Even though it has been a tough year, truck manufacturers have been prolific with new models and features.
Heavy-duty sales and news have been slow, as fleets are still working to absorb the excess capacity generated when extra trucks were purchased to beat the 2007 emission rules, but with changes for 2010 right around the corner, don’t expect this segment to stay quiet for long.
The medium-duty segment saw the debut of its first production hybrids, sure to be a hit in the construction market, thanks to fuel and maintenance savings. In the light-duty world, some brands’ hybrid models are moving into their second generation, while other brands are busy giving their popular pickup models a complete makeover.
Here’s a look at the highlights for 2009:
2009 Dodge Ram 1500
The new 2009 Dodge Ram is offered in regular cab, Quad Cab and Ram Crew, with three box lengths: 8-foot (regular cab), 6-foot 4-inches (regular cab and Quad Cab), and 5-foot 7-inches (crew cab). Five trim levels are available: ST, SLT, TRX, Sport, and Laramie.
An improved frame design incorporating high-strength steel supports an all-new multilink coil spring rear suspension that improves ride and handling characteristics without sacrificing payload (up to 1,850 pounds) or towing capability (up to 9,100 pounds).
In addition to the new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI that produces 390 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque, the all-new 2009 Ram offers a 4.7-liter V-8 providing 310 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.7-liter V-6 generating 215 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque.
Drivetrain options include four- and five-speed automatic transmissions; part-time and on-demand four-wheel-drive transfer cases; and 3.21, 3.55, 3.92 and 4.10 axle ratios.
The Ram Crew model features an available "RamBox" cargo management system that provides weatherproof, lockable, illuminated, and drainable storage compartments integrated into both fender sides for effortless access and convenience. Total capacity is 7.4 cubic feet – slightly more than the capacity of a 55-gallon drum. The RamBox system includes a bed divider-extender for oversize loads and a rail system with sliding, adjustable cleats for infinitely adjustable tie-down capability.
Another new innovation for the Ram Crew is a pair of "store-in-the-floor" storage bins with removable liners that offer even more versatile storage. Other convenient storage locations include a large upper glove box, map pockets in door panels and a configurable center console.
2009 Dodge Sprinter
The 2009 Dodge Sprinter features up to 600 cubic feet of cargo capacity, a maximum payload rating of 5,649 pounds, low side step-in height of 19.9 inches, interior roof height of up to 7 feet, and a rear-door opening of 270 degrees. A pallet-friendly side door offers a loading width of 51 inches.
Delivering more than 25 advanced safety and security features, standard features include power windows and locks, integrated wide-angle mirrors, halogen headlamps, 16-inch wheels, tilt- and height-adjustable steering wheel, one-touch triple-flash function turn signals, and Adaptive ESP (Electronic Stability Program) for improved functionality and safety.
The 2009 Sprinter is available in three vehicle lengths at 233, 273 and 289 inches; on two wheelbases of 144 inches or 170 inches, or 170 inches extended with a 15-inch longer rear overhang; and with three interior roof-height options: standard (65 inches), high (76 inches) and mega (84 inches).
The Sprinter’s 3-liter V-6 turbodiesel engine delivers 154 horsepower and maximum torque of 280 pound-feet at 1,200-2,400 rpm. All 2009 Sprinter models are equipped with a standard five-speed automatic transmission.
2009 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty
Ram Heavy Duty pickups offer an available 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine producing 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of low-end torque.
The 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine already achieves 2010 NOx emission standards, and is standard on Dodge Ram 3500 models. The standard power plant on Dodge Ram 2500 trucks is the new 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, delivering 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 395 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm.
The Ram Heavy Duty models are available in a regular cab, Quad Cab, Mega Cab, or Power Wagon configuration, with single or dual rear wheels.
The Ram Mega Cab features many seating and storage configurations, including reclining rear seats, with seat backs tilting from 22 to 37 degrees. The rear-passenger area offers leg room of 44.2 inches, while rear seats also split 60/40, fold down and move forward, providing several configurations for maximum interior cargo capacity and flexibility. In total, the Mega Cab offers 143.2 cubic feet of interior space.
2009 Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab
The 2009 Ram 3500 Chassis Cab comes standard with a new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that will appeal to fleets requiring a gas engine.
Preliminary results show peak torque increased 8 percent to 404 pound-feet, and peak power increases 15 percent to 380 horsepower. At 2,000 rpm, torque improved 6 percent to 350 pound-feet. Also available is a Cummins diesel delivering 305 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 610 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm.
The Ram 3500 Chassis Cab offers a heavy-duty AISIN six-speed automatic transmission (diesel only) with PTO capability and a six-speed manual transmission with PTO capability. An available electronic-shift transfer case is offered, and a factory-installed exhaust brake contributes to both safety and extended brake pad life.
The Ram 3500 Chassis Cab’s standard GCWR has been increased to 24,000 pounds. The brake system has been upgraded with larger rotors and calipers and thicker brake pads. The new brakes also reduce brake drag, which results in a fuel economy improvement of 0.5 mpg.
2009 Dodge Ram 4500/5500 Chassis Cabs
The 2009 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs feature a standard 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel and a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. With a 50,000-psi steel frame to maximize strength and reduce weight, flat "clean" frame rails help facilitate ease of aftermarket upfits.
The standard Cummins engine generates 305 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 610 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm. The Cummins diesel also offers a 50-state emissions package and exterior label that allows drivers to idle without timing restrictions in California and other ARB (Air Resource Board) states.
Four cab-axle lengths (60, 84, 108, and 120 inches) are available. Maximum GVWR is 16,500 pounds for 4500 models, and 19,500 pounds for 5500 models. Both 4500 and 5500 models are rated at 26,000 pounds GCWR.
GMC Sierra/Chevrolet Silverado
For 2009, the Sierra/Silverado lineup enhances fuel economy with a new six-speed automatic that is paired with all V-8 engines except the 4.8-liter. Additionally, the 6.2-liter engine previously exclusive to the Sierra Denali is now offered on SLT/LTZ crew cab models; it is also more powerful than last year’s model and is now E85 FlexFuel capable. A Hybrid model will also be available beginning in 2009, delivering a 25-percent improvement in overall fuel economy while offering a 6,100-pound towing capacity.
A new Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission rolls out into the Sierra/Silverado lineup. It helps the trucks achieve better fuel efficiency on the highway through lower engine speeds. The reduced engine speed also improves interior sound levels.
The Sierra is available with 2WD and 4WD configurations, three cab styles (regular, extended and crew cab) and three cargo box lengths (5-foot 8-inches, 6-foot 6-inches and 8-foot).
To help mitigate the occurrence of rollover events, GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is now standard on all V-8 equipped models. Partnered with an improved, high-capacity brake system and four-channel, four-sensor electronic brake controls, the system provides more precise, controlled ABS stops, as well as enhanced traction/yaw stability.
An available trailer brake controller is integrated with the ABS system to provide immediate and measured brake force signaling to the electric-controlled trailer brake system, without the need for external and/or aftermarket brake control systems.
The Sierra/Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models are offered in regular, extended and crew cab configurations, complemented with standard (6-foot 6-inch) and long (8-foot) cargo box lengths. The 3500HD models are also available with a dual rear wheel configuration on a long (8-foot) box.
The standard engine is a 6.0-liter gas V-8 with variable valve timing, rated at 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque on single rear-wheel configurations (up to 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating). For models with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds, the 6.0-liter engine is rated at 322 horsepower and 380 pound-feet. A Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission paired with the engine offers a maximum GCWR of 18,500 pounds.
Also available is a Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel rated at 365 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. The Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission is partnered with the Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel engine. Fleet models equipped with the Duramax engine are factory enabled to use B20 biodiesel.
All heavy-duty models are available with a trailer brake controller integrated with the ABS system to provide immediate and measured brake force signaling to the electric-controlled trailer brake system.
2009 Sierra/Silverado Hybrids
Available in early 2009, the Sierra Hybrid is offered on Crew Cab models with both 2WD and 4WD. The Hybrid achieves 40-percent greater city fuel economy and a 25-percent improvement in overall fuel economy, while delivering towing capacity of 6,100 pounds on 2WD models and 5900 pounds on 4WD models.
Employing General Motors’ two-mode hybrid system and a 6.0-liter gas V-8, the Hybrid delivers efficient performance, including all-electric driving up to 30 mph, allowing fuel savings to be realized even when the truck is fully loaded or towing a trailer.
GM’s hybrid technology system not only enables the truck to launch and drive up to 30 mph on electricity alone, it also allows the Vortec 6.0-liter V-8 engine to operate in its more economical V-4 mode for longer periods.
With GM’s two-mode hybrid system, the electric power used to propel the vehicle is generated by the hybrid system itself. When the brakes are applied or the vehicle is coasting, the electric motors within the hybrid system create electricity that is stored in the battery. This
stored energy is used to move the vehicle and the regenerative braking cycle is renewed.
New Chevy/GMC XFE Models
GM is offering new XFE models of the 2009 Chevy Silverado, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon. The vehicles use a combination of mechanical, aerodynamic and mass-reducing enhancements to deliver a 5-percent increase in EPA-estimated highway fuel economy and more than 7-percent improved mileage in city driving.
The new Xtra Fuel Economy (XFE) models are available on 2WD vehicles equipped with the 5.3-liter V-8 and six-speed transmission. They achieve 15 city and 21 highway mileage ratings versus comparable non-XFE models’ 14/20 ratings. Most importantly, the increased efficiency does not come at the expense of capability. Towing ratings for the Tahoe and Yukon are unchanged, while the Silverado and Sierra increase from 6,600 pounds to 7,000 pounds due to the new six-speed transmission and high-capacity cooling package.
Fresh from a major redesign in 2008 with changes that included more cab room, enhanced safety features and more power, the 2009 W-Series models are now 50-state emission-certified and may idle for more than five minutes without having to shut down. By meeting the 50-state emission certification, drivers of W4500, W5500 and W5500 HD models can continue to run heat and ventilation equipment in their vehicles while idling at job sites.
For 2009, the T-Series adds Allison Prognostics on Allison 3000 Series transmissions. Allison Prognostics informs the driver when the transmission fluid and/or transmission filter need to be changed. It also lets the driver know when clutch maintenance is due. This information is displayed on the transmission selector for quick reference.
Enhancements to the Kodiak and TopKick for 2009 include greater weight-carrying capacity, Allison Prognostics, larger available wheels, and revised air seats for even greater comfort.
For 2009, 5500-series 4x4 models offer an optional GVWR of 21,500 pounds, an increase of 2,000 pounds over the base rating. For applications requiring increased ground clearance, larger-diameter 22.5 inch by 7.5 inch wheels are offered on 4500 and 5500 4x4 Regular Cab models up to 19,500 pounds GVWR. Allison Prognostics is included on all Allison 3000 and 3500 Series transmissions.
The revised seats feature an integral air compressor in the seat base for a cleaner installation. The seats are easily adjusted to accommodate taller and shorter drivers and feature an adjustable back recliner, a standard inboard armrest and mechanically adjustable lumbar support.
Earlier this year, Daimler Trucks North America announced the establishment of a new Light Commercial Vehicle Team, combining the resources of Sterling’s Class 3-5 lines and the Mitsubishi Fuso brand low cab-over engine (LCOE) operations in North America. Based in
Redford, MI, the operation will focus on the sales and distribution of the Sterling 360, the Sterling Bullet and Mitsubishi Fuso Class 3-7 LCOE trucks.
Kenworth and Peterbilt, both members of the PACCAR family, made the production debut of their first medium-duty hybrid trucks during late summer. The hybrid models are equipped with a PACCAR PX-6 engine rated up to 300 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque, and an Eaton synchronized 6-speed UltraShift transmission.
The hybrid trucks use an integral transmission-mounted motor/generator, frame-mounted 340-volt lithium-ion battery pack, and a dedicated power management system. Advanced powertrain controls monitor driving conditions and automatically select the ideal power mode, smoothly switching among electric-only, combined diesel and electric, and diesel-only power modes.
Two groups in the construction industry are among the earliest adopters of this new fuel-saving technology. Utility and service trucks requiring PTO power for on-board equipment are benefiting from the hybrid system’s ePTO feature that allows compressors, hydraulic pumps and other gear to be powered electrically, without idling the engine. Material and supply delivery operations in crowded urban areas use the hybrid trucks to recapture energy lost during braking, dramatically increasing fuel efficiency in stop and go traffic.
2009 Toyota Tundra
Toyota is expanding the Tundra full-size pickup truck line for 2009, adding flex fuel models and new option packages. The E85 flex fuel is available on 5.7-liter 4x4 models in select regions. The 2009 Tundra offers a choice of 45 models in three wheelbases, three cab styles, three bed lengths, three engines, and three trim levels with 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains. A new cold weather package includes a heavy-duty battery, heavy-duty starter, and a windshield wiper de-icer grid.
Although the 2009 F-150 was originally previewed to the public at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, problems at Ford delayed the truck’s rollout until just days before press time for this article. There are rumors of several contractor-friendly tech features on the truck, but in the absence of any in-depth information or a test-drive, we’ll have to save reporting on those details for a future issue.
According to preliminary information, the new F-150 will offer standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control, an available Rearview Camera Assist, and an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller. Under the hood, the new F-150 will be powered by three gas-powered V-8 engines, mated to either a four-speed or a new fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmission. Diesel and EcoBoost gas turbo direct injection engines are planned for the F-150 in 2010 as well.
With three cab styles, four box options and seven unique trim levels, the 2009 F-150 comes in 35 different configurations. The interior of the F-150 SuperCrew model offers a 6-inch stretch that improves rear seat leg room and cargo capacity, along with a flat load-floor that provides 57.6 cubic feet of space behind the front seats.