2017 Detroit Auto Show: Top Trucks

© Rod HatfieldTop Trucks in Motown
Trucks are an incredibly iconic and important part of the American automotive landscape. The top three vehicles sold in America are trucks, and the love affair that consumers have with the pickup has been ongoing, meaningful and, yes, profitable. Although there weren’t many all-new trucks at the 2017 North American Auto Show in Detroit, there were plenty of others on display. Take a quick look at some of our favorite pickup trucks that made an appearance at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

© Rod Hatfield2018 Ford F-150
Coming off its 40th year as the truck sales leader in America, the Ford F-150 is getting a refresh for the 2018 model year. It was three years ago that Ford introduced an aluminum-intensive F-150, and the brand is building on that successful model with a number of new high-tech features as well as improved performance. “Truck customers are constantly looking to improve their productivity, for work and for play,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas. “Since 1977, we’ve been America’s favorite truck, and we’ve never taken that leadership for granted. This new F-150 is our latest example of Ford’s commitment to going further for our customers through continuous innovation,” Hinrichs noted.

© Rod Hatfield2018 Ford F-150
The 2018 Ford F-150 is easily distinguished by its new grille and headlight treatment, as well as a new taillight design. Adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality is now available, as is Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. Also available is an embedded 4G LTE hotspot that can handle up to 10 devices at a time. Powerplants for the F-150 get an upgrade, and a 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine is now available — the first diesel ever offered in an F-150. The 2018 Ford F-150 goes on sale in the fall of 2017.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline is a bit quirky within the American truck market thanks to its unibody construction, but quirky can be a good thing — the Ridgeline took home the North American Truck of the Year award at this year’s Detroit show (Honda took the wraps off the all-new Ridgeline last year in Detroit). Ridgeline offers several features that stand out now as much as they did at the truck’s introduction 10 years ago, including a lockable in-bed storage trunk and dual-action tailgate — which is both left- and bottom-hinged. Ridgeline can handle the obligatory 4X8 sheet of plywood, laid flat.

© Rod Hatfield2017 Honda Ridgeline
The 2017 Ridgeline is powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in the Honda Pilot SUV, putting out a plentiful 280 horsepower — good enough to tow up to 5,000 pounds. Ridgeline is also the only pickup truck to be named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Scoring the highest in crash avoidance as well as earning one of the few Good headlight ratings, the pickup can be equipped with the latest version of Honda Sensing, which includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System as well as Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Road Departure Mitigation.

© Rod Hatfield2017 Ram Power Wagon
FCA refers to the Power Wagon as the “most capable off-road truck in America,” and the big truck gets updated styling and features for the 2017 model year. This is the latest in a line of Power Wagons that began in 1945 when the original was the first mass-produced 4WD pickup truck. “Dating back to 1945, the Ram Power Wagon’s heritage holds a distinctive position in the Ram Truck lineup as an example of engineering innovation and off-road capability,” said Rob Wichman, director of Ram Truck Engineering. “For 2017, the Power Wagon’s best-in-class, can-do toughness is matched by can’t-stop-me looks,” he observed. The current model is built on a Ram 2500 platform and stands out from lesser trucks with a larger version of the Ram Rebel grille, tire-tread-matching interior patterns, unique 17-inch wheels fitted with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, as well as new lighting and graphics.

© Rod Hatfield2017 Ram Power Wagon
Among the Power Wagon’s impressive capabilities are 14.3 inches of ground clearance, 26 inches of wheel travel and the ability to drive through up to 30 inches of water. Front and rear electronic locking differentials are standard, as is a Warn winch with a 12,000-pound rating mounted to the front bumper. The Power Wagon’s 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine puts out 410 horsepower — good enough to tow more than 10,000 pounds.

© Rod HatfieldRam Rebel TRX
This one-off Ram concept is a study in the possibility of an extreme performance half-ton pickup truck and is the most powerful half-ton truck the company has ever built. Created for the Texas State Fair, the Rebel TRX stands out with its big 37-inch off-road tires, unique front grille, big fender wells and bright red paint. But it’s what’s underneath that really makes the TRX something special. The high-strength steel frame increases durability and stability, while the custom off-road suspension is the result of a collaboration with Dirt King Fabrication in San Diego, California.

© Rod HatfieldRam Rebel TRX
Power in the Rebel TRX comes from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine borrowed from the Dodge Hellcat, which produces 575 horsepower. With more than 13 inches of wheel travel, performance shocks and custom suspension, the TRX is built to fly off-road at triple-digit speeds. “The Rebel TRX can move through miles of rough terrain at incredible speeds, effortlessly absorbing impacts in a way that would very much surprise most people,” said Rob Wichman, Head of Ram Engineering for FCA North America. “Engineering a truck with such a high tolerance for punishment keeps the focus on chassis development and durability,” noted Wichman. While the TRX is fully functional, FCA currently has no plan to put a truck like this into production.

© Rod HatfieldChevrolet Silverado HD Alaskan Edition
For any truck lover who lives in a snowy climate, this winter-ready pickup may be the vehicle of choice. The Silverado HD Alaskan Edition — first shown at last year’s SEMA show — takes the proven 2500 HD Crew Cab and outfits it to clear a path through the deepest snow. The silver-accented blue exterior, grizzly bear graphics, chrome bumpers, grille, and 20-inch chrome wheels match the big plow out front.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceChevrolet Silverado HD Alaskan Edition
With a next-generation Duramax 6.6L V8 turbodiesel engine under the hood, this Silverado has 445 horsepower and a whopping 910 lb-ft of torque on tap to take care of any snow its path. This concept is based on the Alaskan Edition package offered on the 2017 Silverado HD. “No matter what the weather brings, Chevrolet HD trucks are designed to make the toughest jobs easier,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet Truck marketing director. “The new Alaskan Edition gives customers in snow country a stronger tool for tackling the worst that winter throws at them,” Piszar noted.

© Rod HatfieldChevrolet Silverado 2500HD Carhartt Concept
Originally shown at last fall’s SEMA show in Las Vegas, this custom heavy-duty truck ties together the rugged Carhartt clothing line with the rugged, hardworking Chevy HD truck line. “Chevrolet HD trucks are designed for hard work, and just like your favorite Carhartt, their functionality transcends the workplace to become a style statement,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet Truck marketing director. “This concept vehicle mirrors the lifestyles of countless Chevy truck owners, demonstrating the personal connections with the tools of their trades,” Piszar observed.

© Rod HatfieldChevrolet Silverado 2500HD Carhartt Concept
The Carhartt Silverado stands out with custom paint, a 20-inch LED light bar, Carhartt gold pinstripe graphics, black bowtie emblems and a unique, two-tone Carbon Flash exterior finish, with a matte finish above the beltline and high-gloss black on the bottom half. Inside is Carhartt’s signature duck brown garment material covering the seats, armrests and door panel inserts, all with triple-stitched seams just like the brand’s jackets. The Carhartt logo is etched on the headrests, while antique nickel-finish trim is used on the doors, center console and instrument panel.

© Rod HatfieldRam Macho Power Wagon
If you’re looking for a truck to make a bold statement, the Ram Macho Power Wagon could be the perfect talking point. The Macho Power Wagon takes its inspiration from the original Macho trim of the Power Wagon in the 1970s. Based on the Ram 2500 Power Wagon, the modified truck sits on huge 37-inch off-road tires with a 4-inch lift kit. Aside from the bold styling, the Macho Mango paint certainly grabs attention. Other Mopar add-ons include off-road running boards, large fender flares and a 21-inch heavy-duty light bar. Silver-painted skidplates and tow hooks are integrated into both front and rear bumpers. In the bed of this big truck is a Satin Black RamRack, which can carry all sorts of toys.

© Rod HatfieldRam Macho Power Wagon
The interior of the Macho Power Wagon also gets a Macho Mango treatment on the steering wheel, Ram logo and the trim on the gauges, HVAC, infotainment center and side door panels. Additional Mopar accessories inside include wireless charging, a pedal kit, front and rear all-weather mats and RAM-letter logo sill guards. Under the Macho Power Wagon’s hood is a 6.4-liter HEMI engine teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A Mopar cold-air intake provides additional performance.

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