Pickup trucks are designed to be workhorses, but sometimes, hard work doesn’t just encompass towing and hauling. In some cases, interior technology can help with the job, in addition to making your truck’s occupants a bit more comfortable. Here’s a rundown of trucks with the best technology features. Most of these systems are extra cost options, but they will help you get the job done more efficiently and keep you and your passengers entertained and safe.
When it comes to truck tech, it’s hard to beat the Ford F-150. Option the F-150 right, and you can have a rolling office that can tow up to 11,300 pounds. The F-150 is available with a rearview camera that gives the driver an extra set of eyes while hooking up a trailer. Another option is Ford’s SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system, which allows the driver to use voice commands to control the stereo, navigation, Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and rearview camera. Ford also offers its Work Solutions system on the F-150. The system includes features like an in-dash computer, an available Internet connection and even an optional printer. If you’re managing a fleet of trucks, the Crew Chief telematics system lets you track the location of your vehicles, their idle time and fuel use, so you can manage your team and your budget. Finally, you can get a Tool Link system, which tracks tools and alerts the driver if something is being left behind at the job site. You can even program the tool lists so the truck will let you know if you have all the tools you need for the day before you head out.
Of course, trucks don’t just need tech on the inside. To help keep things under control while the F-150 is doing what trucks do best, there’s an available integrated trailer brake controller and standard trailer sway control. The F-150 even has an optional electronically-locking rear differential to make sure it doesn’t lose its footing. The best thing about Ford’s interior and mechanical tech is that it’s not just available on the full-size F-150. You can get it on Ford’s Super Duty heavy-duty trucks as well.
The Ram 1500 is a hard-working truck, but depending on how you equip it, it can be a luxury family hauler as well. Although the base Ram comes with just basic tech features, it does feature Chrysler’s Uconnect web system, which turns the truck into a rolling 3G Wi-Fi hotspot. This feature will keep passengers happy as they browse the Internet, but if you want to get some work done, the Wi-Fi hotspot will also keep you in touch with the office. If you don’t need the Wi-Fi connection, you can get the basic Uconnect system, which uses a touch screen to control music, navigation and your cell phone.
As for tech on the outside of the Ram 1500, it’s the only truck to come with a multi-coil rear suspension. For better fuel economy, opt for the adjustable air suspension, which lowers the truck during highway driving to reduce drag. Both suspensions give it a ride that most reviewers say is the smoothest and most comfortable in the class. The Ram 1500 has another exterior feature that isn’t all that high-tech, but reviewers love it: the RamBox storage system available in the Ram’s bed. Reviewers say these lockable, watertight boxes are great for storing gear that you don’t want in the cab or rolling around in the bed.
GMC Sierra Hybrid and Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid
When it comes to interior tech, the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and GMC Sierra Hybrid are behind the competition. They offer features like navigation and connectivity for portable music players, but they can’t match systems like Ford’s SYNC or Dodge’s Uconnect. The GMC Sierra Hybrid and Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid are loaded with plenty of tech -- it just all happens to be under the hood.
Just because they have hybrid powertrains doesn’t mean that the Sierra and Silverado Hybrids are slouches when it comes to performance. They combine two electric motors with a V8 engine, which improves their fuel economy but limits maximum towing capacity to 6,100 pounds. In comparison, a Ram 1500 equipped with its most fuel-efficient V6 engine and rear-wheel drive can tow 6,500 pounds, but it gets slightly worse combined gas mileage than the Sierra and Silverado Hybrids.
With the ability to run on electric power alone at speeds up to 30 mph, the hybrid trucks from GM can provide significant fuel savings, which is something most trucks can’t brag about. The Silverado and Sierra Hybrids get about 20 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway. That’s 5 more mpg in the city than the base gas-only Silverado, which is powered by a V6 engine. Car reviewers are impressed with how smoothly the powertrains in the hybrid trucks operate. While these trucks’ interiors may leave some owners wanting for a few more high-tech features or a bit more luxury, for green-minded buyers who need a truck, the Silverado and Sierra Hybrids offer just the tech you’re looking for.