2014 Detroit Auto Show: The Trucks and SUVs

In his second recap of the Detroit Auto Show, RelayRides blogger and automotive expert, Trent Fletcher, shares his favorite trucks and SUV’s of the show.

Six-figure sports cars weren’t the only vehicles strutting their stuff this year at the North American International Auto show – down-to-earth pickup trucks, crossover SUVs and full-sized people haulers made their presence felt in Detroit as well. Here’s a few of our favorites from the show.

2015 Ford F-150

The best selling pickup truck in the world for over four decades, the F-150 gets a complete re-think for the 2015 year. Aside from its newfound tough looks that we first got a glimpse of in the Atlas Concept from last year, the big news for the F-150 is that its body now made almost exclusively from military-grade aluminum, saving upwards of 700 pounds of weight in the process. This weight savings has benefits across the board, not only in the form of better fuel economy but also in handling, braking and acceleration. To go along with the base 3.5-liter V6, the 5.0-liter V8 and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin turbocharged V6, the F-150 adds a fourth engine option to lineup in the form of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, which is said to offer for as much power as a small V8, and will be an option above the base 3.5 mill.

Volvo Concept XC Coupe

Volvo may be calling the Concept XC a coupe, but judging from the chunky wheels, lifted stance, and skis on the roof, the Swedish automaker has plans for this vehicle that often don’t include paved roads. Designed to preview the 2015 Volvo XC90 SUV, the it stands to replace the current first-generation XC90 SUV that’s been in production for more than 12 years, and follows the well-received new aesthetic direction Volvo seems to be headed in, as first showcased in the great looking Volvo Concept Coupe from last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show .

2015 GMC Canyon

GMC took the wraps off the Chevrolet Colorado’s cross-town cousin at Detroit, showcasing the truck maker’s interpretation of GM’s newest midsized truck. Featuring a quieter cabin, a 4.2-inch color driver information screen, OnStar 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot capability, and higher quality interior materials, GMC seems to be emphasizing comfort and convenience over sheer utility in the new Canyon.  Interestingly, there’s also a Teen Driver feature, which lets parents set radio volume, speed warnings, and a speed limiter. It also records the misbehavior that teenage drivers often indulge in at some point, such as wide-open throttle and ABS activation, plus the maximum speed at which the truck is driven. We can’t help but wonder if and when this sort of functionality will proliferate to the rest of the industry – and who will have access to that data, and control those functions.

VW Beetle Dune Concept

Just the fact that VW saw fit to create a dune buggy-style concept of the new Beetle is enough to put a smile on our face. Volkswagen says its concept is a “Baja Bug for the 21st century.” Using the Beetle R-Line’s 210-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission as its base, the Dune sports an extra two inches of ground clearance, while also being wider, 0.8 inches taller and half-an-inch longer than the production model. While the likelihood of this concept making it to production is remote at best, we’d be happy if VW just made the parts available for the conversion.

2014 Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition

Chrysler chose to cater to the Duck Dynasty crowd with the newest version of its Ram 1500, the Mossy Oak Edition. Festooned with camouflage-esque paint accents and interior trim, according to Ram the Mossy Oak is “designed for the hunters, fishers and other outdoors-folks” in the Ram customer base. The sneaky swamp machine is available in Black, Black Gold Pearl, Prairie Pearl paint with either a Canyon Brown or Frost Beige interior.