You have more full-size pickup choices in terms of both models and options than ever before. This can make selection a daunting task. It is virtually impossible to consider all of the features and options available from all of the major manufacturers. To help you narrow the list, we have compiled a few critical specifications and a brief overview of some of the latest offering being introduced for the 2006 model year.
For 2006, Toyota offers nearly 20 model configurations of its Tundra full-size pickup. This includes the choice of a 236-hp V-6 or 271-hp V-8 with Regular Cab, Access Cab or Double Cab and SR5 or Limited trim levels.
The i-Force V-8 is teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission and is available in two- and four-wheel-drive models. The V-6 models come with the two-wheel-drive powertrain and a standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission.
In both engines, Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) helps provide low-end and mid-range torque. An electronic throttle control system with intelligence (ETCS-i) helps optimize performance and fuel economy.
Every Nissan Titan comes with a 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V-8 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with a Tow/Haul mode. The Titan is equipped with a fully boxed ladder frame and uses front and rear Dana axles.
Dodge introduces the Mega Cab, measuring 111.1 in. long and offering 143.2 cu. ft. of interior space. It features the first rear reclining seats in a pickup, tilting back from a 22° to 37° seat-back angle for added comfort. The rear passenger area also offers 44.2 in. of leg room.
Storage space inside the cab was also a key consideration. There is 7.7 cu. ft. of storage space behind the rear seat and 72.2 cu. ft. of interior cargo volume.
The Dodge Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pickups also feature new premium amenities for 2006. These include a full-screen GPS Navigation radio, rear-seat DVD (Quad Cab only), Infinity sound system and UConnect hands-free communication system, power sliding rear window and bucket seats.
Chevrolet introduces the VortecMAX Performance Package with enhanced towing capability. It includes the VortecMAX 6000 V-8 with 345 hp, as well as a locking rear differential, special exterior badging and unique engine cover. The package is available on select 1500 extended and crew cabs, with either two- or four-wheel drive, and on vehicles with mid- and uplevel trim.
In addition, a new version of the Duramax 6600 turbo-diesel V-8 engine will debut in the interim 2006 model year as an option on Silverado Heavy Duty models. When mated to an all-new Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission, it will deliver 360 hp at 3,200 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Allison 1000 transmission grows from a five-speed automatic to a six-speed automatic. It's available for 2006 Silverado HD models equipped with the Duramax 6600 6.6L V-8 diesel or Vortec 8100 8.1L V-8. The transmission features a range selection function that allows the driver to easily select the desired gears to match driving conditions.
Previously available in select markets, the Silverado 1500 Hybrid is available nationally in 2006. It promises up to a 10% fuel economy improvement through its ability to automatically stop and restart the engine under different operating circumstances. This hybrid incorporates a compact 14-kW electric induction motor or starter generator integrated between the engine and transmission. It also generates electrical current to charge the batteries and run auxiliary power outlets, and provides coast-down regenerative braking.
This year, Ford F-150 4x2 V-8 models can be ordered with Traction Assist to improve acceleration and stability on slippery surfaces. In addition, a 20-in. wheel is available on FX4, Lariat and King Ranch editions. Later in the model year, the SuperCrew will become available with a 6.5-ft. cargo box. Also later in the model year, a flex-fuel version of the 5.4-liter Triton V-8 engine will be available that can use up to 85% ethanol.
The F-250 and F-350 offer more package choices. All engines benefit from electronic throttle control, which provides economy and performance benefits. For commercial users who need elevated engine speed to run aftermarket power take-off (PTO) systems, the “stationary elevated idle control" feature is available on all models.
The torque-based electronic throttle control uses driver input from the accelerator pedal to actively modulate the torque at the drive wheels. The technology produces a seamless and consistent engine response, improved fuel economy and enhanced integration of vehicle systems, such as the transmission, variable camshaft timing, vehicle speed control and idle speed control.
Super Duty transmissions include the rugged six-speed manual and the TorqShift five-speed automatic.
The TowCommand System includes the industry's first factory-installed and warranted electronic trailer brake controller. This includes a special trailer brake strategy when the truck's anti-lock braking system detects poor traction. The TowCommand System also includes the TorqShift transmission with tow-haul mode and telescoping trailer tow mirrors.
The Sierra 1500 is now available with a new extended cab/short box configuration. Available with two- or four-wheel drive, the extended cab design is matched with a 5-ft. 8-in. box – the same as Crew Cab models – giving customers three bed choices: short, standard and long.
Towing will be enhanced on several models with the VortecMAX Performance Package. It is designed to increase the towing capability of four-wheel-drive models of the Sierra 1500 extended cab/standard-length box and Sierra 1500 Crew Cab. The package includes a high-output Vortec 6000 engine rated at 345 hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque, 17-in. wheels, a heavy-duty trailering package, new 9.5-in. rear axle and automatic locking differential.
Diesel vehicles equipped with the new Allison 1000 six-speed transmission feature cruise control grade braking. Working in harmony with the tow/haul mode, the cruise grade braking system will automatically downshift to help maintain the pre-selected cruise speed when driving on downhill grades. A new low-traction mode also is standard on diesel-powered vehicles. When the driver selects second gear while stopped and wheel slip occurs, the transmission torque-manages the engine to limit tire slip.
The Sierra 1500 Hybrid is also available nationally in 2006.