Full redesigns of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 full-size pickup trucks were unveiled. Ford revived its Ranger nameplate to head back into the mid-sized pickup segment.
Ford and Chevy will each build a new diesel engine for better efficiency. Meanwhile, auto startup Achates Power showed an innovative engine that is capable of 37 mpg overall when placed in a Ford F-150.
Here is the top truck news from the 2018 Detroit auto show.
Ford Ranger Returns
The U.S. version of the Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck debuted on Sunday. It is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine paired with the 10-speed automatic transmission Ford developed with General Motors.
But the Ranger could face a challenging sales climate, according to analysts. It will compete against GM’s twin entries, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as the sales leading Toyota Tacoma. The segment also includes the Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline.
Midsize truck sales grew 0.9 percent in 2017 compared with 2016, according to industry research firm Autodata Corp. By comparison, full-size trucks sold five times as many vehicles in 2017 and sales increased 5.6 percent compared with the year prior.
New Chevrolet Silverado
The redesigned full-size Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck offers a long list of innovative features. The Silverado has a power tailgate, a new manufacturing technique that created greater volume in the bed and Dynamic Fuel Management that can shut down as many as seven cylinders in its V8 engines. There is also a new turbocharged 3-liter Duramax diesel engine.
The 2019 Silverado also has a new look. The body has more dramatic lines and a modern face compared with recent versions. There are small “air curtains” along the headlights that direct air around the front wheels for better efficiency. The doors, hood and tailgate are made from aluminum in order to decrease weight. Depending on its configuration, the 2019 Silverado drops up to 450 pounds compared with the outgoing model.
Silverado variants range from the sporty RST to the off-road LT Trailboss and premium High Country. But the truck has a reputation for toughness. Two of its most notable additions are larger rear bumper steps and 21 tie-downs with increased capability in the bed.
New Ram 1500
On the other side of the coin, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles aimed to push the envelope with its own full-size pickup truck. The automaker added its eTorque mild hybrid system to both engines in the new 2019 Ram 1500. The system will shut down the 3.6-liter V6 or 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engines as they coast to a stop and provide electric torque to accelerate when they start again.
The 2019 Ram 1500 is stacked with modern technology such as a 12-inch touchscreen with Sirius 360L infotainment. It is the first vehicle to feature the system. There are five USB ports, increased passenger room and hidden storage compartments in the rear seats and floor.
FCA also applied a lightweight approach to the truck. Aluminum, high-strength steels and composite materials can be found throughout. The result is a reduction of 225 pounds in crew cab 4×4 models. The automaker did not release fuel economy figures but said the 2019 Ram 1500 will improve over the outgoing version.
Achates and Aramco Build 37 MPG F-150
Automotive startup Achates Power has developed a 2.7-liter, three-cylinder engine that raised eyebrows in Detroit. The engine features unique technology such as opposed pistons and compression ignition that deliver impressive efficiency. When installed in a Ford F-150 the engine can achieve 37 mpg according to Achates.
Achates and its partner Aramco, the U.S. arm of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., plan to test the engine. It has 270 horsepower, makes 429 pound-feet of torque and produces 50 percent less emissions than current engines on the market.
If the company’s estimates hold up it would represent a significant improvement over current truck engines. Light-duty pickup trucks today average about 21 mpg.
Ford will introduce a new turbocharged 3-liter Power Stroke V6 diesel engine to its F-150 lineup – the first in the light duty pickup’s history. The new engine will spark a battle within the raging full-size truck war as GM announced a diesel for its 2019 Silverado and FCA confirmed it plans to put a diesel in the redesigned Ram 1500.
The Power Stroke diesel produces 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. Ford expects it to achieve an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 30 mpg in highway driving. It will be priced higher than other engines available with the F-150. However, Ford executives said the engine will deliver the capability its customers want.
The combination of a lightweight aluminum body and 10-speed automatic transmission helps the diesel-powered F-150 achieve a level of refinement that would not have been possible otherwise, said Dave Filipe, vice president of powertrain engineering at Ford. The diesel trucks will arrive in U.S. dealeships in spring 2018.