The latest generation of pickups offer increased capacities in terms of payload, Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), increased towing, more torque and higher horsepower. In many cases, these performance increases are accompanied by increased fuel efficiency, driver comfort and safety.
Such advancements are possible thanks to enhanced powertrains, stronger frames and improved suspension systems. The following highlights some of the more noteworthy features of 2010 and 2011 models.
New engines, six-speed transmissions and advanced electronics translate into more horsepower, more torque and increased fuel economy.
Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups are built around the new 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbocharged diesel and 6.2-liter V-8 gasoline engines.
The Power Stroke diesel features a compacted graphite iron engine block to reduce weight and maximize strength; inboard exhaust and outboard intake architecture to reduce overall exhaust volume and increase throttle response; single-sequential turbocharger with a double-sided compressor wheel mounted on a single shaft; high-pressure fuel system that injects at more than 29,000 psi; and aluminum cylinder heads.
The result is an engine boasting 735 ft.-lbs. of torque at 1,600 rpm and 390 hp at 2,800 rpm. It has towing capacities of 24,400 lbs. and payload capacities to 6,520 lbs. To optimize performance and fuel economy while meeting exhaust emissions standards, Ford chose to use selective catalytic reduction (SCR), which requires the injection of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) into the exhaust stream to reduce NOx emissions by more than 80%.
On the gasoline side, the company offers 405 ft.-lbs. of torque and 385 hp with its large bore, short stroke 6.2-liter V-8. The large 102mm bore allows for bigger intake and exhaust valves for improved engine breathing. The short 95mm stroke allows higher engine horsepower. This engine can run on regular-grade gasoline, E85 or any blend in between.
A six-speed TorqShift transmission was developed to handle all the torque the more powerful engines generate. Fuel economy is improved by the transmission's wider gear span, advanced controls that optimize the shift schedule, reduced parasitic friction losses and a lower-rpm torque converter lock up. When mated to the Power Stroke diesel, the transmission also features a live drive PTO. Power is available any time the engine is running to operate PTO devices.
Unlike its competition, the diesel engine-equipped Dodge Ram pickups will not require DEF fluid. The Cummins 6.7-liter turbo diesel engine uses exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to reduce particulate matter emissions and an absorber catalyst to reduce oxides of nitrogen. To accommodate the engine's cooling requirements, the grille opening is larger than the light-duty grille.
Cummins-equipped Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups come with a standard diesel exhaust brake for improved brake life. These models are also available with six-speed manual transmissions.
Ram 1500 trucks have an interactive Decel Fuel Shut Off (iDFSO), which turns off the flow of fuel during vehicle deceleration for improved fuel economy without noticeable changes in engine performance.
For 2011, General Motors unveils a new Duramax 6.6-liter diesel engine and Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission, which enables an exhaust brake system. The enhanced transmission offers driver shift control with tap up/tap down shifting and an elevated idle mode cab warm-up feature. It has been strengthened to handle the higher torque capability of the new engine. Greater efficiency is delivered through reduced "spin loss," which means the transmission channels more of the engine's power to the axles.
The Duramax utilizes a 30,000-psi, high-pressure, Piezo-actuated fuel system for greater fuel efficiency, improved performance and reduced emissions. The engine pumps out 397 hp at 3,000 rpm and 765 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. An SCR aftertreatment system using DEF provides optimized diesel engine performance.