Government fleets demand a lot from trucks. Whether it’s road service, or emergency response, or just transporting employees from one place to another, many fleets push their vehicles to the edge and, based on the latest truck announcements from OEMs, the next generation of vehicles has been designed with these needs in mind.
New technology on these vehicles helps fleets stay safer, work smarter, and maintain vehicles more easily. We took a look at the newest batch of trucks announced for 2019 (and beyond) to determine what’s coming next.
At a glance
The newest generation of trucks entering the market:
- Offer improved performance and payload
- Feature new designs that are easier to upfit and maintain
- Add safety and comfort for the driver.
Improving Efficiency, Ditching Weight
Take a look inside the hood and you may notice that many of the newest truck models boost performance, with increased capability and a smoother ride.
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will be available with six engine/transmission combinations, including 5.3L and 6.2L V-8 engines with Dynamic Fuel Management, a feature that actively shuts off cylinders depending on immediate needs to optimize fuel economy. The 3L Duramax diesel and 6.2L V-8 engines are paired with a Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission and start/stop technology to further improve fuel economy.
Improvements to truck suspension also contribute to better performance. The 2019 Ram 1500’s multi-link rear coil suspension offers improved ride and handling. The coil spring setup centralizes and absorbs bumps and impacts for a smoother ride. Hino’s XL Series (the 2020 XL7 and XL8) features payload management suspension options.
This ease in operation applies to off-road, too. The 2019 Ford Ranger’s Off-Road Package adds protective skid plates, upgraded tires, and off-road-tuned shocks and suspension. Its Terrain Management System offers drive modes for normal conditions, grass, gravel and snow, mud and ruts, and sand. Trail Control is similar to cruise control, but programmed for low-speed rugged terrain. In addition, the truck’s short overhangs are functional off-road for clearing obstacles.
Several OEMs achieved greater payload and towing capacity by lowering the weight of their vehicles.
FCA reduced the overall weight of its Ram 1500 by 225 lbs. through the use of high-strength steel and clever engineering. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is up to 450 lbs. lighter than previous models thanks to the use of mixed materials. The GMC Sierra shows similar weight savings. Its CarbonPro box is 62 lbs. lighter than a steel truck box, and the vehicle incorporates aluminum in the doors, hood, and tailgate, reducing up to 360 lbs. total.
For fleets with towing needs, the new trucks offer options to simplify the trailering process. The Ram 1500 Tradesman comes with a standard Class III trailer hitch and lighted above-bumper four- and seven-pin trailer wire connectors. The Ford Ranger features a rugged steel bumper and is available with an integrated trailer hitch receiver. The GMC Sierra offers a trailering system.
The new models announced for the 2019 and 2020 model years are available with versatile options for easy upfitting and maintenance, making them suitable for a variety of applications.
FCA’s Ram 1500 Tradesman is available in two cab styles and two bed lengths, and is offered in a 4x4 or 4x2 configuration.
The Ford Ranger features a high-strength steel frame backbone and frame-mounted steel front and rear bumpers. It is offered in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT, and high-level Lariat trim series in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations.
The Silverado HD series was designed with the upfitter in mind. Fleets can choose from seven cab-to-axle options, ranging from 60 to 162 inches, with five unique axle-to-back-of-frame lengths. It features a factory-painted frame with one-piece frame rails, unobstructed top sections, and through-the-frame fuel fill lines that do not interfere with body mounting. For quicker maintenance, the lightweight front-hinged clamshell hood allows for easy walk-up access to under-hood components.
The Hino XL was also designed with upfitting and maintenance in mind. The series features a body-builder-friendly design that was also engineered for maximum ease of serviceability.
Putting the Driver Front and Center
The latest truck technology available not only improves truck performance; it also supports driver performance with additional safety and entertainment considerations and features that add driver comfort.
These vehicles are offered with some of the latest and greatest safety components, even venturing into the semi-autonomous territory with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, reverse sensing, blind spot information, adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control, and collision mitigation.
Entertainment options on some of these new vehicles include hands-free calling, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, built-in telematics, and Wi-Fi hotspots.
When designing its new HV and MV series, International Trucks took a “driver first” approach with a few minor changes to the outside of its trucks. Some of these changes include a redesigned door that reduces blind spots and an HVAC system that can completely defrost the window in 25 minutes (making it ideal for snow plows and other winter applications).
In addition, International’s Diamond Logic system allows customers to program automated tasks.
If your fleet’s state requires drivers to turn on their headlights in the rain, the fleet manager can program the system to turn headlights on when windshield wipers are running.
If your fleet operates dump trucks, fleet staff can program an audible alarm to sound if the truck is moving with a raised dump bed or program the truck to not exceed a certain speed if the bed is still raised.
Design features on the outside of the vehicle can also improve the driver experience. The Ranger’s high beltline and raked grille and windshield, for example, improve aerodynamics and reduce wind noise for a quieter ride. The Silverado 1500’s CornerStep bumpers feature larger cutouts to accommodate steel-toed boots. The Silverado HD’s contoured hood optimizes the driver’s view of the road, and the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank is located on the passenger side of the truck — opposite of the fuel fill — to prevent refueling errors. International offers optional pedestal mirrors that allow drivers to turn their head less.
Based on current trends, it seems that trucks will continue to shed weight while maintaining power and strength where needed. As industries face driver and technician shortages, OEMs will introduce features to assist fleets in recruiting efforts through added comfort and easier upfitting and serviceability.
2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman
- Powered by a standard 3.6L Pentastar V-6 with eTorque mild hybrid system or optional 5.7L HEMI V-8 or 5.7L HEMI V-8 eTorque
- Half-ton pickup
- Towing capacity: 12,750 lbs.
- Payload capacity: 2,300 lbs.
- Largest front brakes in the segment at 14.9 in.
- Available now.
2019 Ford Ranger
- Powered by a 2.3L EcoBoost engine and 10-speed automatic transmission
- Mid-size pickup
- Three trim levels: XL, XLT, and Lariat
- SuperCab and SuperCrew cab configurations available
- Production to begin in late 2018.
2019 Silverado 1500
- Powered by 5.3L and 7.2L V-8 engines with Dynamic Fuel Management and Duramax 3L inline-six turbo-diesel
- Half-ton pickup
- Six engine/transmission combinations available
- Offered in eight trims for high-value, high-volume, and high-feature needs
- Best-in-class cargo volume
- Introduced in January 2018.
2019 Silverado HD
- Powered by a 6.6L Duramax diesel engine, offering 35 hp and 700 lb.-ft. of torque
- Class 4, 5, and 6 trucks
- Available in 2WD or 4WD
- Offers up to 50-degree wheel cuts
- Seven cab-to-axle options available, ranging from 60 to 162 inches
- Production to begin in late 2018.
2019 GMC Sierra
- Powered by a 6.2L or 5.3L V-8 engine, or 3L inline-six turbo-diesel engine
- MultiPro Tailgate offers six unique functions and positions
- Features CarbonPro, the industry’s first carbon fiber pickup box
- Denali and SLT trims available
- On sale fall 2018.
2020 Hino XL Series
- Powered by an A09 turbo diesel 8.9L inline 6-cylinder engine, offering up to 360 hp and 1,150 lb.-ft. of torque
- Class 7 and 8 trucks
- GVWR from 33,000 to 60,000 lbs. and GCWR up to 66,000 lbs.
- Available wheel base selections of up to 304 inches
- Production to begin in early 2019.
2019 International HV Series
- Powered by an International A26 12.4L big-bore engine
- Medium-duty trucks
- Produces up to 475 hp and 1,700 lb.-ft. of torque
- Designed for severe vocational use
- Available spring 2018.
2019 International MV Series
- Powered by a Cummins B6.7 or L9 engine
- Class 6 and 7 trucks
- Allison 1000 HS automatic transmission comes standard, with Allison FuelSense 2.0 with DynActive Shifting available
- Available in Regular, Extended, or Crew Cab
- Available spring 2018.