The annual Work Truck Show in Indianapolis is a different kind of trade show. All the big full-size pickup truck makers except Toyota attend, along with smaller companies showcasing solutions to common problems encountered by fleet and commercial truck buyers. During the recent 2018 show, we saw plenty of snowplow packages, alternative-fuel conversion kits, work-truck bed caps, economical dump beds, towing paraphernalia, and even a few hybrid and electric truck offerings (ownership and repair costs are big issues for this class).
We took a leisurely stroll around this year's show and grabbed a few photos of some of the more eye-catching and interesting products and trucks on display. Here are just a few of the standouts:
1. Chevrolet Silverado Medium-Duty Tilt Bed
Among the many bulletproof medium-duty chassis and drivetrain upgrades to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 4500/5500/6500, our favorite feature is the tilt-forward front hood. It screams big-rig strength and prowess. Why can't this be an option on the 2500/3500 Silverados?
2. Nissan Dual-Tip Exhaust
As part of its strategy to provide more factory performance parts, Nissan will now offer a dual exhaust tip for the Titan that showcases a pair of chromed tips that both provide a noticeable change in pitch while looking pretty cool.
3. Hino Enters Class 8 With XL Series
Where else would you debut your biggest big-rig player than to the fleet and commercial buyers attending the Work Truck Show? Hino has played in the medium-duty class with relatively good success, but now it wants to offer a full line of work trucks for buyers who want a one-stop shopping choice, so it offered up its Class 8 rig at the show.
4. New Products Galore
This trade show is not just about providing an opportunity for big truckmakers to show off their latest products — although that's exactly what Chevy, Ford and Ram did — it's also an opportunity for smaller upfitting businesses to show off what they can do as well.
5. Chevrolet Silverado Medium-Duty Interior
This one has us a little puzzled. As big as a Chevrolet Silverado 3500 is, it is not as big and capable as the new bigger, stronger Class 4, 5 and 6 medium-duty Silverado. So why would a medium-duty owner want his truck's interior to look similar to a truck of less size and strength? We get that importing the 2500/3500 interior into the medium-duty Silverado will make it more comfortable and easier to drive over long hauls, but shouldn't its interior be distinct to the medium-duty class?
6. The 'Flow Tie'
One of our favorite features from the all-new Navistar/Chevrolet medium-duty Silverado collaboration is that the massive front grille has an appropriately giant bow tie specifically designed to allow more air to flow into and on the radiator and oil coolers. More air means lower temperatures for the engine, as well as a longer life.
7. Elegant Propane Solutions
If the Work Truck Show teaches anything, it communicates that there are a lot of people who know how to calculate cost of truck ownership down to the penny per mile. And that's why there are so many alternative-fuel and powertrain suppliers looking to catch the attention of showgoers. This example from Alliance AutoGas had a clever way of using the spare-tire location to house a 23-gallon propane tank.
8. Bed Steps
Chevrolet had a big booth featuring several bed-delete options offered across the mid-size, half-ton and three-quarter-ton lineups. In fact, it even had a 2019 Silverado 1500 Z71 Trailboss on display, which got us thinking about how much the rear bumper bed step has changed. The improvement is significant.
9. Ford Ranger Leaf Springs
We didn't get a lot of information about the coming 2019 Ford Ranger when it debuted at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, but we did get to see a laser blue Ranger FX4 on display at the Work Truck Show. The outside looks pretty good, but we were surprised to see that it has only one leaf spring and one overload spring.
10. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Dual Pipes
From the first time we saw the spy photos of the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500's new dual exhaust setup exiting through the rear bumpers, we've wondered if Chevy created a true dual-pipe setup or if it was just for looks. And after crawling underneath a new Trailboss, now we know. The pipes combine after the manifolds, run through a single catalytic converter and exhaust barrel, then spit out again just above the rear axle.
11. Debut of New Ram 1500 Tradesman
This was the first chance Ram had to show off its all-new 2019 Ram 1500 entry-level Tradesman trim level. Offered in all three cab configurations with new, stronger and more durable seating material, the Tradesman will benefit from all the huge structural and light-weighting technology packed into this truck, but it will cost about only $1,000 more than the outgoing comparably equipped model.
Cars.com photos by Mark Williams