Every year, full-size trucks are among the best-selling vehicles in America. Find out about the best new trucks coming out in 2014 and 2015.
With so many vehicles filling the Oregon Convention Center floors at the Portland (OR) International Auto Show, it's difficult for many models to stand out among the noise. Not so for some of the best new trucks coming out for 2014 and 2015. Ford, Chrysler and GM know their bread and butter is in the full-size truck market, and every year these American brands pump the latest technological advances into their most cherished models: the Ford F-150; the (Dodge) Ram 1500; and Chevy Silverado, respectively. Towering above the sedans and crossover SUVs, these three trucks proudly displayed their fresh-yet-familiar designs and showed off all their new technological breakthroughs.
Many truck enthusiasts will tell you these truck lines have largely been perfected over the last 40 years. These automakers know perfection can always be improved and that the thirst for new and innovative features is never fully slaked. Lighter bodies, powerful-yet-increasingly-efficient engines, advanced towing capacity, and hauling stability technology are all pushing these classic models deeper into the future, while addressing current driver needs and demands. Use this guide to the best new trucks for 2014 and 2015 to find out how these classic American trucks are becoming turning the stuff of science fiction into hit-the-pavement reality.
2015 Chevy Silverado HD
Scanning the landscape of the Portland International Auto Show, amid all the lights and velvet ropes, the new Chevy Silverado HD shone like a God among mortals perched atop its grandstand. Debuting for 2015, the Chevy Silverado HD features all-new exterior and interior design lines that are bold yet refined, futuristic yet classically American. But the new, invigorated styling is just the icing on top of the lean and mean new 6.0L eight-cylinder cake.
The Chevy Silverado HD is powered by a 360-horsepower 6.0L V8 Vortec engine (or, alternatively, the Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8.) Diesel engines have become all the rage with North American car buyers because of their outstanding efficiency, the (arguably) lower impact on the environment, and the possibility of converting diesel to biodiesel down the road. The Duramax engine has been around for over a decade. With over one million currently on the road, the Duramax engine is built to last.
The Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 pushes out 397 horsepower with 765 lb.-ft. of torque. It is capable of towing up to 23,200 pounds with standard technologies like Chevy’s Trailer Sway Control to keep your load stable and Hill Start Assist to get you over treacherous passes. The available Exhaust Brake System helps you stay in control when descending down a steep road grade with a massive load in tow, and advanced safety features like Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning work wonders to prevent accidents. While the trucks are built to withstand tough driving and towing conditions, the advanced safety features ensure that you are as safe behind the wheel as you are behind a desk (maybe even safer.)
The modern tech features don't stop there. The interior is fully stocked to put you in the lap of luxury when you’re behind the wheel. The Silverado’s interior maximizes comfort with its ergonomic, leather-wrapped seats. You can also stay (safely) connected to the digital world with Chevy's MyLink infotainment system.
The triple door seals and aerodynamically enhanced interior keeps the ride as quiet as a whisper. That is, unless you roll the windows down to listen to the growl of the V8. An 8-inch in-dash screen vividly displays navigation and performance information. You also have access to the wider world with HD satellite radio and other entertainment features made available through the MyLink system.
2015 Ford F-150
So what's new with the Ford F-150 for 2015? Well, besides the long-term dependability that's made it the best-selling vehicle in America for years, pretty much everything.
An all-new frame design makes the F-150 stronger than any previous generation, and so does its corrosion- and dent/ding-resistant body and bed. Thanks to its widely publicized aluminum construction, the new Ford F-150's curb weight is about 700 pounds lighter than previous models, helping it wring every last drop of performance out of its standard V6 engine.
Subjected to rigorous testing in the most unforgiving conditions and climates on the planet (including the relentless Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race) the 2015 Ford F-150 drastically outperformed every previous F-150 model generation. That's not to say those old F-150s were at all lacking. It's just that Ford is leaving no stone unturned in its relentless pursuit to make the greatest truck on the planet. They may very well have succeeded.
The frame is composed of advanced high-strength steel with an innovative new structure designed to maximize resiliency without adding weight. The frame has a through-welded ladder construction and eight crossmembers to increase stiffness. Crossmembers are a classic innovative design feature carried over from some of the first Ford models. The new F-150 has eight of them.
Other advanced performance features include:
- Staggered rear outboard shocks that improve stability
- Electric power-assisted steering that gives you the truest feeling of the road
- The F-150's new smart cargo management features that make it oh so easy to load up, haul and unload without breaking a sweat
The innovations don't stop there. The 2015 Ford F-150’s interior has been entirely redesigned with durable seat fabrics, increased cab storage, and a slew of new tech features that help you work smarter, not harder. Out on the job site and need to run your power sander? Just connect it to one of the standard 110V outlets delivering up to 400W of power and get the job done. The 8-inch productivity screen lets you monitor the F-150's performance and fuel economy ratings and navigation information. Bluetooth connectivity allows you talk business (safely) while on the road.
2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The legendary Dodge trucks have been known simply as Ram trucks since 2010, but they still bleed the same Dodge blood that made them one of the most popular vehicles in the United States. Long known as the big, brawny bully on the block, the latest Ram truck is growing a conscience, delivering industry-leading fuel economy and mileage numbers from its game-changing EcoDiesel engine.
Motor Trend named the Ram 1500 the 2014 Truck of the Year. It was the second year in a row that the Ram earned top honors in its class, thanks in large part to its revolutionary and wildly popular EcoDiesel engine. The demand for diesel engines is rapidly growing in the United States, and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is riding this sea change to the top of national automotive rankings and sales charts. (The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel starts at an estimated $39,940.)
The EPA gave the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel a 28 mpg fuel economy rating on the highway, which far exceeds the agency's typical ratings for full-sized pickups. (It even exceeds the top ratings for smaller pickups.) To put this impressive figure in further context, The 1500 EcoDiesel gets six more miles per gallon than the comparable Ford F-150 V6 EcoBoost engine.
The Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel doesn't sacrifice a bit of performance to attain these fuel economy ratings. The 3.0L turbocharged EcoDiesel V6 packs a serious punch with 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. It's the industry's first small-displacement, turbo-diesel engine. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has no diesel peer for 2014. There were more than 8,000 preorders that flooded Chrysler showrooms and retailers, a true testament to the brushfire effect that the truck’s reputation has generated. (The Chevy Silverado HD with its Duramax diesel doesn't come out until 2015, and you can expect plenty of copycats in the coming model years as well.)
Remember, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the first and likely the best new diesel truck to hit the streets..
If you think 240 horsepower is a bit lacking for a full-size truck, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is packed with innovations to reduce weight, improve aerodynamics and maximize efficiency. The engine block and bedplate are made from super-lightweight, compacted graphite iron, and most of the body components are aluminum. Active grille shutters optimize airflow and improve aerodynamics, and electric power steering keeps the engine from having to constantly turn a hydraulic pump.
All of these innovations combine to deliver a full 240 horsepower unlike any other 240 horsepower you’ve experienced (in essence, you’ve got 240 thoroughbreds under there.) The 1500 EcoDiesel is certainly a sign of things to come.
The all-new Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado HD and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel were all big-time highlights of the Portland International Auto Show. But is that really a surprise? These three trucks have long ruled the full-size truck segment with powerful capability and long-term dependability. And now these trucks are being pumped full of industry-changing technology that not only make them the best trucks, but some of the best vehicles on the road. Period. Use Reply! to set up test drives and find the best local prices on these trucks and more.