More than other vehicles, trucks adjust as times change
Trucks are being redesigned to meet tightening fuel economy requirements while still delivering the hauling and towing capacity buyers expect. This change is substantial; America is a land of truck drivers. We buy more pickup trucks than any other type of vehicle and overall, trucks account for a majority of U.S. light vehicle sales. Let's look at what's coming for 2014.
–Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra: GM's full-size pickups are all-new for 2014, with updated styling and redesigned interiors. Clever touches abound, including a rear bumper with an integrated step. Buyers get a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive; a 285-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6; a 355-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8; or a new 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 married to a six-speed automatic transmission. Tow ratings range from 7,200 pounds with the V-6 to 11,500 pounds with the larger V-8.
–Ford F-150: Last redesigned in 2009, look for Ford to unveil a new F-150 next year. While Ford hasn't released any details on the new truck, expect better fuel economy to be one its key attributes.
–Toyota Tundra: Toyota's redesigned full-size pickups are offered in five trim levels and three cab styles with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Base models get a 270-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission. Toyota also offers a pair of V-8s: a 4.6-liter with 310 horsepower or a 5.7-liter with 381 horsepower. Both V-8s come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Tow ratings range from 6,800 pounds with the V-6 to 10,200 pounds with the V-8.
CROSSOVERS AND SUVS:
–Audi Q5: This popular crossover, which already boasts three trim levels, gets two more for 2014: SQ5 and Q5 TDI. The high-performance SQ5 has a supercharged V-6 engine that produces 354 horsepower, enough to propel it to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and a top track speed of 155 mph. At the other extreme is the Q5 TDI diesel, with a 240-horsepower, turbocharged V-6 that achieves an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 31 highway.
–BMW X5: For the third generation of the X5 crossover, BMW will offer a rear-drive version, in addition to all-wheel drive. Power will come from a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine, a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 or a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder diesel engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. While dynamic handling is still a priority, a new Active Driving Assistant package adds such safety features as lane-departure warning and a collision warning system.
–Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban/GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Yukon Denali: These full-size SUVs arrive in early 2014. Their upgraded cabins have 2 inches greater legroom for second-row passengers, who have access to up to six USB ports and six power outlets – including a 110-volt three-prong outlet. And they can store their electronics in the center console, which is large enough to store a laptop. A 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission are standard on the most models, while the GMC Yukon Denali gets a 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8.
–Dodge Durango: Dodge's three-row crossover benefits from an exterior face lift and revised interior. New features include two touch screens, a customizable gauge cluster and optional rear Blu-ray screens. Engines remain unchanged, but they're mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission controlled through a rotary shift knob or paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Tow ratings range from 6,200 to 7,400 pounds.
–Fiat 500L: For its second U.S. model, Fiat has introduced the 500L, a five-door vehicle that's 27 inches longer, 6 inches taller and 6 inches wider than the 500. Given its 167.5-inch length, the 500L is technically a subcompact, but its 120 cubic feet of interior volume is equal to that of a large car, according to the EPA. The front-wheel-drive 500L is powered by a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder matched with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
–Jeep Cherokee: This familiar name replaces the Jeep Liberty and uses a modified Alfa Romeo platform. Engine choices include a 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder or an optional 271 horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6 and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. Both a fully automatic four-wheel-drive system and a two-speed four-wheel-drive system with low range are offered.
–Kia Soul: The vehicle that initiated Kia's design revolution, the Soul, gets new looks, a host of engineering refinements and an upgraded interior. Pandora Internet radio is now integrated into the touch screen, allowing passengers to "like" a song, skip it or manage preferred stations. Buyers get a choice of a 130-horsepower, 1.6-liter or a 164-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, as well as a choice of six-speed transmissions.
–Lincoln MKC: Ford's luxury brand is expected to release this luxury compact crossover in 2014. Based on the Ford Escape, the MKC will feature many of the hallmarks first seen on the MKZ sedan, including Lincoln's new spread-wing grille, expansive panoramic sunroof and a push-button transmission located on the instrument panel.
–Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class: Look for this new compact SUV to hit showrooms this time next year. Smaller than the GLK, the GLA is about the same length as a Volkswagen Tiguan and has a similar engine: a 208-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That's enough power for the GLA250 4MATIC to reach 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. A front-wheel-drive model will arrive early in 2015.
–Nissan Rogue: Looking more like a diminutive Pathfinder, the 2014 Rogue will offer optional three-row seating. All models will be powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission, stability control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are standard. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models are available, as are a host of new safety options.
–Range Rover Sport: Developed alongside the 2013 Range Rover, the new Range Rover Sport looks like its larger sibling and has added capability. This Sport has 2.3 inches more ground clearance, while wading depth has increased by nearly 6 inches. A new 340-horsepower, 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6 engine and a 510-horsepower, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 are mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission and one of two all-wheel-drive systems.
–Subaru Forester: Having debuted this year as a 2014 model, the Forester continues its mission of being little more than a tall utilitarian box. The base engine is a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. Up-level models can be fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that generates 250 horsepower. A new option package offers a host of safety features.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Larry Printz is automotive editor at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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