PickupTrucks.com's Top 10 Features For 2009 Half-Ton Pickups
By: PickupTrucks.com Staff Posted: 10-03-08 09:11 PT
© 2008 PickupTrucks.com

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The latest crop of half-tons includes some very interesting and useful new features that extend pickup truck capability, efficiency and safety to new heights. Here's our look at the best features for 2009.

10

Real-Time Traffic, Weather and Fuel Prices

Five years ago, it was novel simply to have GPS in a truck. New for 2009 on the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram 1500, GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado is an advanced navigation system that includes real-time traffic to help you avoid accidents and plot alternate routes.

The F-150 extends its navigation features even further by adding real-time fuel prices to make filling the truck a bit less painful, plus real-time weather radar so you can see if there’s bad conditions ahead on the road.

Too bad you can’t get real-time updates for your spouse’s mood (but they’re probably working on that, too).

9

Flat Load Floor in Crew Cabs

Ever tried to quickly load something into the backseat of a crew cab pickup, only to be stopped by the driveline hump running to the rear wheels? Ford has completely flattened the second row’s floor to make loading and storing items in the back of the cab a cinch. Simply fold up the rear seats and stow away!

8

Integrated Trailer-Brake Controllers

GM and Ford both offer optional integrated trailer-brake controllers that couple a truck’s braking system with a trailer’s electric brakes. When you apply the truck’s brakes, they also activate the trailer’s brakes. With this option, you can just check a box on the order form rather than reaching up under the dash to sift through a nest of wires and sharp plastic to manually install an aftermarket kit -- saving the hassle and your hands.


7

Trailer-Sway Control

Given the ever-increasing trailer-towing capabilities of half-ton pickups, new safety features help ensure that both driver and load arrive safely. Both Dodge and Ford are offering trailer-sway control technology for the first time.

In the case of the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, its stability control system has been enhanced to counteract unintended trailer motion. It does so by using the truck’s antilock braking and traction control systems to apply individual wheel brakes and/or reduce engine power.

The Ford F-150 uses a more sophisticated trailer-sway control system: By taking advantage of its integrated trailer-brake controller, the F-150 can apply both its and a trailer’s brakes to stop sway, making the road safer for other drivers, too.


6

Fuel Economy Models

Regardless of any innovative new features truck-makers are inventing in order to separate their pickups from the rest of the herd, all are trying to offer better fuel economy. By using some of the numerically smallest rear axles we’ve seen in years, plus low-rolling-resistance tires and deeper front chin spoilers, Ford and GM quickly responded to high prices at the pump with new FE (fuel economy) models. The Ford F-150 SFE and Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra XFE pickups get identical mileage estimates of 15/21 mpg city/highway, an improvement of around 5 to 7 percent compared to non-FE pickups. Simple, smart and cheap.

Looks for a similar -FE Dodge Ram 1500 fuel economy model to debut some time next year.

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