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2011 Pickup Truck Review

What's new in pickup trucks for 2011?

2011 Ford Super-Duty pickup trucks. Photo courtesy Ford.

By Bill Roebuck

In the pickup truck arena, it's the heavy-duty models that manufacturers have focused on with improvements for the 2011 model year. However, many models basically are carryovers from 2010 pickups, which is understandable considering the struggle that vehicle makers had been through during the 2008-2009 recession.

On their television ads, almost every manufacturer claims best-in-class ratings for horsepower, towing, torque, etc., so prudent pickup truck shoppers will need to compare specifications carefully at the dealership if they want the top-rated truck in any particular rating. With so many configurations and variations available for each model in the complex world of pickup trucks, we simply don't have the space in this article to list them all.

2011 Ford F-150 and 2011 F-250, F-350 and F-450 Super Duty

2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty. Photo courtesy Ford.All new for 2011, Ford's F-250/350/450 Super-Duty pickups have been redesigned inside and out, and feature a new 6.7-litre V8 diesel engine that's quieter, more fuel efficient, and cleaner than before. This diesel also is almost 50% quieter than earlier models, with significantly reduced engine clatter. It delivers 800 lb.-ft. of torque and 400 horsepower. Also new is a 6.2-litre V8 gasoline engine with 385 horsepower and 405 lb.-ft of torque.

Each new engine is mated to an all-new heavy-duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. The 2011 F-Series Super Duty pickup line boasts a towing capability of 11,068 kg (24,400 lb.) and payload capacity of 3,207 kg (7,070 lb.).

For 2011, regular-duty half-ton F-150 models carry over the performance and option updates introduced for the 2010 model year. The F-150 SVT Raptor, however, gets a previously optional 6.2-litre V8 engine as standard for 2011, plus upgraded technology content, including a standard 4.2-in. LCD productivity screen and SelectShift Automatic transmission.  See our full review of the 2011 F-Series Super Duty pickup truck.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado and 2011 GMC Sierra

General Motors' Silverado and Sierra full-size pickup trucks are twins, so the mechanical specs are the same for both. Just the body style and trim features vary between them, and few major changes in the 1500-series regular-duty versions have been made for 2011 after the enhancements made for the 2010 models.

Regular, extended and crew cab versions are available, along with a choice of regular-length and short cargo beds. In addition, you can choose from among three gasoline engines, a diesel or a hybrid.

However, there is a major change for this year in the heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 model line-up. The 2011 Silverado HD and Sierra HD boast an all-new chassis with a high-strength, full-length, fully boxed steel frame. It also gets an upgraded powertrain, asymmetrical leaf spring rear suspension, beefed up new independent front torsion bar suspension, and larger capacity front and rear brakes.

Highlights of the 2500HD include a 14% increase in Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, up to 5,897 kg (13,000 lb.); 23% higher ball-hitch trailering capacity, now up to 7,711 kg (17,000 lb.); 12% more power; and 16% more torque. See our full review of the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD

2011 Ram Truck

2011 Ram Outdoorsman pickup truck. Photo Courtesy Chrysler Group LLC.Available in the 1500 series, and the heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 series, there are more than 40 variations of Ram pickups for 2011, from base through to luxury. Regular, Quad Cab and Crew Cab configurations also are available, in standard-length or long-box set-ups.

The Ram carries over upgrades made on its 2010 models to increase their payload capacities. The V6 models come with a four-speed transmission, while the V8s get a five-speed. A Cummins diesel engine is available too, with a standard six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic.

Ram models continue to offer an office storage system in the front seats, store-in-the-floor bins in Crew Cab models, optional rear park assist and rear-view camera, and a waterproof, lockable in-fender storage system called RamBox.

One addition for 2011 is an all-new Outdoorsman model for Ram light and heavy-duty pickups. It's aimed at truck owners who like to play outside with their trucks when they're not working hard with them, since 62% of full-size pickup truck owners hunt, fish or camp.

Another is the Ram Laramie Longhorn edition, the most luxurious Ram Truck ever produced by Chrysler Group LLC. The Ram lineupís most well-appointed model is designed for the owner who needs a truck for work or play, but wants quality and refinement, the company says.

And returning for 2011 is the Ram Power Wagon, a factory-equipped, off-road-ready pickup truck. Itís equipped with electric-locking front and rear differentials, an electronic disconnecting sway bar, Bilstein shocks, 33-inch BFGoodrich off-road tires, underbody skid plate protection, a 4.56 axle ratio for hill climbing and a custom-built Warn 12,000-lb. winch hidden behind the front bumper.

Also for 2011, the Ram Truck brand added the Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks to its line-up. See our full review ofthe 2010 Ram HD

2011 Nissan Titan

There are very few changes for the 2011 Nissan Titan pickup truck, other than new names for the half-ton models. The entry-level XE, middle-line SE and top-of-the-line LE trims have been renamed S, SV and SL, respectively. A Pro-4X model features performance shock absorbers, a lower final drive ratio, additional skid plates, an Electronic Locking Rear Differential and unique 18-in. off-road wheels with special all-terrain tires. Inside, it has unique meters and gauges.

There are two cab configurations available, King Cab and Crew Cab, with two wheelbases -- 3550 mm and 4050 mm -- and two bed lengths on the Crew Cab.

One engine/transmission combination is available, although two- and four-wheel drive set-ups are offered. The five-speed automatic is mated to a 5.6-litre V8 rated at 317 horsepower and 385 lb.-ft. torque. The Titan offers a maximum towing capacity of 4,309 kg (9,500 lb.) for King Cab models and 4,264 kg (9,400 lb.) for the Crew Cab configuration.

2011 Toyota Tundra

The changes made to the Toyota Tundra in 2010 carry over for the 2011 models, with minor option changes being offered, along with two new exterior colours -- Barcelona Red and Magnetic Grey. In the 2010 versions, the Tundra got more power, better fuel economy and more models. It also received a refreshed design in the front and at the rear.

Two- and four-wheel drive models are available in Regular Cab, Double Cab and CrewMax versions, with short and long box lengths available.

There are two engine choices, a 4.6-litre V8 and a 5.7-litre V8. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with a limited slip differential. Payload capacities range up to 830 kg (1,835 lb.) and towing ratings go as high as 4,760 kg (10,500 lb.). Various off-road and upgrade packages are available.

Bill Roebuck is the Editor of © CarTest! ô

Posted Oct. 4, 2010.

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