Calgary Auto Show: The truck stops here

CALGARY – According to the woman who answers the phone at my house the only television commercials worth watching are those advertising trucks.

She particularly likes the spots for the new Chevrolet Silverado HD.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to tell her that country artist Will Hoge will not be appearing at the 2014 Calgary International Auto and Truck Show to perform his song ‘Strong’. Chevrolet picked up Hoge’s tune to publicize its all-new 2015 Silverado HD, which has its regional debut at the BMO Centre from March 12 to 16.

It’s no secret that Alberta is the pickup truck capital of Canada. More trucks are sold here than in any other province. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, trucks are perennially popular on our roads.

What’s new in the world of pickups? Plenty – and they’re all on display at the Auto and Truck Show.

Since I’ve already mentioned the Chevy Silverado HD, which is ‘strong – for all the roads ahead’, let’s start there. The truck is new, and according to GM, it was engineered to be stronger, smarter and more confident than ever. Starting with a rigid, fully boxed frame the Silverado should provide improved handling and ride comfort, while also increasing payload and towing capability.

Maximum available payload is 3,508 kg, and maximum conventional towing is 8,890 kg with the available factory hitch. For fifth-wheel work, maximum available is 10,523 kg.

Available engines in the 2500 and 3500-series Silverado HD trucks include the Duramax 6.6-litre turbodiesel, a 6.0L Vortec gasoline V-8 and a bi-fuel version, which uses either gasoline or CNG (compressed natural gas).

Of course, the GMC Sierra HD is here, too, and GM says it was designed to deliver class-leading capability with enhanced comfort and smarter technologies – advancing a 111-year legacy of professional heavy-duty trucks.

Sharing many of the features of the Silverado, including the same payload and towing ratings, the Sierra includes GM’s cornersstep rear bumper and easy lift and lower tailgate. Making towing easier is the standard StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control on all models, including 3500HD dually, and integrated cruise control, auto grade braking diesel exhaust braking (diesel models), for increased driving control and reduced brake wear on grades.

Over at Ford, the Blue Oval’s F-150 has been redesigned from bumper to bumper for 2015. More than a redesign, the automaker would prefer to call it a reinvention.

The F-150 has become lighter thanks to military-grade aluminum alloys used in the body panels, and has shed 318 kg overall. Ford says the truck, with more high-strength steel used in the construction of the fully-boxed ladder frame, is tougher than ever. The company says a disguised all-new F-150 recently competed in the Baja 1000, where it covered all 1,420 kilometres without missing a beat.

There’s a lineup of four engines available to power the F-150, including a 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 featuring auto start-stop that Ford says should deliver the same power as some mid-range V-8s. There’s also a 3.5L EcoBoost, a 3.5L V-6 and a 5.0L V-8.

Over at Toyota, the new-for-2014 Tundra is on display. Now in its third-generation, the Tundra has been updated with new exterior design elements that Toyota says reflect a ‘chiseled and modern industrial image’. The truck is available in five ‘grades’ — the SR, SR5, the well-appointed Limited, and two premium models, Platinum and the new 1794 Edition. Two engines power the Tundra. There’s a 4.6L V-8 in the double cab standard bed, while a 5.7L V-8 is standard in all other models.

Back to TV commercials for a moment, I’m told Toyota gets a nod for its ‘Baseball’ spot where a dad builds a neighbourhood ball diamond after his son pops one through the window of the family home.

Nissan has their 2014 Titan on the show floor, and this truck, although introduced in 2004, continues to show some innovative thinking. There is the lockable external storage compartment, using otherwise wasted space behind the rear wheel, for example. The Titan also has the first-in-class wide-open rear doors on the King Cab models and the available Utili-track bed tie down system – one of the best available in a production truck.

Every 2014 Titan features Nissan’s Endurance V-8 as standard equipment. This all-aluminum 5.6L engine makes 317 horsepower and 385 ft.-lbs. of torque.

News in the Ram display is the 2014 EcoDiesel 1500. According to Chrysler, their half-ton truck is the only pickup in the segment offered with a diesel power plant. At 3.0L capacity, the V-6 EcoDiesel produces 240 h.p. and 420 ft.-lbs. of torque and is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler says the EcoDiesel Ram has a towing capacity of 4,173 kg and sips fuel at 8.4L/100km.

I don’t think anyone in this house has seen a commercial about the Ram EcoDiesel, but I’m sure I’ll hear about it if one airs. Full Calgary International Auto and Truck Show information can be found at, or read my accompanying story elsewhere on these pages.

About Greg Williams