Full-Size Truck Likes and Dislikes


By Mark Williams

Pickup trucks have seen their ups and downs in the past several years, and they’ve been pretty well beat up in the past 12 months. As a result, vehicle manufacturers are trying everything they can to attract customers and make one more sale.

Some of their ideas are pretty good, but others make me think they’re not quite sure what we want or what we think. What follows is a quick look at some of my personal likes and dislikes in regards to full-size trucks. We’re guessing you have a few observations and pet peeves of your own. Let us know, and we’ll let the designers and engineers who can do something about it know.


1. For a while we had some pretty good tailgate tech coming at us. Honda made a pretty good technology leap with its dual-opening rear tailgate that allows bed users to either swing the gate open wide like an SUV or drop down like a traditional pickup. Why can’t all pickups have that option? Likewise, when Ford first put the slide-out/pop-up tailgate and step-and-grab handle on the Super Dutys, you could hear the collective light bulbs going off in every truck guy’s head: Why didn’t I think of that?

2. Sure, a relatively small number of people tow a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer, but we like the fact that manufacturers are catering to these supreme towing customers who buy full-size heavy-duty pickups to push the limits. Ford and Dodge now offer both types of trailering options from the factory option lists, incorporating all the appropriate frame supports into their current redesigns. Although GM is not offering the factory hitches, it did include extra holes and support beams to accommodate fifth-wheel and gooseneck installations more easily. But we’re guessing GM will jump in pretty soon after its new trucks hit dealerships.

3. This one isn’t quite so obvious, but we like that some of the big engine makers aren’t trying to fill every square inch of open space under the hood. More space means more access for service and more air for cooling. If you can’t reach inside the engine compartment without a ladder and hoist (for yourself), it doesn’t do much good. The Cummins engine is a favorite of many turbo-diesel fanatics for a lot of reasons, but the inline design allows for much more open space on either side of the block than the V architecture. Ford, are you listening?

1. Can there be anything more frustrating than not knowing your exact tire pressures when you’re towing? It wasn’t that long ago that we all carried tire pressure gauges in our pockets (some of us still do), but with the advent of real-time pressure displays, every truck should have this information available from the driver’s seat, especially if you tow or haul big loads (this applies to nearly all full-size pickups). Dodge even offers dual sensors on its Ram HD rear tires so your computer can detect when you’re driving at lower tire pressures or when you’re driving at maximum pressures. 

2. I don’t ever need to see another automatic transmission that doesn’t let me access each gear individually. There was a time when some automatic transmissions didn’t allow you to use the middle gears. If there’s anything that bugs a truck guy more, it’s not being allowed to use something that the truck offers because someone else decided you wouldn’t need it. The HD automatics do a good job now, but some of the lighter-duty pickups, especially now that they’re headed to six-speed transmissions, are lagging. If I buy a six-speed, I want to play with all the gears. 

3. I have a confession: I love lubes. More specifically, I love my truck’s lubes, and I love knowing how they’re doing (temperatures, life, levels). I always want to know the exact temperature inside my crankcase and my transmission, and I would love to know how my rear axle oil is doing as well. So why don’t truck makers let me know the temperature of my axle lube?  With all the cool products for your rear axle coming from small aftermarket companies — from bigger capacity covers, to cooling fins, to dipsticks, to light accessory kits and more — you’d think the big automakers could come up with a simple sensor. When I’m towing my boat to the river in midsummer, I want to keep an eye on that temperature. If there’s a lube in my truck, give me a way to monitor it.


Thought of a couple others.

I'd like some "accessory" switches in my Chevy, like Ford has. For things like flood lights under the rear bumper, canopy interior lights, etc.

The tow/haul mode, seat heat, and rear parking assist override settings should all be "remembered" when the truck is shut-off and restarted, just as the HVAC, seat and pedal positions are stored. I don't like having to turn the above on or off as needed every time I restart the truck.

An under-hood light would be very nice.

Maybe the cargo light turns-on when the tailgate is opened? (Like dome lights when a door is opened.)

ford stop worrying about toyota and build a truck costumers want the f150 screw is way to long now and turning suks put the truck back to 2008 size and make it a option for ext cab.

Manual transmissions. I hate automatics and always will. Offer those of us who can properly drive them and enjoy doing so the option. Solid axles with king-pins and locking hubs on 4x4s. Offer a heavy duty truck with work in mind: with a simple inline-six turbo-diesel, a manual transmission and transfer case and a real solid axle with no flimsy disconnect mechanism in it. Give A/C, cruise and stereo and nothing else, get rid of the carpet. Carpet? On a work truck? Are the manufacturers retarded? Then make a 1/2 ton version with a smaller, more efficient engine but otherwise the same.

The best of the above in/on a JEEP! Hello, Are you listening Jeep?

I would like a F250, single cab, short bed, rear axle on the end instead of the middle of the chassis, 4x4, manual gearbox, and last and most important a non-american diesel.
Mercedes for instance build 4.0 V8 diesel with massive torque. Even a 6.2 raptor looks like a lizard in comparison!!!!!!!!!

I guess I don't understand why the manual transmission has gone away, even as an option. I had to order my '06 F250 with manual, and now I can't find it on any full-sized truck. There is still a market, albeit small, for manual transmission trucks. Frustrating!

how much is this car?

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