The traditional pickup is moving rapidly beyond its leaf-sprung, boxy boundaries, and what were once SUVs have been replaced with car-based, street-minded crossovers. The rules of building a truck, sport/utility, or crossover have been thrown out the window, and the future of this category is decidedly unclear. Will hybrid systems save full-size SUVs? Will diesel power trickle down the line from the heavy-duty truck set? Is everything going to be a crossover?
Fuel-economy regulations are shaping many future trucks, and it's no surprise that a high priority has been set on fuel efficiency and low weight. In fact, many of the upcoming models are based on the smallest truck(like) platforms these particular companies have to offer. Even the Explorer, the vehicle for which the term "sport/utility vehicle" was coined, may be a crossover in the not-so-distant future.
The following section shows the face of trucks, SUVs, and crossovers in the near future. While most are moving toward car-based platforms, some stalwarts will continue to provide the power and towing capacity truck guys crave.
The Dodge truck team didn't stay conservative when designing the 2009 half-ton. The grille and hood are now even more aggressive-designer Ralph Gilles says he wanted to create a front end that acts like a finger poking the other guys right in the chest. Expect a full V-6/V-8 engine range with the possibility of a 6.1-liter Hemi making its debut in a new SRT version. To improve ride and handling, the rear axle is now coil-sprung, rendering this the first full-size half-ton truck to make the switch from leaf springs. Additionally, Dodge will offer in-cab lockable floor storage cubbies for gear or drinks in all four-door models and storage bins, accessed from the top of the bedrails, integrated into the bed.
SUM UP: The F-150 may have some real competition here.