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  • Deep in the Heart of Texas: New Trucks from the Texas State Fair

Deep in the Heart of Texas: New Trucks from the Texas State Fair

Big Truck News from the Lone Star State

Allyson Harwood
Dec 7, 2011
Texas is the biggest truck market in the United States, which means the Texas State Fair is a great venue for truckmakers to show the public -- and the media -- what's new for pickups. The timing is also ideal for unveiling what's coming in the next model year. Here's the latest news from Texas, and what you can expect to see in 2012.
FORD
Ford had significant news at the fair this year, revealing improvements to its F-150 line as well as new standard features on the Raptor. First on the list is a new appearance package. The new FX package, an option on four-wheel-drive (FX4) and two-wheel-drive (FX2) trucks, comes with flat black styling cues on the body and tailgate, and flat black side steps and 20-inch wheels. The front and rear bumpers are black; it has a black grille and blacked-out head- and taillights; and there are red badges on the truck's exterior. The black interior has leather seats with red piping and red perforations, plus red stitching on the steering wheel. An FX logo adorns the gauge cluster, and the FX luxury package offers seat coolers in addition to the seat heaters that were already available.
On the mechanical side, there were a few tweaks as well. Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trim levels have the option of automatic 4WD. This system, which replaces the electronic shift-on-the-fly setup on these three models only, is a two-speed system that includes high range, low range, and 4x4 auto mode, which makes it more like AWD. (ESOF is now standard on XL to FX4 4WD models.) All 4WD F-150s now have a neutral tow mode, meaning you can flat-tow, and for the EcoBoost- and 5.0-powered F-150s, the optional electronic locking rear axle replaces the limited-slip offered previously. That axle is also available on rear-drive trucks. Hill Start Assist, especially handy when towing, is also new to the F-150 for 2012. If your truck is stopped facing uphill, sensors detect the angle and activate the system. This keeps the truck from rolling backward for 2 seconds after you take your foot off the brake, giving you enough time to switch from the brake to gas pedal.
Photo 2/14   |   2012 Ford F150 Raptor Front End
Also, there's a light-duty XL and XLT SuperCab option on the 163-inch wheelbase, and a heavy-duty payload SuperCrew on the 157-inch wheelbase, offered in XL, XLT, and Limited trims. One final bit of F-150 news from the fair: All 4WD EcoBoost-equipped F-150s now come with a 36-gallon fuel tank standard, making the truck's potential range 756 miles on a single tank. That tank size had been an option on all 4WD models in 2011 (except the shortbed regular cab). It's now standard on all 4WD pickups as well, with the same exception as before.
Photo 3/14   |   2012 Ford F150 Raptor Hood
The Raptor also receives major updates for 2012. The biggest news is that the truck now gets a Torsen front diff that uses a helical gear set to send traction to the wheel that has grip, away from the wheel that may be losing traction off-road. Also potentially helpful off-road is the new camera mounted in the front grille. It provides a new close-up view of the obstacles in front of you, displayed on the screen in the center stack. The camera, which can be ordered with the nav system, only works up to speeds of 15 mph, and also comes with a lens washer (like the windshield washer, this is operated through a stalk on the steering column). This camera is a feature we'd like to see on every off-road vehicle. There are new graphics offered for the body and hood, a new matte blue interior package, and optional seat heaters. And the Raptor is available with a new Euroflange wheel with weights inside.
Photo 4/14   |   2012 Ford F150 FX Rear Three Quarters
"Ford’s FX exterior sports stealthy flat-black styling on body, tailgate, sidesteps, wheels, bumpers, and grille. Drive system gets upgrades."
RAM TRUCK
Three new pieces of news came from Ram Truck. First was the announcement that the 1500 Express would be made available on Quad Cab and Crew Cab models. Previously offered only on regular-cab Ram 1500s, the Express comes with the 5.7-liter V-8 at a more affordable price than other trim levels, starting at $23,080 for the regular cab, $28,050 for the Quad Cab, and $30,210 for the Crew Cab. This trim level is aimed at younger buyers, especially those with an eye for the aftermarket. Interior features lean more toward those of a work truck: cloth or vinyl seats, carpet or heavy-duty vinyl on the floor, and standard power windows and locks with the Quad and Crew Cabs.
Photo 8/14   |   2012 Ram Truck Front Three Quarter In Motion
The Ram 1500 Trademan Heavy Duty is a new model in the line. It's said to have best-in-class towing of 11,500 pounds -- beating the F-150 by 200 -- and best-in-class payload, exceeding that of the F-150 by 50. It's based on a 2500 frame (helping give the truck its best-in-class towing/payload numbers), with heavy-duty axles and eight-lug hubs, plus beefed-up cooling, larger brakes, six-speed HD automatic, Class IV hitch, and four- and seven-pin trailer wiring connectors. The truck will be sold as a rear-drive regular cab with an 8-foot bed, and pricing starts at $29,135.
Photo 9/14   |   2012 Ram Truck Front Three Quarters
The RamBox is now an option for 6-foot-4-inch beds. This storage system includes two lockable weatherproof storage bins in the truck bed (totaling 8.6 cubic feet of storage), a cargo rail system, and a bed extender. It had been offered on the 5-foot-7-inch bed; now, you can get this feature on everything from 1500 regular cabs to single-rear-wheel 2500 and 3500 HDs. It's also available for the ST trim level.
Photo 10/14   |   2012 Ram Truck Rear Three Quarters
"The Ram 1500 Express is available in Crew and Quad Cab configurations, making it easy to bring friends along."
TOYOTA
Toyota has spent three decades racing -- and winning -- the Baja 500 and 1000. In honor of that heritage, Toyota unveiled a new special edition of its 2012 Tacoma, the T|X Baja Series. While the truck on display was a preproduction model, Toyota plans a late spring 2012 production launch. The company expects that the limited-edition Baja Series will be offered on Access and Double Cab 4WD models with the TRD Off-Road package; it might be an option on PreRunner Tacomas as well. The Baja Series will offer the 4.0-liter V-6, with a choice of the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The Off-Road package has traction control (A-TRAC), downhill assist, and hill-start assist. The new edition adds gray beadlock-style wheels with 265/70R16 BFGoodrich T/A KO tires, TRD cat-back exhaust, and Baja Series graphics. Front ride height is increased nearly 2 inches, and the suspension uses Bilstein race shocks front and rear and TRD coil springs up front. The rear Bilsteins are remote reservoir units. Wheel travel increases by an inch front and 1.5 inches rear.
Photo 11/14   |   2012 Toyota Tacoma Baja Side
"T|X Baja Series is designed for off-road use. Its suspension increases ride height and wheel travel over the standard Tacoma."

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