Fleets looking to update their light-duty trucks will have a hard choice to make this year. The Detroit Three — Ford, General Motors, and Ram — have all updated their signature light-duty pickup trucks for 2013.

Ford SYNCs Up

Ford Motor Company’s latest F-150, part of America’s truck line, includes innovations on both the interior and exterior.

F-150 is the light-duty truck that more workers count on than any other truck.

F-150 is the light-duty truck that more workers count on than any other truck.

Photo: Ford

The 2013 F-150 comes with four engine options: a 3.7L V-6, a 5.0L V-8, a 6.2L V-8, and a 3.5L EcoBoost. The 3.7L boasts 23 mpg highway. The 5.0L achieves 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway. The 6.2L gets 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway. Finally, the EcoBoost achieves 22 mpg highway. The 2013 F-150 comes standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The engine options provide fleets a wider selection when spec’ing the vehicle for numerous tough commercial jobs, according to Mike Levine, Ford’s truck communications manager.

“From construction to farming to national security, F-150 is the light-duty truck more workers count on than any other truck,” Levine said. “Our customers value the power of choice and fuel efficiency our engine lineup provides and the best-in-class towing and payload ratings needed to get the job done the first time.”

The F-150 will be available in nine trim levels: XL, STX, XLT, FX2/FX4, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, SVT Raptor, and the new range-topping Limited model.

The F-150 equipped with the standard 3.7L V-6 can tow as much as a 6,700-lb. trailer, best-in-class among standard V-6 engines, according to Ford. Both the 3.5L EcoBoost and the 6.2L V-8 are rated to tow up to best-in-class 11,300 lbs. or haul up to a best-in-class 3,120 lbs. of payload.

For 2013, certain F-150 models are available with Ford’s SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system and an 8-inch interactive display or a new 4.2-inch multifunction LCD screen in the center stack. SYNC provides: voice command of mobile phones and music players; 911 Assist, vehicle health report; onscreen displays including caller ID, and optional navigation, traffic information, and operator assist. Standard safety features include: AdvanceTrac with roll stability control (RSC), safety canopy system, dual-stage front air bags, SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer System, and four-wheel ABS.

The MY-2013 Ford F-150 is being assembled at the company’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., and its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.

Chevrolet Offers StabiliTrak

Chevrolet’s 2013 Silverado 1500 is designed to tackle just about any job, and, according to the automaker, has a comprehensive array of features that make it an ideal choice to tow and haul equipment and materials, including StabiliTrak with trailer sway control and hill-start assist, tow-haul mode, new-for-2013 powertrain grade braking (both in and out of tow-haul mode), available integrated trailer brake controller, available max trailering package (10,700-lb. maximum trailer weight rating), and available rear-vision camera.

Chevrolet’s 2013 Silverado 1500 has a comprehensive array of features.

Chevrolet’s 2013 Silverado 1500 has a comprehensive array of features.

Photo: Chevrolet

Helping achieve this robust ability to tow and haul are a lineup of small-block V-8 engines and 6-speed automatic transmissions. These FlexFuel engines include a 4.8L, a 5.3L, and a 6.2L. The Silverado 1500 model’s maximum payload capacity is 1,940 lbs., and, when equipped with the available maximum trailering package and the 6.2L V-8, it can tow up to 10,700 lbs.

“With a broad range of body styles and proven, fuel-efficient powertrains, our 2013 Chevrolet Silverado is well-equipped to meet our customers’ needs and help them get the job done,” said Dan Tigges, product manager, GM Fleet and Commercial Sales. “We also provide our customers with a number of options to operate greener fleets, including the bi-fuel CNG/gasoline Silverado 2500 HD, which allows for more than 650 miles of combined range, while still providing exceptional payload capabilities.”

For those fleet customers looking for a fuel-efficient work truck, the Silverado XFE (2WD Crew Cab) delivers an EPA-estimated 22 mpg highway, but still retains the ability to tow up to 7,000 lbs.

The MY-2013 Silverado is offered in five trim levels: WT, LS, LT, XFE, and LTZ. It also has three cab styles available: Regular, Extended, and Crew Cab, and three cargo box lengths: 5 feet 8 inches (short), 6 feet 6 inches (standard), and 8 feet (long).

In addition to the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, the MY-2013 Silverado will feature a standard high-capacity brake system with four-channel ABS, front safety belt pretensioners, head curtain side air bags, tire pressure monitoring system, and OnStar. Also available is a rear-view camera system, designed to provide the driver with a view of people or objects in the rear path of the vehicle.

Ram Taking TorqueFlite

Featuring a class-exclusive TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission standard with its 3.6L V-6 powertrain, the all-new 2013 Ram 1500 had its gears doubled, compared to the previously available 4-speed. The new 8-speed is also available with the 5.7L HEMI V-8, Ram’s first application with a V-8.

The MY-2013 Ram 1500 features a class-exclusive, 8-speed automatic transmission standard with...

The MY-2013 Ram 1500 features a class-exclusive, 8-speed automatic transmission standard with its 3.6L V-6 powertrain.

Photo: Ram

Featuring a 3.6L Pentastar V-6 engine with variable-valve timing (VVT), the truck achieves 305 hp with 296 lb.-ft. of torque. According to the automaker, the new V-6 engine features 42-percent more horsepower, 13-percent more torque, and at least 20-percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7L V-6 powertrain, according to Ram.

Also available is a 5.7L HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT, which provides 395 hp at 407 lb.-ft. of torque.

“Our new Ram was engineered for maximum uptime, low cost of ownership, optimum performance, and enhanced commercial capability,” said Jim Sassorossi, Chrysler Group’s director of fleet sales. “With its best-in-class fuel economy, towing and payload, and ride and handling, our new Ram 1500 provides all the qualities that our commercial customers value.”

Built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Mich., the 2013 Ram 1500 includes a number of new and enhanced features, including electric power steering (EPS), pulse-width modulation (PWM), rotary e-shift dial (included on vehicles equipped with the TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission), thermal management system, stop-start, active grille shutters, and Uconnect. The thermal management and stop-start systems are among the ways the automaker has made the all-new Ram 1500 more efficient. Each system can save drivers at least 1 mpg in daily driving.

Numerous changes were made to the Ram 1500 model’s engineering. A newly designed frame using advanced high-strength steels benefits from a weight reduction of up to 30 lbs., by. Additionally, the Ram 1500 features aluminum lower control arms in the front suspension and an aluminum hood, further reducing weight.

The 2013 Ram 1500 is now available with an all-new air suspension system, featuring five height settings for optimum ride and aerodynamic performance. The system operates automatically, or can be controlled manually via console or key fob controls. Ride heights are:

  • Normal Ride Height (NRH): 8.7 inches of clearance (measured from the base of the door sill) is the default, load-leveled ride height.
  • Aero Mode: Lowers the vehicle 0.6 inches from NRH. Improves fuel efficiency by up to 1 percent and is activated by vehicle speed, adjusting for optimal performance and fuel economy.
  • Off-road 1: Lifts the vehicle 1.2 inches from NRH for added height in clearing obstacles.
  • Off-road 2: Delivers more off-road capability, increasing ground clearance by 2 inches over NRH.
  • Park Mode: Lowers the vehicle 2 inches from NRH for easy ingress/egress and cargo loading. 
About the author
Chris Wolski

Chris Wolski

Former Managing Editor

Chris Wolski is the former managing editor of Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, and Green Fleet.

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