Christmas in January: Loads of New Trucks at the Detroit Auto Show
The Driver’s Seat
I’ve never been a huge fan of auto shows. Lots of well-dressed executives blabbering on about some new concept that will never exist or putting on a Vegas-level production for a 10-year-old CUV with new headlights and side molding. But I go anyway in hopes that big news will drop. For the first time in a long time, I left an auto show not only exhausted but excited as well.
I couldn’t have asked for more from the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This second show of the season brought exactly what was missing at the 2017 Los Angeles International Auto Show. The three majors of the pickup segment—Ford, Ram, and Chevrolet—all introduced new models. And, along with the three pickups, there was also a variety of new and refreshed SUVs for the perusing.
First to make news was Chevrolet with the company’s new ’19 Silverado 1500. As the first completely new Silverado in nearly a decade, I was beyond excited to see what the General could come up with. A new chassis made of high-strength steel, a body with aluminum panels, and all sorts of trick aerodynamic features adorn the exterior, while updated interiors and powertrains live under the hood. Chevy is doing a slow rollout, so we won’t know all of the details until later this year. One thing that is known, however, is that it’ll be available with six powertrains, one of which will be a 3.0L Duramax I-6 diesel.
Next up to the table was Ford, which announced the highly anticipated return of Ranger to the North American market. Based on the skeleton of its global “T6” Ranger, the U.S.-spec pickup has been updated with steel bumpers front and rear, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and the company’s 2.3L I-4 EcoBoost engine. Specs are scant on the Ranger as well, but it’s expected to enter production late in 2018, and I’m crossing every finger possible that we see the Raptor version that Ford’s been teasing in Africa here in the U.S. sooner rather than later.
Last, but certainly not least, of the pickup introductions came courtesy of Ram. The company’s flagship ½-ton has been redone from the ground up for the first time since ’09. A new high-strength steel frame provides the backbone on which a steel cab sits. Taking a different approach than its competitors, Ram saved aluminum for only the hood and tailgate. With this new pickup, Ram claims best-in-class V-8 towing of 12,700 pounds and best-in-class payload of 2,300. LED lighting is found throughout the vehicle, and a host of trick wizardry makes it one of the most aerodynamic pickups ever. The 5.7L Hemi V-8 and 3.6L Pentastar V-6 make a return, now with an eTorque mild-hybrid system standard on the six and available on the eight. EcoDiesel fans will have to wait, though, as the oil-burner will be a late-availability option.
SUV manufacturers also got in on the action, as Mercedes introduced the first fully redesigned G-Class in the vehicle’s storied history; while exterior styling remained constant, Benz changed just about everything under the skin. Nissan showed off the wildly futuristic Xmotion (pronounced “cross-motion”) concept, which could easily be alluding to a future Pathfinder or Rogue—or nothing at all. Acura brought the ’19 RDX Prototype to the show, and BMW showed off its new X2 crossover. Finishing off the wild week was the refreshed ’19 Jeep Cherokee, now with more engine options and new styling that’s 100-percent less ugly than the previous generation.
After four exhausting days, the media preview came to a close. While the show might be over, the excitement is sure to stay throughout the year. I am beyond excited to see what is to come in 2018 and cannot wait to get behind the wheel of these great new vehicles.