Top Picks at 2019 Chicago Auto Show: Big Trucks, Adventure SUVs

February 08, 2019 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Big pickup trucks that haul ultraheavy loads and tow massive large trailers were the main theme of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show this week.

Ford, Ram and Chevrolet all touted their heavy-duty pickup truck lines. Smaller utility
vehicles built for family adventures also were among the top debuts in Chicago as more automakers pitch vehicles that are accessories to an active lifestyle.

Trucks.com walked the floor in search of the coolest vehicles making their debuts in Chicago. Here are the standout trucks and SUVs of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.

2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty

F-series super duty ford

Ford upgraded its F-series Super Duty trucks. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)

Ford Motor Co. unveiled a major upgrade to its 2020 F-Series Super Duty truck line as competition in the heavy-duty pickup market heats up. The Super Duty gets two new engines, a 10-speed automatic transmission and multiple technology enhancements that provide the type of advanced automated safety systems that have become common in passenger cars.

The improvements will make the Super Duty more powerful than previous versions. The new engines include a 7.3-liter gasoline V8 and an upgraded third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. Both will be mated to the new heavy-duty transmission.

2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road

RAV4 TRD off-road

Toyota’s RAV4 TRD off-road SUV is ready for adventure in addition to being city street-worthy. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)

Toyota is embracing changing consumer preference by shifting resources from commuter sedans to vehicles that play hard on weekends. The 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road is the latest example of that strategy. It is enhanced by the automaker’s performance division, known as TRD, or Toyota Racing Development.

The new crossover has the same powertrain as the standard RAV4 that debuted in 2018. It features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. But this vehicle is designed for the trails. The RAV4 Off-Road will feature standard all-wheel drive, all-terrain tires and off-road suspension.

It also has standard roof rails and oversized fenders. The RAV4 Adventure also provides several driving modes from which to choose including Snow, Mud and Sand, or Rock and Dirt that allow drivers to adapt to differing terrain and road conditions.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD

chevrolet HD silverado

GM’s heavy-duty Silverado pickup goes head-to-head with Ford’s Chicago Auto Show entry. (Photo: Chevrolet)

General Motors unveiled the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD, the latest generation of its heavy-duty pickup truck and a competitor to Ford’s Chicago Auto Show entry.

The revised truck gets a new, direct-injected 6.6-liter gasoline V8 engine with 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 6.6-liter turbodiesel Duramax V8 engine returns with 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission developed in tandem with Allison Transmission.

GM also upgraded the suspension to handle greater towing demands and provide a smooth ride. The frame is coated with corrosion protection for a longer life.

2019 Ram Medium Duty Chassis Cab

Ram medium-duty chassis cab Chicago Auto Show

Ram hopes to attract more Class 4 and Class 5 buyers with its new chassis cab. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)

Not to be outdone in the heavy-duty market by Ford and Chevrolet at the Chicago Auto Show,
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles introduced its 2019 Ram chassis cab.

The new version of the medium-duty truck has higher power, payload and towing ratings than the previous model and carries over the popular looks of Ram’s pickup truck line. The chassis cab will have a combined weight rating, including the cab and whatever is added to the chassis, of 43,000 pounds. It will tow 35,200 pounds and has a maximum payload of 12,510 pounds.

All chassis trucks start with a cab for the driver and passengers and bare frame rails, wheels, axles and tires. Third-party companies finish the trucks into everything from ambulances to shuttle buses, dump trucks, tow trucks, utility trucks, flatbeds and box trucks. Automakers sell about 100,000 annually in the U.S.

2020 Land Rover Evoque

2020 Jaguar Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Chicago Auto Show

The 2020 Evoque is Land Rover’s smallest vehicle. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)

Jaguar Land Rover’s 2020 Range Rover Evoque made its U.S. debut at the show with a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain much like the system featured in certain 2019 Ram 1500 pickups. It also has a handful of advanced off-road equipment, including a terrain-management system and cameras designed to enhance off-road visibility.

The 2020 Evoque is available with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. A second powertrain combines the 2.0-liter engine with the hybrid-electric system, which boosts its muscle to 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

The Evoque is the smallest vehicle in the Range Rover lineup and will likely attract urban-dwelling professionals and families. The Evoque’s chief engineer said the crossover will easily manage high curbs and tight spaces and is “real-world useable and not just an off-road gimmick.”

Read Next: Chicago Auto Show: 2020 Toyota Tacoma’s Off-Road Upgrades

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