The word about trucks for 2007 and beyond is simply this: bigger and better for the Big Three. This year Ford introduced the bigger 6.4L diesel engine in its Super Duty series with 650 lb-ft of torque and massive towing capability, while Chevy reworked the 6.6L Duramax for 660 lb-ft of torque and more ponies too. Dodge did the same with the bigger and better 6.7L Cummins diesel with 650 lb-ft of torque. Diesel is big, torque and towing is big, and the big pickup truck is not going away. While Nissan's reworked Titan and the all-new Toyota Tundra are fullsize rigs with adequate capacity and plenty of power, neither of those foreign manufacturers can even come close to matching the Big Three until they up their ratings to at least 31/44-ton, and offer the all-important diesel engine demanded by real truckers for hauling loads and towing trailers.
Truck owners are a loyal bunch, but the vehicle that serves them best without breaking the bank or breaking down is the one owners want. Many buyers can't afford a breakdown as they depend on these trucks daily for their living; if it's in the shop or on the side of the road, they lose money by the minute. For off-road use, the four-wheel-drive heavy-duty trucks are in their element as work trucks. Slogging across unimproved roads, trails, and fields for work is what's needed to finish the job. Clawing up logging roads, hauling drill rig equipment across barren wasteland, and shussing through snowdrifts for utility work during the worst of weather conditions are these trucks' forte. Rarely will these trucks be used for recreational off-roading, as the size, weight, and suspension limit the areas these vehicles can access. The more supple 11/42-ton versions with off-road packages such as Ford's FX4, Dodge's TRX4, GM's Z71 4x4, and Nissan's PRO-4X all skew the vehicle towards the recreational 4x4 user, along with hunting, camping, and fishing enthusiasts as these rigs have upgraded shocks, suspensions, tires, wheels, and generally at least a limited-slip differential for better traction off road. But for trailering a load, or hauling the most, the Big Trucks from the Big Three have a lock on the market, and the fierce competition among them means even better bargains and features for us. These are true American trucks, and we'll be testing the best of the best later in the year to rank them. Look out, America is hauling fast.