DETROIT — It’s a war of new pickup trucks at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Chevrolet, Ford and RAM are showing off their latest and greatest trucks at Detroit’s annual auto show.
For the first time ever, Ford is offering a diesel engine for its best-selling F-150 half-ton pickup. The automaker is hoping to hit the 30 mpg mark with this new diesel-powered truck. It is expected to cost $4,000 more than the 2.7-liter, EcoBoost gasoline engine model.
“Silverado and RAM 1500 are not going to be confused for one another,” said Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst at IHS Markit. “They are both successes in a little but different way. They both bring new styling and design to the market. One is a little bit more rugged and sturdy and the other is more aggressive and a little bit more. Both of them have lost a lot of weight as we go for better fuel efficiency and weight. Both of them have much larger interiors. They were able to do it without cutting into the bed space. In fact, the Chevrolet was able to increase its bed width by about seven inches which allowed them to make the back of the bed a lot more usable and bigger.”
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado made its official debut last December in Fort Worth, Texas. Now, it’s here in Detroit for its auto show debut. The new model is 450 pounds lighter than the outgoing truck due to new materials for improved performance. There are six engine and transmissions to choose from including a new DuraMax inline-six diesel.
“For 2019, the Silverado is all new–all new platform, every piece and part is new,” said Hugh Milne, Chevrolet Silverado marketing manager. “This just happens to be a new trim level, the Trailboss, that we’re introducing for 2019. This truck comes from the factory with a two-inch raised suspension giving it more off-road capability and a cool look to it. It’s geared more towards that off-road enthusiast.”
The 2019 RAM 1500 was redesigned from the ground up. Its overall weight was reduced by 225 pounds from the outgoing model. The new RAM 1500 is expected to achieve gains in fuel economy as well. It comes with a 12-inch touchscreen in the center console, the largest in its class. The RAM 1500 is also available with an EcoDiesel engine achieving 27 mpg.
“It’s 100 percent new–frame, sheet metal, exterior, interior design,” said Ralph Gilles, Head of Design at FCA US LLC. “The truck is a little bit bigger. We added four inches of cab length and only a couple inches of overall length. It’s quieter, stronger, lighter, much more fuel efficient. The part I’m most proud of is…We’re launching it with multiple personalities. You see the Rebel behind me, the Limited, the Sport, the Longhorn, the Big Horn. We’re going to have a lot of fun catering to an audience that we’ve build in the last decade or so.”
Ford also showed off their 2019 Ranger midsize pickup truck. It comes equipped with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that offers Auto Start-Stop technology to optimize power and fuel efficiency. Several trim levels are being offered including: Base XL to the LARIAT with the FX4 Off-Road Package. It also features a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices. Production of the new Ranger begins later this year at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant.
The Honda Accord was named the 2018 North American Car of the Year. Meanwhile, the Lincoln Navigator won the 2018 North American Truck of the Year award. The Volvo XC60 picked up the 2018 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award.
Two of the biggest hits at the auto show are this 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback that Steve McQueen actually drove in the car chase scenes for the movie “Bullitt” and the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt commemorating the 50th anniversary of the film and the car. We spoke with Hollywood actress Molly McQueen who told us about her grandfather, Steve.
“He was kind of the first person to transition successfully from TV to film,” Molly McQueen said in an exclusive interview. “Then, ‘Bullitt’ was all new for him kind of because he made his reputation kind of like a bad boy. When ‘Bullitt’ came along and he was supposed to be refined and in a suit, I think people were a little iffy as to whether or not he could play it. I think he showed everyone.”
The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept car offers a preview of a new SUV that the luxury automaker is planning to bring to the market soon. The LF-1 concept could be powered by fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric. It also features some autonomous driving capabilities.
Another big debut is the 2019 Hyundai Veloster SUV. It comes equipped with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine producing 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. We also saw the high-performance Veloster N SUV. In addition, the Veloster will be featured in the upcoming film “Ant-Man and the Wasp” set to hit theaters later this summer.
Minutes later, Kia took the wraps off its 2019 Forte sedan. It’s a little bit larger than previous models and is expected to get better fuel economy at 35 mpg combined city and highway. The new Forte features a standard 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Advanced Driver Assistance technologies join Forte’s tech roster.
BMW is adding the all-new X2 to its line-up later this year. It’s described as a coupe crossover vehicle and it will be smaller and sportier than the X1. The X2 comes equipped with a 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine producing 228 horsepower. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds.
Over at the Automotive News World Congress, Baby Borg trophies were presented to last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Takuma Sato, and his team owner, Michael Andretti.
“It feels absolutely amazing, it was a dream come true,” said Takuma Sato in an exclusive interview. “For over 30 years, I was dreaming about that. It was a significant moment in my life. I really appreciate everyone who did support it. It’s an honor to be here with BorgWarner for the award. This amazing trophy has been traveling around Japan for the first time in history.”
Also, PSA Groupe Chairman and CEO Carlos Tavares announced that he’s planning to bring the Peugeot brand back to the United States in the next few years.
“We believe that the U.S. market is a true opportunity for the PSA Groupe,” Tavares told the crowd. “Therefore, we give ourselves the opportunity to build a 10-year plan. Everybody is asking why 10 years? First of all, it’s the appropriate time to prepare for such a specific market with such demanding customers with their very specific needs.”
The 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) public show continues today and wraps up on Sunday. For tickets and more information, visit www.naias.com.
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