Time to trade-in the pickup this year? Here’s what’s new among full-size workhorses for 2013.
Pickup truck owners are among the most loyal buyers out there. Data compiled by Experian Automotive in Schaumburg, Ill. confirms that full-size truck owners are the most likely to purchase another big pickup, registering 58.6 percent repeat business.
Pickups remain the most versatile and purposeful vehicles on the road. They’re built to tackle the toughest jobs, yet can be configured as burly luxury vehicles, particularly in four-door “crew cab” versions, loaded up with upscale amenities like heated leather seats, video entertainment systems and navigation systems with real-time traffic and travel information.
Here’s what’s new for 2013 among so-called “half-ton” pickups.
• Ram 1500. Dodge’s truck division makes the biggest splash for 2013 with a redesigned Ram 1500. It retains its broad-shouldered look, but with a few added curves and tweaks for improved aerodynamics. At 305 horsepower, a new 3.6-liter V6 engine is both more powerful and fuel-efficient than the version it replaces. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 395 horses remains available, with both engines mated to a sophisticated eight-speed automatic transmission that utilizes a dashboard-mounted rotary dial instead of a shift lever. Among its many new features, an available air suspension includes five ride heights for optimum ride quality, off-road abilities and easy access when parked.
• Chevrolet Avalanche. This versatile cross between a full-size SUV and pickup truck continues for one more model year before being discontinued. New for 2013 is a Black Diamond Avalanche model with specific upscale styling cues. It’s the only four-door pickup with the ability to carry eight-foot-long objects thanks to a “midgate” door that opens up the cargo bed into the rear passenger cabin. A strong and durable 5.3-liter V8 remains the only available engine.
• Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500. With a full redesign expected early next year, the mechanically identical Silverado and Sierra full-size pickups continue with only modest changes. A 195-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 engine and dated four-speed automatic transmission come standard, but most buyers will be better served with either a 302 horsepower 4.8 liter or 315-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 – both of which come with a six-speed automatic. Gas/electric hybrid versions are offered, but they’re pricey and save only a few mpg. The GMC comes in opulent Denali versions for those seeking added luxury.
• Ford F150. The industry’s top-selling pickup adds a new luxury-oriented SuperCrew Limited version for 2013 that features 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, high-intensity headlamps and specific interior and exterior treatments. Otherwise, the line continues to offer a choice of a 3.7-liter V6, 5.0 and 6.2-liter V8 engines and the popular 3.5-liter turbocharged “EcoBoost” V6 that delivers impressive towing abilities and fuel economy; all come mated to a smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. The F150 comes in 10 trim levels with a full assortment of configurations to suit most truck buyers.
• Nissan Titan. Nissan’s comfortable and capable full-size pickup gets a new tailgate design with an integrated aerodynamic spoiler along with assorted other updates for 2013. Unlike the domestic-branded competition it’s available only in extended and crew-cab versions and with just a single powertrain. Still, the Titan comes sufficiently powered by a 317-hp V8 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. The PRO-4X version is for off-road sport enthusiasts and is denoted by specific styling cues and performance enhancements.
• Toyota Tundra. Receiving a new upscale Platinum trim level and TRD Rock Warrior Package available on the Limited version for 2013, the Tundra remains an amenable alternative to the usual suspects among full-size pickups. It remains handsomely styled with a roomy and comfortable interior. A 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine is standard for those with modest needs, with two stronger V8s available at 310 and 381 horsepower. The V6 comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, while the V8s get a smoother and more responsive six-speed automatic.
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