The 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit pulled the wraps off some interesting concepts, a few special editions, and lots of refreshed sheet metal, yet the biggest news had to be the tidal wave of new trucks. Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram all unveiled new pickups, while Mercedes showed off their redesigned G-Wagen.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet refreshed the Silverado for 2014 and added a new line of powertrains, but much of the chassis design carried over. For 2019, the chassis is new and so is the dramatically restyled body. A bold front end includes “air curtains” that direct air around the wheel openings and reduced aerodynamic drag by 11 counts, a significant feat of engineering. Eight trim levels will be available, starting with the value-minded Work Truck and topping off with the luxury High Country. Two new trim levels are the Custom Trailboss and LT Trailboss, both riding on a two-inch suspension lift, adding more off-road capability to the Z71 suspension option. A total of six powertrains will be available, yet only three have been mentioned, the 5.3-liter V-8 paired with the eight-speed auto, the 6.2-liter V-8 paired with the GM/Ford-developed 10-speed auto, and an all-new 3.0- liter inline-six diesel also paired with the 10-speed, which Chevrolet hopes will bring best-in-class fuel economy. The 2019 GMC Sierra is still under wraps, though you can expect more differentiation from the Silverado than ever before, inside and out.
2019 Ram 1500
Dramatically restyled and riding on a new high-strength-steel chassis, the Ram 1500 will once again be available in numerous trim levels, including Rebel, Big Horn, and Limited. Powertrains include the 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, all paired with the ZF eight-speed. Ram’s big powertrain news is the addition of the eTorque 48-volt mild hybrid system that takes the alternator’s place on the accessory drive and provides start-stop function as well as a boost in torque at low engine speeds, 90 lb-ft torque for the V-6 and 130 lb-ft for the V-8. The additional boost comes by way of a compact battery located at the rear of the cab and can help the Hemi run in four-cylinder mode and save fuel at highway speeds as well. The interior is thoughtfully redesigned and might just be best-in-class, even without the optional 12-inch touch screen found in the higher-end models.
2019 Ford Ranger
The last generation of the Ranger sold in North America debuted in 1998 and soldiered on until 2012. After a six-year hiatus, Ford is finally bringing the Ranger back to North America, this time as a mid-size to face off against the formidable Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado. Based on the Australian Ford Ranger, the version destined for our shores features a unique look that makes it at home next to the F-150. Its only powertrain at launch will be a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder paired with Ford’s excellent 10-speed automatic; we expect additional powertrains to follow. We also have a hunch that Ford won’t let the Tacoma TRD Pro and Colorado ZR2 have all the mid-size off-road fun, and that a Raptor-inspired Ranger is in the works for North America.
2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
While it’s not a pickup, Mercedes’ stalwart, body-on-frame bruiser is boxy, rugged, and offers real workhorse capability to go with its brand-new luxury interior, so it’s definitely worth mentioning, especially considering the G-Class doesn’t get this kind of redesign that often. We almost can’t believe it, but it had been riding on the same platform since 1990. You’d be hard pressed to tell that it’s been redesigned just by looking at the outside, as the classic G-Class styling elements remain, but opening the doors reveals a much more modern interior with a wide, twin touch-screen instrument panel. The rear seat occupants will appreciate nearly six inches of additional legroom, thanks in part to a two-inch stretch in overall length. Purists might be fretting over the switch to an independent front suspension, but Mercedes claims the new front suspension’s additional ground clearance makes it as formidable as ever. As with the previous G-Class, numerous powertrains are sure to find their way under the trapezoidal hood; for now the G550’s familiar 4.0-liter, 416-hp twin-turbo V-8 is the only engine available.