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Exterior Color: Tan
Trim: Explorer Conversion
Car buyers have a responsibility to be well-informed consumers. That's not always a very simple task, but some guidelines are self-evident. If you live in a very snowy climate, you generally know a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro might not be as viable a vehicle choice as an all-wheel drive Explorer or Traverse, for example. If you want a fuel-efficient car, it's generally a good idea to know the difference between a diesel and a hybrid. But what if it's kind of tough to be an informed consumer? What if the information you need is more difficult to come by, or worse, based on different standards for each vehicle? Well, in that case, you might be a truck shopper.
For years, customers of light-duty pickups have had to suffer through different ratings of towing capacities for each brand. For 2015 model year trucks, though, that will no longer be a problem. According to Automotive News, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Group have announced that starting with next year's models, a common standard will be used to measure towing capacity. The Detroit Three will join Toyota, which adopted the Society of Automotive Engineers' so-called SAE J2807 standards way back in 2011.
The standard was originally supposed to be in place for MY2013, but concerns that it would lower the overall stated capacity for trucks led Detroit automakers to pass. Ford originally passed, claiming it'd wait until its new F-150 was launched to adopt the new standards, leading GM and Ram to follow suit. Nissan, meanwhile, has said it will adopt the new standards as its vehicles are updated, meaning the company's next-generation Titan should adhere to the same tow ratings as its competitors.
Even as fuel prices creep back up, trucks are still a hot item among new-vehicle shoppers. To see how popular pickup trucks still are, you don't have to look any further than how much effort automakers put into the continual one-upmanship of their trucks. Backing this fact up, USA Today is reporting that the segment could top two million sales this year - a total not matched since 2007, though still far from the pre-recession, three-million-unit levels.
Through August, the Ford F-Series continues to be the segment leader with almost 500,000 units sold, but the Chevy Silverado (328,269), Ram 1500 (234,642), GMC Sierra (122,232) and Toyota Tacoma (110,293) are all seeing at least 20-percent sales increases, helping to account for around 1.44 million truck sales so far this year - not including possible outliers like the Suzuki Equator and Chevy Avalanche.
This year alone, General Motors has completely redesigned its fullsize trucks, Ram and Toyota have significantly updated their offerings, the next-gen Ford F-150 will be out next year and Nissan is promising an all-new Titan around the same time with an eventual Cummins diesel under the hood. It would seem, then, that truck sales are poised to continue their upward trend.
Despite initially launching in just the Crew Cab configuration, the lineup of 2014 GMC Sierra and 2014 Chevrolet Silverado trucks will eventually grow to include three cab sizes and three bed lengths. Oddly enough, our first look at the Regular Cab bodystyle has arrived in a General Motors press release discussing the aerodynamics of the new truck, with an image showing a Sierra Regular Cab testing in the wind tunnel. GMC's website says that Regular Cab and Double Cab models will be available by summer.
While it really didn't take too much imagination to figure out what the two-door version would look like, this Regular Cab Z71 looks pretty sharp with its standard-length (6.5-feet) bed - a longer bed will also be offered. In regards to the aero tuning of the 2014 Sierra, these images show just how far GM has gone in maximizing the truck's fuel efficiency and reducing its noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels. Interestingly, the press release shows visual evidence that keeping the tailgate up is best for aero - there's always been some Mythbusters-level contention about such things -but GM also says that adding tonneau covers (preferably soft) and running boards can also help improve the overall aerodynamics. Scroll down for all of this aero info in the official press release.