed. The system also logs incriminating information such as total distance traveled, wide-open throttle “events,” and top speed. Another feature not available (or not yet announced) for the Colorado is GMC’s ProGrade protection plan, which covers the first four oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections. The Canyon also offers optional AutoTrac 4WD, which automatically engages highrange 4WD when wheel slippage is detected. The driver can also select normal 2WD, 4WD

HI, and 4WD LO modes on four-wheel-drive models. Like the Colorado Z71 model, the Canyon All Terrain includes hill start assist and hill descent control. The Colorado is expected to be the larger-volume seller of the two models by a substantial margin, but the Canyon will play an important supporting role by offering a more premium model for buyers who don’t want or need the bulk of a full-size model. We predict the Colorado and Canyon’s combined sales volume will easily surpass those of the current second-place Nissan Frontier by a comfortable margin within its first six months on the market, and could wrest the long-held sales crown from the Toyota Tacoma, although that will be a steeper uphill

battle, if for no other reason than Toyota’s legendarily fierce brand loyalty. Final EPA figures have not yet been announced for GM’s midsize twins, but are expected to easily surpass the unimpressive figures posted by the current Frontier and Tacoma. Add the diesel to the equation, and the advantage becomes even bigger. The unknown factor is how far out the nextgeneration Frontier and Tacoma models are, which could be anywhere from one to three years. But the Colorado and Canyon’s compelling combination of content, modern powertrains, and expected class-leading fuel economy will give them a decisive edge over the established players. Also yet to be announced is pricing. Our expectation is that the Colorado and Canyon will cost slightly more than a comparable Tacoma or Frontier, and based on their content and design, we think a slight premium is justified. However, if GM is serious about chipping away at the Japanese duo’s market share, it can’t be too ambitious with the pricing. At launch, the Canyon will be offered in base, SLE, and SLT trim levels, with an All Terrain appearance package offered on the SLE. When asked if there could be a Canyon Denali, GMC reps shrugged, smiled, and said they’re “always looking at new possibilities.” More than one journalist half-jokingly suggested “Grand Canyon” as a Denali-esque top trim level. We’re expecting prices to start in the low $20,000 range for a 2WD extended-cab base model, going up to the high $30,000s for a fully equipped SLT 4WD, possibly topping $40,000 fully loaded. Are midsize truck buyers prepared to pony up full-size prices for a well-equipped model? We’ll find out when production starts in fall 2014, with sales following shortly thereafter.TT

2015 GMC Canyon BASE PRICE

$20,000-$34,000 (est)



Front-engine, 2WD/4WD, 5-pass, 4-door pickup 2.5L/193-hp/184-lb-f DOHC 16-valve I-4; 3.6L/302-hp/270-lb-f DOHC 24-valve V-6; 2.8L/195-hp/365-lb-f* turbodiesel DOHC 16-valve I-4 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic 127.9-140.5 in 208.2-224.5 x 73.2-74.3 x 78.7-78.9 in 4000-4400 lb*


1500 lb*






6700 lb (4WD V-6)


17-22/25-30 mpg*


Fall 2014














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every FuLL-size, compacT, pickup, suv, anD van 13 Winners in 12 DiFFerenT caTegories by the Editors of Truck Trend


ach year, putting together the “Best in Class” story gets a little tougher. For starters, the quality and capability of the vehicles in every category improves. For the most part, today’s trucks, SUVs, and vans aren’t penalty boxes. In addition, it gets harder to separate vehicles into the different categories. It’s difficult enough to pick winners for each category—factor in determing the what the categories themselves should be, and it’s exponentially harder. We also strive to make sure the comparisons within each category are as fair as possible. That’s why we continue to work on our Best in Class categories. We have stuck to our new treatment of the Midsize SUV category, which is based on towing capacity instead of wheelbase length. That does a better job of keeping competitive vehicles together. Within that segment, we have a slight change. We have split the trucks between those that can tow up to 4500 pounds and those that can tow more, and split them again between vehicles offering luxury amenities and those that don’t. We figure that buyers in this segment either want to buy capability or luxury cachet—or maybe both. In the Vans category, we give Full-Size and Compact each its own award. The truck categories remain the same, as do Hard-Core 4x4, Full-Size SUV, and Factory Power Runner. All vehicles here are from the 2014 model year, and all specifications are from the manufacturers’ media sites, accurate as of press time. Prices reflect the specific models listed in each category, and in some cases include optional equipment. The Power Wagon’s specifications are for the 2013 model year, as the 2014s were not on sale as of press time. 40

Work Truck

Winner: Ram HD 2500

RunneR-up: Ford F-250 Super Duty

The models we consider for this category are the regular-cab, ¾-ton two-wheel-drives, the ones you would expect to see in a fleet. As you can see from the specs, all three trucks have similar capabilities, with the Ram offering the most towing capacity, but the

Ford providing the most payload. After considerable discussion, we gave this to the Ram. It is the only truck in the category to offer buyers the option of three engines, and it is the lone holdout when it comes to the option of the manual transmission. That, plus the lowest price and best towing, confirmed it for us. The Ram bests the Super Duty’s towing capacity by more than 1000 pounds.

Work Truck, 3/4-Ton 2WD reg cab Vehicle Base price Wheelbase Base engine Opt engines Transmission Opt transmissions Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap Seating cap curb weight Max GVWR Payload Max towing cap

chevy/GMc 2500hD Silverado/Sierra $32,405/$32,405 133.7 in 6.0L OHV V-8 6.6L TD V-8 $7195 6-speed auto 6-speed auto $1200 360 hp (397) 380 lb-ft (765) Front Disc/disc, ABS 245/75R17 E 36.0 gal 3 5788 lb 10,000 lb 4212 lb 17,800 lb

Ford F-250 Super Duty $31,230 137.0 in 6.2L SOHC V-8 6.7L TD V-8 $8315 6-speed auto 385 hp (400) 405 lb-ft (800) Front Disc/disc, ABS 245/75R17 E 35.0 gal 3 5760 lb 10,000 lb 4240 lb 16,800 lb


Ram HD 2500 $30,985 140.5 in 5.7L OHV V-8 6.4L V-8 $1495, 6.7L TD I-6 $7795 6-speed man 6-speed auto $500 383 hp (410, 350-370) 400 lb-ft (429, 660-800) Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 245/70R17 E 32.0 gal 3 5966 lb 10,000 lb 3970 lb 17,970 lb

TopLine poWer puLLer

Winner: Ram HD 3500 Laramie Longhorn RunneR-up: Ford F-350 Super Duty platinum

The topline power pullers combine big luxury with loads of capability and toughness. The idea of being able to tow 25,000 pounds with a pickup may seem daunting to non-truck people, but that’s a normal task here. These trucks also have enough payload capacity to carry the equivalent of what a ¾-ton work truck weighs, all while allowing the driver to ride in style. It was a close contest, but the new Ram takes this category as well, with a 28,760-pound towing capacity, cowboy-style interior, and 850 lb-ft of torque. The Super Duty Platinum is a close second.

TopLine poWer puLLer, 4WD creW cab DieseL DuaLie Vehicle Price incl diesel Wheelbase engine Transmission Power @ rpm, SAe Torque @ rpm, SAe Airbags Brakes Tires Fuel cap Seating cap curb weight Max GVWR Payload Max towing cap (fifth wheel)

chevrolet Silverado 3500hD lTZ/ GMc Sierra Denali 3500hD

Ford F-350 Super Duty Platinum

Ram HD 3500 Crew Cab Laramie Longhorn

$59,035/$61,980 167.7 in 6.6L OHV 32-valve TD V-8 6-speed auto 397 hp @ 3000 rpm 765 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm Front Disc/disc, ABS 235/80R17 36.0 gal 6 7997 lb 13,025 lb 5028 lb 22,500 lb

$65,210 172.4 in 6.7L OHV 32-valve TD V-8 6-speed auto 400 hp @ 2800 rpm 800 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm Front Disc/disc, ABS 245/75R17 37.5 gal 6 7330 lb 14,000 lb 6670 lb 24,700 lb

$62,465 169.3 in 6.7L OHV 24-valve intercooled TD I-6 6-speed auto 385 hp @ 3000 rpm 850 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/80R17 31.0 gal 6 8568 lb 14,000 lb 5430 lb 28,760 lb

HarD-core 4x4

Winner: Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

RunneR-up: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

This might be the most hotly contended category of Best in Class. Three vehicles get the most votes here: the Power Wagon, the Wrangler Rubicon, and the Raptor. All three combine excellent off-roading with decent on-road ability—it isn’t easy to choose. This year, our staff chose the Raptor. It combines excellent high- (and low-) speed off-roading with surprising versatility.

HarD-core 4x4 Vehicle

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCab Base price $45,610 Wheelbase 133.3 in engine 6.2L SOHC V-8 Transmission 6-speed auto Power, SAe 411 hp Torque, SAe 434 lb-ft Axle ratio 4.10:1 low range 2.64:1 Tires 315/70R17 Fuel cap 26.0 gal Fuel econ, city/hwy 11/16 mpg Seating cap 6 curb weight 6016 lb Max GVWR 7050 lb cargo cap 67.0 cu ft Max towing cap 6000 lb

Jeep Wrangler/ Unlimited Rubicon $31,990/$35,690 95.4/116.0 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 6-speed man 285 hp 260 lb-ft 4.10:1 4.00:1 255/75R17 18.6 gal 17/21 mpg 4/5 4132/4315 lb 5700 lb 56.3/70.6 cu ft 3500 lb

land Rover lR4 (w/h-D pkg) $51,945 113.6 in 3.0L SC V-6 8-speed auto 340 hp 330 lb-ft 3.54:1 2.93:1 255/55R19 22.8 gal 14/19 mpg 5 (7) 5655 lb 7143 lb 90.3 cu ft 7716 lb

MercedesBenz G550 $115,125 112.2 in 5.5L SOHC V-8 7-speed auto 382 hp 391 lb-ft 4.38:1 2.16:1 265/60R18 25.4 gal 12/15 mpg 5 5578 lb 7078 lb 75.1 cu ft 7716 lb

Nissan Xterra PRO-4X $30,900 106.3 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 6-speed man 261 hp 281 lb-ft 3.69:1 2.63:1 265/75R16 21.1 gal 16/20 mpg 5 4408 lb 5399 lb 65.7 cu ft 5000 lb

Ram Power Wagon Tradesman $43,650 148.9 in 5.7L OHV V-8 6-speed auto 383 hp 400 lb-ft 4.56:1 2.64:1 285/70R17 31.0 gal N/A 6 6707 lb 8510 lb 60.4 cu ft 11,060 lb


Toyota 4Runner Trail $36,585 109.8 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 5-speed auto 270 hp 278 lb-ft 3.73:1 2.57:1 265/70R17 23.0 gal 17/22 mpg 5 4750 lb 6300 lb 89.7 cu ft 4700 lb

Toyota FJ cruiser Trail Teams $34,500 (est) 105.9 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 6-speed man 260 hp 271 lb-ft 3.91:1 2.57:1 265/70R17 19.0 gal 15/19 mpg 5 4290 lb 5570 lb 66.8 cu ft 4700 lb 41


creW cab pickup, 2WD

Winner: Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra Crew Cab RunneR-up: Ram 1500 Crew Cab As you can see, the range of capability is shocking here. Trucks in this category have towing capacities that vary from 6300 pounds to 12,000. This category focuses on the heart of the market: the rear-drive crew cab. To narrow the field a bit, we restricted this award to ½-tons and smaller. This is the segment of the market most light-duty truck buyers are going to consider. For us, capability is king in this segment.

creW cab pickup, 2WD Chevy Silverado/

Ford F-150 Supercrew

Nissan Frontier crew cab

Base price Wheelbase engine Opt engines

$34,795/$34,545 143.5 in 4.3L OHV V-8 5.3L V-8 $1095,

Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap ePA fuel econ, city/hwy Seating cap curb weight Max GVWR Payload Max towing cap

285 hp (355, 420) 305 lb-ft (383, 460) Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 245/70R17 26.0 gal 18/24 mpg (16/23, 15/21) 6 4942 lb 7200 lb 2007 lb 12,000 lb

$34,960 144.5 in 3.7L DOHC V-6 5.0L V-8 $1000, 3.5L TT V-6 $3585, 6.2L V-8 $9415 302 hp (360, 365, 411) 278 lb-ft (380, 420, 434) Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/70R17 26.0 gal 17/23 mpg (15/21, 16/22, 13/18) 6 5128 lb 7400 lb 1930 lb 11,300 lb

$23,270 125.9 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 None 6.2L V-8 $6710 261 hp 281 lb-ft Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 265/70R16 21.1 gal 16/22 mpg


GMC Sierra

5 4219 lb 5730 lb 1481 lb 6300 lb

compacT/miDsize pickup Winner: Toyota Tacoma RunneR-up: nissan Frontier This category could be on the verge of a renaissance. Next year, we will see a new Colorado and Canyon—and likely a new Ridgeline in 2016. For now, though, the Tacoma is still at the head of this class. It gets the biggest market share for many reasons, including its wide variety of trim levels, bed, engine, transmission, and cab options, plus best towing capacity. We will see if someone can shake things up next year.

compacT/miDsize pickup, 4WD exT cab Vehicle Base price Wheelbase Base engine Opt engines Power, SAe Torque, SAe Tires Fuel cap ePA fuel econ, city/hwy Seating cap curb weight GVWR Payload Max towing cap 42

honda Ridgeline

Nissan Frontier King cab

Toyota Tacoma Access Cab

$30,405 122.0 in 3.5L SOHC V-6 None 250 hp 247 lb-ft 245/65R17 22.0 gal 15/21 mpg

$26,860 125.9 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 None 261 hp 281 lb-ft 265/70R16 21.1 gal 15-16/21 mpg

5 4504 lb 6050 lb 1546 lb 5000 lb

4 4311 lb 5690 lb 1379 lb 6100 lb

$26,315 127.4 in 2.7L DOHC I-4 4.0L V-6 $4495 159 hp (236) 180 lb-ft (266) 245/75R16 21.1 gal 18/20-21 mpg (15-16/19-21) 4 4050 lb 5350 lb 1395 lb 6500 lb

MAY/JUNE 2014 The Silverado and Sierra have the best towing capacity (beating the once-champ Ford), second-best payload, and best fuel economy for a gas-powered engine. It also uses modern tech such as cylinder shutoff and variable valve timing, plus the smart CornerStep rear bumper. Coming in at a close second place is the Ram 1500, which offers excellent V-6 and V-8 engines, a terrific diesel engine option, and innovations including start/stop technology, air suspension, and active grille shutters. Things are going to get even more interesting in this category when the aluminum F-150 goes on sale in 2015. Nissan Titan crew cab

Ram 1500 crew cab

Toyota Tacoma Double cab

Toyota Tundra crewMax

$32,915 139.8 in 5.6L DOHC V-8 None

$32,755 140.5 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 5.7L V-8 $1150,

$33,530 145.7 in 4.6L DOHC V-8 5.7L V-8 $1070

317 hp 385 lb-ft Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 265/70R18 28.0 gal 13/18 mpg

305 hp (395, 240) 269 lb-ft (410, 420) Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 265/70R17 26.0 gal (32.0) 18/25 mpg (14-15/20-22, N/A) 6 4964 lb 6950 lb 1870 lb 10,350 lb

$24,420 127.4 in 2.7L DOHC I-4 4.0L V-6 $4060 3.0L TD V-6 $4000 159 hp (236) 180 lb-ft (266) Front, side, cur Disc/drum, ABS 215/70R15 21.1 gal 19-21/24-25 mpg (16-17/21) 5 3985 lb 5400 lb 1415 lb 6500 lb

6 5049 lb 7100 lb 2051 lb 9400 lb

310 hp (381) 327 lb-ft (401) Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 255/70R18 26.4 gal 15/19 mpg (13/18) 6 5185 lb 7000 lb 1595 lb 10,100 lb

FuLL-size suv

Winner: Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon RunneR-up: Mercedes-Benz GL-Class We still feel the Tahoe and Yukon are the best body-onframe, full-size SUVs money can buy. They’re the ones that can tow nearly 9000 pounds and have room for three rows of people. With their ability to work hard, carry nine passengers, and tow 8200 pounds, the Tahoe and Yukon continue to impress—and the 2015s should be even better.

FuLL-size suv, 4WD chevy Suburban/ GMc Yukon Xl

Chevy Tahoe/ GMC Yukon

Ford expedition/el

infiniti QX80

Mercedes-Benz Gl-class

Nissan Armada

Toyota land cruiser

Toyota Sequoia

Base price Wheelbase Base engine Opt engines

$50,295/$51,710 130.0 in 5.3L OHV V-8 6.2L V-8 $14,715

$45,530/$48,240 119.0/131.0 in 5.4L SOHC V-8 None

$66,645 121.1 in 5.6L DOHC V-8 None

$80,995 112.2 in 5.7L DOHC V-8 None

$48,400 122.0 in 5.7L DOHC V-8 None

320 hp (403) 335 lb-ft (417) Fr, side, cur 265/70R17 31.5/39.0 gal 15/21 mpg (13/18) 9 5824 lb 7400 lb 137.4 cu ft 8000 lb

310 hp 365 lb-ft Fr, side, cur 265/70R17 28.0/33.5 gal 13/18 mpg

400 hp 413 lb-ft Fr, side, cur 275/60R20 26.0 gal 14/20 mpg

317 hp 385 lb-ft Fr, side, cur 265/70R18 28.0 gal 12/18 mpg

381 hp 401 lb-ft Fr,side,cur,knee 285/60R18 24.6 gal 13/18 mpg

381 hp 401 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee 275/65R18 26.4 gal 13/17 mpg

8 5781/6078 lb 7500/7720 lb 108.3/130.8 cu ft 9000/8700 lb

8 5878 lb 7500 lb 97.1 cu ft 8500 lb

$63,925 121.1 in 3.0L TD V-6 4.7L V-8 $1550, 4.7L V-8 $25,600 240 hp (362, 429) 455 lb-ft (406, 516) Fr, side, cur, knee 275/55R19 26.4 gal 19/26 mpg (14/19, 13/18) 7 5401 lb 6944 lb 84.1 cu ft 7500 lb

$43,535 123.2 in 5.6L DOHC V-8 None

Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Tires Fuel cap ePA fuel econ, city/hwy Seating cap curb weight GVWR cargo cap Max towing cap

$47,595/$49,460 116.0 in 5.3L OHV V-8 6.2L V-8 $11,855 320 hp (403) 335 lb-ft (417) Fr, side, cur 265/70R17 26.0 gal 15/21 mpg (13/18) 9 5567 lb 7300 lb 108.9 cu ft 8200 lb

8 5675 lb 7300 lb 97.1 cu ft 9000 lb

8 5730 lb 7385 lb 81.7 cu ft 8500 lb

8 5985 lb 7300 lb 120.1 cu ft 7100 lb





mainsTream suv

Winner (ToWinG 4500 pounDS anD BeLoW): Jeep Cherokee RunneR-up: Ford escape

mainsTream suv (ToWing 4500 pounDs anD beLoW) Vehicle Base price Wheelbase engine Opt engine Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap ePA fuel econ, city/hwy Seating cap curb weight GVWR cargo cap Towing cap Vehicle CX Base price Wheelbase engine Opt engine Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap ePA fuel econ, city/hwy Seating cap curb weight GVWR cargo cap Towing cap

chevy equinox/ GMc Terrain $25,315/$27,390 112.5 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.6L V-6 $3145/$3000 182 hp (301) 172 lb-ft (272) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/60R17 18.8 gal (20.9) 20-22/29-32 mpg (16-17/23-24) 5 3777 lb 5300 lb 63.7 cu ft 3500 lb

Dodge Journey $20,490 113.8 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.6L DOHC V-6 $5700 173 hp (283) 166 lb-ft (260) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/65R17 20.5 gal (21.1) 17-19/25-26 mpg (16/24) 5 (7) 3818 lb 5600 lb 67.6 cu ft 2500 lb

Mazda cX-5 $22,190 106.3 in 2.0L DOHC I-4 2.5L I-4 $3120 155 hp (184) 150 lb-ft (185) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/65R17 14.8-15.3 gal 25-26/31-32 mpg

Mazda cX-9 $30,780 113.2 in 3.7L DOHC V-6 None 273 hp 270 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 245/60R18 20.1 gal 16-17/22-24 mpg

5 3194 lb 4537 lb 65.4 cu ft 2000 lb

7 4317 lb 5997 lb 100.7 cu ft 3500 lb

Ford edge $28,995 111.2 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 2.0L T $995, 3.7L V-6 $4305 285 hp (240, 305) 253 lb-ft (270, 280) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R17 18.0, 19.0 gal 18-19/25-27 mpg (21/30, 17-19/23-26) 5 4050 lb 5300 lb 68.9 cu ft 3500 lb

Ford escape $23,595 105.9 in 2.5L DOHC I-4 1.6LT I-4 $2600 2.0L T I-4 $3695 168 hp (178, 240) 170 lb-ft (184, 270) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/55R17 15.1 gal 20-23/27-28 mpg (19-20/25-27, 30-34/27-31) 5 3515 lb 4200 lb 68.1 cu ft 3500 lb

Mini countryman $24,190 102.2 in 1.6L DOHC I-4 1.6L T I-4 $3600, $12,850 121 hp (181, 208) 114 lb-ft (177, 207) Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 205/55R17 12.4 gal 25-27/30-35 mpg (23-26/30-32) 4 2954 lb 4200 lb 42.2 cu ft N/A

Mitsubishi Outlander $24,620 105.1 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.0L V-6 $3900 168 hp (230) 167 lb-ft (215) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 215/70R16 15.8, 16.6 gal 22-23/27-28 mpg (19/25-26) 5 (7) 3384 lb 5181 lb 72.6 cu ft 3500 lb

Ford Flex $29,910 117.9 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 3.5L TT V-6 $13,400

honda cR-V $23,775 103.1 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 None

287 hp (365) 254 lb-ft (350) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/60R17 18.6 gal 16-17/22-24 mpg (16/22) 7 4471 lb 5500 lb (est) 83.2 cu ft 4500 lb

185 hp 163 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 215/70R16 15.3 gal 22-23/30-31 mpg 5 3305 lb 4560 lb 70.9 cu ft 1500 lb

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport $20,295 105.1 in 2.0L DOHC I-4 None 148 hp 145 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 225/55R18 15.8, 16.6 gal 23-25/28-31 mpg

Nissan Juke $21,070 99.6 in 1.6L DOHC T I-4 None 188 hp 177 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 215/55R17 11.8, 13.2 gal 25-27/30-32 mpg

5 3087 lb 4343 lb 49.5 cu ft N/A

5 2912 lb 4167 lb 35.9 cu ft N/A

mainsTream suv

Winner (ToWinG MoRe THan 4500 pounDS): Jeep Grand Cherokee RunneR-up: Dodge Durango

mainsTream suv (ToWing more THan 4500 pounDs) Vehicle

chevrolet Traverse/ GMc Acadia

Dodge Durango

Ford explorer

hyundai Santa Fe

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Base price Wheelbase Engine Opt engine Power, SAE Torque, SAE Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap EPA fuel econ, city/hwy

$31,670/$35,260 118.9 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 None 281-288 hp 266-270 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 245/70R17 22.0 gal 16-17/23-24 mpg 8 4713 lb 6459 lb 116.4 cu ft 5200 lb

$30,910 112.6 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 2.0LT $995, 3.5LT $11,680 290 hp (240, 365) 255 lb-ft (270, 350) Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 245/65R17 18.6 gal 16-18/22-25 mpg (20/28) 7 4448 lb 6100 lb 80.7 cu ft 5000 lb

$30,665 110.2 in 3.3L DOHC V-6 None 290 hp 252 lb-ft Fr, side, rear, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/60R18 18.8 gal 18/24-25 mpg

Seating cap Curb weight Max GVWR Cargo cap Towing cap

$30,790 119.8 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 5.7L V-8 $7015 290-295 hp (360) 260 lb-ft (390) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 265/60R18 24.6 gal 17-18/24-25 mpg (14/22-23) 7 4756 lb 7100 lb 84.5 cu ft 7400 lb

$29,990 114.8 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 5.7L $1695, 3.0L TD $4500, 6.4L $30,900 290 hp (360, 240, 470) 260 lb-ft (390, 420, 465) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 245/70R17 24.6 gal 16-17/23 mpg (13-14/20, 21-22/28-30, 12/18) 5 4545 lb 6800 lb 68.7 cu ft 7400 lb


7 3933 lb 5622 lb 80.0 cu ft 5000 lb


These vehicles fall into the gray area between crossover and sport/utility. However, with a towing capacity of 4500 pounds or less, they certainly lean more toward the crossover side of things. There is a standout in this category, one that combines the efficiency of a crossover with some of the off-road capability of an SUV. That is why we picked the Jeep Cherokee as the best in this category. honda Pilot $30,500 109.2 in 3.5L SOHC V-6 None

hyundai Santa Fe Sport $25,605 106.3 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 2.0L I-4 $3350 190 hp (264) 181 lb-ft (269) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R17 17.4 gal 20-21/26-29 mpg (19-20/24-27) 5 3459 lb 5181 lb 71.5 cu ft 3500 lb

hyundai Tucson $22,245 103.9 in 2.0L DOHC I-4 2.4L I-4 $2550 164 hp (182) 151 lb-ft (177) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/60R17 15.3 gal 21-23/25-29 mpg (20-21/25-28) 5 3232 lb 4608 lb 55.8 cu ft 2000 lb

Nissan Murano $29,300 111.2 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 None 260 hp 240 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R18 21.7 gal 18/23-24 mpg

Nissan Rogue $23,350 106.5 in 2.5L DOHC I-4 None 170 hp 175 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/65R1 14.5 gal 25/32-33 mpg

Subaru Forester $22,820 103.9 in 2.5L DOHC flat-4 2.0L T flat-4 $4500 170 hp (250) 174 lb-ft (258) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/60R17 15.9 gal 24/32 mpg (23/28)

5 3958 lb 5287 lb 64.5 cu ft 3500 lb

5 (7) 3393 lb N/A 70.0 cu ft 1000 lb

5 3296 lb N/A 74.7 cu ft 1500 lb

250 hp 253 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R17 21.0 gal 17-18/24-25 mpg 8 4295 lb 5500 lb 87.0 cu ft 4500 lb

Jeep Cherokee $23,990 106.3-107.0 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.2L V-6 $2995 184 hp (271) 171 lb-ft (239) Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 245/65R17 15.9 gal 21-22/28-31 mpg (19/27-28) 5 3775 lb 5500 lb 58.9 cu ft 4500 lb

Kia Sorento $24,950 106.3 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 3.3L V-6 $1600 175 hp (290) 169 lb-ft (252) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R17 18.0 gal 20-22/27-32 mpg (18-20/24-26) 5 (7) 3594 lb 5468 lb 72.5 cu ft 3500 lb

Subaru Outback $24,620 107.9 in 2.5L SOHC flat-4 3.6L flat-6 $5000 173 hp (256) 174 lb-ft (247) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 215/70R16 18.5 gal 19-22/27-29 mpg (18/25) 5 3386 lb 4800 lb 74.4 cu ft 3000 lb

Kia Sportage $22,450 103.9 in 2.4L DOHC I-4 2.0L T I-4 $1900 182 hp (260) 177 lb-ft (269) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 215/70R16 15.3 gal 19-21/26-28 mpg (19-20/24-26) 5 3280 lb 4696 lb 54.6 cu ft 2000 lb

Subaru Tribeca $34,920 108.2 in 3.6L DOHC flat-6 None 256 hp 247 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 255/55R18 16.9 gal 16/21 mpg

Toyota RAV4 $24,160 104.7 in 2.5L DOHC I-4

7 4173 lb 5600 lb 74.4 cu ft 3500 lb

5 3435 lb 4600 lb 73.4 cu ft 1500 lb

176 hp 172 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 225/65R17 15.9 gal 22-24/29-31 mpg

What can we say? We still love the combination of comfort and luxury and off-road capability that the Grand Cherokee offers. Add a variety of engines (including a diesel!), the easy-to-use four-wheel-drive system, and towing capacity of up to 7400 pounds, and you have a combination that is hard to beat. Want to have an R/T model that tows? There’s the Durango, which might be the vehicle that represents the best switch from body-on-frame to unibody. Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan Xterra

Toyota 4Runner

Toyota FJ cruiser

Toyota highlander

$29,810 112.2 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 2.5L hyb $6475 260 hp (250) 240 lb-ft (243) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R18 19.5 gal 19-20/25-26 mpg (25-27/28) 7 4167 lb 5986 lb 79.8 cu ft 5000 lb

$23,970 106.3 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 None 261 hp 281 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 265/70R16 21.1 gal 15-16/20 mpg

$33,680 109.8 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 None 270 hp 278 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 265/70R17 23.0 gal 17/21 mpg

$27,990 105.9 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 None 260 hp 271 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 265/70R17 19.0 gal 15-17/18-20 mpg

5 4148 lb 5399 lb 65.7 cu ft 5200 lb

5 (7) 4400 lb 6300 lb 89.7 cu ft 5000 lb

5 4050 lb 5570 lb 66.8 cu ft 4700 lb

$30,075 109.8 in 2.7L DOHC I-4 3.5L V-6 $1375, 3.3L H $11,300 187 hp (270, 280) 186 lb-ft (248, 215) Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 245/65R17 19.2 gal (17.2) 18/24 mpg (17/22, 28/28) 7 4134 lb 6000 lb 83.7 cu ft 5000 lb




Luxury suv (ToWing 4500 pounDs anD beLoW) Vehicle

Acura RDX

Buick encore



cadillac SRX

infiniti QX50

infiniti QX70

Base price Wheelbase engine Opt engine

$35,415 105.7 in 3.5L SOHC V-6 None

$24,950 100.6 in 1.4L turbo I-4 None

$35,745 110.2 in 3.7L V-6 None

273 hp 251 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/60R18 16.0 gal 19-20/27-28 mpg

138 hp 148 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 215/55R18 14.0 gal 23-25/30-33 mpg

308 hp 265 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R18 21.0 gal 16-17/23-24 mpg

325 hp 267 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/55R18 20.0 gal 17/24-25 mpg

5 3717 lb N/A 76.9 cu ft 1500 lb

5 3190 lb 4372 lb 48.4 cu ft N/A

$40,725 110.6 in 2.0L I-6 3.0L twin-turbo I-6 $5200 260 hp (300) 221 lb-ft (300) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 245/50R18 17.7 gal 21/28 mpg (19-26) 5 4068 lb 5137 lb 56.5 cu ft 3000 lb

$38,430 110.5 in 3.6L V-6 None

Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap ePA fuel econ, city/hwy Opt engine Seating cap curb weight Max GVWR cargo cap Towing cap *Behind second row

$31,825 108.7 in 2.0L T I-4 3.0L T I-6 $7800 240 hp (300) 260 lb-ft (300) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 255/45R18 16.6 gal 22-24/33-34 mpg (18/27) 5 3527 lb 4861 lb 47.7 cu ft N/A

5 4277 lb 5556 lb 61.1 cu ft 3500 lb

5 3790 lb 5024 lb 18.6 cu ft* 1500 lb (est)

$46,745 113.6 in 3.7L DOHC V-6 5.0L V-8 $16,550 325 hp (390) 267 lb-ft (369) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 265/60R18 23.8 gal 16-17/22-24 mpg (14/20) 5 4209 lb 5766 lb 62.0 cu ft 3500 lb

Luxury suv

Winner (ToWing more THan 4500 pounDs): Land Rover LR4 RunneR-up: Mercedes-Benz M-Class

The off-road monster with the posh interior continues on as champion this year. While we were sad to see the 5.0-liter V-8 go, we still love what the LR4 brings to the table: It’s fantastic off-road, its cabin is comfortable and quiet, and it’s genuinely luxurious. It can also carry seven people and tow more than 7700 pounds. The runner-up—the M-Class—isn’t as off-road-biased as the Land Rover, but it’s also highly capable.

Luxury suv (ToWing more THan 4500 pounDs) Vehicle

Acura MDX

Audi Q5

Audi Q7

Base price Wheelbase engine Opt engine

$43,275 111.0 in 3.5L SOHC V-8 None

$38,195 110.5 in 2.0L DOHC T I-4 3.0L TD I-4 $9200 2.0L T H $14,000 211 hp (240, 240) 258 lb-ft (354, 428) Fr, side, cur

$48,595 $53,725 118.2 in 115.5 in 3.0L DOHC V-6 3.0L DOHC T I-6 3.0L TD $5200 3.0L TD I-6 $9200 3.0L SC V-6 $13,750 4.4L TT V-8 $16,700 280 hp (240, 333) 300 hp (255,445) 295 lb-ft (406, 325) 300 lb-ft (413,480) Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur

Disc/disc, ABS 235/60R18 19.8 gal 20/28 mpg (24/30, 24/31) 5 4079 lb 4800 lb 57.3 cu ft 4500 lb

Disc/disc, ABS 255/55R18 26.4 gal 16/22 mpg (19/28,16/22) 7 5192 lb 6746 lb 72.5 cu ft 6600 lb

Power, SAe 290 hp Torque, SAe 267 lb-ft Airbags Fr, side, cur Brakes, f/r Disc/disc, ABS Tires 245/60R18 Fuel cap 19.5 gal ePA fuel econ 18-20/27-28 mpg Seating cap curb weight GVWR cargo cap Towing cap 46

7 4025 lb N/A 90.0 cu ft 5000 lb


Disc/disc, ABS 255/55R18 22.4 gal 19/27 mpg (14/22, none) 7 4680 lb 6550 lb 66.0 cu ft 5952 lb

Buick enclave

cadillac escalade/eSV

infiniti QX60

Land Rover LR4

$39,665 118.9 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 None

$68,965/$71,565 116.0/130.0 in 6.2L OHV V-8 None

$50,595 113.6 in 3.0L S/C DOHC V-6 None

288 hp 270 lb-ft Fr, side, cur

403 hp 417 lb-ft Fr, side, cur

$42,995 114.2 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 2.5L hybrid $6475 265 hp (250) 248 lb-ft (243) Fr, side, cur

Disc/disc, ABS 255/65R19 22.0 gal 16-17/22-24 mpg

Disc/disc, ABS 265/65R18 26.0/31.0 gal 13-14/18 mpg

8 4724 lb 6460 lb 115.2 cu ft 4500 lb

8 5527 lb 7400 lb 108.9/137.4 cu ft 8300 lb


Disc/disc, ABS 235/65R18 19.5 gal 18/23-24 mpg (25-26/28) 7 4280 lb 5937 lb 15.8 cu ft* 5000 lb

340 hp 332 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 255/55R19 22.8 gal 12/17 mpg 7 5655 lb 7143 lb 90.3 cu ft 7716 lb

Luxury suv

Winner (ToWinG 4500 pounDS anD BeLoW): Mercedes-Benz GLK RunneR-up: Land Rover LR2

It should come as no surprise that we love diesels, and when we drove the GLK powered by the 2.1-liter turbodiesel, it thoroughly impressed us. It made so much of an impact that it propelled the Mercedes from last year’s runner-up spot to top of the class this year. It ties the Infiniti QX70 for best-in-class torque, in a vehicle that is significantly lighter—and it tows 3500 pounds. If you want more luxe off-road capability, there’s the Land Rover LR2.

land Rover lR2

lexus RX

lincoln MKX

Mercedes-Benz GLK

Range Rover Evoque

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volvo Xc60

$37,295 104.7 in 2.0L turbo I-4 None

$40,670 107.9 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 3.5L hyb $6650 270 hp (295) 248 lb-ft (234) Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 235/60R18 19.2 gal (17.2) 18-24 mpg (30-32/28) 5 4340 lb 5974 lb 80.3 cu ft 3500 lb

$40,470 111.2 in 3.7L DOHC V-6 None

$38,405 108.5 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 2.1L TD I-4

$42,040 104.8 in 2.0L turbo I-4 None

$23,860 102.5 in 2.0L turbo I-4 None

305 hp 280 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 245/60R18 18.0-19.0 gal 17-19/23-26 mpg

302 hp (200) 273 lb-ft (369) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/50R19 17.4 gal 19/24-25 mpg (N/A) 5 4079 lb 5467 lb 54.7 cu ft 3500 lb

240 hp 250 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 235/55R19 18.5 gal 18/28 mpg

200 hp 207 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 215/65R16 16.8 gal 18-22/26-27 mpg

5 3915 lb 3902 lb 51.0 cu ft 3500 lb

5 3393 lb 4960 lb 56.1 cu ft 2200 lb

$35,765 109.2 in 3.2L I-6 3.0L turbo I-6 $6300 240 hp (300-325) 236 lb-ft (325-354) Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/60R18 18.5 gal 18-19/24-25 mpg (17/23) 5 3958 lb 5368 lb 67.4 cu ft 3300 lb

240 hp 250 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 235/55R19 18.5 gal 17/24 mpg 5 4255 lb 5520 lb 58.9 cu ft 3500 lb

lexus lX

lR Range Rover/Sport

$82,425 112.2 in 5.7L DOHC V-8 None

$84,195/$63,495 $49,995 $43,945 115.1 in 109.8 in 117.9 in 3.0L DOHC SC V-8 4.6L DOHC V-8 3.7L DOHC V-6 5.0L SC V-8 None 3.5L T V-6 $18,695/$15,605 $1995 340 hp (510) 301 hp 303 hp (365) 332 lb-ft (461) 329 lb-ft 278 lb-ft (350) Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur Fr, side, cur

383 hp 403 lb-ft Fr, side, cur, knee Disc/disc, ABS 285/50R20 24.6 gal 12/17 mpg 8 6000 lb 7385 lb 83.1 cu ft 7000 lb

Disc/disc, ABS 255/55R20 27.7 gal 12/17 mpg (14/19) 5/7 4850/5093 lb 7055/N/A lb 71.7/62.2 cu ft 7716 lb

lexus GX 460

5 4236 lb 5590 lb 68.6 cu ft 3500 lb

Disc/disc, ABS 265/60R18 23.0 gal 15/20 mpg 7 5305 lb 6600 lb 91.9 cu ft 6500 lb

lincoln MKT

lincoln Navigator/l

Mercedes-Benz M-class

Porsche cayenne

Volkswagen Touareg

Volvo Xc90

$57,160/$59,325 119.0/131.0 in 5.4L SOHC V-8 None

$48,715 114.8 in 3.5L DOHC V-6 3.0L TD V-6 $1500, 4.7L $9030, 5.5L $46,330 302 hp (240, 402, 518) 273 lb-ft (455, 443, 516) Fr, side, cur

$50,595 114.0 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.0L TD $9900, 4.8L V-8 300 hp (240,400) 295 lb-ft (406,369) Fr, side, cur

$44,905 113.9 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.0L TD V-6 $3500 3.6L H $18,630 280 hp (240, 380) 266 lb-ft (406, 428) Fr, side, cur

$40,615 112.6 in 3.2L DOHC I-6 None

Disc/disc, ABS 255/55R18 22.4 gal (26.4) 15-17/22-23 mpg (20/28,16/22) 5 4398 lb 6100 lb (est) 62.9 cu ft 7716 lb

Disc/disc, ABS 255/55R18 26.4 gal 17/23 mpg (20/29, 20/24) 5 4711 lb 6415 lb 64.0 cu ft 7716 lb

310 hp 365 lb-ft Fr, side, cur

Disc/disc, ABS 235/55R19 18.6 gal 16-17/22-24 mpg (16/21) 7 4702 lb 5500 lb 75.9 cu ft 4500 lb

Disc/disc, ABS 255/70R18 28.0/33.5 gal 13/18 mpg

Disc/disc, ABS 255/50R19 27.7 gal 18/23 mpg (19/28, 20/24) 8 5 5780/6031 lb 4652 lb 7500/7720 lb 6239 lb (est) 103.3/128.2 cu ft 80.3 cu ft 9000/8700 lb 7200 lb


240 hp 236 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 235/60R18 21.1 gal 16/23 mpg 7 4667 lb 6080 lb 85.1 cu ft 4960 lb 47


cargo van

FuLL-Size: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter CoMpaCT: Ford Transit Connect We’d heard there was a lot of change coming to this category, and we finally got to experience some of it. After driving the new Transit Connect, we were really impressed with what the small van has to offer. It’s our best-in-class pick for 2014 for the Compact Van category. It’s fun to drive, and has a payload capacity of more than 1700 pounds. We also drove all the full-size vans, and, despite the quality of the new competitors in the market, the Sprinter is still tops. The Sprinter comes with a choice of two diesels, has an improved interior, and offers plenty of amenities for work and comfort. This segment will get even more interesting when the Ford Transit, Chevy City Express, and Ram ProMaster City arrive next year.

cargo van Vehicle Base price Wheelbase engine Opt engines

chevrolet/GMc express/Savana $28,705/$28,705 135.0-155.0 in 4.3L OHV V-6, 4.8L OHV V-8, 5.3L OHV V-8 $995, 6.0L V-8 $2500,

Ford e-Series $29,595 138.0-176.0 in 4.6L SOHC V-8 5.4L V-8 $3475,

Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap Fuel econ, city/hwy Tow cap curb weight Payload cargo cap

6.6L TD V-8 $13,450 195 hp (280, 310, 323, 260) 260 lb-ft (296, 334, 373, 525) Front Disc/disc, ABS 245/70R17 31.0 gal 13/17 mpg (11/16, N/A) 10,000 lb 4919 lb 4187 lb 239.7-284.4 cu ft

6.8L V-10 $3895 225 hp (255,305) 286 lb-ft (350,420) Front Disc/disc, ABS 225/75R16 33.0-55.0 gal N/A 10,000 lb 5750 lb 3920 lb 256.5 cu ft

Ford Transit Connect

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

$22,995 104.8-120.6 in 2.5L DOHC I-4 1.6L T I-4

$36,915 144.3, 170.3 in 3.0L DOHC TD I-4 3.0wL TD V-6 $910

168 hp (178) 170 lb-ft (184) Front, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 215/65R16 15.8 gal 20/28 mpg (22/29) 2000 lb 3467 lb 1710 lb 105.9-130.6 cu ft

161 hp (188) 265 lb-ft (325) Front Disc/disc, ABS 245/75R16 26.4 gal N/A 7500 lb 5125 lb 2873 lb 318.0-547.0 cu ft

cargo van (conT’D.) Vehicle Base price Wheelbase engine Opt engines Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap Fuel econ, city/hwy Tow cap curb weight Payload cargo cap


Nissan NV200 $20,850 115.2 in 2.0L DOHC I-4 None

Nissan NV1500 $26,415 146.1 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 5.6L V-8 $1900

Nissan NV2500/3500hD $27,415 146.1 in 4.0L DOHC V-6 5.6L V-8 $900

Ram c/V $22,355 121.2 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 None

Ram ProMaster $29,625 118.0-159.0 in 3.6L DOHC V-6 3.0L TD I-4

131 hp 139 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/drum, ABS 185/60R15 14.5 gal 24/25 mpg

261 hp (317) 281 lb-ft (385) Front Disc/disc, ABS 245/70R17 28.0 gal None

261 hp (317) 281 lb-ft (385) Front Disc/disc, ABS 245/70R17 28.0 gal None

283 hp 283 hp Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 225/65R16 20.0 gal 17/25 mpg

280 hp (174) 260 lb-ft (295) Fr, side, curt Disc/disc, ABS 225/75R16 24.0 gal None

None 3252 lb 1500 lb 122.7 cu ft

9500 lb 3049 lb 2535 lb 323.1 cu ft

9500 lb 3063 lb 3925 lb 323.1 cu ft

3600 lb 4150 lb 1800 lb 144.4 cu ft

5100 lb 4628 lb 4310 lb 283.0-530.0 cu ft


FacTory poWer runner

Winner: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 RunneR-up: Ford Tremor SuperCab

Are these irrational vehicles? You bet—and proud of it. We love the idea of being able to go fast while carrying cargo, and there are two awesome vehicles in this category that’ll achieve both for less than you’d think. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is powered by a 470-hp, 6.4-liter V-8 and can tow 7200 pounds. The Ford Tremor is about as close as you can get to a modernday Lightning. The regular-cab short-wheelbase pickup has rear drive, 365 hp, and 8000 pounds of towing capacity.

FacTory poWer runner Vehicle

Price w/hi-po opt Wheelbase engine Transmission 0-60 mph, sec Power, SAe Torque, SAe Airbags Brakes, f/r Tires Fuel cap Fuel econ, city/hwy Seating cap curb weight GVWR Payload Towing

BMW X6 M $94,825 115.5 in 4.4L DOHC TT V-8 6-speed auto 4.5 sec 555 hp 500 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 275/40R20 F 315/35R20 R 22.4 gal 12/17 mpg 4 5324 lb 6261 lb 911 lb 6000 lb

cadillac escalade AWD $66,715 116.0 in 6.2L OHV V-8 6-speed auto 6.4 sec 403 hp 417 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 275/55R20

Ford F-150 Tremor

GMc Sierra Denali AWD

$39,740 126.0 in 3.5 DOHC TT V-6 6-speed auto 6.5 sec (est) 365 hp 420 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 255/75R20

$51,405 143.5 in 6.2L OHV V-8 6-speed auto 6.2 sec 420 hp 460 lb-ft Fr, side, cur Disc/disc, ABS 275/55R20

26.0 gal 13/18 mpg 7 4935 lb 7300 lb 1577 lb 8100 lb

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2014 By Allyson Harwood and Edward A. Sanchez

The passion for Trucks manifests itself in many forms, and that came through loud and clear in this year’s Readers’ Rides roundup. We have vintage submissions, late-model pickups, and some rare birds, such as an Isuzu VehiCross. (When’s the last time you saw one of those?) It doesn’t take radical customization or crazy stunts to get into Readers’ Rides, just a love for your truck and a few minutes of your time to take some pictures and send in a writeup. Plan ahead, and you could be featured in Readers’ Rides 2015.

RaRe to Common, old to new… a little Bit of eveRything 1999 Isuzu VehiCross

2006 Dodge Ram 3500

Jo Birch, San Diego, California

This ’99 Isuzu VehiCross takes the prize as one of the rarest late models on our list. Although there’s not exactly abundant afermarket support for this futuristic-looking SUV, that didn’t stop Birch from going all out with the upgrades. The VehiCross is lifed 4 inches in the front with torsion bar re-keying, a custom differential drop and crossmember, and 4.5-inch rear ARB Old Man Emu coil springs and spacers. The front wheelwells were custom-cut and finished for extra off-road clearance. Birch had to go offscript for some of the other upgrades, including a one-off rock bumper and headlight guard pieced together and fabricated off various parts found on eBay, a custom hood insert off a Camaro, a three-piece skidplate set off a Trooper, a custom exhaust with a Flowmaster muffler, and custom rock rails. To make sure the VehiCross is ready for whatever off-road action it encounters in Moab or SoCal, the drivetrain features custom driveshafs, 4.77 gears, front and rear lockers, heavyduty tie rods, and adjustable rear links. You’ve got to appreciate that level of dedication!


Roy Gendreau, Windsor, Connecticut

New England doesn’t have a reputation as “truck country,” but some of the coolest rigs we’ve seen in Readers’ Rides have come from the Northeast. Roy Gendreau added a set of chrome-plated exhaust stacks to his 2006 Ram 3500 dualie, along with a diamond plate toolbox, running boards, and an Edge Insight performance monitor. He uses the truck to tow his fifh-wheel camper trailer—and just to “show off.” The eight-year-old rig has only 30,000 miles on it, ensuring it will be towing for many years to come.


1992 Toyota SR-5 Pickup

1977 Dodge W200 Power Wagon

Chris Stubb Washington State

John O’Leary Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

We’re not sure what’s louder on Chris Stubb’s ’92 Toyota pickup: the exhaust or the paint job. With the 3.0-liter V-6 running a straight-pipe exhaust with no cat, other drivers are sure to hear him coming, and with its 7-inch HID off-road lights, nobody can use the excuse “We didn’t see you coming.” Other upgrades to Chris’ truck include a 4-inch lif with 32-inch BFGoodrich KM2 tires, a K&N intake, a Smitybilt bumper, and tube steps.

Originating just afer World War II, the Power Wagon has been part of offroad lore for decades. John O’Leary’s Power Wagon splits the difference between the original and modern versions. His brother purchased it in 1990 at the Leterkenny Army/Navy Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. John bought it in 2000. It works around the homestead for snow plowing, firewood hauling, and mud racing. An 8-inch lif, Spicer 60 front and rear axles, and 4.56 Detroit TrueTrac axles make sure it’s ready for whatever terrain it encounters.

1997 Chevrolet C1500

1989 GMC Sierra 3500 4x4

Mike Moore Seaford, Virginia

The GMT400 pickups from 1988-1998 are some of the most timeless-looking trucks of the modern era, with their clean, simple lines. Mike Moore’s 1997 C1500 might not be the craziest custom of all time, but he uses it for its intended purpose: work. Despite having nearly 260,000 miles on its clock, the truck looks practically showroom-clean, with custom touches including chrome wheelwell accents, roof marker lights, a Rough Country 2-inch lif, and a Flowmaster muffler.

Lance Tapia West Jordan, Utah

We’re not sure what looks more menacing: a slammed dualie crew cab or a lifed dualie. Lance Tapia makes a good case for the later with his 1989 GMC Sierra 3500 4x4. Powered by a factory 454 big-block and a trusty TH400 automatic transmission, the truck has a Dana 60 front and Dana 70 rear axle, an 8-inch Skyjacker lif, and massive 315/75R16 Falken Wildpeak A/T tires. We don’t know if Lance is a big football fan or not, but if we had to venture a guess at his favorite team, we’d pick the Raiders. What do you think?

2013 F-150 Ford Raptor SVT Benjamin Biller Cleveland, Texas

This SuperCrew Raptor is loaded with mods. Benjamin Biller leveled the truck by raising the front suspension to the mid-perch and then added a camber kit from Specialty Products Leveled. There’s also SDHQ frame reinforcement, Saints Offroad Bravo LED front and rear bumper, PIAA lights, Volant intake, American Racing headers, DeeZee EZ Down tailgate, Dynolock tailgate locker, RetraxPro rollaway bed locker, BedRug, AMP Research power running boards, WeatherTech Extreme Duty floor mats, and Vortec mudflaps. Ben also added two Stereo Integrity 12-inch subwoofers inside.


53 2007 Toyota Tundra

2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax

Andrew Basket Johnson City, Tennessee

Michael and Anthony Santoro Lakewood, California

Andrew Basket got this 2007 Toyota Tundra for his 16th birthday and has given it plenty of custom work since. The truck rides on Nito Terra Grappler tires on 18-inch XD Monster wheels with a 3-inch Ready Lif spacer lif, and it has an MBRP exhaust and K&N intake. Andrew installed custom headlights, an Expedition One front bumper, and PIAA driving lights. Exterior upgrades include Bushwacker pocket fender flares, a custom skidplate, and a powdercoated rear bumper. He says he loves his truck and never plans to sell it.

The Toyota Tundra gets some more love in our roundup with the Santoro brothers’ Barcelona Red 2013 Tundra CrewMax. The truck has running boards, an AMP Research Bed Step, an integrated rearview camera in the tailgate, a Rhino-lined bed, and a Bakflip tonneau cover. The exterior got chrome wheel covers, door handles, and mirror covers. The Tundra is the Santoro brothers’ first new vehicle and is used mainly as a weekend driver for errands to Home Depot or hauling large items for friends and family.

2005 Chevrolet Colorado

2010 GMC Sierra 1500 Z71 4x4

Dan Cronin Clearwater, Florida

We love it when we see a truck owner depart from the beaten path of customization. That’s what Dan Cronin did with his 2005 Chevy Colorado. Riding on old-school Rally wheels with Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 raised white-leter tires, this Colorado pays further homage to the glory days of hot rodding with a Reflexxion cowl induction hood with two silver stripes. Further custom touches include Street Scene mirrors, a Belltech rear anti-rollbar, a Dynomax Turbo muffler, a billet bow tie on the grille, and a locking gas cap.

Joel Mathers Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Most full-size trucks today are extended or crew-cab models, but some traditionalists like the straightforwardness of good ol’ regular cabs. Joel Mathers bucked the trend when he bought his 2010 GMC Sierra Z71. A regular-cab long bed, its configuration is more common on fleet and work trucks, but there’s no mistaking this truck for the cable guy’s. The Sierra has a Rough Country leveling kit, a K&N intake, and 33-inch Nito Terra Grappler tires on XD Thump wheels. Joel calls his truck an “all-around workhorse and toy.”

1976 Ford Bronco Ben Silva Harlingen, Texas

We love Ford Broncos of all vintages, but our favorite is the first-generation body style from the 1960s and ’70s. Ben Silva has an awesome example of the model with his blue 1976. Riding on a 5.5-inch lif with 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires, this Bronco is powered by a 1984 Mustang GT 302-cubic-inch V-8. Ben uses it as a daily driver, to haul his and his daughter’s kayaks, and on road trips home to see his family. It might not be as big as a full-size pickup, but it’s got plenty of practicality for Silva, who says, “Who needs a pickup?”




1974 Chevrolet K20

2010 Ram 1500 Bighorn

Brandon Birchmeyer Las Cruces, New Mexico

Jack Dietel Edinburg, Illinois

The 1973-’87 GM full-size trucks are probably the quintessential full-size trucks of the era, with their rugged, square-edged styling. It doesn’t take much to make these trucks look great, and Brandon Birchmeyer’s 1974 Chevrolet K20 looks the business. It has a 400-cube small-block V-8 with ported heads, a 10:1 compression ratio, a Holley 750 carb, long-tube headers, and a true dual exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers. The truck rides on 37-inch tires on ATX wheels and has Dana 80 1-ton axles, a 1-ton transfer case, and a Hurst shifer.

This 2010 Ram 1500 Bighorn is a good example of a late-model truck done right. It features a 2.8-inch leveling/lif kit and rides on 35-inch Toyo MTS tires on 20-inch Ballistic Jester wheels. Adding to the purposeful stance are Bushwacker pocket-style fenders. Other upgrades include Recon interior lighting; LED reverse, cargo, and license plate lights; a spray-in bedliner; and a K&N intake to help let the 5.7-liter Hemi breathe. Dietel says it’s his daily driver but it lugs trailers around every now and then.

1953 Chevrolet 100 Pickup

2004 Chevrolet Avalanche

James Belanger Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Tyler Vilimek Largo, Florida

For James Belanger’s ’53 Chevy, the flat-black paint job is just a practical, low-maintenance finish. If you look closely, you can see custom touches, including dual bow-tie exhaust tips, a custom hood scoop, and white steel wheels, which although not period correct, work well on Belanger’s trusty farm truck. A 307-cube small-block V-8 sends power through a three-speed Power Glide transmission, and the front and rear suspension are lifed from a ‘78 Chevy Nova. No trailer queen, the truck is used to tow Belanger’s boat.

In addition to a series of beauty shots, Tyler Vilimek sent one of his truck frolicking on the beach and making a (literal) splash. Among the custom touches Vilimek has added to his rig are color-changing underbody lights, Falken Rocky Mountain AT tires on 18-inch XD Monster wheels, and a Flowmaster Super 44 muffler. Vilimek says more mods are to come, and that he doesn’t baby his Avalanche. “Mudding, towing, hunting, anything that needs to get done, I push my Avalanche to the limits, and it will get the job done.”

2001 Ford F-150 Flareside

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab

Richard Marlete Longwood, Florida

This 2001 Ford F-150 Flareside isn’t a Lightning, but Richard Marlete is halfway there with a 5.4-liter Triton V-8 with Accel coilpacks, a Hypertech ECU reflash, an Accel TrueBlue cold air intake, and a true dual exhaust with Gibson mufflers. The truck has a Belltech 4/6-inch drop kit with Bilstein shocks and 18-inch SVT wheels, a billet waterfall grille, a Gaylord’s tonneau, and SVT head-, corner, and taillights. Marlete says the truck does everything he needs it to do, including towing his race car, taking road trips, and lookin’ good.

Nicole Zermeno Overton, Texas

At 18, Nicole Zermeno joined the military and had to put her truck dreams on hold. Since leaving the service, she upgraded her 2006 Ram 2500 Mega Cab with a 6-inch BDS suspension lif with Bilstein shocks, 22-inch Rockstar wheels, and Nito Trail Grappler tires. The truck also has Bushwacker fender flares, AMP Research power steps, Recon smoked lights, a Flowmaster exhaust, a Pioneer custom sound system, and a train horn. The truck is Nicole’s daily driver, and she’s a member of the LoneStar Rigs truck club.




1999 Toyota Tacoma SR5

2011 Chevrolet Colorado

Mathew Baker Cedar City, Utah

Jim Applewhite White House, Tennessee

The Toyota Tacoma is a proven and rugged truck, and plenty capable right out of the box. So why mess with success? Mathew Baker did just a few functional upgrades to his 1999 Tacoma, installing Flex-a-lite dual electric fans and gray plug wires on the stock 3.4-liter V-6. He uses Amsoil fluids and lubricants. For the ultimate clean, unclutered look, he also de-badged the truck. In terms of how he uses it, Baker is a man of few words, stating only that it’s his daily driver and he takes it hunting on occasion.

If you like the way the truck comes from the factory, you don’t have to make a lot of modifications. That’s what Jim Applewhite realized with his 2011 Chevrolet Colorado. He stepped up and got the 5.3-liter V-8 in his compact/ midsize. It’s backed by a four-speed automatic. The truck also came with the ZQ8 sport suspension. What did Jim add to the red crew cab? A set of Chevy mud flaps. He uses the truck for hauling supplies for his new house, running errands, and cleaning out his storage building.

2005 GMC Envoy

2003 Dodge Ram

Steve Boyed Lima, Ohio

Ricky Garza Medford, Minnesota

Steve’s email read: “This is my 2005 GMC Envoy. My kids call it Vader.” His Envoy is powered by the 4.2-liter I-6 and its mods include an AEM cold-air intake, Airaid throtle body spacer, and Jegs Stage II performance chip. There is also a Magnaflow dual exhaust out back. The Dark Spiral Gray SUV lost all its side molding and badges, and the wheels and grille are now gunmetal gray to match. There are Wade headlight covers, Trailblazer SS foglights, black tinted windows, and a black dual-flame hood stripe.

This 2003 crew cab Ram is powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi that Ricky didn’t modify, but it does now have a dual exhaust. He opted for a set of BFGoodrich A/T tires to handle the snow in Minnesota, and had the windows tinted. He also installed a brushguard, and took the truck to get a Rhino Linings sprayon bedliner. Ricky builds pole sheds for a living, and uses his truck to haul augers and 2x4s to different job sites. Next on the mods list: a lif, side steps, and a tonneau cover.

2009 Nissan Xterra

2007 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT RWD

Hunter Robinson Hardin, Texas

Three days afer Hunter got his Xterra, he got it good and dirty and took this photo. When he submited the info about his SUV, he’d owned it for only a month. It’s his second Xterra (his first, an ’03, was his first vehicle ever). He was so impressed with how well the first one did off-road, he replaced it with another—with 4WD. He’s taken off the side steps and mud flaps, and wants to get a set of mud terrains. And Hunter knows how to get the Xterra looking good as new once he’s done off-roading, as he’s a professional detailer.


Joshua Varner Springdale/Cave Springs, Arkansas

Why are there two cities listed? Joshua and his wife live in one while geting ready to move to the other. And he uses his RWD 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT to go between the two. The Dodge currently has Daystar 2-inch level spacers, 285/70R17 Nito Terra Grappler tires, Go Rhino Dominator II steps, Undercover Classic bed cover, a Flowmaster 40 series exhaust, and AVS vent visors. John is an avid hunter and fisherman and an Arkansas Razorback fan. His wife Lizzy loves the truck as much as he does.



2007 4x4 Dodge Ram 2500

2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD

Joseph C. Boca Raton, Florida

Steven Johnson. Harrison, Arkansas

Under the hood of this GMC Sierra 2500HD lies a 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 with a 4L80E automatic transmission. The Vortec uses a K&N filter and a Flowmaster exhaust. The truck has a 4-inch lif that provides plenty of room for 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrains. Mr. C. uses his truck for towing and offroading, and takes it to the track for drag racing.

We don’t know much about Steven’s Ram, but we know the kid in front of the truck is cute and, judging from the T-shirt, it’s possible that he’s a bit of a Monty Python fan. Steven’s truck is a 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 Heavy-Duty, and it’s in nice condition. We wish we could’ve seen more of the truck—but we like that it is almost the same exact color as the Impala parked next to it.

2011 Toyota Tacoma

1969 Ford F-250

T-Roy B. Eastern Colorado

Rob Jansen British Columbia, Canada

Let’s hear it for regular cabs! T-Roy’s Tacoma has an impressive amount of afermarket products. There are KC HiLites and foglights, Bestop Supertop, N-Fab nerf bars, Optima Yellow Top batery, Cooper Discoverer STT tires, Bilstein 5100 shocks, and a CB radio. The Toyota is powered by the 2.7-liter and the five-speed manual, and the engine is backed by an MBRP exhaust. He uses his truck for fishing and shooting trips, exploring, and road trips. He also does some moderate ’wheeling.

As Rob explains, his daily driver is always loaded with something. He uses it for camping, landscaping, four-wheeling, and hauling. The F-250 is powered by a 390 backed by a four-speed automatic. It has an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor and intake, cam, Hedman headers, 3-inch exhaust, Toyo Open Country tires, airbag suspension, a custom hydraulic lif system, Detroit rear locker, and 4.10:1 gears.

2009 GMC Sierra Denali

1987 Ford Bronco II

Kenneth Gindt Boyd, Wisconsin

Kenneth Gindt’s GMC Sierra Denali easily tows collectible cars such as this 1957 Chevrolet. Modifications to the truck focus mostly on improving the performance of the 425-horsepower, 6.2-liter engine backed by a six-speed automatic. The truck has a Superchips tuner, as well as a Flowmaster Force II dual exhaust system. It looks like Kenneth has good taste in trucks—and cars.

Russ Di Bella Lexington, Kentucky

It might not surprise you to learn that Russ built his 1987 Bronco II as an offroad ride. It uses a 4-inch Rough Country suspension with Rough Country shocks, plus a 2-inch body lif. The Ford rides on 33 x 12.5-15 tires. The engine has an Airaid air intake. Russ explores trails in Kentucky and also enjoys finding hill climbs. He admits mudding isn’t his favorite type of offroading, so he tries to avoid it.




2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Brenda Yates Raleigh, North Carolina

2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Rachel Yates Cary, North Carolina

Longtime Readers’ Ride entrant Brenda Yates returns, as does her sweet Wrangler Rubicon. She kept it stock (it is a Wrangler Rubicon, afer all) and enjoys having this super-capable vehicle as her daily driver. She takes it to the beach and on off-road adventures, and is always looking for a sunny day to go topless—her words, not ours.

Looks like Brenda has some friends and family who also enjoy off-roading in Jeeps. Rachel’s Wrangler is also stock, and uses the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and automatic transmission. Her daily driver is also a “dogmobile” for her two pups. She also takes her Jeep to the beach and to explore the backcountry.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

1963 Ford F-100

Chris Scot Raleigh, North Carolina

The third Jeep Wranger in the North Carolina triad adds a third trim level to the mix. This one is a stock Sahara with the 3.6-liter and a six-speed manual. Chris calls it the TarJeep, as a tribute to the Carolina Tar Heels. (The Jeep also happens to be blue.) He’s taken the TarJeep cross-country, and he took this shot in the Olympic National Park in Washington State. He also enjoys off-roading and exploring.

2000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Melvin Neilson Brigham, Utah

2009-2014 Ford F-150 STX

Check out this regular-cab Sportside 4x4. Melvin replaced the stock wheels with 18-inch Mamba wheels and added a tonneau cover. There are also carbon fiber-style taillights, grille inserts, headlight protectors, fender vents, and a dash cap. He uses his truck for fishing trips, and it’s his mode of transportation in winter when the roads are slick. This allows him to keep his Pontiac G8 safe and sound in the garage. Melvin says he’s 74 and never grew up. Growing up is totally overrated.


Gareth Hall Ione, California

This is a sweet truck. Powered by a 351W and C-4 transmission, Gareth’s daily driver is clean, yet isn’t exactly bone stock. The engine has been bored 0.030 over, and uses an Edelbrock E-Force supercharger, aluminum heads, Performer Plus hydraulic cam, intake manifold, and carburetor. And it’s a unibody truck.

Oscar Millan Houston, Texas

Oscar’s F-150 is in great shape. The regular-cab Sterling Gray Metallic STX is powered by Ford’s stout 5.0-liter V-8 with a six-speed automatic. He didn’t tell us much about his truck, but we do know he likes to take his Ford to interesting locations for photos. He took it to the airport (we think it’s George Bush Intercontinental near Houston) and to a really lush, tree-lined spot where he put some grass and dirt under the tires. For more info about the truck, you’d have to ask Oscar.


2013 Ford F-150 STX

1992-1996 Ford Bronco

Harry Richmond Indianapolis, Indiana

Harry’s truck has got to be prety fast. It’s a regular-cab F-150 with the 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood. He hasn’t made many changes. The dealer added vent visors, there is a spray-on bed liner, and the windows were tinted. This is his daily driver, and he uses it for trips to Florida and Tennessee. He also uses it to take his wife to work when it’s snowing.

Torrero Gonzalez Florida

We liked Torrero Gonzalez’s Bronco so much, we included it even though he didn’t tell us anything about it. Here’s what we’re guessing: It’s 4WD, with locking hubs. From the (Florida-based) Ocean Kings sticker on the rear side window and the neighbors with the boat, we figure he lives near the ocean in or near Florida. But, hey, take a look at his sweet Bronco. We’ll even presume that it’s powered by Ford’s 351W V-8. Why not? If we’re going to guess about the Bronco, we may as well go for the biggest engine available, right?

2014 Nissan Rogue SV Sharon Spiering and Dan Spangler Victorville, California

Afer owning nothing but Toyotas for the last 30 years, Sharon and Dan went Rogue—literally. They bought a new Nissan Rogue compact SUV. Their new ride is Midnight Jade with 17-inch alloy wheels. The source of power: a 170-hp, 2.5-liter inline-four. The interior has charcoal cloth seats. While the crossover is mostly stock, Sharon and Dan did have the dealer install foglights and a tow package.

1999 Chevrolet S10 ZR2

1968 International C110

Carsten Frauenheim San Luis Obispo, Calfornia

The second-generation Chevrolet S-10 is one of our favorite body styles of compact trucks, and the S-10 ZR2 is one of the models we like best. It’s also one of Carsten Frauenheim’s favorites. Frauenheim’s a big believer in the ZR2’s factory off-road capabilities, and has kept his truck bone stock except for the addition of a rollbar in the bed. He said his truck is very capable, and can hang with much more extensively modified trucks off-road. The 1999 ZR2 is his daily driver.

Daniel Rice Stuart, Florida

Daniel is an alum of Reader’s Rides, with his 2005 F-150 featured in 2012. That truck’s still in the family, pulling fence posts and performing other tasks. What caught our eye this year is Rice’s multi-colored 1968 International C110. Rice bought it for just $10, and he says the truck started right up and still had the original AM radio in it. The truck is 2WD and has a 304-cid International gas V-8 and automatic trans. No word on whether the truck is going to eventually get a “normal” paint job, but our vote is to keep the colorful patchwork paint.



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REG. PRICE $8.99

REG. PRICE $179.99 LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

Item 877 shown

LIMIT 9 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE $ 99 50% REG. PRICE $19.99


LOT NO. 877/69137/ 69249/69129/69121

$ 99

Item 60625 shown



SAVE 66%

• Includes Ram, Hook and Chain!

69381 shown

LOT NO. 66619/ 60338/69381

36999 REG. PRICE $649.99

LOT NO. 69445/ 69512/93840

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.



• Super High Gloss Finish!

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


LOT NO. 67847/ 61454/61693

"We Are Impressed With the Quality... The Price is Incredible" • 2633 lb. Capacity • Weighs 245 lbs.

t be used with other discoun s last. calling 800-423-2567. Cannot or or bypurchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplie per day. LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores one coupon per customer es after 30 days from original or coupon or prior purchascoupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit Non-transferable. Original



LOT NO. 68784/69387

– Car Craft Magazine

Item 60813 shown




Winching" "Voted the Best Deal in

LOT NO. 68142/61889 61256/60813

Item 68048 shown

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

SAVE $70


– Off-Road Magazine

REG. PRICE $159.99



t be used with other discoun s last. calling 800-423-2567. Cannot or or bypurchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplie per day. LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores one coupon per customer es after 30 days from original or coupon or prior purchascoupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit Non-transferable. Original

SAVE 50%


$ 99

REG. PRICE $19.99

LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

Experts Agree Harbor Freight WINS in QUALITY and PRICE R ! PE ON SU UP CO

6.5 HP (212 CC) OHV HORIZONTAL SHAFT GAS ENGINES LOT NO. 68120/ 60363/69730

Item 68120 shown

R ! 2 PIECE VEHICLE PE ON • 1500 lb. Capacity U S UP CO

WHEEL DOLLIES Item 67338 shown




SAVE $80 $


REG. PRICE $179.99


SAVE $115


$ be used with other discount calling 800-423-2567. CannotOffer good while supplies last. or or by LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. customer per day. 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per or coupon or prior purchases must be presented. Valid through Non-transferable. Original coupon



Item 68751 shown

SAVE $70


"Impressed with the Quality, Covers your Entire Garage at an Unbelievable Low Price"

1/4" DRIVE

"Impressive Accuracy, Amazing Value" – Car Craft Magazine

Item 239 shown LOT NO. 2696/61277


LOT NO. 93608/68893


REG. PRICE $299.99

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


MIG-FLUX WELDING CART LOT NO. 69340/ 60790/90305/61316

Item 69340 shown

Welder and accessories sold separately.

– Street Trucks Magazine



REG. PRICE $129.99

REG. PRICE $259.99


LOT NO. 93897/69265

Item 93897 shown

LOT NO. 68751/90599

LIMIT 3 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R ! PE ON SU UP • Accuracy within ±4% CO

SAVE $120


LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


LOT NO. 67338/ 60343


LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.



SAVE $40

LOT NO. 67096

3/8" DRIVE

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


• 1250 ft. lbs. max. torque

LOT NO. 807/61276

1/2" DRIVE


SAVE 66%

LOT NO. 69925/ 69626/67455 Item 67455 shown

LOT NO. 239



71% be used with other discount calling 800-423-2567. CannotOffer good while supplies last. or or by day. LIMIT 9 - Good at our stores after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. one coupon per customer per or coupon or prior purchases Valid through 7/14/14. Limit ed. present be must Non-transferable. Original coupon



SAVE $140

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

TRIPLE BALL ER N! TRAILER HITCH SUPUPO LOT NO. 69874/ 94141/61320/ 61913/61914


SAVE $110


Item 93454 shown

SAVE 66%

15999 REG. PRICE $299.99

Item 94141 shown





REG. PRICE $249.99

REG. PRICE $59.99

LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

R ! Not for PE ON overhead lifting. SU UP O C


SAVE 50%


Item 97711 shown

LOT NO. 97711/ 60658


REG. PRICE $39.99 LIMIT 7 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


$ 99 REG. PRICE $29.99

REG. PRICE $149.99

LOT NO. 68885





SAVE 60%

Item 91616 shown

LOT NO. 91616/ 69087/60379 REG. PRICE $19.99


$ 99

LIMIT 9 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

LIMIT 6 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.




LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


LOT NO. 69684/ 61776/98194

The Family Handyman



be used with other discount calling 800-423-2567. CannotOffer good while supplies last. or or by LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. customer per day. 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per or coupon or prior purchases be presented. Valid through must coupon Original le. Non-transferab



SAVE 42%

Item 90018 shown


LOT NO. 68496/61363




$ 29

LOT NO. 68497/61360

REG. PRICE $10.99

LOT NO. 68498/ 37052/61359


LIMIT 8 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.


LOT NO. 90018/ 69595/60334

SAVE $70 $


Item 68498 shown

Best Value Award




SAVE 33%

• 1500 lb. Capacity



Item 60657 shown

• 900 Peak Amps LOT NO. 38391/60657



REG. PRICE $59.99

REG. PRICE $149.99 LIMIT 5 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores or or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 7/14/14. Limit one coupon per customer per day.

500 Stores


TRAvel i AlAskA


march/april 2014



Off the Grid

here’s the confluence of the rivers,” called out Dave Bogart over the steady drone of the Cessna 180’s engine. “So keep an eye out for the camp, which is situated on a knob above and slightly to the northwest.” He had plotted our course on a topo map he kept at the ready and examined frequently as we flew a distance of some 150 miles through a mountainous, isolated swath of south-central Alaska on a mission to drop me at a remote hunting camp. Bogart is a FedEx pilot by profession, as well as an avid and talented bush pilot. My taxi into the wilds had a single engine, 230 horsepower, and 19-foot floats beneath its belly. A lake would be our landing strip. Alaska’s huge land mass is one-fifth the size of all the other states combined, yet it has a very small system of paved roads and areas served by tarmac, sea, or river. The remainder can be reached only by foot, four-wheeler,

dogsled, snow machine, or air, which accounts for Alaska’s extremely well-developed bush air service. While it might seem a novelty, it is in fact a necessity and a way of life for many. Another basic need and lifestyle for many residents is hunting and fishing. Both are supported by plentiful game, including moose, caribou, and bear, as well as some of the world’s top supply of salmon, halibut, and crab, along with other seafood and freshwater fish that are a source of income as well as food for people and sled dogs. In much of Alaska, 4x4s not only are a means of transportation, but having the right vehicle and driving skills can mean the difference between life and death. On this journey, I would join good friends Gus Gustafson and his wife Diane Fox on their annual fall hunt. The two-day pack trip would begin by exiting the solo two-lane tarmac that runs east-west in this region, and then traveling along a northerly trajectory of 4WD track

IN THE HUNT Though the annual hunting trip in Alaska is filled with adventure and good times, there is a purpose. This is the trip during which they hunt enough big game to fill their larders and share with others who might need that food to get through the coldest time of year in the Last Frontier.

Hunting for Big game in a Small PatcH of Heaven on eartH

Story and Photography by Sue Mead

may/june 2014


TRAvel i AlAskA

My taxi to the wilds had a single engine and 230 hp. A lake would be our landing strip. chiseled into the rugged and regal landscape, with multiple stream crossings and other off-road challenges, to reach their makeshift hunting camp. They carry in goods and gear to accommodate their self-sufficiency for three weeks, plus emergency supplies, in their purpose-built, heavily-laden tundra buggies. Along with them were Mark Hansen and Mike Craig, who have been a part of the Gustafson/Fox camp for nearly all the 23 years this couple have been visiting the tundra each fall. All hunt for big game to fill their larders and share with others. This quartet of friends bonded over a number of decades while working as mechanics and welders for Alaska’s Public Transit. Now retired, they enjoy each other’s company and have the

skills needed to craft the buggies that carry them and their gear to camp, haul the big game they shoot back to camp to dress and hang, and pack out their meat and goods at the end of their stay. They are a mobile garage of mechanics. Bogart and I had been flying for nearly an hour and a half at an elevation of just under 6000 feet. Taking flight from the Meadow Lakes region near Wasilla, we had ascended to an altitude that allowed us to skirt above some of the 5500-foot peaks of the Matanuska Range and thread between the snow-capped summits that rose above us. My trusted pilot dipped the Cessna’s wing and we circled back slightly, descending in altitude and scanning the undulating, umber-colored open CAMP SIGHT The hunting camp isn’t fancy, but it does the trick. It’s a surprisingly small collection of tarps and tents that serve as home base for the trip.


may/june 2014

landscape punctuated by black spruce and magenta and gold-tinted shrubs and sedges. We quickly found evidence of the hunting camp. From our lofty vantage, it was a miniscule collection of tarps and tents, with the two homemade tundra buggies appearing like mini Matchbox trucks parked alongside the primitive camp on the otherwise barren Arctic terrain. As we buzzed the camp to announce our arrival, my heart raced with excitement. I would soon be living off the grid for a few days, donning heavy long underwear, eating wild game, drinking in the beauty of the landscape by day and other spirits when the darkness fell, telling tall tales by the potbellied stove in the three-dog nights, and sleeping in a tent—all the while knowing that bears

TRAvel i AlAskA

BUGGY WHIPS Gus borrowed a friend’s tundra buggy, called Squatty, which started out as an S-10. Diane’s buggy started out as a Suburban and sports pink paint trim and dragonflies. Both vehicles have hard-core mods to handle the great outdoors.

were watching our moves from nearby and awaiting their turn at the “gut pile,” where the innards and remnants left after cleaning a killed animal are strewn exactly for this purpose. Breaking bread with the grizzlies in this manner likely means you’ll be left alone, but the thought of living among them fascinates and frightens me. My companions, far more experienced in this coexistence, are more cavalier and tell me there are rogue bears just like there are rogue people. Gustafson, Fox, Hansen, and Craig greeted us as we landed on a nearby lake and motored to the shore. As I waved Bogart off and the ripples on the small lake below the hunt camp cleared, my journey of the heart began. The next days were spent “glassing” for caribou and moose (looking for them through binoculars) and respectfully observing the rich diversity of life in the wilds where the tundra is alive with birds and small animals, Arctic


bushes, grasses, and moss painted in fall’s palette of muted colors. Sunrise and sunset brought a light show to the snow-capped mountains that ringed the distance—the Talkeetnas, Wrangells, and the Alaska range. And evenings were spent by the fire feeling rich in the company of my friends, who plan this stay not only for the meat they can bring home, but for the serenity they find in the wild. My final night at camp, I offered to stay behind and prepare a spaghetti dinner while the others hung and gutted three caribou they had shot that day. The warmth of the potbellied stove filled the cook tent as the smells of the meal wafted into the frigid Arctic night. Fearing that I could attract a wandering hungry or rogue grizzly, I frequently palmed a .357 Magnum left behind in the event I’d need it for exactly for this purpose. Suddenly, the world went dark with a hiss; the Coleman lantern had run dry of fuel! I twisted my

COOK TENT The hunting camp had a separate tent for cooking meals. It contained the pot-bellied stove, which served two purposes: heating up food and water and providing a welcome source of warmth.

Petzel headlamp on my hat’s rim, grabbed the handheld radio, and called out to my friends, “Hey, guys, I’m out of lantern fuel and in the dark,” trying to hide my quickly growing anxiety.” No worries,” came back the reply. “Just go out to Mike’s tent and get his LED light.” Easy for them to say, I thought, as they were a quartet of experienced hunters with their guns and the buggies at the ready. I was alone, and there could be an ursus arctos or an ursus horribilis nearby. Pushing back the canvas and stepping into the night, I was awestruck by the view. Stars salted the sky and my fear morphed into joy at my blessing, as I took in the view of the cook tent illuminated by the stovepipe sending sparks into the darkness. Yes, there could be a bear watching me and the night’s splendor from the nearby brush, but ultimately, this was exactly why I was here: to join friends who drive tundra buggies into this small patch of heaven on earth, off the grid in Alaska.TT On Off Gone

Easy to install and remove – anytime, anywhere Total truck bed access ▲ Retracts in seconds ▲ Allows full rear visibility ▲ ▲


Enthusiasts United to Advance Automotive Freedoms enlist now! Long-Term Updates

2013 Nissan NV200 SV

2013 Ram1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4

I have two new issues with the Nissan NV200. The first concerns the Bluetooth. It seems our van has the same horrible Bluetooth microphone that plagued our Frontier long-term vehicle. The system is quite user-friendly, but when the vehicle is in motion, the person on the other end of the connection has a difficult time hearing me when I’m talking at a reasonable tone. Talking loudly only makes it worse. Second, why isn’t blind-spot monitoring available for the Nissan NV200? The Rear Door Glass Package does assist with visibility, and the sideview mirrors have small blind-spot mirrors that do a great job in daylight. But side visibility at night can be problematic when I’m trying to judge how much room I have between the van and another vehicle during lane changes, especially when all I can see are two little glowing dots in a mirror that’s as small as a fun-size Snickers bar. When driving in the dark, I find myself staying in one lane for most of the drive to avoid drivers I can’t see. We’ve added a little fun and flexibility to the van by installing some new storage features from Adrian Steel Cargo Management Solutions for Commercial Vehicles, the official upfitter for the new Nissan NV200 Cargo. We had an ADseries Shelf, wire partition, four-hook bar, and griplock ladder rack installed for a grand total of $1734. Since my last update, I took the NV200 for its 7500-mile maintenance service. This included multipoint inspection, oil change, and tire rotation, and totalled $62.53 for parts and labor.—Melissa Spiering

I recently had to make a run to another state to pick up some gear, and the only way I could get it done would involve a late-night drive. Thank goodness, I had the right truck for the job. The Ram might be the most comfortable road-trip vehicle we have in our long-term fleet. The ride is compliant, the seats cushy, and the entertainment options excellent. I could easily take this truck cross-country and be perfectly happy the entire way. I didn’t drive super-fast, but after arriving at my destination I had plenty of time to eat lunch, load up the gear, and relax a bit before turning around for the return trip. All the cargo fit easily in the truck bed and in the rear of the crew cab. I learned more about the Ram on the way home. The navigation system showed several spots where I’d encounter congestion and the range of exits involved with each problem, but didn’t say what was causing the congestion or even if the highway was closed. And I don’t understand why the nav can’t show time to destination and a countdown of the miles left for the journey at the same time. It’s either one or the other. After the sun went down, things got cold quickly, but a quick run of the seat heater was all it took to get toasty yet again. I saw mpg in the low 20s, and got the cargo safely back to California.


—Allyson Harwood SpecificationS

MonthS/MileS in Service

4 mo/11,060 mi

MonthS/MileS in Service

6 mo/12,521 mi

epa city/hwy/coMb fuel econ tt obS fuel econ unreSolved probleMS Maintenance coSt

24/25/24 mpg 24.2 mpg None $62.53 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection) $0

epa city/hwy/coMb fuel econ tt obS fuel econ unreSolved probleMS Maintenance coSt

15/21/17 mpg 15.3 mpg None $61.56 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection) $0

norMal-wear coSt


norMal-wear coSt

MAY/JUNE 2014 Truck Trend Legends By Colin Ryan

Duct Tape


t’s too easy to make duct tape a punch line. After seeing the cobbled-together wallets, hammocks, prom dresses, and baby care contraptions on umpteen websites, some people might underestimate just what a significant contribution to civilization duct tape has made. Admittedly, these contributions are mostly short-term fixes, but the sheer abundance of uses—from makeshift bandage to astronaut savior and a million things in between—puts duct tape up there as one of man’s great inventions. Well, woman’s, to be exact. The official story is that a Johnson & Johnson division created an adhesive tape backed with cotton duck—a kind of canvas— at the time of the second World War. It was made to provide a waterproof seal for ammunition boxes. This “water off a duck’s back” angle and the material used resulted in the name “duck tape.” But the original idea came from Vesta Stoudt, a mother of two sons serving in the Navy. Mrs. Stoudt worked at the Green River Ordnance Plant munitions factory in Illinois. Her job was to pack cartridges used to launch rifle grenades, 11 per box, then close the boxes with thin paper tape, with a tab left loose to pull for opening. But the tabs would rip off, leaving soldiers to

tear at the boxes any way they could, usually with enemy gunfire all around them. And the paper tape proved not up to the task, either. So this concerned parent became a mother of invention. Stoudt suggested to her supervisors that a strong, waterproof, cloth-backed tape be used instead. They did nothing with the idea, but Stoudt was undeterred. On February 10, 1943, she wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, saying, “I have two sons out there somewhere, one in the Pacific, the other one with the Atlantic fleet. You have sons in the service also. We can’t let them down by giving them a box of cartridges that takes a minute or more to open.” She included a diagram explaining the whole concept. By March, she had received a reply from the War Production Board saying her idea was “of exceptional merit.” Soldiers also found exceptional merit in duck tape as a fix for guns, aircraft, bodies, Jeeps, and anything else that was a casualty of war. When those soldiers came home, got married, and worked on their own houses, they found plenty of peacetime uses for the stuff, too. One was a way to connect and seal air conditioning and heating ducts. Hence the name “duct tape.” This coincided with the tape changing color availability from Armyissue olive drab to shiny silver. Now it comes in many colors. Ironically, using duct tape to tape up ducts is not a very good idea. It can’t handle the

extremes of temperature, and building codes in various states prohibit its use in this context. Silver looks undoubtedly space-age, though. And it seems that, wherever man goes, he takes a roll of duct tape with him— even on a trip to the moon. When one of Apollo 13’s oxygen tanks exploded, the situation looked bleak for astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, especially when the carbon dioxide they exhaled could not be processed. They needed a method to connect the command module’s squareshaped filters with the lunar module’s round holders. Amid all that rocket science, duct tape was a frequent space-traveling companion, used to clean filters and several other tasks. Once Robert “Ed” Smylie, head of the crew systems division, found out there was a roll on board, he said, “I felt like we were home free. One thing a Southern boy will never say is, ‘I don’t think duct tape will fix it.’” Using plastic bags (intended for holding moon rocks), cardboard torn from manuals, various other bits and pieces, and of course the duct tape, the crew fashioned a fix. It resulted in the ground staff receiving the first-ever Great Moments in Engineering award. No doubt Mrs. Stoudt would have been pleased to know that she helped someone’s three sons come home safely. TT



Truck& SUV Gear Compiled by Allyson Harwood

Road Trips Made Easier Nice Speedo While traveling in an RV can be great fun, sometimes you discover that where you want to go doesn’t have the right type of road for an RV, or that a campsite doesn’t have the right hookups. The RoadMate includes RV-specific features such as preloaded points of interest, fuel station POIs (including diesel availability), and geotag navigation, plus it has a virtual dashboard, landmark guidance, and road safety alerts, all shown through a 7-inch screen. It can also offer weather conditions and fuel prices and is compatible with wireless backup cameras. Expected pricing is about $350. Magellan; 800/707-9971;

Speedhut makes this speedometer cluster for Jeep CJs. This GPS speedometer cluster is a direct replacement for OE gauges, and it reads accurately regardless of tire size without needing to be calibrated. The cluster, made of billet aluminum, is water-resistant. It comes with a programmable tachometer and inclinometer, a fuel-level gauge, and a high-beam indicator, as well as being backlit. The LCD displays heading, elevation, odometer, and trip odometer information. The price range is $490$820, depending upon how many gauges you purchase. Speedhut; 801/221-1460;

Mobile Oil Piston King is sold exclusively online, so you no longer have to drive to the local auto parts store to pick up oil, hoping they have the right viscosity in stock. The company offers synthetic oil in 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, and 5W-40 and conventional oil in 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, 10W-40, and 15W-40 weights. $5 per quart. Piston King;

Keep on Turning Rancho has expanded its line of RS7000MT steering stabilizers to include applications for 1950 and newer Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs. The stabilizers’ monotube technology helps steady the driving dynamics while towing or driving off-road. The monotube technology

Pipe Up

Decked Out

BD Diesel Performance is offering UpPipes for 1999½-2003 Ford Super Duty trucks equipped with the 7.3-liter Power Stroke engine. The UpPipes replace the factory turbocharger exhaust feed system and are designed to be installed between the manifold and turbo. This switch replaces stock components that may have deteriorated over time, causing leakage and a loss of turbocharger drive pressure. That loss of pressure reduces performance and increases exhaust gas temperatures. UpPipes replace the exhaust donuts with stainless gaskets. There’s new piping for reduced energy loss, and internally shielded expansion bellows reduce burnout from exhaust gas exposure. The system retails for approximately $375. BD Diesel Performance; 800/887-5030;

Decked is a storage system for your truck bed that uses a deck on top and two waterproof drawers underneath. The deck is made of 100-percent recycled high-density polyethylene molded to a steel subframe and has a load capacity of 2000 pounds. Each drawer can hold up to 200 pounds of gear and is lockable. The system is weatherproof, and the deck can be configured to accommodate tie downs or rack systems. This system is compatible with nearly every full-size truck bed with a short (5.5-foot) or standard


may/june 2014

allows for quick dissipation of heat from use and helps protect the shocks from overheating and failure during extreme use. The steering stabilizers potentially reduce vibration and wheel shimmy. MSRP is about $135. Rancho; 734/384-7806;

(about 6.5-foot) bed from the late 1990s on. It’s not yet available for long beds. Decked is said to be easy to install, and mounts to the truck bed’s existing tie-downs with no drilling required. It retails for $975 for short beds and $995 for standard beds. Decked; 208/806-0251;

• Exclusive Suburban-style 60/40 rear doors provide easy access. • Reinforced roof can support up to 500 lbs. of recreational gear. • Available with many roof rack options to facilitate carrying most anything. • Advanced Structural Composite (ASC) is lightweight, but extremely strong. • Large sliding glass side windows with optional screen make it pet friendly. • Painted to match your vehicle using DuPont ChromaPremiere process.

Snugtop’s K C A B T N U e w O Opens The Door To Adventure! 562-432-5454


» More Output Per-watt Than The Competition » Focused Beam Pattern In Fog Or Driving » Maximizes Light To Conserve Amp Draw » More Light Where You Need It

800-525-7422 TruckTrend Garage By Alex Steele Illustrations by Steve Austin



I have a 2009 Chevy Tahoe LT with the 5.3-liter engine. On the instrument panel, I get an error message—“Engine over Temp—A/C will be shut of”—while the temp gauge is reading low. Coolant fans will be running, and the engine will not start normally. When I hold the throttle all the way open, the engine starts, but will not run smoothly. After two or three starts, it runs normally, but the warning stays on. If I disconnect the battery and wait about 15 minutes, the internal error will be reset, and the engine starts and runs normally for weeks or days. I use this truck in Germany and here there’s no support for American trucks. Chevy Germany will not or cannot help. Chevy U.S. has not answered me. Hope you can help me out on this.


Sorry about your issues with Chevy service overseas. The problem you’ve described is a somewhat common occurrence on several GM engine applications. Simple as it may sound, the most likely cause is a bad cooling system thermostat. The thermostat becomes partially stuck open, and the powertrain control module (via coolant temperature sensors) sees higher temperatures on the output side of the thermostat within a certain time frame, when it shouldn’t. The PCM translates this as a potential “hot” condition, and therefore turns on the coolant fans, shuts of the airconditioner, and displays the appropriate warning message. No, the engine is not overheating. As a matter of fact, it might take longer to reach normal operating temperature, and heater performance could also be afected. I have not heard too much abou t starting or driveability concerns in this situation. But go ahead and replace the thermostat, then disconnect the battery to reboot the system. That should take care of the problem. If not, it could be a coolant temperature sensor or circuit issue that will require the proper scan tool and technician to diagnose correctly.



My 2007 Titan had the SES light come on last week. I borrowed a friend’s OBD scanner, and the resulting code was P0430. I cleared the code and it hasn’t come back on. Could it have been a computer glitch that only happens once? I didn’t do anything but clear the code.


It’s never that easy, and the light will come back on. P0430 means the Bank 2 catalytic converter is below its efciency threshold. This is determined by the air/ fuel sensor mounted in the exhaust system before the cat, and an oxygen sensor located downstream. The powertrain control module (PCM) compares the oxygen content in the exhaust before and after the catalyst to determine if it’s doing its job burning up harmful emissions. There are failures other than the catalyst that can produce this diagnostic trouble code, and there’s a long, drawn-out diagnostic procedure to eliminate them all before replacing the cat. They include checking for exhaust leaks, intake leaks, bad plugs, injectors, or improper ignition timing—not to mention inaccurate sensors and aftermarket add-ons. But from experience, if the engine runs well with no aftermarket tuning and no additional trouble codes, the majority of the time it is a simple failure of the catalytic converter. The PCM runs a catalyst Readiness Monitor to self-test the system before setting the trouble code. That’s why your SES light is currently out. It can take days or even weeks before the monitor is complete, determines a duplication of the failure, and sets P0430 once again. An important thing to keep in mind is proper identifcation of the failed catalytic converter. Remember, your 5.6-liter V-8 has one for each bank of four cylinders. Bank 2 is the right side of the engine (passenger side). The converter is actually part of the exhaust manifold, and runs about $850 plus 3 or 4 hours labor to install.




I have a 2007 Chevy Tahoe that I bought new and now has 78,000 miles. I noticed the steering wheel wasn’t straight when going straight down the road. It was of to the right. I brought the truck to a local shop for a wheel alignment, and it was straight for more than a month. But now it’s getting of to the right again. What could cause something like that?


You have to thoroughly inspect the suspension and steering linkage for anything loose or worn. GM did have relevant problems with several 2007 truck models. The inner tie-rod ends, which screw on to the left and right ends of the steering rack bar, were working their way loose. This could produce a crooked steering wheel, occasional clunk noise, and abnormal tire wear. Whoever aligned the vehicle might have missed the problem. There is a technical service bulletin on the subject, but surprisingly no recall. TSB 07-02-32-008a states: “Testing has shown it to be unlikely that the joint will unscrew (separate) during normal driving maneuvers.” I guess that all depends how far someone is willing to drive the vehicle while ignoring the increasing symptoms. I’d bring it to a Chevy service department, and tell them about the symptoms and the TSB. If they determine that either or both of the inner tie-rod ends are coming loose, GM recommends replacement of the entire steering rack assembly, not just tightening or replacing the tie-rod ends.



I have a 2009 Silverado Crew Cab, and the courtesy lights don’t come on when I open the driver’s door. They do come on when I open any other door. Should I be looking for a blown fuse? Everything else in the driver’s door works OK.


Unlike other makes that use a plungertype doorjamb switch mounted at the body to activate the interior lights when opening a door, most late-model GM products incorporate the switch into the latch assembly inside the door. That switch in the latch assembly is most likely the problem. Accurate testing would require a scan tool where you can view the inputs to the body control module. If the data shows all the switches working when opening all doors but the driver’s, that will point to the latch assembly. Further testing could confrm the wiring from the switch and the body control module working correctly, which would confrm the switch in the latch being the cause. It should cost about $300 parts and labor at the dealership.


If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, or email us at trucktrend@source Please include the VIN with your question. Because of the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone’s question will be answered or will appear in the magazine.

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Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon The 2004 to 2012 Chevrolet Colorado, along with its sister, the GMC Canyon, represents one complete generation of this compact pickup truck. For buyers who need their pickup to perform only the occasional light task, the Colorado/Canyon might work well enough. That’s faint praise, but justifiably so, as the following will reveal. Coming into the world by virtue of a joint effort between General Motors in North America and Brazil, plus input from Isuzu, the Coloranyon is available in regular, extended, and crew cab versions. The first two have beds that are 6 feet long; the crew has a 5-foot bed. Trim levels, in ascending order of plushness, started out as Work, LS, and LT. LT versions received a face-lift in 2007, while the LS retained the old look. LS morphed into VL for the 2009 model year and disappeared for 2010. Another minor tweak took place in 2009, bringing the option of a 5.3-liter V-8 endowed with 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. The Canyolorado originally came with a 2.8-liter four-cylinder making 175 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque or a 3.5-liter inline-five developing 220 hp and 225 lb-ft. Once the 2007 face-lift kicked in, these were superseded by a 2.9-liter four-cylinder with 185 hp and 190 lb-ft and a 3.7-liter inline-five with 242 hp and 242 lb-ft. The entry-level four-potter was linked to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. The larger engines got the auto transmission, er, automatically. Most 82

examples will probably have the manual. Drive is sent to the rear wheels or all four. The latter’s setup includes a low/high transfer case that complements the Z71 off-road package. Other options include the Z85 heavy-duty package and the ZQ8 street pack with lowered, stiffened suspension, plus 18-inch wheels. The Colorado/Canyon twins are not considered the best in their class. That accolade goes to the Toyota Tacoma, with the Nissan Frontier getting an honorable mention. Even if this first-gen ColoCan was a major contender initially, it was never improved significantly to better face the competition.

2004-2012 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon 2-door/4-door pickup Front engine, RWD/4WD Dual front 2.8L/175-hp DOHC I-4; 3.5L/220-hp DOHC I-5 (2004-2006); 2.9L/185-hp DOHC I-4; 3.7L/242-hp DOHC I-5 (2007-2012); 5.3L/300-hp OHV V-8 (2009 on) Disc/drum, ABS Brakes, f/r $3400/$4800 (2004 price range, whlsl/ RWD Work RC 2.5L I-4), retail (kBB) $21,375/$23,265 (2012 4WD LT CC 5.3L V-8) Too many to list; see recalls nhtsa frontal impact 4 stars/4 stars (reg/ext rating, driver/fr pass cabs); 5 stars/5 stars (crew cab); 2011/2012 not rated

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Low-rent interiors, low levels of refinement, and so-so towing capability result in a merely average reputation. But that could be a good thing if you’re looking to buy, since competitors demand higher prices. Compare a 2008 Chevrolet Colorado LS with the 2.9-liter fourcylinder engine, rear drive, 6-foot bed, and auto transmission in good condition valued at $8711 with a 2008 Ford Ranger XLT regular cab (rear drive, 6-foot bed, 3.0-liter V-6, auto, good condition) fetching $10,707. A comparable 2008 Toyota Tacoma is Blue Booked at $10,633. Recalls issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration focus on child restraints and exterior lighting for the early years—then wheels (2007); fuel system (2009); locks, latches, and linkages (2010/2011); powertrains with the 2.9 and 3.7 engines, wipers, suspension (2011); and seatbelts (2012). Checking various owner forums brings a depressing amount of issues that touch on many different areas: chip-prone paintwork, a quarter-full gas gauge that suddenly reads empty when reverse gear is engaged, electrical glitches, braking system problems, engine and drivetrain hiccups, squeaky leaf springs, lopsided beds, wiper woes, plus various other rattles and whines. Potential buyers must be extra-extra careful when checking out a possible purchase. Go over it from bumper to bumper, check for uneven tire wear, play in the steering, rough idling, evidence of head gaskets failing. Don’t take anything for granted.TT

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