New pickups lure buyers with high-end features and latest technology

Oct 9, 2012

The latest pickups debuted by automakers such as Ford and Chrysler offer the latest technology and enhanced capabilities, giving restylers an idea of what aftermarket accessory packages might potentially interest new-truck buyers.

To honor its ties with Texas institution King Ranch, Ford debuted the 2013 F-150 King Ranch at the 2012 State Fair of Texas on Sept. 27. The vehicle comes standard with a bold, new three-bar grille, Chaparral leather interior and ambient interior lighting, according to a Ford Motor press release.

Available upgrade options include new 20″ machined aluminum wheels; monotone paint; all-new black interior; class-exclusive HID headlamps; MyFord Touch connectivity technology; and segment-exclusive, power-folding and telescoping trail tow mirrors.

Buyers can also choose between a 5.0L V8 or an advanced, segment-exclusive 3.5L EcoBoost engine that provides the power of an eight-cylinder engine with the fuel efficiency of a six-cylinder.

“While others are just starting to understand the appeal of Texas innovation and luxury, we’re proud to have worked with our longtime partners at King Ranch who helped define both,” said Dave Mondragon, Ford general marketing manager. “The latest F-150 King Ranch extends this honor and tradition.”

The MyFord Touch system is optimized for truck owners with specialized buttons they can operate while wearing gloves and a larger screen for improved readability.

Meanwhile, General Motors announced Oct. 1 that its engineers are conducting the final validation of the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado, a pickup that will compete with the King Ranch. The model will be named High Country, and have Western flair with unique leather interior.

As well, Chrysler unveiled a re-engineered lineup of Ram heavy-duty pickups at the State Fair of Texas that will feature more powerful diesel engines and more Tradesman entry-level trim models.

The company hopes to attract new commercial customers with the premium features,said Fred Diaz, CEO of the Ram brand, at a Sept. 17 media preview of pickup in Detroit.

“Like we did with the light-duty Ram, we kept the styling on the heavy-duty trucks pretty much the same and focused on improving the truck’s technology, interior and capability,” Diaz said.

The 2500 and 3500 models of the Ram Heavy Duty will be available with either the 370-hp Cummins diesel or Chrysler’s workhouse 5.7L with Hemi V8 with 383 hp.

These Ram models’ interior is improved with a new Uconnect system, giving the driver Internet access; hands-free mobile phone, navigation and texting; and Ram’s first HD radio. The system will also allow owners to remotely lock or unlock their trucks or start them from any distance via smartphone.

Diaz also announced at a briefing in Auburn, Mich. that Chrysler is creating a brand-new commercial-truck division within its Ram truck brand to target fleet buyers and small businesses. The Ram Commerical division will have its own dedicated staff in all areas of the company that develop vehicles including product planning and design, Bloomberg News Reported.