The fall is always an exciting time of year for auto enthusiasts, including contractors, who are in the market to upgrades their fleet vehicles. This article is a compilation of some of the trucks and vans best suited for the tradesperson. Let’s take a look at some of the newest models on the market that fit contractors’ vehicle needs.
The MY2016 Metris is the all-new mid-size commercial van from Mercedes-Benz. This model joins the Sprinter Van, expanding the portfolio of Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vans in the U.S.
Upon launching this past October, the Metris will be available with a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that has 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to an efficient and robust 7-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. This powertrain application, with optional ECO start/stop, was developed specifically for the U.S. and Canadian markets to meet the needs of the Mid-Size Commercial Van Segment.
Advanced safety features are a hallmark for any Mercedes-Benz vehicle, and the Metris will feature six airbags for the Cargo Van variant. All models will feature standard Attention Assist, standard Crosswind Assist, and standard load-adaptive ESP. Optional safety features will include Active Parking Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Parktronic, Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist and a rearview camera.
The Metris is a right-sized vehicle. It is designed to thrive in large metropolitan areas with an agile yet spacious presence. It can easily fit into a parking garage, and can also meet the needs of those who work out of their homes. In addition, it carries many of the rugged characteristics of the Sprinter.Also for contractors is the Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter van. New features include extended service intervals up to 20,000 miles, super single rear wheel, on-demand 4x4 option, and standard crosswind assist. The 4WD system became available on the 2015 model-year Sprinter commercial vans equipped with the OEM’s 3.0L V6 BlueTEC diesel engine. The Sprinter’s 4x4 system distributes torque at a ratio of 35:65 between the front and rear axle, with the vehicle’s 4-wheel electronic traction system handling the rest of its traction needs. The Sprinter 4x4 can also be equipped with an optional low range gear. Once engaged, gearing is shortened by 42%, further boosting what the OEM calls “tractive power.” For additional information about Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles visit: www.mbvans.com/sprinter/home.
The 2016 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 Ram ProMaster City van is designed and engineered to tackle big jobs with best-in-class cargo area, payload capacity and standard highway fuel economy. It does so while delivering versatile functionality, durability and superior ride and handling.
The 2016 model offers Bluetooth on entry-level radios. Carpet is upgraded from 11 oz. to 16 oz. to improve comfort and interior noise. The 2016 Ram ProMaster City also features a tire upgrade – 215/55R16 Nexen all-season tires offer improved performance and lower rolling resistance on what already is the best-handling van in the segment.
The 2016 Ram ProMaster City shares its basic design with the Fiat Doblò, which is sold around the world. Now in its third generation, the Fiat Doblò is the preferred workhorse for business and commercial uses, a status gained via its ideal size for crowded urban environments and a host of thoughtful and innovative features. Starting with a winning template, Ram Truck engineers subjected the front-wheel-drive van to the full spectrum of severe-duty use expected of commercial vehicles in North America. The lessons from millions of combined development miles make the Ram ProMaster City more robust, durable, functional, comfortable and cost effective for any use.
ProMaster City is available in four versions: Tradesman Cargo Van and Tradesman SLT Cargo Van, Wagon and Wagon SLT, offering versatility and functionality with compact external dimensions.
The 2016 Ram ProMaster is another vehicle for contractors to consider. The 2016 model has some new features, including window availability to 159-inch, high roof, extended configuration and 20-amp auxiliary switches on instrument panel and second battery prep package enable upfitters to easily adapt a variety of conversions. Plus, Ram ProMaster is a purpose-built, highly customizable van designed to exceed the demands of commercial customers.
If on the market for a truck, contractors can consider the 2016 Ram 1500, featuring an exclusive 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine delivering 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 29 miles per gallon (mpg). The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine is mated to the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Together, the powertrain system delivers an outstanding combination of fuel efficiency and towing capability up to 9,200 pounds. The 2016 Ram 1500 capitalizes on a truckload of exclusive, pioneering, fuel-saving systems, including an eight-speed automatic transmission, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation (PWM) and active aerodynamics with grille shutters and air suspension. For additional information about Ram commercial vehicles visit: www.ramtrucks.com/en/ram_commercial.
The 2016 Chevrolet City Express matches maneuverability and cargo-hauling flexibility with efficiency, giving contractors value-driven capability with lower operating costs. It offers 122.7 cubic feet of customizable cargo space, a tight turning diameter of only 36.7 feet and a payload capacity of 1,500 pounds. It also delivers great fuel efficiency. The City Express — offered in LS and LT trims — is based on the Nissan NV200, which GM procures from Nissan and distributes through Chevrolet’s network of dealers. Standard features include dual rear sliding doors, power windows.
40/60 split rear cargo doors that open 90 and 180 degrees, solid rear doors with available tinted-glass windows, center console storage with a standard file folder bin, fold-down mobile workspace passenger seat, 20 interior cargo-mounting points, six floor-mounted D-rings, six exterior roof rack mounting points, vinyl flooring, a 150-amp alternator and a 12-volt power outlet.
The LS model adds standard features including cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and backup sensors. Remote keyless entry with an automatic locking feature and heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors are standard on the LT.
The City Express’s all-important cargo area is designed for function. In addition to its 122.7 cubic feet of cargo room, the space is designed to accommodate large and bulky items, with 4-feet 6-inches of space from side wall to side wall. As a mobile work environment, the City Express’s interior blends functionality with comfort and convenience.The 2016 Silverado 1500, offering a new design, advanced connectivity and enhanced customer-focused technologies, is an option for contractors considering a pickup truck. A new front-end design with a bolder, more sculpted appearance reflects the underlying strength of the Silverado’s high-strength steel construction and powerful V-8 engines are an integral part of the Silverado’s capability. For additional information about Chevy commercial vehicles, including the Silverado 1500, visit: www.gmfleet.com/vehicle-search/chevrolet.html.
GMC also offers a cargo van for contractors — the GMC Savana. It is a versatile van designed to make work easier and more accommodating. It is available in regular and extended wheelbase lengths, in heavy-duty 2500 Series and 3500 Series models. The 2500 Series models are rated at 8,600 pounds GVWR and the 3500 Series is rated at 9,600 pounds GVWR. Both have a standard 4.8L gas V-8 and optional 6.0L gas. Also available is 9,900-pound GVWR with the available Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel.
New for 2016 is OnStar 4G LTE connectivity, which includes a Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected all the time. The hotspot allows passengers to connect up to seven personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets to high-speed wireless Internet whenever the vehicle is on.
For contractors looking to purchase a pickup truck, the GMC Canyon, the segment’s only premium midsize truck, raises the bar for everything from horsepower and efficiency to refinement. In 2015, Canyon won a handful of awards, including Cars.com Midsize Pickup Challenge for its segment-leading capabilities and efficiency, including the latest in safety features, cargo-hauling and trailering versatility.New for 2016, Canyon offers a 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel engine that takes its segment-leading capability and efficiency to new heights, including a maximum trailering rating of 7,700 pounds. The standard engine remains a 2.5L four-cylinder that’s rated at up to 27 mpg on the highway, while an available 3.6L V-6 tops competitors’ V-6 offerings with up to 1,590 pounds of payload and up to 7,000 pounds maximum trailering. Also new for 2016, phone integration technology enhances connectivity and promotes safer driving through Canyon’s next generation IntelliLink system. This new technology allows smartphone users to connect with applications such as navigation, hands-free text messaging, entertainment and news through IntelliLink’s display screen. For additional information about GMC commercial vehicles visit:www.gmfleet.com/vehicle-search/gmc.html.
To meet the needs of contractors in North America, the 2016 Transit Connect is offered in two wheelbase lengths and in XL and XLT series levels. Transit Connect can handle as much as 1,620 pounds of payload and is approved to tow as much as 2,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Contractors can choose between two four-cylinder engines – each geared for around-town responsiveness and low-rpm highway cruising. The standard offering is the 2.5-liter Duratec that delivered an EPA-estimated 29 mpg highway when tested for 2015, while the available 1.6-liter EcoBoost returned an EPA-estimated 30 mpg. Both engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.5-liter engine can be ordered with a CNG/propane gaseous engine prep package – enabling convenient conversion by Ford-certified upfit specialists to run on CNG or propane. The E85 flex-fuel system will be standard equipment on 2016 Transit Connect with the 2.5-liter engine destined for non-California emissions states – giving customers more choices. Flexfuel Transit Connect is engineered to run on E85, unleaded gasoline or any blend of the two.
Another vehicle option for contractors, the Ford Transit provides the professional tradesperson with innovative new configurations and versatility in an expanding commercial vehicle market. Now, Transit offers even more versatility by offering dual sliding doors on medium and high-roof van models. When properly equipped, Transit provides up to 487.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, with rear cargo doors that can open up to 237 degrees for easy loading and unloading.
Also, SYNC 3 — Ford’s new communications and entertainment system — is available for 2016, featuring faster performance, more conversational voice recognition, more intuitive smartphone-like touch screen, and easier-to-understand graphical interface to help Ford customers connect on the road. A rearview camera is standard on all 2016 van and wagon models, as is a front dome lamp with map lights and theater dimming. Transit is also available in chassis cab and cutaway body styles, while Transit wagon offers XL and XLT trim levels. For additional information about Ford commercial trucks visit: www.ford.com/commercial-trucks.
Then there is the 2016 Ford F-150, part of Ford F-Series, America’s best-selling truck for 38 years. The 2016 model continues to innovate with the addition of breakthrough towing technology, new Special Edition Appearance Packages, SYNC 3 and alternative fuel capability.
Responding to customer requests, the 2016 Ford F-150 with the 5.0-liter V8 engine will offer a gaseous-fuel prep option, making it the only light-duty pickup capable of running on compressed natural gas or propane. For additional information about the F-150 visit: www.ford.com/trucks/f150/.
The NV Cargo and NV200 Compact Cargo vehicles are great considerations for contractors when looking to purchase new vehicles. The 2016 Nissan NV Cargo van provides exceptional utility – thanks to a long, wide cargo floor, square-top wheelwell housings and nearly vertical sidewalls. Along with maximizing cargo space, the sidewalls accommodate aftermarket storage systems without excessive modification. The Nissan NV Cargo offers rugged body-on-frame construction combined with a high roof, offering most users the ability to walk, stand and work in the cargo area.
Powering the rear-wheel drive Nissan NV Cargo is a choice of two powerful yet fuel-efficient engines – a 4.0-liter V6 and 5.6-liter V8. Both are mated to a standard 5-speed automatic transmission.
Enhancements for 2016 include supplemental front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front outboard occupant head protection (includes rollover sensor) added as standard equipment; one new exterior color: Cayenne Red.. The cargo van is also offered in three versions: NV1500, NV2500 HD and NV3500 HD, and in two roof configurations – Standard Roof and High Roof
The popular NV200 Compact Cargo van provides large cargo capacity with a small exterior footprint. It offers an efficient 2.0-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder engine, a next-gen Xtronic transmission and a roomy cargo area, which allows for loading standard U.S. 40x48-inch pallets. Enhancements for 2016 include one new color: Taxi Yellow; offered in S and SV models. For additional information about Nissan commercial vehicles visit: www.nissancommercialvehicles.com.