Firestone Ride Rite Air Helper Springs Great Boost For Sagging Rear Ends
Is your pickup or SUVs rear end sagging bit under a big load? An easy cure is installing a set of Firestone Ride-Rite air bag helper springs.T
These little beauties, which come in a kit for less than $300 through a number of e-stores, are the heart of Firestones air helper spring line. They are available for a wide range of pickups and SUVSinlcuding the new Toyota Tundra.
The double-convoluted air springs are inflated by an air line and provide a great way to adjust your trucks ride however soft or firm you desire.
We installed a set on our 2007 Tundra Double Cab 4×4 when we put in a Pro Comp six-inch suspension lift and 35-inch mud tires. The Ride Rite air helper springs allow us to keep the new Tundras unladen ride quality maximized and its heavily laden ride well-controlled and level.
This is especially true if you dont like the Tundras harsh rear suspension and remove the big, flat bottom overload (diving board) leaf from each rear spring pack.
Removing that spring gives the Tundra a very pleasant ride. Thats what we did on our Tundra Double Cab 4×4 SR5 project truck when we added the lift kit.
The Ride-Rite air helper springs are installed between the Tundra frame and the top of the leaf spring pack, providing the additional load support through the use of air pressure.
Installation is easy and simple. It will take the average do-it-yourselfer about 2 hours from start to finish. A hoist is not necessary, although a floor jack and jackstands make the job easier.
A basic set of hand tools is also required. We used a ½-inch-drive GearWrench socket set and metric X-Beam open/box-end wrenches in our installation.
The end result is the ability to firm up the stability and ride of our Toyota Tundra at will using just a few pounds of compressed air from our on-board air compressor. You can have the same ability with your new pickup or SUV.Bruce W. Smith
Ride Rite kit comes complete with everything needed for an easy installation.
Top plate is secured to the bottom of the frame rail with the special bolt that is also the air inlet to the air bag. Cut-out holes clear the factory frame rivets.
The only items removed from the truck during the installation process are the rubber bump stops. A hacksaw or battery operated sawz-all make short work of that step.
Once the air bag is secured to the bottom for the frame, the lower mounting plate is attached with a single bolt into the bags base.
Four long screws hold the lower bracket to the leaf spring pack. The lower bracket sets over the springs u-bolts.
Drill a hole the same size as the brass valve stems through the plastic rear bumper cover on each side of the license plate.
Carefully adding air to each air bag forces the bottom plate against the leaf spring pack. Once in place tighten the clamps that hold the mounting plate in place. Once all fittings and bolts are tight, adjust air pressure to suit.
We installed the Ride Rite Air helper Springs underneath Porject Deepwoods, our 2007 Tundra Double Cab with a 6-inch lift and 35-inch tires. But the kit works equally as nice under stock pickups and SUVs carrying heavy trailers or loads.
When Truck Test Digest took the new-generation 2005 Dodge Ram Power Wagon for our first off-road drive into the heart of Moab, Utah’s, back country, we knew there wasn’t another off-the-shelf pickup that could come close to its capabilities as a 4×4.
Nine years later it’s been dethroned by a new off-road pickup king: the 2014 Ram Power Wagon.
Built to master the most rigorous off-road trails, the 2014 Ram Power Wagon is based on the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 4×4 Crew Cab, but features a number of off-road-specific engineering enhancements, including a unique suspension with more than two inches of lift, locking differentials and a 12,000-pound winch to give the truck a significant advantage over all production pickups.
“Capability is top of mind with heavy-duty pickup truck customers. Ram trucks are expected to work every day without breaking a sweat,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO—Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC.
“The 2014 Ram Power Wagon fills a need for those who travel into extreme terrain for rescue or recreation, while delivering on-road civility and the towing capability expected from a heavy-duty truck.”
The 2014 Ram Power Wagon engineering story begins with a new frame, suspension and top-of-segment off-road technology and equipment complemented by the new, best-in-class 410 horsepower, 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine.
“The Ram Power Wagon’s heritage dates back to 1945. It holds a special place in the line-up as an example of engineering innovation and off-road capability,” said Mike Cairns, Director—Ram Truck Engineering. “It may look similar to a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty but under the skin is a unique story, giving the Power Wagon its best-in-class off-road pickup competence.”
A few highlights:
Standard 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 with best-in-class 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque features unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles
Unique “Ram Articulink” front suspension system incorporates high movement joints and sway-bar disconnecting system, allowing for additional flexibility and axle articulation
Ram engineering continues to lead Heavy Duty segment innovation with new 5-link coil rear suspension to deliver best-in-class ride and superior axle control
Ram Power Wagon features standard front and rear electronic-locking differentials for true four-wheel-drive and maximum traction
Standard Warn 12,000-lb. electric winch mounted behind the front bumper will recover competitor’s trucks stuck in the mud
Up to 10,810 pounds of towing capacity
New exterior design: colors, lighting, wheels, grilles and tri-color graphics
Lexus Brings NX Series To Production As The Company’s First Compact SUV
There’s a first for everything! Lexus brings their first compact SUV to market with the 2015 NX.
The all-new Lexus NX comes to market as the brand’s first entry into the luxury compact crossover segment and with the first turbo in the lineup. The NX will also be offered in naturally aspirated and hybrid powertrains.
The NX introduces an innovative all-new 2.0-liter gasoline turbo in NX 200t and a NX 300h hybrid. The naturally aspirated engine will be available with either front or all-weather drive.
The NX 200t F SPORT will also be available with unique exterior and interior features.
Lexus will maintain its role as the luxury hybrid leader with six hybrid models including the NX 300h. The NX will be the fourth vehicle in Lexus’ luxury utility vehicle lineup and positioned below the popular RX.
The Lexus LF-NX concepts, originally introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows, influenced the striking and emotional design of the NX.
The sharply styled crossover will be revealed at the 2014 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on April 20.
Heavy-Duty Propane Power: 2014 Roush CleanTech 6.2L F-250 4×4 a strong contender for the working man’s next truck
By Bruce W. Smith (Photos by the author)
The price of the fuel flowing into the new F-250 Super Duty I was driving was less than $2/gallon and I was loving every spin of the flow meter on the pump.
Anyone driving a full-size pickup for work or recreational purposes knows how much money goes into buying fuel. So getting fuel for less than the cost of a gallon of milk was a real find.
Diesels are a good option on the fuel economy side. But then there’s the cost of the diesel option package — and the cost of diesel. Gas is cheaper, but you don’t get the fuel economy. It’s a catch-22.
Paying less than $2/gallon for fuel is big draw of propane autogas.
An alternative that really makes sense is going the propane autogas route, which is what I was currently experiencing.
Propane “autogas” is about $1.50 GGE (Gasoline Gallon Equivalent) cheaper than gasoline and comparatively that much less than diesel. You also save a lot on oil changes and engine maintenance because autogas burns so much cleaner than gas.
Conversion packages for older pickup trucks runs about $6,000, while propane-conversions for brand new ones ranges from $6K – $12K depending on which company you choose for the work and the make/model truck.
Combined with propane’s cost-per-gallon, reduced engine maintenance and extended oil-drain benefits more than pay for the conversion costs in short order.
There are autogas self-service fueling stations at just about every wholesale propane supplier in the country, so finding fuel and doing your own fill-ups is no longer an issue.
PROPANE DRIVING EXPERIENCE
What’s it like to drive a propane-powered pickup?
Roush CleanTech put me behind the wheel of a 2014 F-250 4×4 SuperCab XLT 4×4 so I could experience first-hand how it’s like to drive a mono-fuel truck.
Other than the pre-start delay, which varies from 10-30 seconds as the system pressurizes, there’s no difference between driving a gas 6.2L V8 and the propane autogas version.
If you didn’t know it was running on propane, there’s nothing to see or feel to give it away.
FUEL PRICE DIFFERENCES
Filling a pickup with propane autogas is much like a normal fill-up. (Photo by Bruce W. Smith)
Where you do see a difference is at the fuel pump.
When I refueled it at the local Blossman Gas station just down the road in Gulfport, MS, propane was selling for around $2/GGE at the commercial/fleet level. A major discount fuel stop across the highway displayed $3.27 for unleaded and $3.91 for diesel.
That savings could increase another $0.50/gallon if the propane autogas tax credit is approved again this year.
As for refueling, the only difference is the propane fill nozzle screws on the filler neck instead of slipping it inside as you would on a gas or diesel rig.
Then you squeeze the handle and in goes the propane. The tank fills quicker than gas or diesel.
F-250 ROAD TEST NUMBERS
From a purely performance level, the four-wheel-drive 4×4 SuperCab XLT, with its 4.30 gears, hit 60mph in 8.9 seconds at the Gulfport Dragway, and ran the ¼-mile in 16.4 sec @ 86.4mph.
Those numbers are almost identical to what I saw from a 2013 F-250 Crew Cab 4×4 running 3.73s I tested last year, and a full second faster than a 2013 running the 6.2L gas engine and 3.73s.
Roush CleanTech converted 6.2L V8 runs clean and every bit as strong as the gas version.
Figure in the difference the lower axle ratio makes in acceleration and it’s safe to say the gas and propane engines run identical.
Fuel economy numbers were as expected for such a low-geared ¾-ton 4×4: 10.6 mpg @70mph (2,100rpm); 8.6mpg city stop-and-go. That give a driving range of about 200 miles with 4×4’s under-bed 21-gallon (useable) propane tank, which is the smallest of the Roush CleanTech tank options.
Again, the low gearing in the test truck and propane’s lower BTU output contribute to the mpg numbers.
Run the same truck with 3.73s, which is the standard axle ratio for the 6.2L F-250 4×4, and I’d expect mpg numbers to be closer to 12-13 on the open road.
Remember, propane’s price-per-gallon (GGE) is a lot cheaper than gasoline, which more than offsets any mpg variances between gas and propane autogas.
CREW ON THE ROAD
Ford’s SuperCab 4×4 I tested was spec’d out as a bare-bones work truck, complete with rubber floor mats, floor-mounted transfer case shifter and the Camper package that adds heavy-duty springs and rear overloads. It also came equipped with manual locking front hubs, trailer sway control and the towing package.
From a suspension perspective, well, it was a rough ride empty.
But the XLT trim brings with it a lot of creature comforts such as A/C, power windows/locks, a decent sound system, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and other conveniences.
XLT trim package brings with it the majority of creature comforts the typical owner wants in a pickup.
It’s seat seat six if you flip up the front split-bench’s center armrest, and rear legroom is adequate for adults on short trips. The 60/40 rear split-bench is easy to flip up/down and the floor is flat so you can utilize it all.
Overall, it wouldn’t be my choice of a truck spec’d out like this unless I was going to be using it everyday to haul a camper or some other load in the bed.
So what’s my take on the propane-power aspect?
Aside from doing my part contributing to cleaner air, if I were buying a new F-250 for work or recreational purposes and was looking for a way to cut my fuel bill by 25-perecent or more, I’d be having serious talks with the folks at Roush CleanTech and my local propane distributors. — BWS
Fuel economy depends on the BTUs of thermal energy each gallon of a fuel delivers. The higher the BTU, the better the mpg.
The list below shows how the BTUs of conventional pickup fuels compare to one gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. (Note, the majority of gasoline found today for vehicle use is E-10 (90% gasoline/10% ethanol.)
This comparative is called the “Gasoline Gallon Equivalent” or GGE.
However, it’s important to note engine technical experts in the field of propane autogas research say the GGE difference in propane autogas doesn’t equate to mpg on modern vehicles that are using electronic-fuel-injection because propane burns more efficiently than either gas or diesel.
They say real-world mpg differences are closer to a 15% loss compared to regular unleaded — and that margin will shrink to less than 5% when used in direct-injected gas engines of the future. — Bruce W. Smith / Truck Test Digest
Another step forward in the original SUV crossover; sleek styling and more features give Toyota’s crossover a new feel
by Bruce W. Smith
All new. That’s what you’ll find shopping for a 4th generation Toyota RAV4, the vehicle that started the popular crossover SUV market some 20 years ago.
The new RAV4 is a much shaper looking SUV than the model it replaces, with sleeker body lines and a more refined interior.
It’s easy on the eyes, and with the 2.5L four-cylinder I tested delivering 31mpg highway, 24mpg around town, easy on the wallet. But there’s more to choosing one crossover over another in today’s competitive SUV market than looks and fuel economy.
I spent a week in a 2013 XLE front-wheel-drive model (MSRP: $24,290) with the Audio/Navi option package that added the touch-screen system, back-up camera, Bluetooth and a number of other features that added another $1,030 to the price.
Toyota’s big changes in the new RAV4 extend beyond looks. Gone is the V-6 option, and side-hinged rear hatch with the spare tire hanging off the back.
Third-row seating is also gone, a change that brings with it more cargo space and more second-row legroom, which it really needed.
On the power side, the majority of buyers of the previous generation RAVs weren’t opting for the expense of the V-6, so Toyota nixed it.
The new model only comes with the 176hp four-cylinder. The peppy four is paired with a new six-speed automatic that gives it better acceleration andfuel economy than the earlier model.
During my performance tests at Gulfport (MS) Dragway the RAV4 accelerated from 0-60 in 8.3 seconds and covering a ¼-mile in 16.6 @ 84.9mph. Those numbers are quicker than the previous RAv4 by almost a full second.
Top-hinged rear hatch gives easier access to spacious cargo area.
The redesigned RAV4 also sports a roof-hinged hatch with the spare tire now located under the cargo floor instead of hanging of the side-hinged cargo door of old; a nice upgrade that makes access to the rear cargo area much easier in crowded parking lots garages.
The RAV4 still retains a nice, low load floor, too, making it easy to load the cargo area without strain.
Inside the new RAV4′s interior looks richer than I’d expected with nicely bolstered, high-quality cloth seats and soft-touch accents.
All of the controls are within easy reach of the driver, including audio controls on the steering wheel. I liked the blue illumination of the gauges that enhance nighttime visibility. On the passenger side, the contoured dash creates a sense of spaciousness.
Driving around city streets, shopping malls, schools, and running errands is fun. The RAV4′s electric power steering feels precise, it turns tight, and the brakes are well balanced. As my wife said, “It’s a zippy little SUV.”
Interior ergonomics are well done, but overall seat comfort still lacks.
As for seating, the RAV4 XLE’s driver driver’s seat is six-way adjustable. But one area Toyota continues to fall short is seat comfort—especially for long commutes or hours-long trips. Although the seats have good side and hip bolsters, they are thinly padded and too firm for my liking. A Camry or Avalon seat they are not.
In back is a 60/40 split/fold second-row seat that reclines several degrees to provide a little more passenger comfort than the earlier models delivered. Again, the second-row seats are firm.
In contrast to 2013 RAV4′s compact exterior dimensions being nearly identical to the previous model, the cargo area is deeper, larger and easier to access, with just over 38.4 cu. ft. of cargo capacity behind the rear seats.
With rear seats folded, RAV4 has class-leading maximum cargo capacity of 73.4 cubic feet, which bodes well for those who use the RAV4 as a true SUV from time to time.
Overall the 2013 RAV4 XLE is nicely appointed. It comes with privacy glass, cruise control, power side mirrors, power door locks and power windows, dual-zone automatic climate control, integrated fog lights, power moonroof with sliding sunshade, and heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators.
It also comes loaded with safety features, which is especially important to those with small kids and first-time SUV buyers.
New 6-speed automatic gives 4-cylinder and boost in mpg and performance.
All 2013 RAV4s have eight standard airbags: dual stage advanced driver and front passenger airbags, front seat-mounted airbags, first and second row side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag and front passenger seat cushion airbag.
Add to that Toyota’s Star Safety System: Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Brake Assist (BA), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
The RAV4 also has a strong warranty: 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle and a 60-month/60,000 mile powertrain and corrosion warranty with no mileage limitation. It also comes with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
My final word: The 2013 Rav4 XLE is a big step forward in looks and overall driving pleasure from the previous model. In the world of crossovers, I place it upper mid-pack. It’s fun to drive, fuel efficient and worth of a closer look if you are in the market for such a vehicle.
Chevrolet introduces second-generation Duramax 4-cylinder diesels; global engine coming to 2015 Colorado/Canyon pickups
Duramax 2.8L I-4 diesel. Click to enlarge.
GM announced the next-generation Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups will be offered with a four-cylinder Duramax turbo-diesel in the latter part of 2015.
The 2.8L diesel engine isn’t new, having been proving its mettle overseas for more than a year in the Asian markets.
Chevrolet Sales Thailand introduced the new-generation MY14 Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine in 2.5- and 2.8-liter variants last year.
The new Duramax engine was engineered in Europe and the US, with global application as one of its developmental objectives. Applications include powering the Colorado pickup truck and Trailblazer SUV for the Thailand and Southeast Asian markets.
The new Duramax 2.8-liter diesel delivers 11% more power and 6% more torque, while consuming 4.3% less fuel. The new Duramax engine is Euro-4 compliant and can be upgraded to meet Euro-5, -6 and US emission standards.
GMC REVIVES CANYON MID-SIZE, SETS NEW STANDARDS FOR 2015
GMC revealed the 2015 Canyon at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, an all-new midsize truck that redefines the segment and raises the bar for everything from horsepower and efficiency to quietness and refinement.
When it goes on sale this year, the all-new Canyon will give GMC one of the only three-truck lineups in the industry.
It is expected to deliver class-leading capabilities with the brand’s signature refinement – all in an efficiently sized, maneuverable package for customers who want the cargo-hauling and trailering versatility of a truck without the size of a full-size pickup.
“The all-new 2015 Canyon completes GMC’s three-truck family, which started with the redesigned 2014 Sierra 1500 and 2015 Sierra HD,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of GMC Marketing.
“It rounds out a lineup that offers the broadest range of capabilities in the industry, giving truck customers more choices to find the vehicle that meets their professional, personal and lifestyle needs.”
Based on a proven global architecture and engineered for the unique demands and driving conditions of North American drivers, the new Canyon is expected to deliver:
◾The segment’s best horsepower – an estimated 193 horsepower (146 kW) from a standard 2.5L I-4 and an estimated 302 horsepower (224 kW) from an available 3.6L V-6
◾The segment’s best payload of at least 1,450 pounds (657 kg)
◾The segment’s best maximum trailering rating (when properly equipped) of at least 6,700 pounds (3,039 kg)
◾Even greater capability with a powerful and efficient Duramax 2.8L turbodiesel engine coming in 2016 model year
“Not everyone needs full-size capability, but they still deserve strength and true-truck attributes that come in larger models. The Canyon will offer all the capability with confidence – and GMC’s signature refinement that complements active lifestyles,” said DiSalle. “It also delivers the technology customers want with more standard features.”
Canyon’s customer-focused technologies include available OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and expected segment-first available driver alert features such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning and a standard rear-vision camera.
Additionally, RemoteLink Key Fob Services allow owners to lock and unlock their vehicle, flash the lights and honk the horn, and, on equipped models, even remotely start the engine using the RemoteLink smartphone app. The service is free for five years. Additional OnStar services and data plans will be available with a paid subscription.
GMC’s ProGrade protection program for two years/24,000 miles – whichever comes first – of scheduled maintenance, is standard and covers four oil changes, tire rotations and 27-point inspections. It complements the three-year/36,000-mile – whichever comes first – bumper-to-bumper limited vehicle warranty and five-year/100,000-mile – whichever comes first – powertrain limited warranty.
Designed for capability, comfort and refinement
Inside and out, the 2015 Canyon is pure GMC, with a quiet, refined interior distinguished by premium materials and a commanding exterior presence that emulates the technology-infused design aesthetic introduced on the 2014 Sierra 1500 and 2015 Sierra HD models.
Bold front-end styling incorporates the segment’s only standard projector beam headlamps and GMC’s signature C-shaped LED daytime running lamps on all models. Three body configurations are offered: An extended cab model with a six-foot bed, a crew cab with a five-foot bed and a crew cab with a six-foot bed. With the tailgate down, the six-foot bed allows eight-foot-long items to be hauled within the vehicle.
Canyon is offered in base, SLE and SLT models, in 2WD and 4WD models, and with an aggressively styled All-Terrain package offered on SLE models. It includes 17-inch painted aluminum wheels covered by all-terrain tires, a body-color grille surround with horizontal chrome bars and specific suspension tuning.
From a refinement standpoint, the Canyon features triple-sealed doors inlaid in the body sides, like the 2014 Sierra, for improved aerodynamic performance and a quieter interior. And to help keep overall mass down and improve the front-to-rear weight balance, the Canyon features an all-new aluminum hood.
It also features the segment’s only active aero grille shutters, which close at certain highway speeds to enhance efficiency through improved aerodynamics.
Additional exterior features include:
◾Segment-first CornerStep rear bumper design, pioneered on the 2014 Sierra, is standard
◾Available segment-first EZ Lift-and-Lower locking tailgate that uses an internal torsion bar to make raising the tailgate easier with one hand, and a damper for more-controlled lowering
◾Standard two-tier loading that allows a platform to effectively split the bed into upper and lower sections, making it easier to haul, store and conceal items such as tools
◾Thirteen reconfigurable and four stationary tie-down locations throughout the bed for use with available, removable cargo tie-down rings
◾Standard bed rail and tailgate protectors
◾Available factory-installed spray-in bed liner
◾Range of 16-, 17- and 18-inch aluminum wheels
A diverse collection of work- and lifestyle-supporting accessories will be offered including everything from a bed liner and innovative cargo management system to a custom tonneau cover, removable cargo rings, tool box and more.
GMC Canyon interior reflects many of same features as the Sierra 1/2-tons.
omfortable and connected cabin
The interior of the 2015 Canyon is designed to be comfortable, heavily equipped and well connected. A bold, upright instrument panel with large instruments and a central driver information center is similar to Sierra. A center console-mounted shifter is similar to those found in midsize cars and crossovers.
The Canyon’s cabin boasts exceptional attention to detail and premium appointments, including a sculpted headliner that enhances headroom, halo lighting on key controls for easier viewing and an open area at the front of the center console for easier phone charging.
Additional interior details include:
◾Sculpted door panels that make it easier to enter and exit the vehicle
◾Upper-instrument panel storage bin – when not equipped with the uplevel audio system – and large glove box volume
◾Standard center console with room to store a tablet
◾Rear under-seat storage
Canyon’s seats are designed for long-haul comfort and wear, too. They use dual-firmness foam for greater comfort on long drives and high-wear, stain-resistant cloth seating trim. A power-adjustable driver’s seat is standard, and heated leather seats are standard on SLT. The All-Terrain package features exclusive color and trim details, including embossed seatbacks and unique contrast stitching.
Canyon models with an eight-inch IntelliLink screen will also feature a new in-car app marketplace: GMC AppShop. It allows customers to download apps directly to their IntelliLink system and organize, update or delete them throughout the life of the vehicle. Available apps will connect drivers to music, news, weather, travel information, vehicle data and more.
Segment-best power and efficiency
GMC expects Canyon to be the most powerful and efficient truck in the segment, allowing owners to haul and tow more while being efficient. A 2.5L I-4 is standard, and a 3.6L V-6 is available. They are based on award-winning engine families and tuned to deliver the low-rpm torque customers depend on for hauling and towing.
The 2.5L four is estimated at 193 horsepower (146 kW) and 184 lb-ft of torque (253 Nm), with approximately 90 percent of the peak torque available from 2,000 rpm to 6,200 rpm. The 3.6L engine is estimated at 302 horsepower (224 kW) and 270 lb-ft of torque (366 Nm). SAE certification of the power ratings is pending.
Both engines feature direct injection and variable valve timing to make the most of power and efficiency. An aluminum block, forged-steel crankshaft, dual-overhead camshafts and jet-spray piston cooling are featured on both engines. The 2.5L incorporates a two-stage variable-displacement oil pump, for greater efficiency, as well as a balance shaft located in the oil pan, for greater refinement.
All models are matched with a six-speed automatic transmission that complements the truck-tuned engines with features that make hauling and trailering easier and more comfortable, including auto grade braking and a tow/haul mode. A six-speed manual transmission is also available with the 2.5L engine in base extended cab/2WD models.
Class-leading capabilities and superior ride quality
The Canyon delivers the capability expected of a GMC truck, including expected segment-leading payload and trailering. Like the full-size Sierra, Canyon is built on a fully boxed perimeter frame, which provides the strength to support its capabilities, and a ride expected to be smooth and quiet.
A coil-over-type front suspension features aluminum knuckles that are low in mass and high in strength contributing to a more responsive, immediate feel to driver inputs, as well as efficiency. The 2015 Canyon also features the segment’s first application of electric power steering, which enhances efficiency because it is not driven by the engine.
Additionally, the Canyon has a tight turning radius of only about 41 feet (12.6 meters), making it easier to maneuver when parking or backing into tight spots, such as garages or campsites.
Four-wheel disc brakes, with four-piston front calipers, are standard and feature segment-exclusive Duralife™ brake rotors – also pioneered on the 2014 Sierra. They can offer up to double the service life, which can help lower ownership costs.
Canyon is available with an automatic locking rear differential known by its G80 option code. Introduced by General Motors more than 40 years ago, it gives drivers a traction advantage when needed and everyday comfort when it’s not. It is available on SLE and SLT, and standard with the All-Terrain package.
AutoTrac automatic four-wheel drive is also a segment-first feature, which employs an electronically controlled transfer case that allows the driver to shift from 2WD to 4WD. The driver can select four modes, 2WD, Auto, 4WD HI, or 4WD Lo. By selecting ‘Auto’ mode, the transfer case will operate in 2WD and will automatically apply traction to the front wheels (4WD) when the vehicle senses wheel slippage.
With 360 degrees of available active and passive safety technologies, Canyon is designed to help keep occupants safe on the road, with standard features including:
◾Six air bags, including head curtain side air bags that can also reduce the risk of occupant ejection
◾Large rearview mirrors and rear-vision camera system for greater visibility
◾StabiliTrak stability control system with rollover mitigation technology, trailer sway control, hill start assist and hill descent control (All Terrain).
Available safety features include:
◾Segment-first forward collision alert
◾Segment-first lane departure warning
The Canyon will be assembled at GM’s Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant. GMC will continue to work on and develop the Canyon until the start of production in fall 2014. The content of this release is based on current GM testing and is subject to change.
Ford showed off their all-new Ford F-150 to the media and general pubic at the North American Auto Show in Detroit. It appears to set some new standards in the 1/2-ton pickup market.
The all-aluminum-bodied F-150 is said to deliver an impressive combination of power, capability and efficiency – from advanced materials that improve durability and inhibit corrosion, to faster processors that enhance driving performance, to breakthrough cargo management and towing solutions.
“F-150 is well-known for being Built Ford Tough. Now, it is both tough and smart,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company chief operating officer. “The all-new F-150 redefines the future of trucks, and it is yet another example of our One Ford plan producing vehicles that serve customers with a commitment to the very best quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value.”
In designing the backbone of the F-150, Ford engineers improved the truck’s signature fully boxed ladder frame. It is all-new with more high-strength steel than ever – making it stronger and lighter.
High-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys – already used in aerospace, commercial transportation, energy and many other rugged industries – are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance and also saving weight.
Ford claims using aluminum has shaved up to 700 pounds from the current Crew Cab 4×4 F-150 so the 2015s can tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and contributing to better fuel efficiency.
Several groundbreaking new productivity features debut in the all-new F-150, including many class-exclusives. They include:
360-degree camera view, using exterior cameras to create a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help the driver park, maneuver in tight spots and navigate down narrow roads and trails
Integrated loading ramps, which enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers
BoxLink™, which is a combination of metal brackets and custom cleats used to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box, from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers
LED headlamps and taillamps, which provide excellent nighttime visibility
Interior of the 2015 F-150 is more refined and spacious than 2014 models.
Trailer hitch assist, a new rear view camera feature that adds a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up truck and trailer without requiring a spotter or having to get out of the vehicle
Smart trailer tow module, using an all-new smart trailer tow wiring harness that helps identify and inform the driver of potential trailer connectivity issues, burned or unlit trailer marker lamps, and brake light and trailer battery faults
Remote tailgate, allowing for the tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released with the key fob – eliminating manual locking and increasing convenience and security. The tailgate also is damped, dropping down, hands-free, to a flat position when opened
High-wattage power outlets (400 watts, 110 volts) in the cab, allowing drivers to easily charge corded tools, battery chargers or mobile devices on-site or while driving
LED spotlights on sideview mirrors, which provide powerful, durable and bright lighting around the truck exterior
Latest EcoBoost® technology in an all-new, even more efficient 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine that features extremely high output and lightweight design
Next-generation tailgate step, which is now fully integrated inside the tailgate and virtually invisible when not in use
Other smart innovations include:
New 8-inch LCD productivity screen in the instrument panel, which includes updated truck apps – from fuel economy to towing tips – and the ability to create a customized home screen for customers to access their most frequently used apps in one place
LED lighting embedded in the walls of the cargo box, which brightly illuminates the box interior to help customers quickly find tools or other items
Rear under-seat storage in F-150 Super and Crew cabs, providing hidden storage for valuables. Two storage bins also are located underneath the rear seats
Boxside step, now available for the short 5.5-foot box
EcoBoost V6 Added
Another change for 2015 is adding a new EcoBoost V6 to the offerings and dropping the 6.2L V8.
A new 2.7-liter EcoBoost with standard Auto Start-Stop and a 3.5-liter V6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing join the proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine features a lightweight, compact design to deliver the same power as some mid-range V8s.
Ford F-150 trucks equipped with EcoBoost engines also will benefit from standard Active Grille Shutters. Active Grille Shutters stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. They automatically close to reduce aerodynamic drag at cruising speed.
When it goes on sale late this year, the 2015 F-150 will be available in five trim levels as before: XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch. Chrome appearance packages are available with XL, XLT, Lariat and King Ranch. Monochromatic sport appearance packages are available with XL, XLT and Lariat.
Ford has also widened the new truck inside by several inches, increasing leg and hip room front and rear. Ergonomically optimized seating for the front row positions enhances comfort, while extending legroom for rear passengers. Buttons and controls are optimized so they can be operated while wearing work gloves.
Storage options include laptop stowage in the center console, as well as quick storage solutions for cellphones, drinks, pens and business cards.
The F-150 will continue to be manufactured at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.