2014 State Fair of Texas: Cleaning Out Our Notepad

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The auto show piece of the annual State Fair of Texas is one of the most pickup-truck-centric and heavily trafficked shows of the year for a couple reasons. First, the fair runs for almost four weeks (from the end of September to Oct. 19 this year) and, second, Texans love to see, touch and learn about every aspect of their favorite pickup trucks. It's an often-cited statistic that 1 in 5 pickup trucks produced in the U.S. are sold in Texas. To put it simply, this is the single most important state for any truckmaker. That's probably one of the reasons why Toyota is relocating to the Lone Star State and why every other truckmaker creates huge and spectacular truck displays at the fair. And, if we're honest, that's probably why we make this show a must-see stop on our travel schedule.

Here are some of the things we saw this time around.


Ford Heads Toward 5 Millionth Super Duty

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Can you believe that Ford is closing in on producing 5 million Super Duty trucks since its introduction 15 years ago? Neither could we, but that's exactly what will happen at some point in October, when that exact truck will roll off the line at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. From F-250s to F-550s, Super Dutys have been pulling their weight in just about every work industry in the country, from mining and law enforcement to highway maintenance; it typically leads its competitors by a good margin. No one knows what the exact configuration of the 5 millionth truck will be, but the Super Duty featured at the fair was an F-250 King Ranch crew cab 4x4.


Chevrolet Reveals Two Concepts

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Chevy had two pickup trucks, a Colorado and a Silverado, designated as "concept" vehicles at its booth, both of which are likely to show up at the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas in November. As nice as they looked, calling them concept vehicles (implying availability in the future) seemed a little disingenuous. Mostly what these vehicles were highlighting were existing GM accessories that can be ordered or installed at dealerships. Sure, the Colorado had some wheels and mud-terrain tires that aren't offered on any trim or option package, but just about everything else (bike rack, tube steps, backup camera, wheel lips, graphics and more) can be ordered right now. Interesting looking, yes, but a real concept vehicle (like we saw last year), not so much.


Ram Partners With Rangers

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Ram CEO Bob Hegbloom announced Ram will partner with America's oldest law enforcement agency, the Texas Rangers, to assist in furthering the historical preservation of the renowned organization with a $100,000 donation to renovate and expand the existing Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum in Waco.

"The Ram Truck brand, our owners, our dealers and The Chrysler Foundation are committed to making a difference in the communities where we do business," Hegbloom said in a statement. "Texas is truck country — Ram Truck country — and today's announcement allows Ram in partnership with The Chrysler Foundation to assist the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in making a positive contribution to preserving Texas Ranger heritage and helping foster its future."


Related Videos and Packages

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We spent quite a bit of time working at the State Fair of Texas, but you should know that not all of what we got done ended up on PickupTrucks.com. In fact, we found the all-new Ford Edge in the Ford booth for the first time since it was revealed just a short time ago. Since this was its first public viewing, we did a quick video for parent company Cars.com. We also thought Chevrolet's new Z71-optioned Tahoe and Suburban were interesting enough a separate video, so we'll have those available for you shortly.


GMC Is On a Roll

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Did you know that 20 percent of all GMC vehicle sales are Denali trim packages? Which means the Denali trim package sells more vehicles than Porsche, Jaguar or Land Rover annually. In fact, almost 40 percent of all Sierra Heavy Duty sales are Denalis. Half-ton 2015 Denali pickups will get a new standard eight-speed transmission with the 6.2-liter V-8, new Magnetic Ride Control shocks and a new hands-free tailgate. Additionally, all Sierra HD Denalis will be equipped with a locking rear differential. We're told the recent special editions (Carbon and Elevation) are just the beginning of more unique packages to come.


Nissan Project

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In one of the most moving press conferences of the fair, Nissan highlighted the fact that its Wounded Warrior Project Titan was back from its Alaskan expedition; the full story of the wilderness expedition will appear as a multi-episode adventure on the project's Facebook page. It was obvious this event was particularly important to the two veterans who drove the Titan in Alaska — David Guzman and Kevin McMahon.


What We're Driving

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We have the chance to drive pretty much whatever we want when we head to the State Fair of Texas, but this year GMC was nice enough to allow us to use a 2015 Sierra 2500 HD Denali crew cab 4x4. It's a tough vehicle not to love, even at $63,000. Our only complaint is with ride quality. When empty (albeit a 7,800-pound empty truck) the truck has plenty of bounce in the ride when navigating normal Dallas pavement. If it's possible to make the Magnetic Ride Control shocks standard on the light-duty trucks, how much engineering would be necessary to make a set strong enough to deal with heavy-duty workloads? We averaged 17.8 mpg over our 400 mile tour. 


Thanks to the Crew

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We don't say this enough, but our team at Cars.com has been doing some impressive work at auto shows along with reviewing all the latest cars and trucks sold in the U.S. This year we had producers, cameramen, photographers and on-camera talent ready to search out and expose all the most interesting (and even a few boring) cars and pickups.

Cars.com images by Evan Sears and Mark Williams



hmm. Still no word here on ford introducing power numbers and towing/payload for the 2015 f-150. Consumer reports also did a first-drive of the 2015 f-150 already. I'm surprised consumer reports would get a first-drive before pickuptrucks.com. Consumer reports is ridiculous. They don't have any truck guys there. It was interesting though that they only averaged 16.7 MPG in their test of the 2.7 liter ecoboost f-150, which in my opinion is VERY disappointing. I was hoping the truck would be rated 20 mpg combined, and they said the test was mostly normal driving near highway speed. That seals the deal. I'm buying a 2014 f-150. Ford also stated that fuel economy figures won't be revealed "probably" until november. I'm guessing that is probably because fuel economy is going to be pretty disappointing. They did also say that fuel economy will improve between 5 percent and 20 percent depending on the model. So basically 1 to 3 mpg improvement, maybe 4.

Mark - no news yet on 2015 RAM 1500 trucks and the refresh that Sergio announced in their business plan?? There has been no news of the 1500's - only the Heavy Duty line. Were the 1500's at the fair 2015's or 2014's? There was supposed to be a mild refresh for the 2015's, but wondering if those got nixed in favor of waiting for the all-new redesign in 2017.


They also stated that truck only had about 60-100 miles on it so that engine was not even broke in

Beebe also neglected to mention the rest of the disclaimer "it was one of the largest, heaviest configurations of the F-150, being a SuperCrew 4x4. The area we test drove it was also quite hilly, which also likely impacted fuel consumption." My 5.4 won't even get 16.7 on the interstate! But then I do drive at about 85mph. Beebe, if a truck has a 20mpg combined rating, that means in order to see 20mpg, you have to drive city and highway (hence the term "combined"). If you take it around town, all hilly roads, it will show less than 20mpg. So it very well could get 20mpg combined. I expect to see 25-26mpg highway.

I was wrong actually it was trucktrend that got that fuel economy. How much does MPG really improve once an engine is broken in? I've bought several new vehicles and never noticed a significant difference. It might be 1 mpg difference at best in my experience. Maybe this new engine has a much needed break-in time? At "60 to 70 mph" in "normal" driving 16.7 is just not good, especially when people are estimating it will be rated high 20s on the highway. I would have expected at least 20 with all the hype of this truck. They either made some kind of mistake, or the fuel economy just isn't that great. I'm hoping they made a mistake. I think they did say it was only 100 miles of driving and that it was inconclusive. They also said it was relatively hilly and a 4x4 supercrew, but It sounds like they were just trying to find excuses for why it did so poor. I'm pretty sure you could take a 2014 f-150 5.0 off the lot same configuration and get about 16.7 mpg in those conditions. I am curious what others think about this? and please fanboys...not you.

@ alex
It was not city driving.

We drove the truck at what we’d consider a “normal” pace of highway driving of between 60-75 mph, punctuated occasionally by passing

Read more: http://www.trucktrend.com/roadtests/pickup/1410_2015_ford_f_150_supercrew_xlt_4x4_2_7l_ecoboost_first_drive/#ixzz3EocuBf3f

Don't get me wrong I love the new f-150, and I honestly hope you are right that it gets 25-26 highway. We will see, but the initial report simply does not look promising.

@beebe, i think that they made a mistake with their caculations as they said they filled the truck up, but did they get the truck full, addtionaly it seems they where testing out the engines power and where probably agressive with the throtal , In an episode of Top gear Jeremny clarkson drove an M3 behing a prius with the prius being driven flat out as fast as it could be driven around a track the result was that the M3 avehicle that has to pay the gas guzler tax returned better MPG than the prius. Fuel economy is all on how you drive more than anything , that skinny pedal makes the biggest diffrence. The whole point of the ecoboost is for the daily comuter family truckster engine that can tow /haul heavy loads on occasion, its for the person who only needs a 150-200hp on a day to day basis and only really needs all 325 on a limited baisis. That is where these trucks will shine . If you are towing day in and day out the comaparbley equiped superduty cost the same with a 6.2 v8 acordding to fords web site.

@Beebe, fair enough. Let's hope it proves to be better with the more scientific testing.

What happened to the big special announcement regarding the Super Duty? Levin was hinting around that something big was coming. Guess not.....

BTW- build the same truck for 15 years and you are bound to make a lot of them. Come in, Ford, time for an ALL NEW Super Duty! I am afraid we are in for an aluminum F-150 body on the same old chassis.

I'm glad you're loving the GMC you drove to the Fair. My experience with GMC is they're easy to love, at first. But if you keep it for a reasonable time you'll get tired of it always being in the shop for one repair or another. Eventually that "love" turns to "never again." Just my experience. Unfortunately, that experience was repeated several times, between GMC and Chevrolet. To each his own, I just can't drive one of those two without frequent breakdowns.

some nice trucks there, I have not had good luck with GM either in the past, but the HD's I drove were pretty nice

I personally would rather not be part of the test group on any new model truck.
My experience with the Ecoboost engines is that they are very sensitive to driver input. I know one guy who says mpg is the same as any other V8 he's owned and another says it gets excellent empty mpg. One is a lead foot and the other tries to get good mpg.
I had the 3.5 EB in a virtually identical configuration to mine for 9 days(only difference was 3.55 vs 3.73). The EB consumed just as much fuel as my 5.4. To be fair, I had the EB in -25 to -35C weather and I drove it harder than I would drive my own truck.

Yunz guys should test pickups in my neck of the woods, we have steep mountains, we haul coal and firewood, we have bad roads, we have lots of off-road areas, our pickups are dirty all the time cause whats the use of cleaning them when we are going to get them dirty again.
In the gas drilling business we abuse our pickups some of the stuff we do with our pickups may be illegal.

Sorry, but Texas doesn't impress me cause they don't abuse their pickups like we do.

PUTC? bring us a test truck, or drop off a test truck to the good-old-boys in the gas drilling business, if there's a weakness, we will find it!
or show me a pickup covered with mud, grease and snuff spit with the floor of the bed all dented up with bent bumpers and you'll impress me!

Tom#3 - You decided that the whole skinny young dude approach and being worried about what other guys think of your truck choice and Blue Knob Sales" wasn't working for you and now its snuff and grease and body odour ????

What ever floats your boat..........

BTW - unless you live in the Rockies you don't actually have steep mountains.

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