The 2016 NTEA Work Truck Show: Inner Peace
Interiors of the Work Truck Show
The 2016 Work Truck Show (WTS) in Indianapolis, Indiana, is one of the industry’s largest events, showcasing the best of the vehicle productivity business. And since vehicle productivity begins with the person using the equipment, WTS is also a great place to check out some of the coolest, most convenient truck interiors in the world.
Those of you rolling your eyes at the combination of the words, “convenient,” “interiors,” and “coolest” have lived charmed lives, lives during which the only thing your truck has ever hauled was you, a couple of passengers, and a cheeseburger and fries. But for those who use their vehicles to haul families, tools, power equipment, and more, a well-designed interior is indeed very cool. We’ll admit, we’re using the I-word a bit liberally, as we’re including truck bodies and the like, but as you’ll see, there’s a lot to be said for a convenient interior and truck bed.
Whether you’re looking for an empty box van to hold the maximum amount of stuff, a mobile tool bench complete with shelving units and tool storage, or a midsize pickup utility shell for a bit more security, the NTEA Work Truck Show has enough versatility for just about any truck professional. Ford even brought its all-new, wheelchair-accessible Explorer SUV to the show, proving there’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to vehicle packaging and versatility.
While we’ll cover the WTS 2016 in more detail in the next issue of Work Truck Review, read on to learn more about some of the most impressive interiors in the pickup, van, and medium-duty business.
I should have been a fireman. That’s all we could think as we poked around this awesome fleet-only Chevrolet Suburban 3500, customized for fire service.
Equipped with all the accouterments needed to help a fire chief do his or her job safely and effectively, Chevrolet’s on-stand show truck was the subject of lots of gawking and boyhood-style daydreaming. It’s also a model of firehouse-style tidiness. There’s a place for everything—and everything is in its place
Ford must be proud of the ’17 F-Series Super Duty’s all-new interior, because it was the only thing on display at this show exhibit. Mounted atop an F-450’s chassis, the interior is an improvement over that of its predecessor, with modern styling and nice materials. This cross section reveals how plush the carpet is as well.
The Ram ProMaster City’s interior isn’t gigantic, but this Weatherguard shelving and locking drawer make the most of the space that’s there to create a nimble, urban-area work truck.
With a flat-panel television and ample storage for scuba tanks, fins, and other gear, this ProMaster City shows the little van can be a decent hobby machine as well as a work vehicle. The two-tone Mopar Accessories leather seating in the cockpit adds a little visual pop to the utilitarian vanlet.
Utilimaster turned a neighborhood electric vehicle into a “snack-size” food truck for the Work Truck Show. We could see the GEM eL and Utilimaster service body doing very well at county fairs and other pedestrian-heavy venues. In fact, Utilimaster served cookies, soda, and water from the back of its smallest utility body throughout the Work Truck Show.
Sortimo customized a low-roof Ram ProMaster with the Exxpand line of shelving, including a handy sliding-door partition with window. Slip-resistant flooring comes along for the ride, turning the fullsize van into a handy workspace or events-support headquarters.
One of our favorite units on display, the KnapKap UltraCab High Utility topper by Knapheide also came equipped with a CargoGlide CG1200, a sliding bed floor with a 1,200-pound weight rating. Inside the KnapKap were two nicely integrated storage units, accessible from both inside and outside the bed cap.
Another variation on the little-van-big-utility theme, Masterack’s Ford Transit Connect came with three sliding drawers at the rear of the vehicle, along with a set of shelving units on the van’s sliding side doors. For plumbers, contractors, and other professionals who use lots of easily misplaced nuts, bolts, and supplies, a setup like this could be a real timesaver.
International used the Work Truck Show to hype up its all-new International HX-Series, featuring a comfortable interior lined with high-luxury materials. The standard suspension cab also comes with air conditioning, power windows, and a driver-centric angled center console—all nice features when you’re spending hours a day on the road.
Back at the Ford booth, the company’s product experts loved demonstrating the ’17 Super Duty’s wide-open SuperCab doors. The rear apertures open to more than 170 degrees, making backseat access (and panoramic interior photos) a cinch.
With ample space between its wheelhouses, the midsize Mercedes-Benz Metris can haul more than 60 sheets of 4x8 plywood in its cargo bay, even when equipped with this example’s upfit cargo partition. Positioned a size above the Ford Transit Connect but below the M-B Sprinter and Ram ProMaster, the Metris competes in a class of one.
Ranger Designs’ brand-new Max View Safety Partition gives van owners a panoramic view to the rear. With better visibility, thermal insulation, and acoustics than mesh partitions, Ranger says its clear composite solution solves many of the problems faced by those who want to keep their passenger cabins separate from their smelly, dirty, or noisy cargo. The partition is shown here on a Ford Transit Connect.
The American Midwest Fleet Solutions FlexGuard safety partition spreads van versatility to crossovers and SUVs like this Ford Escape. By separating the driver from his or her cargo, this kind of partition would be useful for those who occasionally haul boxes or crates and would like some security in case of an accident.
A.R.E. brought its HDCU-Series bed cap for the GMC Canyon to the Work Truck Show, touting its aluminum construction, optional rearview camera, and T-handle–locking doors and windows. Finished in the same shade as the truck, the HDCU looked extremely sleek.
The Nissan NV200 can apparently be used as a refrigerated van, given how common it was at the Work Truck Show. Converted by the refrigeration experts at Gruau, the NV200 would be a perfect van for urban food or floral deliveries.
For the first day of the show, this looked like a mildly customized Explorer, thanks to its carbon-fiber wrap and aggressive wheel design. However, on Day Two, Ford let this thing loose, revealing it to be the Braunability MXV, the first wheelchair-accessible SUV.
The front seat can be removed, leaving space for a wheelchair-accessible driving position. Once all the passengers are buckled in and secured, there’s plenty of room.
The wheelchair ramp preempts the use of the middle seat, but the third row is left intact, making the MXV a four-seat family vehicle. With plenty of cargo space and a cool, un-minivan appearance, the Braunability MXV will surely make plenty of friends among those in the market for its services.