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2019 work truck preview

December 12, 2018 | By Mario Cywinski

Photo courtesy FCA

December 12, 2018 – Not long ago, pickup trucks and vans were seen only as dedicated work trucks. Those days are long gone, as with the rise of ‘crossovers’ and SUVs, many consumers want bigger vehicles. Now, for many, a pickup truck is simply ‘an SUV with a truck bed.’

For electrical contractors and other professionals who depend on pickups or vans for their day-to-day business operations, what this trend has meant is today’s work trucks now come with more bells, whistles and options than did those of the past.

In another trend for the 2019 model year, light-duty pickups are taking centre stage. General Motors (GM) has introduced all-new versions of its GMC and Chevrolet 1500 variants, Ford has added a diesel-fuelled truck to its F-150 lineup, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has a new version of its Ram 1500 and Toyota and Nissan are offering updated versions of the Tundra and Titan, respectively.

In the mid-size segment, which has seen an increase in interest over the last few years, Ford is bringing the Ranger to market, with many other options still available from a variety of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). And on the van side of the equation, Mercedes-Benz has introduced a brand-new Sprinter.


Here, Electrical Business looks at what is available and what is new in Canada’s van and pickup truck market for 2019.


Ford has been the top-selling pickup truck brand in Canada for many years with its F-series. Not one to rest on its laurels, the company has added a diesel engine to the F-150 lineup offered the Raptor model’s engine on the limited trim.

The 3-L power stroke V-6 diesel engine offers 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It is capable of 11,400 lb of towing and 2,020 lb of payload.

The high-output EcoBoost 3.5-L V-6 offers 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. Four other engine choices are also available: 3.3-L V-6 with 290 hp and 265 lb-ft, 2.7-L EcoBoost V-6 with 325 hp and 400 lb-ft, 3.5-L EcoBoost V-6 with 375 hp and 470 lb-ft and 5-L V-8 with 395 hp and 400 lb-ft.

There are three box size (5.5, 6.5 and 8 ft), three cab sizes (regular, supercab, and supercrew) and seven trim levels (XL, XLT, Lariant, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited and Raptor). The maximum payload is 3,270 lb and trailer towing capacity is 13,200 lb.

With the mid-size segment growing, Ford has brought its Ranger nameplate back to the market. New to North America for 2019, it mates a 2.3-L EcoBoost engine to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The new Ranger is available in XL, XLT and Lariat trims and in supercab or supercrew sizes. An automatic start/stop, four cargo box tie-downs, a quick-release tailgate and a variety of safety features—including trailer sway control, rear-view camera and automatic emergency braking—come standard.

An FX4 off-road package adds off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate and skid plates and FX4 badging. It also features the Terrain Management System, which offers four drive modes: normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. A new Trail Control feature, meanwhile, works like cruise control, but for low-speed, rugged terrain. It can take over acceleration and braking for each individual wheel.

Transit Connect
The 2019 Ford Transit Connect compact van offers a new, standard 2-L in-line-four gasoline engine and a new, optional 1.5-L EcoBlue diesel engine. Both come with automatic start/stop and eight-speed automatic transmission. A third option, a 2.5-L I-4 engine with six-speed automatic transmission and compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane gaseous fuel pre-package, is available exclusively for fleets.

Many safety features are standard on the Transit Connect, such as side wind stabilizations, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and rear-view camera. Other available features include a lane keeping system, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert.

Ford also offers a full-size Transit van in a plethora of configurations and trims. A stripped chassis and Econoline cutaway are available for order.


Chevrolet Silverado
Like the GMC Sierra 1500, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has been redesigned for the 2019 model year.

Of its six engine options, four are new: 2.7-L turbo-charged I-4 with active fuel management and eight-speed automatic transmission; 5.3-L V-8 with dynamic fuel management and eight-speed automatic transmission, 6.2-L V-8 with dynamic fuel management and 10-speed automatic transmission, and a 3-L I-6 turbo diesel with 10-speed automatic transmission. The other available engines are 4.3-L V-6 and 5.3L V-8, both with active fuel management and six-speed automatic transmission.

The new Silverado is bigger, stronger and lighter. It offers up to a 100 mm longer wheelbase, is 41 mm longer, has more cargo and interior room, is up to 204 kg lighter, has a 14% higher payload for crew cab models and features 12 stronger tie-downs with 227 kg of force before bending (doubled).

There are regular, double and crew cab configurations, each with all-wheel drive (AWD), along with three cab lengths (8, 6.5 and 5.7 ft, depending on model) and eight available trim levels (work truck, custom, custom trail boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ and High Country).


Completely redesigned for 2019, the Sprinter van now offers a gasoline engine option, in addition to the previously available diesel, on the 1500 and 2500 models. The 2-L gas four-cylinder engine offers 190 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, with nine-speed automatic transmission. The 3-L diesel six-cylinder engine offers 190 hp and 324 lb-ft, with seven-speed automatic transmission. Both engines are available in cargo vans, crew vans and passenger vans, but the cab chassis is only available with diesel.

The Sprinter’s cargo volume now reaches a maximum of 533 cf on diesel models, and 488 cf on gas models. The diesel models offer a maximum payload of 3,010 kg and towing capacity between 2,268 and 3,402 kg, while maximum towing for gas models is 2,268 kg. The load floor is metal on cargo van models and an electrical sliding door and step, as well as MasterUpfitter solutions, are also available.

In addition, the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) is now available on Sprinter with a 7- or 10.25-in. display. MBUX can be accessed via touchscreen, voice, touchpad or steering wheel controls.

The Sprinter is loaded with safety features, including blind spot assist with rear cross-traffic alert, active lanekeeping assist, park assist, traffic sign assist, crosswind assist, attention assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

Mercedes also offers a smaller cargo van, the Metris, which is powered by a 2-L four-cylinder engine offering 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque with start/stop technology and seven-speed automatic transmission. It is available in two trims: a 126-in. wheelbase with a length of 514 cm and 1,135-lb payload; or a 135-in. wheelbase with 537 cm length and 1,110-lb payload. The door opening height is 126 cm on the rear and 125.2 cm on the side.


Nissan’s compact cargo van offers 131 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque from its 2-L four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). It has 3,474 L of cargo space, a payload of 1,450 to 1,480 lb and seating for two.

Changes to the Titan and Titan XD for the 2019 model year include offering NissanConnect (with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and a rear door alert as standard features.


Ram 1500
The all-new 2019 model Ram 1500 is available in three configurations: quad cab with 6.3-ft bed, crew cab with 5.6-ft bed and crew cab with 6.3-ft bed. All are available in either two-wheel drive (2WD) or 4WD.

Engine options include a second-generation 3.6-L Pentastar V-6 with 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque and a 5.7-L HEMI V-8 with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft. The eTorque mild hybrid system is standard on the V-6, adding 90 lb-ft of supplemental torque, and available an option on the V-8, to add 130 lb-ft. Both engines come with eight-speed automatic transmission.

New features include a fourth-generation Uconnect system with available 12-in. touchscreen, 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with active braking. Air suspension provides more off-road capability, easier loading and enter-exit with four ride heights. The maximum payload is 1,043 kg and trailer towing capacity is 5,783 kg. An exclusive RamBox stores and secures items at the side of the bed.

Ram continues to sell the earlier 1500 model as the Classic, available with a V-6, V-8 or V-6 diesel engine.

Ram ProMaster
Ram’s full-size ProMaster van has received a few upgrades for 2019, including a towing capacity increase of 30% (up to 3,084 kg), interior lighting and fleet telematics. High-roof models can now be purchased with polycarbonate side rear windows, while low-roof models can come with steel grates.

The standard payloads are 1,814 kg for the ProMaster 1500, 1,918 kg for the 2500 and 2,123 kg for the 3500. The standard engine is a V-6 Pentastar with 280 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, with six-speed automatic transmission.

The ProMaster City compact van adds fleet telematics and a Ram grille for 2019. It offers a payload of 862 kg, cargo volume of 3,729 L, cargo width between the wheels of 1.2 m and a step-in height of 546 mm. It is available in cargo van or wagon configurations, offers 907 kg of towing capacity and runs on a 2.4-L engine with 178 hp, 174 lb-ft of torque and nine-speed automatic transmission.


The 2019 TRD Pro grade version of Toyota’s full-size pickup offers 18-in. forged alloy wheels, 2.5-in. internal bypass shocks, rigid fog lights, hood scoop and black chrome exhaust tip. The SX package includes glossy black 18-in. alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers, black grille, footwell lighting, fog lights and privacy rear glass. A power tailgate lock has been added to the Platinum and 1794 models.

Two engine options are available: a 4.6L V-8 with 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque and a 5.7-L V-8 with 381 hp and 401 lb-ft, both with six-speed automatic transmission. The Tundra comes in three bed lengths (5.5, 6.5 and 8.1 ft) and two cab sizes (double and crew max).

The mid-size Tacoma is available with a 2.7-L in-line four-cylinder engine with 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque or a 3.5-L V-6 with 278 hp and 265 lb-ft, both with six-speed automatic transmission. Also, a V-6 with six-speed manual transmission is available on TRD off-road models.

Two cab sizes are available: access and double. Updates for 2019 include TRD Pro grade desert air intake, JBL premium audio system, black chrome exhaust tip and updated TRD skid plate. All trims now offer dual USB ports, while the Limited trim gets a power tailgate lock.

Mario Cywinski is editor of Machinery and Equipment MRO magazine, a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and a judge for Canadian Truck King Challenge, with more than 15 years’ automobile industry experience. He can be reached at mcywinski@mromagazine.com.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Electrical Business Magazine.

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