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American Pickup

American Pickup

Across the world there is a mighty push to find alternative fuel sources for our cars. We are seeing more and more electric cars and even hydrogen is being considered as a potentially viable power source. Additionally we have some excellent hybrid vehicles and many manufacturers now produce highly efficient internal combustion engines of which Ford’s EcoBoost is an example.

None of this is troubling our friends across the ocean, however. Despite many of these alternatives being available, the really strong sellers in the auto market are, as ever, pickups trucks. The manufacturer who gets his new model pickup wrong will lose sales in a heartbeat. The rivalry between the big manufacturers is intense.

Many drivers are prepared to accept that they should buy versions with more frugal engines, like the tiny Chrysler 3.6L V6 found in the new Ram 1500 (formerly Dodge Ram – pictured). With stop/start technology and an eight-speed auto ‘box this will give an impressive 18mpg around town and 25mpg on the open road. Purists can still get a good ’ole Hemi V8 of either 4.7 or 5.7 litres. We very much like the idea of a 5.7L V8 offering fuel saving technology! With the big motor the figures are 14/20mpg. Imagine running that with our fuel prices.

Ford have applied their Ecoboost technology to a 3.5L V6 that is found in the new F150. With American preference for big V8’s the company thought this would be a minority seller. In fact, forty percent of orders are for this engine despite it carrying a one thousand dollar premium on the price tag. The eco-message must be slowly seeping through.

American pickups are not small. As is the trend generally with car manufacture, the vehicles are getting bigger. More importantly they have completely lost their agricultural reputation. The Ram 1500 is available Stateside with air suspension in a much lighter yet stronger frame. It comes with leather and all the usual mod-cons including on-board wi-fi. The cheap n’ tacky Chrysler interiors of old are long gone.

In general, the big manufacturers are ensuring that they cater for the modern motorists by making sure that there’s a greater emphasis on quality and refinement. These pickups have morphed into family cars as well as Tonka toy workhorses. They are now seen as much on the school run as they are out in the boondocks being driven by old guys with really tanned, gnarly forearms.

So despite rising fuel prices, concern for the environment and the rise of the hybrid, the good folks of the USA are not going to relinquish their right to drive what the heck they want without interference from others. Would that things were like that in Europe. So, if you are feeling butch and are flush with cash for petrol, why not buy an American pickup? Look in the right places and you can buy them new, or nearly new, relatively cheaply. They’ll be lefties of course but they are so big you won’t really care. The thought of rumbling up to the supermarket is almost too hard to resist.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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4 Responses to “American Pickup”

  1. The 2013 Ram 1500’s frame was redesigned with greater stiffness to increase stability and handling while cutting noise and vibration up to 30%. Front rails have 20% higher yield strength due to high-strength steel. The new frame design has new powertrain, air suspension, and body mounting technology.

    • Geoff says:

      And no doubt all the better for it. These pickups are highly desirable but not genreally suited to British roads, alas.

  2. Hello, I own a 2010 Ram 1500 Quad 4×2 sport, wonderful truck! Im very excited about the new 8 speed on the 2013′s with the Hemi. I probably wouldn’t want the air suspension. How much of a hit on fuel economy would I be making? I know lowering the truck on the highway will improve the mileage a bit but would it really be that significant?

    • Geoff says:

      Good to hear from you Leslie. Petrol is higly taxed in the UK so we don’t get much chance to drive vehicles like this – we just worship from afar. I suspect that around town you could expect about 15 miles per gallon and maybe 22 on the open road. Perfectly acceptable if you live in a country with cheap petrol!
      Anyway, the pleasure of owning such a vehicle outweighs any financial considerations. You could always drive a compact during the week and save the mighty truck for the weekends. Geoff

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