New Pickups

Rolling into 2012

Manufacturers bring a number of minor changes and a couple of new trim levels to the pickup market

If you are thinking about moving from your old pickup into a fresh model, 2012 might be just the year to do it. Pickup sales have continued to show gradual improvement, which has prompted manufacturers to make improvements to most of their models.

There are a lot of changes from the 2011 model year, but most are on the subtle side as the majority of the pickup manufacturers made significant model changes in 2010 and 2011. What changes are made for the new year are along the lines of popular features being moved into more trim levels and some new technologies being rolled into the new trucks.

Here’s a quick run-down of improvements:


Dodge Ram’s recent innovations give them bragging rights on several segment exclusives including coil-spring rear suspension on Ram 1500, RamBox lockable and lighted bedside storage, in-floor storage on all Ram Crew Cabs, the largest cab in the market – (Ram HD Mega Cab) and standard six-speed manual transmission on all diesel models.

RAM 1500 Tradesman

New Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty Model is a half-ton with 3/4-ton capability. Available exclusively as a 4×2 regular cab truck with an 8-foot bed, the Ram 1500 Tradesman HD is built on a 3/4-ton Ram 2500 Heavy Duty frame with heavy-duty axles and eight-lug wheel hubs.

“The Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty is a job-rated truck with the features commercial truck buyers want at a price they can afford,” said RAM President Fred Diaz.

“The commercial truck segment is all about total cost of ownership and that includes being able to tow and haul more.”

With an 11,500-pound maximum trailer rating and 3,100-pound payload, the Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty tows and hauls more than any other half ton. The Ram 1500 Heavy Duty’s 17,500-pound gross combined weight rating (GCWR) also tops all half-ton pickups in the market.

The Ram 1500 Tradesman HD arrives in Ram Truck dealerships in the first quarter of 2012.

Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition

“In recognition of the millions of American hunters, we’re launching the Ram Mossy Oak Edition,” says Diaz. Ram 1500 owner demographics illustrate a love for the outdoors: 30 percent hunt, 44 percent fish, 27 percent are boaters and 42 percent are campers.

Based on the popular Ram Outdoorsman, the Mossy Oak Edition will be a limited-availability model with Mossy Oak’s Infinity Breakup camouflage pattern.

The Mossy Oak logo is prominently displayed on the rear quarter panels. Inside, the center column of the Ram’s instrument panel is finished in Mossy Oak Infinity Breakup, as are the door panel inserts. The Mossy Oak logo is embroidered on the four primary headrests.

Ram’s Mossy Oak Edition will be available in a variety of colors including Black, Bright White, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl, Mineral Gray Metallic, Saddle Brown and Sagebrush monotone.

Ram Mossy Oak Edition trucks will arrive in dealerships in December 2011. Ram Mossy Oak Edition pricing starts at $39,910, including $995 destination charge.

Ram Power Wagon

The most capable off-road, four-wheel-drive, half-ton pickup available, the Ram Power Wagon, is getting two new trim levels. In 2012, the ST package is a no-frills Power Wagon with black grille, black bumpers, black fender flares and black mirrors.

The Laramie Power Wagon is equipped with leather seats, premium audio, dual-zone A/C and wood grain dash and door panels.

The Power Wagon package also includes a floor mounted, manual transfer case shifter and 12,000-pound-capacity Warn winch custom fitted for this application.

Exterior features include body-colored fender flares, chrome mirrors, bumpers and grille and unique badging. Now if we can just get a diesel-powered Power Wagon …


Not happening. Ford has stopped production on the venerable Ford Ranger as we know it and turned all their mid-size pickup attention to all-new 2012 Ford Ranger that will be sold everywhere but in the United States.

Appropriately called the global Ford Ranger, the new midsize pickup, which was mostly developed in Australia, will be available with two diesel engines and a gas version. Maybe someday we’ll get to see it on our roads … but not now.

Ford Super Duty

Ford Super DutyFord rolled out major changes with the 2011 Super Duty, which continues unchanged for 2012. The highly acclaimed pickup features an all-new Ford-designed, Ford-built diesel and transmission with increased towing and cargo capacities. Recent software changes have increased horsepower to 400 and torque to 800 foot-pounds.

Ford F-150

Ford’s F-150 also made big news in 2011 with several new powertrain offerings including the popular turbo-charged 3.5L EcoBoost V-6. New for 2012 is a two-speed automatic 4×4 system for Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels.

The system still offers four-high and four-low modes, but 2012 brings a 4×4 auto mode. If the truck senses a loss of traction, it immediately transfers torque to the front wheels.

Hill Start Assist keeps the truck from rolling backward at a stop, making it easier to pull away when on a slope or hill, especially when towing. If sensors detect the vehicle is on a slope with the brake pedal pressed, the system is automatically activated. The pickup remains stationary on the slope for up to two seconds after the driver releases the brake pedal.

Other F-150 news includes a neutral setting on all 4×4 models so the pickup can be flat towed. Also available is an electronic locking rear axle on the 3.5L EcoBoost and 5.0L engines.



2012 Chevy ColoradoThe 2012 Chevrolet Colorado gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg on the highway with the standard Vortec 2.9L four-cylinder engine while the Vortec 3.7L I-5 delivers 23 mpg.

Need more muscle? The 2012 Colorado can be ordered with a Vortec 5.3L V-8 engine, which enables a towing capacity of up to 6,000 pounds and zero-to-60 performance of less under seven seconds.

Colorado comes in regular, extended or crew cabs and in either two- or four-wheel drive. For additional versatility, extended and crew cab models are available with the Z71 off-road suspension or the sport-tuned ZQ8 suspension package.

Chevy Silverado 1500

New front-end designs, available heated/cooled seats and a special White Diamond Edition are among the new offerings for the 2012 Silverado. All Silverado 1500s now feature Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist as part of the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system. Cruise control and a spare tire lock are also now standard on all Silverado 1500 models.

Chevrolet WiFi powered by Autonet, available through Chevy dealers, turns the Silverado into a mobile internet hot spot and an office on wheels, providing multiple users with full internet access inside the vehicle or up to 150 feet from the exterior of the vehicle.

Chevy Silverado HD

Redesigned for 2011, the Silverado heavy-duty lineup rolls into 2012 with even greater towing and payload capacities including fifth-wheel towing capacity of 23,000 pounds, conventional towing capacity of 18,000 pounds and payload of 7,215 pounds.

“The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado HD builds on the award-winning foundation created for 2011,” said Rick Spina, vehicle line executive. “We worked to raise the bar even further, developing engineering updates and conducting additional validation with the goal of making the new Silverado HD the most capable heavy-duty pickup ever.”


Nissan TitanThe 2012 Titan is offered in King Cab and Crew Cab body styles with a choice of 4×4 and 4×2 drive configurations, along with two wheelbases (138.9 inches and 159.5 inches) and three bed lengths.

Titan is once again available in four well equipped models – S, SV, PRO-4X and SL. It is also available as a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) designed to run on E85 Ethanol.

The Titan is built on Nissan’s rugged F-Alpha pickup platform, featuring a powerful 5.6L DOHC Endurance V8 rated at 317 horsepower and 385 foot-pounds of torque. Nissan offers a standard five-speed automatic transmission in the pickup, which delivers a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,500 pounds for King Cab and 9,400 pounds for Crew Cab.

The 2012 Titan also continues with features such as 168-degree rear door opening for King Cab and a utility bed that includes factory-applied spray-on bedliner and the Utili-track Bed Channel System that provides moveable cargo tie-down points. Titan also has a lockable bedside storage compartment.

Nissan Frontier

Nissan FrontierThe Nissan Frontier continues its heritage of off-road athleticism with two body configurations and two engines: 261-horsepower 4.0L V6 or 152-horsepower 2.5L inline four-cylinder.

Revisions for the 2012 model year include the addition of a new Sport Appearance Package on King Cab and Crew Cab SV models.

The Sport Appearance Package includes 18-inch SL aluminum-alloy wheels and front grille with Dark Hyper Silver finish, body-color front and rear bumpers, sport cloth seat trim with embroidered Frontier logo, fog lights, body side “Frontier” sport graphic, white-faced gauges and Bluetooth Hands Free Phone System.

Other enhancements for 2012 include the addition of standard 2-Wheel Brake Limited Slip (ABLS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) on four-cylinder models.


GMC Canyon

With a maximum payload of 1,422 pounds and an available Vortec 5.3L V-8 that enables a towing capacity of 6,000 pounds, the midsize GMC Canyon delivers big-truck capability in a more fuel-efficient midsize package.

2012 Canyon body styles include Regular Cab, Extended Cab and Crew Cab in 2WD and 4WD; two pickup bed lengths; three available suspensions and three engines.

Trims include Work Truck, SLE and SLT. The Z71 Off Road package offers distinctive visual cues to augment its suspension differentiation; it is available on 2WD and 4WD models. The ZQ8 sport suspension includes a 5.3L V-8 and 18-inch wheels.



For 2012, all Tundras have standard heavy-duty battery, heavy-duty starter, windshield wiper de-icer, daytime running lights (DRL), front and rear mudguards, and heated, power, outside mirrors.

The 2012 Tundra is offered in two grades (Tundra and Limited), three cab styles (Regular, Double Cab and Crew Max), three wheelbase lengths (126.8, 145.7 and 164.6 inches, depending on model and configuration) and three bed lengths (78.7, 97.6 and for CrewMax only, 66.7 inches).

A Tundra Work Truck Package features heavy-duty vinyl-trimmed seating surfaces, and heavy-duty all-weather flooring. It is available in Regular and Double Cab configurations with any of the Tundra’s three engine choices.

The Tow Package on all V8 models helps increase towing capacity up to 10,400 pounds, while upgrading Tundra’s cooling and electrical systems.

With the Towing Package, the six-speed automatic transmission gains a Tow/Haul shift mode, selectable by a dedicated switch.

Toyota’s Tow/Haul mode applies specific logic for adjusting the throttle sensitivity and transmission shift control, favoring and holding lower gears when accelerating or decelerating to help enhance control and safety.

Standard for all models, Trailer Sway Control uses the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to help counteract handling forces applied to the truck in an effort to minimize the impact of trailer sway.

The center console in bucket-seat models can hold a laptop computer or hanging file folder storage. There are two 12V DC power outlets, one on the dash and one in the center console. CrewMax models have three 12V DC power. Outlets remain live for up to two hours after the ignition is switched off.

All Tundra-grade models come standard with dual-zone air conditioning with individual temperature settings for driver and front passenger.

Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma continues to be the best-selling compact pickup in the U.S. The 2012 Tacoma offers a restyled exterior look with redesigned hood, grille, headlamps and front bumper.

Inside, customers will find a new center-instrument panel design with a revised gauge cluster, along with a new steering wheel. A redesigned center stack adds new air conditioner/heater controls and power point locations.

A new heavy-duty all-weather flooring can be found in the Access and Double Cab models, while the more specialized TRD Sport and Off-Road models offer new water-resistant fabric protection seats. The TRD Sport Package adds side mirrors with turn-signal lamps for 2012, as well as available chrome-clad 18-inch wheels.