Diesel demand: On-Site’s 2020 work truck report
December 12, 2019 by Mario Cywinski
Once exclusive to heavy-duty pick-ups, truck brands are now adding diesel engines to their light-duty trucks. While FCA added one to its Ram 1500 a few years ago, it’s now introducing a new version on its 2020 truck. General Motors is also adding a diesel options for its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, while Ford added a diesel to the F-150 in 2019.
Safety and technology take centre stage for 2020, as many brands are adding features not usually seen on pick-up trucks in the past. These include cameras to better see around the vehicle, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and options to help with towing.
For 2020, a new player is added to the mix. The Jeep Gladiator makes its debut in the mid-size segment. Heavy-duty models also see updates for 2020, as both Ford (Super Duty) and General Motors (Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD) are all-new. Nissan has updated its Titan and Titan XD.
Here, On-Site looks at what’s new, updated and available in the pick-up truck market for 2020.
Ford has updated the Super Duty for 2020, with engine, capability, design and technology changes. A new engine is added to the line-up, as a 7.3 litre V-8 gasoline engine with 430 horsepower and lb.-ft. of torque makes its debut. The 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine gets an update and now offers 475 hp and 1,050 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard engine continues to be a 6.2L gasoline variant. A new 10-speed heavy-duty automatic transmissions has been added to the Super Duty and features drive modes including normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand and snow.
The updated diesel engine allows the Super Duty to now offer gooseneck towing of 16,783 kilograms, fifth wheel towing of 14,742 kg, and conventional towing of 10,977 kg. Maximum towing numbers are increased for all Super Duty models for 2020 (F-250, F-350 and F-450).
Ford has optimized the front end of the Super Duty to help with cooling, including a new front bumper and air dam. The rear tailgate, taillights and rear bumper are all updated. The LED headlights have been freshened up, as have the DRLS on higher trims.
Technology and safety changes also occur, as Pro Trailer Backup Assist is now offered on and allows the truck’s Trailer Reverse Guidance to be compatible with fifth wheel and gooseneck trailers. Automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping alert and blind spot monitoring are now standard on XLT trim and above. Other standard features now include FordPass Connect with 4G LTE modem, available wireless charging and Ford Telematics.
A new Tremor off-road package is also added to the line-up for 2020, featuring an upgraded suspension, running boards, 35-inch tires, and Trail Control (described as cruise control for off-road driving by Ford).
Canada’s top selling pick-up truck, Ford F-150, goes into 2020 with only minor package and colour changes. New in 2019, the mid-size Ranger carries over into 2020 with minor changes.
After being all-new for 2019 model year, the 2020 model gets a new 3.0L turbocharged inline-six diesel engine that offers 277 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, with maximum towing for four-wheel-drive models of 4,218 kg and maximum payload of 848.2 kg. A 10-speed automatic transmission is now available on 5.3L V-8 models. Silverado will also receive available 15 camera views and adaptive cruise control with camera.
Carrying over into 2020, Chevrolet has announced an all-new Colorado to come out for the 2021 model year. It will offer updated lower fascia, front skid plates, and centre bars, new logos, embossed tailgate, and unique looks for each trim. The ZR2 model will feature a lettered Chevrolet front fascia.
GMC SIERRA HD
As both the GMC Sierra HD and the Chevrolet Silverado HD are all-new for 2020, and share many changes, we will focus on the GMC model. The Sierra HD features an all-new design that makes it taller, longer, larger and with a longer wheelbase. Redesigned lighting is prominent as headlights, taillights, fog lights, roof marker lights and DRLs are all available in LED. Additionally, the grille is larger and hood scoops are more functional.
In the back, cargo bed volume is improved, 12 corner tie-downs are included, a 120-volt power outlet is available and cargo bed steps are new. In addition to the current corner steps, the MultiPro tailgate, which debuted on the Sierra in 2019, is available on HD models.
Technology is front and centre, as GMC’s ProGrade Trailering system is now available on HD models, as is an available 15 camera views. Additional technologies available are an automatic electric parking brake, park grade hold assist, and tow/haul mode that stays on until the next time the vehicle is turned on (up to four hours).
When it comes to power, Sierra HD now offers a 10-speed automatic transmission on its 6.6L turbocharged diesel engine that outputs 445 hp and 910 lb.-ft. of torque.
An AT4 off-road version is also added for 2020. The package bolders the truck’s off-road credentials with improved suspension, Rancho shocks, skid plates and all-terrain tires. An inclinometer is available on the display.
GMC Sierra models also receive the 3.0L diesel engine as all-new for 2020. GMC Canyon sees the addition of AT4 off-road variant for 2020. A max towing capacity of 13,607 kg is expected.
All-new for 2020, the Jeep Gladiator is the newest member of the mid-size pick-up truck market. It brings Jeep’s off-road pedigree, so when it is driven off the main road — something many contractors do on a daily basis — it doesn’t miss a beat. It has a wheelbase of 3,487 millimetres, a five-foot cargo box (1,531 millimetres with the tailgate closed), and towing capacity of 1,814 kg to 3,469 kg (depending on how it’s equipped).
Power for the Gladiator comes from the Pentastar 3.6L V-6 with 285 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission. A 3.0L diesel engine will also be available and offer 260 hp and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
The vehicle is available with trailer sway control. The cargo box offers standard cargo lights, dampened tailgate, tie-down loops and optional spray-in bedliner and roll-up tonneau cover.
Three sizes of FCA’s uConnect system are available, though a five-inch screen is standard. The instrument cluster comes with a standard 3.5-inch screen, or an optional seven-inch.
Gladiator is available in Sport, Overland and Rubicon models.
For 2020, Nissan has updated the exterior styling of the Titan, which it dubs the Powerful Warrior design. The new design offers a unique grille for each of its three trim levels, PRO-4X and Platinum grades now offer standard new headlights, LED DRLs and available LED fog lights. The bed and rear of the Titan now have all-LED lighting. Exterior changes include an updated front bumper, fog lights, badging and wheel designs.
Taking a look inside, the Titan now offers a nine-inch touchscreen (an eight-inch screen is standard) as part of its integrated command center, which also includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi router (subscription required). A seven-inch driver information display is also included. With a new NissanConnect on the 2020 Titan, it now has over-the-air software updates.
For 2020, Nissan has also updated its 5.6L V-8 engine, which has 400 hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology is now standard on all Titan models. It offers: automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic high beams and rear emergency braking.
The larger Titan XD model shares the updates of the smaller Titan. It will now be offered in a crew cab body with a 6.5’ bed and four-wheel-drive as the only configuration available in SV, PRO-4X, and Platinum Reserve trims.
Introduced as an all-new model in 2019, for 2020 a diesel engine is added to the 1500 lineup. The 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine offers 260 hp and 480 lb.-ft. of torque, and has a towing capacity of 5,697 kg. It joins the 3.6L eTorque Pentastar V-6 with 305 hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque; and the 5.7L HEMI V-8 (with or without eTorque) outputting 395 hp and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.
Added for 2020 is a Night Edition model that offers monochromatic design with black wheels (22-inch on Laramie, 20-inch on Big Horn), black badging and a variety of colour options. The Rebel model offers a Black Appearance package with black wheels, black skid plate, and a black interior (red is optional). It now has a safety package with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic high beams.
2500 HEAVY DUTY
For 2020, the HD models get a new Night Edition with similar options. Ram also adds lane keeping and adaptive steering as available equipment on all trims. Additionally, trailer tire pressure monitoring and blind spot monitoring (including coverage for trailer) are added, as is an auxiliary camera system that can have two cameras added. Crew cab with an eight-foot bed now comes standard with an 187-litre fuel tank.
The mid-size Tacoma sees incremental changes for 2020, with all models now offering Toyota Connected Services Audio with seven- or eight-inch touchscreen, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Some models get a multi-terrain view monitor and birds-eye view monitor. TRD Pro models get new colours and features, while other trim levels get equipment updates.
The Tacoma is available with a 3.5L V-6 engine with 278 hp and 265 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with a six-speed manual transmission available on several TRD models. Access cab and double cab are available in 4×4 configuration.
Toyota Safety Sense P is standard on all Tacoma models. It offers adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
All 4×2 and four-cylinder models are discontinued for 2020.
The Tundra full-size pick-up is a carryover for 2020, with Connected Services Audio offered just like with the Tacoma. It also comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P. Added for 2020 is a Premium trim for TRD Sport and Off-road models. It offers premium audio with a remote and has embedded navigation with destination assist, leather seat cladding, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and a spray-in bed liner. Also new for 2020 is standard Smart Key with push button start on TRD Sport/Off Road trims and above.
Mario Cywinski is the Editor of Machinery and Equipment MRO magazine. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), a judge for Canadian Truck King Challenge, and has over 15 years of automobile industry experience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of On-Site. Click here to read through the whole issue.
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