Dec. 15 2017 04:47 PM

The model year 2018 is turning out to be an exciting one for the truck market. Medium and heavy-duty pickups, plus chassis cab, cab-forward and cab-over-engine (COE) trucks just keep on getting tougher, smarter, safer, stronger, more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Engine choices keep expanding, and whatever type of fuel you prefer– diesel, gas, electric, hybrid or an aftermarket refit to run on CNG, biofuel or propane, you can find it in 2018.

The vehicles you depend on to travel from job to job, tow machinery and trailers, and haul essential tools and supplies are getting more economical to drive and increasingly earth friendly, and this applies even to some of the biggest boys in the yard.

No, trucks can’t fly–yet–but self-driving technology keeps advancing, and the 2018 trucks reflect that. We continue to see features like lane-keeping and parking assist, blind spot warning, and collision avoidance. More trucks will stop automatically when a pedestrian, vehicle or object is detected.

Your 2018 truck will have a backup camera, per a new mandate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All new cars and trucks under 10,000 lbs. must include one by May 2018, and manufacturers have been busy putting them in ahead of that deadline.

Mobile-office capabilities, such as WiFi hot-spots, Bluetooth, USB ports, and multiple connections to keep your mobile devices charged up and working continue to be added, along with advanced infotainment systems with satellite radio, navigation and hands-free calling. While these things aren’t new, you’ll find more of these advanced electronic enhancements moving from optional equipment to standard.

So, let’s see what’s out there for 2018.

CHEVROLET

Chevrolet’s biggest news is that the eAssist package that increases engine performance and fuel efficiency, sold exclusively in California since 2016, is now available nationwide.

Unlike a full hybrid engine that can run on pure electric power, eAssist is a fuel-saving system that uses stop/start technology to turn the gas engine off at stop lights and restart it when you take your foot off the brake. It will deliver a 13 percent improvement in fuel economy on a 2WD truck, and give an electric power boost to your engine, especially useful when you are towing a trailer.

Previously only available on light duty Silverado crew cabs with LT trim, eAssist will now also be optional for Silverados with LTZ trim.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado half-ton comes with your choice of three engines. The base 4.3L V-6 puts out 285 hp with 305 lb-ft of torque, while the larger 5.3L V-8 will give you 355 hp with 383 lb-ft of torque. The 5.3L V-8 is also available with the eAssist option. The most powerful engine is a 6.2L V-8 that puts out 420 hp with 460 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with 4WD optional.

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V-6 engine and the 5.3L V-8. An eight-speed automatic is optional for the 5.3L V-8, standard for the 6.2L V-8. The Silverado has a maximum towing capacity of 12,500 lbs. and a maximum payload of 2,250 lbs.

The Silverado 1500 remains highly configurable, along with its corporate cousin, the GMC Sierra 1500. They remain the only lightduty trucks with an available boxdelete option.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD offer a choice of two engines, a 6.0L gas V-8 that produces 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, and an optional 6.6L Duramax turbo diesel V-8, which puts out 445 hp with 910 lb-ft of torque.

The 2500HD is capable of towing up to 18,100 lbs. when properly equipped, and the 3500HD, up to 23,200 lbs.—both, with the Duramax Diesel engine. The 2500HD can carry up to 4,044 lbs. of payload, and the 3500HD, up to 7,153 lbs.

A CNG- and LPG-capable 6.0L engine will be offered in all 2018 Chevy Silverado 2500HDs and 3500HDs (as well as in GMC Sierra heavyduty models). In fact, every model for which the 6.0L engine is offered—including pickups, chassis cabs, vans and low-cab-forward trucks—will have CNG- and LPGcapability.

Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD offer pickups and box deletes, including dual-rear-wheel 3500HD versions. There are also chassis cab versions of the 3500HD.

Buyers can choose from regular cab, double cab and crew cab variations, as well as short, standard and long beds and 2WD or 4WD. The Silverado light-duty adds LS and custom trims for 2018, and the High-Country trim package added some appearance upgrades.

Chevy has added the MyLink telematics system to their line of Silverado trucks for 2018. It integrates OnStar’s services, such as Advanced Automatic Collision Notification, roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics information, live advisors and turn-by-turn navigation.

MyLink also allows users to control online services through apps like Pandora Internet Radio or Stitcher Radio through voice commands or the touch-screen interface.

New safety enhancements for the 2018 Silverado include a tire-pressure monitor with an audible alert to indicate when the tires aren’t inflated to their recommended levels. Forward-collision alert is optional.

A commemorative Silverado Centennial Edition, celebrating 100 years of Chevy trucks, is available for 2018 only.

FORD

Ford has introduced an entirely new powertrain lineup for the 2018 F-150, with what it claims is its most powerful, most advanced and most fuel-efficient engines to date. The F- 150 is new for 2018, and for the first time ever, you’ll be able get it with a diesel engine. The all new Ford-built 3.0L Power Stroke turbo diesel V-6 will be available in the spring.

Fleet customers will be able to buy the new diesel F-150 in XL and XLT models. The engine is also compatible with B-20 biodiesel. The new F- 150 will be paired with an expanded-availability 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.

The 2018 F-150 gets new styling and advanced technologies. The front end has been updated with a new grille, headlights, bumper and hood.

The 2018 gasoline-powered F-150s have a new powertrain lineup, with what Ford says are more powerful and fuel-efficient engine offerings, with standard Auto Start-Stop.

F-150s can be equipped with a second-generation 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 engine, now paired with the Select- Shift 10-speed automatic transmission, for an EPA-estimated rating of 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg.

At the entry level, an all-new, improved 3.3L V-6 engine provides a combination of affordability and power. The second-generation 3.5L twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost gas engine comes in both a standard version, with 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, capable of towing 13,200 lbs., and a High Output Eco-Boost version that generates a hefty 450 hp and 510 lbft of torque (available for the F150 Raptor model only).

Significantly upgraded for 2018 is the 5.0L V-8 engine, with a payload capacity of 3,270 lbs. and a towing capacity of 13,200 lbs.

A new safety feature for 2018 is the optional Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. If someone walks into the truck’s path, the truck will brake on its own. It will also activate the trailer brakes, should a trailer with its own braking system be attached at the time.

There are a few minor changes for 2018 to the F-250 through F-750 Super Duty lineup. The F-250s through F-550s were completely redesigned last year.

A Super Duty Limited crew cab arrives this winter, equipped with a 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel V-8. It’s available in F-250, F-350 and F-450 four-wheel or dually configurations.

Ford offers an optional automatic soot-trap regeneration inhibitor on 2018 diesel trucks. This gives an operator more control over when the engine goes into regeneration mode to clean the diesel particulate filter, so it can be done in a preferred location.

Auto Start-Stop has been made standard on all F-Series trucks, improving fuel efficiency. In the spring, a CNG prep package will be available for two different engines.

GMC

The eAssist package is now available nationwide for light-duty crew cab GMC Sierras. The package includes aerodynamic improvements and the addition of regenerative braking to help fuel economy.

Also new for 2018 is a new, optional manual regeneration system for its diesel-equipped trucks, allowing diesel particulate filter cleaning to take place even when the truck is idling.

A CNG- and LPG-capable 6.0L engine will be optional for this year for the heavy-duty GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD models. Besides this change, powertrain items are pretty much a carryover from what they were in 2017.

Sierra’s 4.3L V-6, 5.3L V-8 and 6.2L V-8 engines boast direct-fuel injection, variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management. The 6.2L V-8 is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission which can also be matched to the 5.3L V-8.

The tire-pressure monitoring system now includes tire fill alert, to warn drivers that the tires need air. It’s been added to the Sierra 1500, Sierra Denali 1500, Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD.

Base-model standard equipment now includes a seven-inch Color Touch radio, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. OnStar, with built-in 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, is standard on the mid-level Sierra trim package; it must be ordered for the more stripped-down Work Truck models.

A Driver Alert Package that includes Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning is now standard on Denali models, and optional for SLTs. A washer-fluid level sensor is now standard for all GMC trucks.


HINO

There are no changes for 2018 to the Hino line of Class 4 COE trucks and Class 5 hybrid diesel/electric COE trucks. Its latest Class 4, the Hino 155, was introduced in 2012, the same year it debuted its hybrid COEs. The 14,500 lb. GVW Hino 155 is powered by a 5L J05 series engine that produces 210 hp with 440 lb-ft of torque, and has a 6-speed Aisin A465 PTO-capable automatic transmission. It’s available with a standard cab, or in a 7-seater crew cab edition, the 155-DC.

The 19,500-lb. GVW Hino 195h features a 4-cycle, 4-cylinder inline 5L J05E-UG diesel/electric hybrid engine that can put out 210 hp with 440 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a 6-speed Aisin A465 PTO-capable automatic transmission. Options include a programmable speed limit of 65 to 70 mph. The 195hDC is the double cab version that can seat seven.

The company announced in September that a new line of Class 7 and 8 trucks powered by Hino’s 9L A09 engine with a 300- 360 hp range will be introduced in 2019 for the 2020 model year.

ISUZU

For 2018, ISUZU has launched its first-ever FTR LCF (low cab-forward) Class 6 truck. The dock-height FTR features a 4HK1-TC 5.2L turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine. It has 215 hp under its hood, generating 520 lb-ft of torque, and is capable of racking up 375,000 miles before requiring an overhaul. The powerplant will be mated to an Allison 2550RDS 6-speed automatic transmission.

The FTR cab’s wide step and wide-opening, 90-degree doors allow easy entry to the interior, which features three-across seating and extra space for storage behind the seats.

The 25,950-GVWR truck is equipped with Dana axles, capable of handling 12,000 lbs. up front and 19,000 lbs. in the rear suspension. It has a tight turning radius, with a 50- degree wheel cut. Bridgestone or Continental 11R22.5 tires will be fitted to 22.5-in. × 8.25-in. steel wheels.

The FTR features eight different wheelbase configurations, ranging from 152 to 248 inches, which will accommodate a variety of aftermarket body applications from 16 to 30 ft. long, more than previous F-Series trucks. Buyers can choose a 50- or 100-gallon fuel tank.

Other news is that Bluetooth will now be standard on all Isuzu 2018/2019 models.


MITSUBISHI FUSO

Mitsubishi FUSO has launched the all-electric eCanter cabover, previewed at last year’s GIE+Expo. It’s the world’s first fully electric-powered light truck, and the only allelectric Class 4 vehicle currently in production. The 2018 models started becoming available for purchase a few months ago, in both flatbed and van body options.

The 15,995-lb GVWR eCanter has a practical range of 60 to 80 miles. It charges in eight hours when plugged into a standard 220-volt AC outlet, or in one hour via an optional CHAdeMO DC fast charger.

The interior comes equipped with ergonomic seating, 12" digital displays, a keyless push-start, and push-button shift.

The other big news is that the entire FE Series of Class 3 to Class 5 COEs will soon be available with gasoline engines, along with the traditional diesel versions. The gas-powered FEs will start becoming available sometime next year for the 2019 model year.

NISSAN

For 2018, the TITAN will be available as a single cab with an 8-ft. bed, a crew cab with a 5.5-ft. bed, or a king cab with a 6.5-ft bed. It comes with a standard 390 hp 5.6L Endurance V-8 gasoline engine, along with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The TITAN XD will offer a choice of two engines: the 555 lb-ft Cummins 5.0L V-8 turbo diesel, that can tow 12,640 lbs. and haul payloads up to 2,420 lbs., or the 390 hp 5.6L Endurance V-8 gas engine that gives you 11,590 lbs. of towing capacity and 2,910 lbs. worth of payload hauling.

Also new for 2018 is a Snow Plow Prep Package with high-capacity, heavy-duty front springs, offered on TITAN XDs equipped with Endurance V-8 gas engines.

RAM

RAM has made significant upgrades to its full-sized RAM 3500 Heavy Duty pickup, with increased torque and towing capabilities for 2018 models. The new 6.7L I-6 Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel engine will give you up to 385 hp with 930 lb-ft of torque.

The RAM 3500 can tow up to 31,210 lbs. with a gooseneck hitch, and up to 20,000 lbs. with a conventional Class 5 hitch. It comes with a choice of two 6-speed automatic transmissions, or a 6-speed manual transmission. Other engine options include a 5.7L HEMI V-8, delivering 383 hp with 400 lb-ft of torque. It features variable-valve timing (VVT) for greater efficiency and performance. A 6.4L HEMI V-8 produces 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. It also has VVT with Fuel Saver

Technology cylinder deactivation.

RAM 3500 gets an all-new optional fifth-wheel hitch assembly. towing, a 4,000 lb-ft increase over It’s strong enough for 30,000 lb-ft of last year. All body styles are available the regular cab, with an 8- in 2WD or 4WD, including ft. bed, crew cab with either an 8-ft. or 6-ft., 4- in. bed, or mega cab with a 6-ft., 4-in. bed.

There’s now a switch in the cargo bed for the optional LED bed lights.

TOYOTA

For 2018, the Toyota Safety Sense and driver-assistance technologies, (TSS-P) package, a suite of safety has been added to all Tacoma and Tundra models.

It includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, using millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera sensor. Once a pedestrian or vehicle is detected in front of the vehicle, TSS-P can automatically apply braking, if necessary, to help mitigate or avoid collisions in certain conditions.

The full-size Tundra pickup has a fresh new front-end look for 2018. The advanced Toyota Safety Sense- P (TSS-P) system is now standard on all Tundra grades.

The Tundra continues with a choice of two available i-Force V-8 engines. The standard 4.6L i-Force V-8 produces 310 hp with 327 lb-ft of peak torque. The 5.7L produces 381 hp with 401 lb-ft of peak torque. It’s capable of towing up to 10,200 lbs., and hauling a maximum payload up to 1,730 lbs., depending on how it’s equipped.

Both i-Force V-8s utilize an aluminum cylinder block, double overhead-cam heads with four valves per cylinder, Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), and an Acoustic Control Induction System for a broad torque curve. All Tundra models are equipped with 6-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmissions.

Tundra can tow up to 10,200 lbs with standard tow-hitch receivers. It is available in a 4-door double cab 4x2 or 4x4, a 4-door crew max 4x2 or 4x4, and several other trim levels and configurations. Regular cabs have been discontinued for both Tundra and Tacoma.

For Tacoma, there are no engine changes for 2018. The 5-speed manual transmission has been discontinued, but the 6-speed manual transmission remains available on certain models.

Tacoma is available with a choice of two engines. The 2.7L DOHC 4- cylinder with VVT-i produces 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of peak torque. It also utilizes Toyota’s D-4S injection system, which incorporates both direct injection and port fuel injection. Or, choose the a 3.5L V-6 that can crank out 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of peak torque. Maximum payload is 1,620 lbs. When equipped with an optional V-6 tow package, the Tacoma can pull up to 6,800 lbs.

Each of the engines can be teamed to a six-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). All V-6s can be paired with 6-speed manual transmissions.

Whatever make, type or model of 2018 truck you choose, it’s a safe bet that it will be well-built to suit your needs. Whether you use it for work, family transport, as a mobile office, or a combination of those things, we’re sure you’ll find it to be reliable, safe, easy to handle and fun to drive. Here’s to some good trucking ahead!