The Texas State Fair is here once again, welcoming the start of the fall season. It’s a time to celebrate the end of another summer, along with the start of the holiday season. Ferris wheels and deep-fried foods aside, the State Fair of Texas is host to the Texas Auto Show. And since Texas remains the truck capital of the world, virtually every manufacturer brought out the big guns in their pickup truck lineups.
RAM: For 2019, Ram introduced new faces for their 1500, Rebel, and Power Wagon, with a new bit of tech under the hood. The Hemi V8 and Pentastar V6 will now be available with mild hybrid technology called eTorque. This has improved fuel economy and performance on Ram trucks by working as a spotter for the engine during moments where it needs the most help – like moving from a standstill or coming to a complete stop.
Ram also introduced a new trim level for the Ram 1500 Longhorn called the Rodeo. The Rodeo trim will come standard with air ride suspension, fifth-wheel/gooseneck trailer prep package (with backup cam for trailer hitch), and LONGHORN displayed on the tailgate. Inside, the Ram Longhorn Rodeo is treated to a Southwestern theme with suede headliner, leather seats, and plenty of Longhorn patches. The only thing I felt was out of place was no mention of the word ‘Rodeo’ anywhere on the truck itself. Its absence seemed like a waste of a good emblem design.
CHEVROLET: The Silverado 1500 is set to come in eight different flavors for 2019. A wide array of trim levels to meet the tailored needs of any Chevy truck buyer. From construction site mules to weekend boat haulers, Chevrolet wants to provide a Silverado to meet every need – or perceived need. New for 2019 is the introduction of the Trailboss, which comes standard with a factory 2-inch lift. The RST trim is the street version of the Silverado 1500 with the standard engine being the new turbo four-cylinder. The 2019 Silverado 1500 trim levels are as follows:
- Work truck
- Custom Trailboss
- LT Trailboss
- High Country
My favorite feature on the 2019 Silverado 1500 is the button-activated tailgate. The tailgate is so light you can bounce it on your hand with less effort than is used to toss an unopened beer can.
NISSAN: Nissan made updates to its still-new, redesigned Titan. These improvements include a larger fuel tank and wider bed. Oh, and there’s a brand-new 12-speaker Fender audio system! Still in the game is the Nissan Frontier, what we regard as the last honest pickup truck on the market. The Frontier remains a truckin’ example of the motto, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” And it ain’t.
KIA: Anxious to shed the last bits of stigma from its early upbringing, Kia is diving (driving?) head first into the large SUV market with its all-new Telluride. A near-production concept model Telluride was on display at the Texas Auto Show this year. This is a one-of-kind bespoke model that is over the top cool with leather wrapped headlamps, tire straps, and even door handles. The entire package is beautiful – like a Land Rover from Asia. With its 3rd-row seating, new V8 engine, and (probable) all-wheel drive, it looks to be extremely competitive in an increasingly crowded – they’re all so BIG – market category. More details should be coming early next year.
FORD: The Ford Ranger is back! But for some reason Ford decided to bring just one, in a Ford Focus copper orange, and placed it outside. Inside Fair Park’s Automobile Building Ford announced four new trim levels for their non-pickup bread and butter, the Expedition and Explorer. Texas – as you’d guess – is one of the largest markets for SUV buyers, after all.
Ford announced the Expedition Stealth Edition and Texas Edition for 2019. The Ford Explorer will get two new trim levels; the Limited Luxury Edition and Desert Copper Edition. What makes these trim levels special is interior colors and mild exterior trim features like wheel size and body colors. I’m sure if I was a family man I would be more interested in these models, but writing about SUV’s is one of the rare moments where I show my age.