It’s a bond that can never be broken. Until the next one is formed, that is. You’ll have your share of fights, you’ll call her some bad names at times, but deep down the love and gratitude always remain. A contractor and his/her truck. Whether you own it outright or you use one from your company’s fleet, it is your most relied on tool.
This time of year is always exciting to look forward to next year’s trucks, and it is no different for the 2015 models. A general consensus of contractors revealed that brand loyalty, fuel economy, payload, towing capacity and cargo space are all top of mind when making a truck purchasing-making decisions.
As truck professionals get ready for the car and truck shows, let’s take a look at some of the 2015 models and what’s available for contractors.
Gaining more popularity for its drivability in metropolitan areas, the Transit Connect offers easy maneuverability and two wheelbase lengths. The long-wheelbase van provides 128.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity and can accommodate items up to 7 feet long, 5 feet wide and nearly 4 feet tall.
• 4.2-inch multifunction touch screen display available
• Quickclear™ electric windshield defroster with heated washer jets
• Choice of rear liftgate or 180-degree swing-out rear cargo doors with optional fixed glass
• 2,000-pound towing capacity (when properly equipped)
• 1,710-pound cargo capacity
According to William Mattiace, Utility Vehicles Communications, Ford, the Transit Connect cargo van is ideal for commercial contractor use, with its fuel efficiency —highway at 30 mpg — cargo space, payload, and the overall configurability/customization options.
“Customers can choose either a short or long-wheelbase, flip-up hatch/liftgate or side-hinged swing-out dual doors,” says Mattiace. “There are so many ways to make this vehicle work for any type of business, large or small.”
If the size of the Transit Connect is a bit too small, check out its “big brother” the full-size Transit.
“Especially ideal for contractors who use their vehicles as a mobile workshop, the Transit offers an interior roof height of 81.5” on the high roof variant, which allows workers up to 6’8” to walk through the vehicle at full height. With 487 cu. ft. of cargo space and up to 4,650 lbs. of payload capacity, the Transit offers quite a bit of options for setting up the tools needed to get the job done,” says Yaroslav Hetman, brand manager, Transit/Transit Connect/E-Series, Ford Motor Company.
For contractors who need specific racks, bins and other enhancements to their vehicles, 11 of the top up-fitters in the United States have built new facilities within 20 miles of the Kansas City Assembly Plant where the Transit is produced.
“This allows customers to quickly and easily up-fit their vehicle via the ship-through method, significantly reducing the amount of lead time for a customer from order to delivery with the needed equipment,” says Hetman.
The 2015 Ford F-150 is the first light-duty truck with all-aluminum body construction, which makes it more efficient, capable and tougher than ever.
“What do truck customers want? They want to haul more, tow more and go faster doing it,” says Scott Forsgard, Ford Communications. “By the way, if you can pay less in gas to do all this, all the better. That’s exactly what the new 2015 Ford F-150 does. It is built on a high-strength, steel frame and the body, bed and cab are made of 5000- and 6000-series aluminum alloys. The result? The truck weighs up to 700 pounds less and all of that weight loss transfers right to the maximum payload and towing capacity. So, you can carry more and pull more and you can accelerate and brake faster. It even allows Ford to put a new 2.7-liter Ecoboost engine — the size of a four-cylinder — to outwork V8 engines twice its size.”
Features of the 2015 F-150 include:
• Lighter frame features high-strength steels
• All-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine available
• LED headlamps
• BoxLink™ system provides a unique way to secure ramps, storage bins and bed dividers
• Tailgate remote allows for locking, unlocking and releasing with key fob.
“At the end of the day, the new 2015 F-150 is the toughest, smartest and most capable truck Ford has ever built,” says Forsgard.
General Motors is excited about the upcoming year with its fleet of pickups.
“We are the only manufacturer that offers a three-truck strategy that can meet the diverse needs of contractors,” explains Robert Wheeler, communications manager, Fleet and Commercial, General Motors.
According to Wheeler, for heavy hauling and towing, the Silverado HD with the Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V8 engine and Allison transmission provides 397 horsepower and 765 lb.-ft. of torque. It has best-in-class conventional towing at 19,600 pounds.
The Silverado 1500 full-size light-duty offers three engine efficient engine choices, ranging from the 6.2L V8 engine with class leading V8 trailering capability, to a EcoTec3 4.3L V6 fuel economy of up to 18 MPG city and 24 highway.
The all-new Colorado mid-size pickup features a class leading payload, towing, power and fuel economy.
“Contractors that may need the utility of a truck, but don’t necessarily need all the attributes of a full-size truck will be pleased with this efficient and very capable alternative,” says Wheeler.
Chevy trucks feature OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, which will allow contractors to seamlessly connect up to seven smart devices to the Internet whenever the vehicle is on. Finally, a 100,00-mile/5-year transferable powertrain warranty will ease concern contractors may have about their heavy duty, high mileage use.
The Ram ProMaster has experienced great success in an expanding, purpose-built, full-size van segment with a number of best-in-class features focused on the commercial customer. Coming from a strong background of commercial vehicles produced by Fiat Professional, the ProMaster is based on the Fiat Ducato, which has been in production for more than 30 years.
The 2015 ProMaster is available in two roof heights, three wheelbases, and four body lengths. Additionally, the ProMaster offers both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory. Its unibody frame architecture makes it significantly lighter than the competition. As a result, the ProMaster boasts an impressive best-in-class payload capacity up to 5,145 pounds and a maximum towing capacity up to 5,100 pounds. The gross combined weight rating (GCWR) for the 3.6-liter V-6 is 11,500 pounds and 12,500 pounds for the 3.0-liter I-4 EcoDiesel.
The ProMaster is available in two roof heights, 91 or 101 inches with best-in-class standard roof height and the most vertically oriented sidewalls in the cargo van category.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster van’s powertrain lineup features the award-winning, standard-equipment, gasoline-fueled V-6 and a torque-laden, I-4 EcoDiesel engine.
The standard-equipment 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is rated at 280 horsepower with peak torque of 260-lb.-ft., the dual overhead cam, 24-valve Pentastar delivers the capability required of a commercial van without compromising refinement.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster City is Ram’s newest addition to its commercial vehicle lineup, and contributes to the expanding, purpose-built, van segment with a number of best-in-class, functional elements tied directly to commercial customer demand. The new Class 1 entry opens a door for incremental growth of Ram’s brand sales volumes.
Joining the larger and highly capable Ram ProMaster and popular Ram C/V as a Class 1 van offering, the 2015 Ram ProMaster City will compete with compact commercial and passenger vans with best-in-class attributes in the areas that count: payload capacity, cargo area, performance and fuel economy.
• 178 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque
• Payload — 1,883 pounds
• Cargo volume — 131.7 cubic feet
The pioneer of the modern van movement in the U.S., the MY2015 Sprinter Van enters its second model year with a freshened look that is also more economical, safer and environmentally friendly. The standard engine is a powerful and high-tech 4-cylinder diesel engine with a 7-speed automatic transmission, with the V6 diesel powertrain available as an option. New safety features raise the already exemplary standard of safety to an even higher level.
The 4-cylinder Sprinter features a 7-speed automatic transmission with torque converter — the only 7-speed automatic transmission to feature in a van in North America, is refined for maximum fuel economy.
The Sprinter features a 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine as standard equipment, which has an approximate take rate of 50% in the USA. It produces 161 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque at 1,400-2,400 rpm.
The optional V6 diesel motor (188hp, 325 lb-ft) with a displacement of 3.0 l is a feat of engine construction. The undersquare engine (bore x stroke: 83 x 92 mm) is based on an aluminum crankcase with a V angle of 72 degrees.
The 4x4 version of the MY2015 Sprinter goes on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of calendar year 2015. Both 144” and 170” wheelbases will be available in both low and high roof configurations, and available body styles for the U.S. will include the
Passenger Van, Crew Van (mixed 2-row passenger and cargo application), and Cargo Van (both 8,550 and 11,030 GVWRs). The exclusive powertrain for the 4x4 option will be the most powerful of the two BlueTEC clean diesel powertrains available in the U.S. Sprinter, which is the 3.0L V6 BlueTEC with 188 hp and 325 lb-ft.
“Sprinter is the most versatile large commercial van in the world. As a premium product that offers the highest levels of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), safety, ergonomics, and service levels at the dealerships, model year 2015 is better than ever,” says Christian Bokich, department manager, Product & Technology Communications, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. “With the additions of standard Crosswind Assist and also optional 4x4 with both available high and low ranges, it continues to lead the pack. Furthermore, service intervals have now been extended from a previous level of up to 15,000 miles to now be up to 20,000 miles.”
According to Phil Lienert, Nissan Product Communications, the top three full-size pickup segment selling points for contractors are fuel economy, durability and reliability; dealer service improvements; and technologies traditionally available only as aftermarket parts now available as factory-applied features. Lienert sees 2015 trends as improved technology, diesel engines and no compromise between power and fuel economy.
The company is keeping 2015 features on the Titan pickup a little close to the vest, but a sneak peek into Nissan R&D reveals that Nissan will offer a newly developed Cummins V8 turbo diesel in its next-generation full-size Titan pickup.