Chevrolet and Ford each are entering the Detroit Auto Show this week on the heels of major truck introductions: for Chevrolet, the next-generation Silverado full-size pickup; for Ford, the return of the Ranger mid-size pickup.
Silverado. The introduction of the next-generation Silverado comes 100 years after the brand delivered its first trucks to customers in January 1918. Chevrolet says that the all-new Silverado sets the course for the next century of Chevy Trucks with the most functional bed of any full-size truck, weighs up to 450 pounds less for increased performance and offers a broad range of trims and engine/transmission combinations—including a 3.0L diesel and 5.3L and 6.2L V-8s with industry-first Dynamic Fuel Management that actively shuts off any number of cylinders, in a variety of combinations, depending on immediate needs to optimize fuel economy.
Chevrolet now offers diesel engines in more segments and models than any other brand, including Equinox, Cruze, Colorado, Express, Silverado 1500, Silverado HD and upcoming Silverado medium-duty models.
Both the 3.0L diesel and 6.2L engines are paired with a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission as well as start/stop technology to improve fuel economy.
The 2019 Silverado is larger than before, including a wheelbase that is up to 3.9 inches (100 mm) longer and an overall length that is 1.6 inches (41 mm) longer, enabling both more cargo volume and more interior room for all cab lengths. It’s also lighter, weighing 450 pounds (204 kg) less than today’s truck when comparing crew cab V-8 models.
The weight savings comes from extensive use of mixed materials and advanced manufacturing processes throughout the next-gen truck. For example, the body is 88 pounds (40 kg) lighter than before due to mixed materials use. All exterior swing panels (doors, hood and tailgate) are made of aluminum while fixed panels (fenders, roof and bed) are made of steel. The underlying safety cage uses seven different grades of steel, each tailored for the specific application.
The fully boxed steel frame is also 88 pounds (40 kg) lighter than its predecessor, while offering 10% greater torsional rigidity. Eighty percent of the frame is made of high-strength steel varying from 2 to 5 millimeters in thickness, and every millimeter is optimized for performance using a variety of processes, including hydroforming, roll forming, conventional stamping and tailor-rolled blanking. As a result, frame sections, gauges, grades, processes and materials strategically vary to maximize strength, durability and stiffness without adding unnecessary mass.
Mixed materials also play a part in the all-new suspension. The front independent short/long arm suspension features new forged-aluminum upper control arms that are lighter and provide better wheel alignment than the stamped component they replace. The live-axle rear suspension is also redesigned, including new carbon-composite second-stage springs on LT models that save about 12 pounds (5 kg) per side over the steel springs they replace.
Ranger. Production of the 2019 Ranger begins late this year at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant as customer demand is growing for midsize trucks. US sales are up 83% since 2014 as a new generation of midsize truck buyers seek more maneuverable, fuel-efficient pickups.
The 2019 Ford Ranger features a new exterior design, chassis and powertrain developed specifically for North American truck customers. With a high-strength steel frame, Ranger is equipped with a proven 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.The 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine features direct fuel injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger and 16-valve design. For added durability, the engine features a forged-steel crankshaft and connecting rods, and chain-driven dual overhead cams.