Coming in medium, large and extra-large sizes, an assortment of new and redesigned trucks are coming for 2015 to meet a wide range of needs

By Jim Gorzelany CTW Features

With the economy continuing to gain momentum and truck sales accelerating with authority, automakers have been racing to refresh what are traditionally their most profitable vehicle lines to help lure loyal pickup owners back into dealers’ showrooms. The 2015 model year is shaping up to be one of the segment’s biggest in recent years, with the first new midsize trucks to hit the market in a decade, a pair of refreshed heavy-duty models and a radically recast renewal of the best-selling vehicle of any type.

That would be the Ford F150 fullsize pickup. It receives a long-awaited redesign this fall that makes extensive use of aluminum to help reduce its curb weight by about 700 pounds for the sake of improved fuel economy, but without having to downsize the truck or otherwise curtail its capabilities. The new F150 assumes a wider stance, with muscular wheel arches and a dynamic front face that enhances the truck’s aggressive appearance. As before, the F150 continues in a full range of cab and cargo bed configurations and includes lavishly equipped Platinum and King Ranch editions. An optional 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine becomes the new fuel economy leader in the line; it includes a start-stop function that automatically shuts itself down while at idle to help maximize its mileage. A 3.5-liter V6 remains the standard powerplant, with the current version’s 3.5-liter turbocharged “EcoBoost” V6 and a traditional 5.0-liter V8 optional. Newly offered features on the 2015 Ford F150 include lane departure and blind spot warning systems, integrated rear loading ramps, cargo bed LED lighting and a new BoxLink cargo-securing system.

 2015 FORD F-150 2015 FORD F-150 General Motors awakens the otherwise dormant small pickup market in North America for 2015 with the reintroduction of its midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models after a prolonged absence. GM hopes there are still enough buyers out there who want added vehicular versatility, but for whom a full-size pickup is otherwise too big and costly and busts the budget at the gas pump. Featuring brand-specific styling cues, both GMC and Chevy versions share platforms, powertrains and most components, and are available in extended cab and four-door crew cab versions with a five or six-foot cargo bed.

A 2.5-liter 193 horsepower fourcylinder engine comes standard for light-duty needs, with a quicker and more-capable 302-horsepower 3.6- liter V6 alternately available; a sixspeed automatic transmission comes standard with a six-speed manual offered on base four-cylinder versions. Special “active” grille shutters automatically close at highway speeds to enhance the trucks’ aerodynamics and, in turn, boost their fuel economy. A 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine will be added later in 2015. Towing capacity is a claimed 6,700 pounds (when properly equipped), which is strong enough to transport a decent-sized trailer or boat to the lake or campsite.

At the other end of the size spectrum, General Motors updates its heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 pickups with cosmetic changes that follow those made to the redesigned standard grade 2014 versions. That means bolder brand-specific exterior appearances, particularly at the front ends of each model, along with more ergonomically designed interiors that feature higher quality materials for a richer look and feel.

Available in standard cab, extended cab and four-door crew cab models, each version packs a choice of a capable 6.0-liter V8 engine or a 6.6-liter turbo-diesel engine with a stump-pulling 765 pound-feet of torque; a bi-fuel version of the 6.0 can run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas. The 2500s can tow a maximum 14,600 pounds when properly equipped, while the 3500s can pull up to 19,600 pounds. With both lines offering a full range of features, the GMCs are further available in leatherclad Denali ultra-luxury versions for those who require maximum muscle, but with a softer side.

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