On Motoring Monday it’s truck week! So we’re gonna show you the new redesigned 2016 GMC Sierra, RAM 1500 Rebel off-road, and the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. And Ford’s been doing some virtual reality manufacturing for their new F-150.
2016 GMC Sierra
With Ford and RAM both amping up the competitive heat in showrooms, GMC brings some new design and features to their professional grade Sierra pickups in 2016.
While not a complete redesign, GMC brings a new face for 2016 across the entire Sierra pickup truck line. It all starts with a new grille, bumper and fascia framed with LED C-shaped signature daytime running lights.
There’s also new available LED headlights and fog lamps along with LED tail lights which also mimic the new C-shaped highlight element. All of these will give the 2016 GMC Sierra a distinctive look especially at night.
Each trim grade of the Sierra will have its own unique fascia and grille treatment starting with a high-detail chrome mesh for Denali.
The popular SLT gets a new and bolder bar design grille with chiseled detail. And last but not least, the new All-Terrain model gets a black chrome version of the SLT grill for a meaner look.
The entire line of trucks will see increased use of the 8-speed automatic transmission which means it will be available on engines where the 6-speed automatic currently does duty.
Other updates include the latest generation of the IntelliLink connectivity suite now with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. New driver-assistance features are expected as well.
More details and specifications for the 2016 GMC Sierra will be coming soon as we near its on sale date which comes late this year.
2015 RAM 1500 Rebel
The mid-year surprise Ram 1500 Rebel is arriving at dealers now, bringing a new off-road option to the full-size truck market.
The 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel starts with several unique visuals like bold new grille with downright huge silver “RAM” lettering. Below it is a powder-coated black off-road front bumper with tow hooks and skid plate.
It’s off-road outfitting continues with knobby 33-inch Toyo tires and a unique 17-inch aluminum wheel design. The hood is unique too with a taller profile and styled scoops.
The suspension also gets a 1” factory lift for more ground clearance, Bilstein shocks with unique tuning and a softer rear anti-roll bar. A new steering and stability control calibration, as well as revised alignment specs are matched to the ride height.
Inside, the Rebel gets special seats trimmed in red and black vinyl with patterned fabric inserts matching the Toyo tire tread pattern. Red and gray accent stitching is found throughout the cabin.
Red anodized vent rings, door and center console accents contrast to the all-black dash and cabin linings like the headliner and A-pillars. A new center console design gets a place for your devices too.
Pricing for 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel starts at $42,790 for the 4×2 5.7 liter HEMI. With 4×4 models you can have the 3.6 liter V6 starting at $44,720 or the HEMI at $46,370. The Crew-Cab is the only cab choice.
The new 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel is showing up at your local dealerships now and will roll into the 2016 model year as well.
2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
Toyota’s entry into the full-size off-road pickup game this year is the new Tundra TRD Pro, a step up from the run of the mill TRD package.
Most agree TRD has been barely more than a sticker and shocks package for all intents, but TRD Pro brings some real hardware and visual change to the Tundra, not to mention increased off-road capability you can feel.
Suspension gets a healthy 2-inch lift up front for a better stance, special TRD-tuned Bilstein front and rear digressive piston dampers and increased suspension travel front and rear. Softer rate TRD springs give better compliance in the rough as well.
While the 5.7 liter V8 remains unchanged, it does get a stainless steel TRD dual exhaust system which has reduced back-pressure, a deeper sound and the obligatory polished tips for extra bling.
And speaking of bling, though functional there’s also a 1/4-inch thick aluminum slid plate up front and eye-catching black 18-inch TRD alloy wheels with Michelin off-road tires.
Other unique visuals include blacked-out headlights with manual leveling control, TRD graphics here and there, as well as blacked out emblems and trim. I comes only in three colors, Black, Super White, and Inferno which you see here.
Last but not least the interior gets a slew of tricks to remind you why you spent the money including red-accent seat stitching, a TRD shift knob, embroidered logo floor mats, and custom instrument cluster trim.
The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD-Pro is available in both Double Cab and Crew-Cab models and starts at $41,285. It’s available at your dealers right now.
In our test drives this week the star of the show was the all-new aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 4×4 with EcoBoost.
Our tester was a super-cab XLT well optioned and outfitted with the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6. It was nice to get a mid-level model to test since it’s closer to what most buyers will take home.
What we found was one of the quietest and most stable F-150’s on the road we’ve tested yet. Both on the highway and off on the back trails around Phoenix the chassis proved solid and composed, the body tight despite being hundreds of pounds lighter.
Power from its somewhat small 2.7 liter EcoBoost engine was more than adequate if not surprising for its size at 325 horsepower. Fuel economy gets lost however if you sink your foot into that power too much though.
You can watch our full test drive review by clicking the link below or on our website TestDriven.TV.
Reality Check: Ford Virtual Reality Manufacturing
In our Reality Check segment this week we look at how Ford is applying motion capture technology and virtual reality to refine their manufacturing process.
Outfitting their employees with immersive graphic headsets and motion-capture body suits, Ford creates virtual environments which simulate the assembly of upcoming models years in advance of Job 1 such as the new F-150 pickups.
The data collected is used to design tooling for the assembly line which not only makes the job easier and safer for workers, but also affects design of vehicle components and parts to streamline assembly.
3D printing is used as a tool here such as in the study of the 2015 F-150 engine and transmission mating process which at one point was a matter of concern for engineers.
They simulated the process in the virtual world, running through the steps with a real person, a 3D printed mockup, and the digital realm seen in the headset. This enabled them to solve key process and design issues years ahead of actual assembly.
The process is used for studying the build process of all new Ford vehicles to solve both production challenges through design as well as make the moves and actions safer and less stressful on the bodies of line workers.
Most importantly, Ford says this program has resulted in a reduction of employee injury rates by as much as 70 percent. Not a bad thing at all.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we take the best photo from this week’s automotive news and we show it to ya!
Chevrolet will be giving us a redesigned pickup this fall too in the 2016 Silverado which gets a more muscular front-end appearance by way of a new hood, bumper, grilles and headlight designs. LED accent lighting will be available too.
Well that’s it for Motoring Monday, thank you for watching us. Click on the light right here and subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we’ll keep you updated on all we do. We test drive a new car every week and produce almost a new video every day, so there’s always something new.
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