If we’re talking about fall in Texas, the conversation is sure to center on a few things: football and trucks. It’s why automakers flock to the annual Texas State Fair to unveil their latest offerings, and like the state’s well-known high school football teams, the competition is fierce.
The fair has become truck central and this year is no different as the usual suspects all flocked to the Lone Star State to kick up some dirt and brag about which one was best and a few used the annual event to make a couple of big announcements.
First, Ford announced its 2017 Raptor – equipped with the all-new 3.5-liter twin-turbo high-output EcoBoost engine – with churn out 510 lb.-ft. of torque and 450 horsepower.
“Raptor was designed to be a no-compromise, off-road performance machine,” said Matt Tranter, Ford Performance engineering supervisor.
“That is why we made the switch from the cast-iron V8 to the aluminum block, high-output GTDI V6 EcoBoost engine that our team tuned to add 39 horsepower and 76 lb.-ft. of torque for today’s Raptor.”
Using the same “military grade” aluminum found in its other F-Series offerings allowed Ford engineers to cut 500 pounds from the truck and mating EcoBoost to an all-new 10-speed transmission with an exclusive transfer case and a six-mode Terrain Management System to make it all go, the company came up with some impressive fuel economy numbers for the all-new off-roader.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker produced a 23% improvement in EPA-estimated combined fuel economy for Raptor with certified fuel economy ratings of 15 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined.
Not to be outdone, Toyota put 54 vehicles on display with the highlight being the all-new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro. Super aggressive and ready rumble, the maker’s popular midsize truck featured a heritage-inspired grille, headlights and taillights with blacked out inner housing that match the hood scoop, and TRD Pro badging.
Built in San Antonio, the Tacoma TRD Pro is designed for off-road hijinks and Toyota claims it “is equipped with one of the most high-performance off-road suspension systems ever offered on a production vehicle.”
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The Japanese maker also introduced the 2017 RAV Platinum and SE Hybrid. The RAV4 Platinum is the premium grade for active couples with an adventurous lifestyle who want the ultimate in design, tech and luxury from a compact SUV. The RAV4 Hybrid now has a more aggressive attitude by adopting the SE grade, which features a sport-tuned suspension like the gas model
Nissan also managed to make some noise by playing to the home crowd by introducing its Texas Titan model. The Texas Titan package includes: Chrome inner and outer grille finish, 20-inch chrome aluminum-alloy wheels, metallic-finish kick plates, Texas Titan floor mats and badging and chrome exhaust finishers.
The newly introduced Titan was named “Texas Truck of the Year” last year and the Fred Diaz, Nissan’s truck guru, noted it was “fitting to acknowledge the Lone Star State with this special vehicle.”
To make sure that there was no shortage of testosterone laced excitement at the fair, Ram rolled out its Ram Rebel TRX concept. The 575-horsepower, half-ton “100 mile-per-hour off-road machine” is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Mike Manley, head of the Ram truck brand for FCA, said the truck was built specifically for the Texas State Fair, but didn’t offer up any insight as to whether or not it would find its way to showrooms.
However, the most impressive truck at the fair wasn’t the biggest, fastest, shiniest or newest – although it’ll get plenty of votes for the baddest – it was a navy blue 2000 Chevrolet Silverado belonging to Lonzo Anderson of Arlington, Texas.
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It rolled on to the fairgrounds with more than 375,000 miles on the odometer and Anderson was named the official Chevy Truck Legend of Texas.
“We met Lonzo at last year’s State Fair of Texas when he sought out the team at the Chevy display to tell us about the incredible durability of his Silverado,” said Hugh Milne, Chevrolet Silverado marketing manager.
“Conversations like that helped inspire the Chevy Truck Legends program. When we started looking for a customer’s story to share at this year’s State Fair, we could not think of anyone more deserving than Lonzo.”
Anderson’s truck is on display at the fair, helping promote the brand’s customer appreciation program. It is free to join and open to all Texas residents who have more than 100,000 miles on the odometer of their Chevy truck, or have purchased or leased more than one new Chevy truck in their lifetime. The program rolls out nationally in 2017.
All Chevy Truck Legends members will receive exclusive branded memorabilia, including Truck Legends hats, Truck Legends decals and, if applicable, decals celebrating mileage milestones ranging from 100,000 to 1 million miles.
Participating dealers may also offer additional benefits such as free car washes, discounted oil changes and Chevrolet accessories.
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Chevrolet will periodically offer Truck Legends members once-in-a-lifetime experiences leveraging Chevrolet’s other partnerships. These could include the honor of having their truck displayed at the State Fair of Texas to items such as tickets to sold-out Major League Baseball events — or even getting a sneak peek at new Chevrolet models.
Tags: Chevy Truck Legend, Ford Raptor EcoBoost, Nissan's Texas Titan, Ram Rebel TRX, TheDetroitBureau.com., Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, auto news, michael strong, texas state fair, thedetroitbureau, truck news, trucks and Texas