Both Ford and Dodge showcased their most recent commercial offerings at the National Truck Equipment Association’s recent Work Truck Show in Chicago: Ford showed off its Transit Connect urban delivery van, while Dodge displayed its redesigned Ram 2500 and 3500 for 2010.
One of the benefits of being an international company like Ford is that you can “borrow” appropriate products from around the world if they make sense in other markets. The company’s new-to-North America Transit Connect urban delivery van, built in Turkey and originally designed to operate in Europe’s tightly constricted cities and towns, is noticeably smaller than conventional North American delivery vehicles, but Ford says it still offers up to 1,600 pounds of payload and features more than 135 cubic feet of cargo space.
Available in van and wagon configurations, the Transit Connect stands 6 feet, 8 inches tall and has a curb-to-curb turning radius of 39 feet. Its 2.0-liter Duratec I-4 engine is rated at 22 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. Late next year, in partnership with Smith Electric Vehicles, Ford will offer all-electric Transit Connect vehicles with an estimated range of about 100 miles.
In other Ford news, the company reaffirmed its commitment to the North American Class 6 and 7 truck markets, announcing the continued production of F-650 and F-750 trucks through its Blue Diamond collaboration with Navistar.
Ford also announced it will re-enter the stripped commercial chassis market in 2011 with its F-59 Super Duty platform in multiple wheelbase lengths and respective gross vehicle weight ratings. As currently configured, the F-59 features a 6.8-liter Triton V-10 gas engine mated to a TorqShift five-speed automatic overdrive transmission. Other features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes and Bilstein shock absorbers. The F-59 chassis will be available in early 2010.
Dodge says its new 2010 Ram 2500 and 3500, both available this fall, have been redesigned both inside and out. According to the company, new styling cues have been taken directly from the Ram 1500 redesign and include a rakish front end set apart by the HD models’ distinctive grill, hood and bumpers. Under the hood, Dodge says it has equipped the truck with the choice of a 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine rated at 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, or a 5.7-liter gas HEMI V-8 rated at 383 hp.
Dodge says its engineers worked hard to improve the trucks’ driving and handling characteristics: Retuned suspension components combine with new fluid-filled C-pillar hydromounts to smooth out uneven road surfaces and give drivers precise handling even when the truck is fully loaded.
Meanwhile, four-wheel-drive models equipped with the Cummins Turbo Diesel engine now have a higher front gross axle weight rating of 5,500 pounds to allow for more front-weight carrying capacity, including snowplows. At the same time, towing capacity for 3500 models has been boosted to 18,500 pounds with a maximum payload of 5,110 pounds. An integrated trailer brake controller now is available as a factory-installed option.
Customers also now can spec premium cab appointments such as a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. The premium package also includes powered memory front seats, GPS navigation system, adjustable pedals, Sirius Backseat entertainment system featuring three channels of live television, and 10-speaker surround-sound system.