2011 promises to be a great year for purchasing a new truck. From the notorious big names in truck manufacturers (i.e. Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Dodge) to the lesser known truck builders such as Toyota and Honda, one cannot really go wrong with many of the 2011 new truck models that will be launched. Due to the economic recession of the past several years many truck companies had to make a decision between going with style upgrades or modifications or performance enhancements. Most of them chose to make performance changes over style changes. While one can’t go wrong with many of the new 2011 truck models that will become available, here is a top 5 list of some of the better 2011 truck models.
1. 2011 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra HD
Due to a sluggish economy GM had to make budget cuts of their own and had to choose between making more changes in style or in functionality–they chose performance. Therefore, other than a louvered hood, new front bumper and grille, and, for the first time, 20-inch wheels, you will not notice anything remarkably different between the 2010 and 2011 models. However, the changes in its performance appear impressive. The 2011 Silverado/Sierra HD is powered by a choice of two engines: a gas 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 or a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V-8. As of the publication of this article, SAE testing hasn’t been completed on either engine, so horsepower and torque numbers aren’t yet available–but they expect both to be higher on both V-8s.
Here are some other new features and specifications you can expect on the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra HD:
1) 19 hwy mph
2) Larger fuel tank (36 gallons versus 34 which means the truck can travel up to 680 miles on a single tank
3) 90% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions (to comply with new Federal regulations)
4) DEF must be refilled every 5,000 miles; when empty the truck can go no faster than 55 mph. To learn more about DEF (click here)
5) Front frame structure is 125 percent stiffer; reduced vibration and improved ride and handling
6) Rear doors on extended cabs now open 170 degrees for easier access
7) Cabin features include mobile WiFi, Bluetooth, navigation, and XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic
I have a couple of friends that have Silverados and they absolutely love them. So if the 2011 Chevrolet Model is an improvement over past years I can only predict increased satisfaction. However, I personally, don’t like the DEF refill every 5,000. The more maintenance the worse for me.
2. 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2
The hot new feature on this “bad boy” is the 411- horsepower V-8, an increase over the 310 HP from the 2010 model. It may cost the customer an additional $3,000 but according to many reviewers already–it is worth it! One such reviewer for trucktrend.com, Angus MacKenzie, calls the Raptor the “Porsche 911 GT3 of pickup trucks.” The addition of expensive Fox Racing Shox internal bypass dampers behind the special 35-inch tires help the Raptor absorb massive high-speed off-road impacts that would normally push the springs through the fenders of a regular truck, allow the Raptor incredible body control that it rides like a Range Rover on blacktop.
If you don’t want to spend the extra $3,000 you will have to settle for a 5.4L rather than the 6.0L. Here is an excerpt from two separate test drives of the 5.4 and 6.0 Ford Raptor models by trucktrend.com reviewer MacKenzie:
“We drove 5.4 and 6.2 Raptors back to back along the same desert track, a challenging mixture of soft sand and scattered rocks and stomach-churning bumps, linked by a constant string of fast and slow-speed turns. The 6.2’s crisper throttle response, how it punches harder out of the turns, and how it blows through deep sanddrifts that leave the 5.4 struggling, are all instantly noticeable. The revised transmission calibration delivers faster, more authoritative upshifts, yet holds a lower gear when you lift off the gas and pitch the truck sideways into a corner.”
When asked if this type of improved maneuvering is worth paying an extra $3,000, MacKenzie responded, “Worth the money? You betcha. In fact, it’s such a no-brainer that, of the 7000 orders that had been placed for the Raptor at the time we went to press, 3000 or so were for the 6.2.” The 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has a 6-speed automatic and a 4 wheel drive. For expanded specs (click here). I personally liked the Raptor in the blue color as some pics online showed.
3. 2011 Toyota Tundra
Even though the 2011 Toyota Tundra won’t be in the showrooms until the summer of 2010, nor will the price be set until the truck goes on sale later in 2010, there have been some released changes.
Evidently, Toyota is getting serious about competing with Ford, Chevy, and Dodge in the big pickup field as they have come out with a new V-8 model this year. The 2011 Toyota Tundra also includes a brake-override system that it began installing later in 2010 to prevent unintended acceleration.
A few style changes you will find with the 2011 Toyota Tundra are a revamped grille and revised tail lamp. The Tundra is returning with three cab styles and three bed lengths. The regular cab has two doors. The Tundra Double Cab is extended and adds a pair of small rear doors.
The three bed lengths may not compare with the Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and the Ford F-150 offerings of four bed lengths, but the 2011 Toyota Tundra otherwise gives up nothing in size to its competitors. There is a bit tighter fit in the Toyota as far as the head room is concerned and it may not be as stylish as the Ford or Dodge or as upscale as the Silverado or Sierra.
The safety equipment includes driver and front passenger knee airbags and head-protecting curtain side airbags that cover both seating rows and incorporate rollover sensors. Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, USB linking for iPods and other MP3 devices, a navigation system with backup camera, and rear DVD video are among entertainment and communications options.
The price is projected to fall in line with last years (regular-cab with the 4.6-liter V-8 was $25,300); fuel economy is expected to be similar to the 2010 model (15/19 mpg (city/highway) with the V-6 engine and 2WD); and an antiskid system, traction control, and a limited slip differential to help keep it on track are added safety features.
4. 2011 Dodge Ram
Naturally, if you are going to talk Dodge Ram you are going to have to start all talks with the engine, specifically, the HEMI engine that is tough to compete against. According to autodesign.com, “The Ram 1500 boasts a new available 5.7-liter HEMI Magnum engine that delivers 345 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 375 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. Add this to the 4.7-liter Magnum V8 and the 3.7-liter Magnum V6 that the Ram 1500 already offers, and you’re talking about one hefty machine.”
All models will come with an Available rear spoiler, 16-inch performance tires and aluminum wheels, brushed dual exhaust tips, speed sensitive power door locks that lock after 15 mph, trunk lid release, 12-volt accessory outlet for your cellular phone or laptop, and four speakers. The new Neon Dodge Ram also boasts 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space- the largest trunk in its class.
The Ram models will come with standard 17″ styled steel wheels with silver accent center cap, or 17″ steel chrome wheels. Prices for the 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab should begin around $26,000 with 2WD and $30,500 with 4WD. Crew Cab should begin around $30,500 with 2WD and $33,900 with 4WD. The fuel economy for the 4.7 V-8 should be 14/19 mpg with 2WD and 13/18 with 4WD. The 2011 Rams 1500s with the Hemi V-8 should again be rated at or slightly above 14/20 mpg with 2WD and 13/18 with 4WD. They recommend using 89 octane for the HEMI.
5. Ford F-250 Super Duty
The 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup truck promises to offer several new upgrades. For starters, there is a major change planned in the style. The current blue oval Super Duty’s almost imitate the 2002 Ford F-350’s, which means massive chrome bars stretched across the grille, and new taillights.
It gets slightly better fuel mileage than the 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 HD (18 mph highway) and it tows much stronger then the Dodge when matched head-to-head. However, when it comes to price the Dodge is $6,000 cheaper than the Ford F-250 ($49,000 bp) which is a huge negative for the Ford F-250 when comparing “apples with oranges.”
Here are some additional interesting specifications:
1) 26 gallon tank
2) Braking power 0-60 (empty) = 152 ft.
3) Acceleration 0-60 (empty) =8.3 sec.
4) Seating capacity =5
5) Transmission = 6 speed automatic
6) Horsepower = 390
7) Engine = Turbodiesel V-8, iron block, aluminum heads
In addition, the overall drive is superior to that of the Dodge Ram. The Dodge Ram is a much more stiffer ride and doesn’t maneuver as easily at the Ford through Canyon roads or adjust to road difficulties as well.