We talked with analysts like Mike Caudill, president of Driven Media, and Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insights at TrueCar.com, to get insight into what to expect from the truck segment next year. We also worked with automakers to get a handle on the most exciting trucks in the sector today.
1. GMC Sierra All Terrain HD
Specs: This concept has a V8 diesel powertrain with 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft. of torque. It could be GM’s answer to Ford’s Raptor and Dodge’s Power Wagon Rams, which dominate the off-road market. This version has a wider, 73-inch track for greater stability, three additional inches of ground clearance, specially constructed Fox off-road shocks with remote fluid reservoirs, and 35-inch-tall BFGoodrich KM2 “mud terrain” tires mounted on 20-inch aluminum wheels. It’ll make its public debut in January at the North American International Auto show in Detroit.
MSRP: No price is associated with the All Terrain, as this version at least is only a concept.
2. Ford F-Series
Specs: This is the classic American truck, from the nation’s bestselling series for 33 years straight. There are lots of variations, from the $22,415 F-150 to the $47,195 Lariat Limited, plus special runs like the $47,995 Harley Davidson. But Ford’s done it right for decades.
3. Toyota Tundra Sportsman Edition
Specs: This is a 2011 Tundra Double-Cab 4X4 from Bass Pro Shop and Toyota with an optional TRD Rock Warrior package and a 5.7-liter V8 automatic engine. The truck is lifted three inches and comes with 18-inch Teflon-coated wheels and 33-inch “mud grappler ” tires. It has bucket seats, camouflaged floor mats, a fold-down workbench, steel locking rifle cases and a pistol safe–not to mention a hunting platform above the roof of the truck and a ladder to get up there.
MSRP: Tundra Sportsman was a one-of-a-kind project created for the 2010 SEMA show. It can been seen at some Bass Pro Shop locations but is not for sale on the mass market.
4. Jeep Wrangler Black Ops Edition
Specs: This Jeep is a special offer for fans of “Call of Duty: Black Ops”–the Activision videogame that came out in November. It has Rubicon trim with alloy wheels, 32-inch tires, Black Ops logos and a murdered-out exterior.
MSRP: $30,625 (two-door); $33,500 (four-door)
5. Chrysler Ram Laramie Longhorn
Specs: This tough truck made a fitting debut at the Texas State Fair last September (Texans sure do love their trucks–the state makes up roughly 17% of all U.S. truck sales). The Laramie is the luxury version of the Ram 1500, and it’s quite luxurious indeed: It comes with full-grain leather, real-wood trim, chrome wheels, soft lighting in the foot wells, and Southwestern design cues like leather saddle bags and gold trim reminiscent of Western-style antique watches. The Laramie Longhorn goes on sale this spring.
6. Cadillac Escalade EXT
Specs: This giant is more like a luxury SUV than a straight-up truck: Standard amenities include heated mirrors, xenon headlamps, privacy glass, a luggage rack, leather bucket seats, dual-zone climate control, a tilting sunroof, XM radio, Bluetooth, remote vehicle start and a reverse camera. The V8 engine and 403-horsepower give a max payload of 1,342 pounds and a towing capacity of 7,600 pounds.
7. Hennessey VelociRaptor
Specs: The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is one cool truck–the twin-turbo Hennessey VeolicRaptor version is even cooler: It has a 6.2-liter V8 that gets 810 horsepower and 0-60 in less than six seconds. Or if that’s too much for everyday use, buy the 605-hp or 475-hp editions. They’ll still blow your mind. Extras over the regular Raptor include forged aluminum pistons, forged steel conrods, dual intercoolers, an electronic boost controller, a recalibrated engine management system, stainless-steel exhaust and upgraded transmission.
MSRP: Base price of the 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is $41,550. The upgrade package starts at $22,950, plus $7,000 for installation.