Keep on Truckin’
By Brett Martin
New 2.9-liter 4-cylinder and 3.7-liter 5-cylinder engines, both with variable valve timing, highlight the changes for the 2008 Chevy Colorado. Regular, extended, and crew cabs are available to seat up to six people. Taller sides on the bed offer deeper storage. The truck can tow 4,000 pounds.
"Standard features include rack-and-pinion steering, intermittent wipers, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, and folding outside mirrors," says the company.
The Colorado has dual-stage front air bags with a passenger sensing system. Additional safety and security items include daytime running lights, vehicle theft protection, lockout protection, child security locks, and battery rundown protection.
Starting MSRP: $14,510
The 2008 half-ton Honda Ridgeline offers a 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine with a five-speed automatic transmission. A two-stage manifold and special fresh air intake system keep the truck running at a high horsepower with low torque, even during uphill towing. A rigid body with closed-box frame allows the truck to tow up to 5,000 pounds or haul heavy loads without stressing the fame.
"The integrated closed-box frame design of the Ridgeline gives it many times the torsional rigidity of industry-leading pickups," says Honda.
Large brake rotors at all four wheels and electronic brake distribution provide quick stopping.
Starting MSRP: $28,000 for RT model; $33,090 for RTL
Greater fuel efficiency, resulting from improved aerodynamics and a new front bumper design, characterizes Ford's 2008 Ranger. Service intervals have been extended to 7,500 miles, meaning fewer trips to the shop and lowering the cost of ownership.
The Ranger is available with a Regular Cab or a two- or four-door SuperCab. Engine choices include a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, a 3.0-liter V-6, and a 4.0-liter V-6. All three engines are available with a five-speed manual or automatic transmission.
"The 2008 Ford Ranger has a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 pounds to suit customers' work and play needs," says Ford. "The truck has been tested in the most extreme North American climates and conditions, including blazing desert heat, Arctic cold temperatures, steep 20 percent grade hills, and torturous off-road conditions."
Four series of the Ranger are available: XL, XLT, Sport and FX4 Off-Road.
Starting MSRP: $13,995
Toyota's 2007 Tacoma line has three cab types: regular, access, and the four-door double cab, as well as 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or 4.0-liter V-6 engines. An Electronic Throttle Control System optimizes performance and fuel economy. The V-6 Tacoma can tow 6,500 pounds.
"The Tacoma's composite inner bed is made from a sheet-molded compound deck and walls that are 10 percent lighter than steel, yet tough and durable," says Toyota.
The Tacoma offers anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist for improved safety. For comfort, the truck has sound absorption material and insulating carpeting to provide a quiet cabin. Exterior aerodynamic details help reduce wind noise.
Starting MSRP: $14,180
Nissan's 2007 Frontier has a king cab or a crew cab and offers a bed that's 13 inches longer than the traditional model. The 4.0-liter V-6 engine provides good fuel efficiency. A variety of transmissions are available, such as a five-speed automatic, five-speed manual, and six-speed manual, to tow 6,500 pounds.
"With the long-bed crew cab, Frontier offers the utility of ample bed space with room for a full-size family or full work crew," says Bill Bosley, VP and general manager, Nissan Division.
An off-road traction system is available that helps transfer power to the drive wheel with more grip on low traction surfaces.
Starting MSRP: for King Cab: $16,050
Dodge Dakota, restyled for 2008, has better fuel economy with its 3.7-liter V-6 or 4.7-liter V-8 engine capable of using E85 fuel. Towing capacity is 7,050 pounds.
An extended cab and crew cab body styles give the exterior a new look. The truck's interior includes a new instrument panel, center console and accent finishes.
"Dodge Dakota is the perfect vehicle for people who are looking for a great-looking, capable, powerful and versatile truck that can support a variety of lifestyle activities," says Mike Accavitti, director, Dodge Brand and SRT Communications.
The interior is designed to be ergonomically friendly with improved comfort, utility and storage. Advanced multi-stage driver and front passenger air bags are standard for safety.
Starting MSRP: $20,080, extended cab; $22,780, crew cab
Chevy's 2008 Avalanche has an efficient 5.3-liter V-8 with active fuel management technology that switches from 8-cylinder to 4-cylinder operation to save fuel. A 6.0-liter V-8 engine with active fuel management and variable valve timing is also offered. FlexFuel engines are available for running on E85 fuel. The Avalanche comes in LS, LT and LTZ models. A midgate opens to transform the vehicle from an SUV to a truck. With the midgate closed, the vehicle can seat six passengers.
"Avalanche's unparalleled flexibility enables it to function as an SUV, truck or both, thanks to the exclusive midgate," says the company. "The midgate opens to extend the cargo-carrying capability from the cargo bed's 5-feet, 3-inch long length to 8-feet, 2-inch."
Additional features include a spring-loaded tailgate, ultrasonic rear parking assist, remote starting and a touch-screen navigation system. Noise-reducing materials are used throughout the body. The engines feature a quiet-tuned alternator and an acoustically tuned engine cover that reduces engine noise. The Avalanche can tow up to 8,200 pounds.
Starting MSRP: $32,710
The 2008 Hummer H2 has increased towing capacity to 8,200 pounds. The new 6.2-liter V-8 engine provides more power and better efficiency than previous models. Enhanced safety features include an electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation technology, a panic brake assist that detects emergency braking situations to help stop the vehicle quicker and with more control, and roof rail head curtain side air bags with a rollover sensing system.
"More power in the H2 helps make highway maneuvers, such as entering from a freeway on-ramp, feel effortless while simultaneously bolstering towing capability," says Martin Walsh, Hummer general manager.
Masons will appreciate the rear-view camera system when towing. A redesigned instrument panel and new controls redefine the interior.
Starting MSRP: $55,510
Nissan's 2008 Titan is all about options. It's available in four models: XE, SE, PRO-4X and LE, and in two body styles, king cab and crew cab. The Titan offers four bed sizes and E85 capability. The 5.6-liter V-8 engine offers a towing capacity for the king cab of 9,500 pounds, and 9,400 pounds for the crew cab.
"The 2008 Titan also features freshened styling with a revised front end, wheel lip moldings and all-new wheel styles," says Nissan. "Inside, Titan features a new seat design and refined meter clusters."
Options include a hands-free phone system, XM satellite radio, and an 8-inch DVD screen. Nissan's advanced air bag system with seat belt sensors increases safety.
Starting MSRP: $23,700
The 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 models, the Working Truck, SL, SLE and SLT, are powered by efficient engines with active fuel management and variable valve timing, with an E85 option. The eight engine options range from a 4.3-liter V-6 to a 6.2-liter V-8. Regular, extended, and crew cab styles are offered, along with three cargo box lengths.
The Sierra was all new in 2007, so changes for 2008 are minor, such as the option of 22-inch aluminum wheels and an integrated trailer break controller.
"The 2008 GMC Sierra delivers enhanced stability and driving confidence from a new, boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspensions, and rack-and-pinion steering. Five suspension systems are available, each tailored to suit specific driving requirements," says GMC. Sierra also offers OnStar and ultrasonic rear parking assist. The truck can tow 10,400 pounds.
Starting MSRP: $17,070
Three cab sizes (regular, double, and CrewMax) are available for the 2007 Toyota Tundra. Three engine sizes, 4.0-liter V-6, 4.7-liter V-8 and 5.7-liter V-8, are available for towing capacity up to 10,500 pounds.
When the truck is in reverse, a back-up camera automatically displays on a dash-mounted navigation screen to show what's behind the truck. Pressing the tow/haul shift button changes the transmission shift points for trailer and heavy load hauling to improve acceleration performance and increase braking control.
Starting MSRP: $22,290 to $38,790
Ford's 2008 F-150 models join the lineup of more than 60 F-Series trucks. Five new series are available: XL, STX, XTL, FX4 and Lariat. The trucks come with regular cab, SuperCab, or SuperCrew, three box lengths, and two boxes styles.
The F-150 offers three engine choices: 4.2-liter V-6, 4.6-liter Triton V-8, and 5.4-liter Triton V8, for towing capacity of 11,000 pounds. The Triton engine has three valves per cylinder, variable cam timing, increased power, quieter operation and improved fuel efficiency. A flex-fuel version can use E85.
"Segment-first torque-based electronic throttle control uses driver input from the accelerator pedal to actively modulate the torque at the drive wheels," says Ford. "The technology produces a seamless and consistent engine response, improved fuel economy and enhanced integration of vehicle systems."
The truck offers a 3,050-pound payload capacity. A rearview camera system gives a view behind the truck. The video image is displayed in the rearview mirror.
Starting MSRP: $17,345 to $39,500
Three-quarter-ton and one-ton models of the 2008 Chevy Silverado are available in regular, extended, or crew cab styles, three cargo box styles, and five wheelbase lengths. The standard engine, a 6.0-liter V-8, is paired with a new Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission for improved fuel efficiency. A more powerful Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel engine is also available that can run on B20 biodiesel fuel.
"Chevy Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD are quieter, more spacious and refined inside, with increased passenger comfort and storage space," says Chevrolet.
Sound-deadening and sound-absorbing material in the body structure, combined with improved door sealing, help eliminate road and wind noise for a quiet interior. Dashboard gauges have analog display with easy to read graphics, lit with LED lighting.
Ultrasonic rear parking assist warns of objects behind the truck. OnStar turn-by-turn navigation is available. The truck can tow up to 16,700 pounds.
Starting MSRP: $28,255
The Ford F-Series latest model, the 2008 Super Duty, features a quiet 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel engine. Ford's TowCommand system has an integrated trailer brake controller, and the TorqShift transmission enhances towing performance.
The truck is available with a regular, SuperCab, or Crew Cab and two bed lengths. New features include an integrated tailgate step, stowable bed extender and power-telescoping trailer-tow side mirrors.
"Also new for 2008 is an F-450 model that combines the right axle, right powertrain and right suspension to manage the task of pulling the heaviest loads, while maintaining a refined, comfortable ride," says Ford. "The new F-450 offers industry-leading towing capacity in excess of 24,000 pounds."
Starting MSRP: $22,380 to $37,500
About the Author
Brett Martin is a freelance writer located in Shakopee, Minn. with several years of construction and writing experience.