This year we’ve got a lot to look forward to. We have a new and improved Big Tex. We’ve got lots of great food and fun for the family, like usual. We also have some pretty awesome new vehicles worth checking out so let’s get to it.
There were some big reveals at the State Fair media day including the reveal of the all new Chevrolet and GMC Heavy Duty trucks. Chevy, being a huge sponsor of the State Fair, spared no expense in their prime time spot of the State Fair media day. We had journalist from all over the U.S. on hand as well as Mike Tirico from ESPN.
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and the GMC Sierra HD
After the launch of the all-new 2014 Silverado and Sierra, we knew we’d see the heavy duty trucks fall suit. Thankfully Chevrolet chose the great state of Texas and our great State Fair to unveil these great trucks. We see the same styling as their smaller counterparts but we’re also seeing more enhancements including a powertrain with compressed natural gas (CNG) capabilities. This will be available for the 6.0-liter Vortec V8 allowing the engine to run on either gasoline or CNG. If you were looking for any other big news under the hood, you won’t find it. The base engine remains to be the 6.0-liter V8 pushing 360-horsepower and 380-lb-ft of torque. Step up to the diesel offering and you still have their big Duramax turbodiesel that pushes 397-hp and 765-lb-ft of torque.
Although power numbers have remained the same towing numbers have been increased across the board. These trucks are now rated to haul 7,374 pounds of payload (up from 7,222 lbs). If you’re utilizing the conventional hitch you’ll see a rating of 19,600 lbs and 23,200 lbs on the fifth-wheel hitch. Aiding the driver we now also see the integration of auto-grade braking and a diesel exhaust braking system as well as an integrated cruise control system.
It really looks like Chevrolet has stepped back up their game with their new 2014 and 2015 offerings. Ford and Ram are going to have some stiff competition on the sales floor.
Chevrolet SEMA Concept Trucks
Chevy also brought along some of their crazy SEMA concept trucks including the 2013 SEMA Chevrolet Silverado BlackOps and the 2013 SEMA Chevrolet Silverado VolFirefighter. These are some cool trucks that show off the new Silverado design.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – on display and on the track
We were excited to see the all new Stingray Corvette on the showroom floor at the State Fair of Texas and it’s an attraction that is worth coming to see on its own. Then we noticed that Chevrolet has set up a ride and drive track in the parking lot out here with the Vette lined up and ready to run. This is an opportunity for us to jump in this new sports car but it’s also an opportunity for any other normal fair-goer to do the same. The track is actually a half-decent one as far as parking lot tracks go and the because we’re special, the people a GM allowed us to beat on this car a little harder than normal.
So, fast and lose, what did we think about our experience in this car?
It was pretty amazing. I’ve been a fan of this car but like any other Corvette fan I’ll attest that the interior has always been its Achilles’ heel. Not this one. Sitting inside this car was fantastic. We now have great materials all around, beautifully laid out controls, and up to date technology in the dash and the instrument cluster. Sitting inside this car and driving it around this short track left me only wanting more. We’ll have to get this thing out on the open road or a closed road track to really give some opinions but I’m already excited about having that chance soon.
2015 Ford Super Duty and King Ranch
Not to be outdone, Ford showed off what they’ve been working on. They brought out their new 2015 Super Duty and King Ranch trucks at the State Fair of Texas. Unlike GM, Ford has improved upon their powertrain. The legendary 6.7-liter Power Stroke Diesel has improved power numbers from the use of larger turbos and injectors. We don’t have exact numbers yet but Ford says they’ll be comfortably beyond today’s 400-hp and 800-lb-ft of torque.
They’ve also spent some time specifically on the F-450 which tops the Super Duty family. The towing and hauling capabilities have been upped, the frame has been strengthened, the suspension has been modified, and we see new commercial-grade 19.5-inch wheels and tires.
As far as the King Ranch goes, we see a little bit of new sheetmetal and some new colors. Included is a lighter, richer shade of Mesa leather which trims the seats, center console lid, armrests, and steering wheel. Exterior updates include the new, darker Caribou paint for the wheel lip moldings, bumpers and lower body. The bed rail caps, bumper caps and running boards are executed in black. The Running W brings focus to the wheel caps as well.
RAM and RAM Commercial
Ram has really been pushing the boundaries these past few years. This is a brand that really needed to fall, to be able to get back up again. We really loved the 2013 Ram 1500 and just got back from driving some Ram Heavy Duty trucks as well. They have won the coveted Truck of Texas these past 2-years and are making a path to bring home a third trophy. We’ll get into some specific numbers on the Ram trucks as we’ve got some reviews to put out on the 2013 Ram 1500, the 2014 Ram EcoDiesel 1500 and the new Ram 2500 with the new 6.4-liter HEMI. What we can tell you is that Ram is making a lot of waves and their growing their market-share. Not just growing among regular customers mind you, they are also growing in the commercial market as well. Ram announced they have 800-nationwide commercial dealers that are focused specifically on selling their Chassis Cab, Heavy Duty trucks, the Tradesman, and their new Promaster Van (which we also have a review coming up).
2014 Toyota Tundra
Well of course with all this truck excitement Toyota wasn’t going to go without making some noise of their own. They may not be able to claim best power numbers, or best towing, or best fuel economy, or have any trophy’s on their mantel but what they can say is that their truck is the only one built right here in Texas. Or right down the road in San Antonio. And that’s exactly what we heard at Toyota’s press conference. Not only built in Texas but fully manufactured in North America. Engines, design work, transmissions, and assembly are all done in North America. We have yet to drive the 2014 Tundra but are looking forward to getting behind the wheel of one. We especially would like to spend some time in the 1794 edition; a truck named for the year in which the Texas ranch, their facility resides, was established. The new truck has some nice looking lines on the exterior as well although I’m still up in the air on their grille treatment.
Also introduced and showed off at the State Fair was their BassPro Tundra Concept. Yup you may have guessed it, this is a truck built in conjunction with BassPro shops and it was even towing a fishing boat. Toyota had no information or numbers to offer us so we’ll just show you some photos.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel and the New Cherokee
Jeep was ready and in the mix too bringing their new Grand Cherokee with the V6 EcoDiesel powerplant and their new Cherokee, a baby brother to the Grand Cherokee. First we’re happy to see that EcoDiesel making it’s way into some U.S. products. This is a great 3.0-liter turbo-diesel that pushes out 240-hp and 420-lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of grunt and should really help the GC in with towing and some off-roading. It will also help with fuel economy as you should see 22-mpg city and 30-mpg highway. The Grand Cherokee is another one of those great vehicles for Texas drivers and it shows as it’s won 3 consecutive titles of SUV of Texas. Will the diesel engine help garner it yet another? We’ll find out soon enough.
Across the floor we have the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. I’ll admit that I didn’t quite understand where this was going to fit in at first and I wasn’t pleased at all with the styling but after about a year has passed and seeing this vehicle on many occasions it’s really starting to grow on me. One of the models they had for us at the State Fair was the TrailHawk which is a meaner, tougher, off-roading version of the Cherokee. I’ll have to say that it actually looks quite good and if it’s as capable off-road as I’m hearing from colleagues, then it’s really worth a look.
2014 Dodge Durango and 100-Years of Dodge
Dodge brought us an updated Durango and pointed out that the Dodge brand is doing great in the state of Texas. They say they are up 56% in sales here in Texas and that we are their number one state for sales. Following many other brands they have decided to dedicate a trim level just for our great state deemed “the Heat.” We’re looking forward to checking out more about the new Durango and seeing how it stacks up with the kids in tow compared to the Acadia, Traverse, and the Explorer.
There is so much more at the State Fair it’s impossible to get it all into one article. Be sure to attend this year, check out Big Tex, and shoot us some photos on our social sites!