Knickell

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I had the opportunity to travel to the Orlando International Auto Show this afternoon and look at the many vehicles they had on display, and I wanted to share my findings with you, our F-150 community.

I typically try to make it to this event every year because they have hundreds of vehicles to “kick the tires” on as it were, without the hassle of dealing with a high pressure salesman, or a scorching hot Florida dealer lot. It’s also one of the best ways to see what each manufacturer is doing to make strides in improving their product. Sometimes I’m impressed with things certain auto makers are doing, other times I’m left with much more to be desired.

This year, I paid particularly close attention to the half-ton truck segment as (of course) I recently placed an order for my Ford F-150. I took a close look at each truck the different manufacturers had on display. I also spent a significant amount time inside each of the truck’s interiors/cabins (both front and rear rows) and took note of the different layouts. This is what I thought of what I found.

Toyota Tundra:
To be fair, the last full and ground up redesign the Tundra received was in 2007. Unfortunately, it really showed, especially when going to sit in the offerings from Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram immediately after. This photo was taken from an SR5 model, but their TRD Pro, and Limited models were nearly identical. It is equipped with an eight inch touch screen/infotainment system. There we no AC 120 volt (regular household wall plug) anywhere in the cabin, only the old school “cigarette lighter” plugs and a couple USB ports for charging power. It was the most utilitarian and barren of all of the half-ton cabins I sampled.

18E93EDE-E0E0-46D6-8BCD-787F04011B16.jpeg





Chevrolet Silverado:
The Chevy that was on display was the High Country trim. The High Country Silverado is Chevrolet’s top tier truck, and comparable to Ford’s Limited F-150.

The interior appears to be well equipped with leather covering many of the surfaces. As I looked (and touched) closer, however, this material appeared to be some sort of synthetic and felt almost kinda rubbery and sticky on my fingertips. The Silverado had copious amounts of room front and rear. A lot of the things I touched such as the gearshift, radio and climate control knobs, levers to open the center console, all felt a bit cheap to me, and didn’t have the pleasing tactile feel that other trucks in the segment provided.

I have to say fit and finish was noticeably better than I have experienced with GM products in previous years, and it seems like there was really an effort to give the truck a lot of creature comforts such as multiple USB ports, an AC power port, wireless phone charging, and more. The eight inch touchscreen is good, but is the same one that has been in use by GM for many years.

The rear outboard seats were heated, but the armrest in the center had huge cup holders right in the middle where one would normally place their arm, making it pretty much useless for comfort purposes.

E3725B89-B376-4003-8057-5830D9BCC068.jpeg

7318E32D-0B2D-44CC-A38A-85DD4BE1740C.jpeg





GMC Sierra:
As many of you know, GMC is the sister brand of Chevrolet, and is supposed to be more upmarket when compared to Chevrolet. I looked at a Sierra Denali that was on display, which is supposed to be GMC’s top tier Sierra.

Once inside, there is little discernible difference between the Silverado High County and the Sierra Denali. This is one of the downsides of badge engineering, a problem that has plagued many GM brands for years. A few chrome and wood grain trim pieces, and the GMC infotainment graphics were the only significant differences I observed.

One of the things proprietary to the GMC is their MultiPro tailgate. The tailgate is designed to be used in six configurations. Some models also have two Bluetooth speakers installed inside the tailgate for, you guessed it, tailgating! The speakers are by Kicker audio, and there is a touchpad to control the music right on the gate. The GMC representative demonstrated the MultiPro tailgate and said the speakers run off a battery inside the tailgate that automatically gets recharged once the truck is truck turned on. I also noticed a blatant attempt to copy Ford’s integrated tailgate step by putting a post style grab handle mounted the the left side of the truck bed.
4C90ED40-098C-420F-AEFF-A4E6B4F78B7B.jpeg

The tailgate in this position/configuration is apparently what GMC is marketing as their work surface. This is likely in competition with how F-150 has revamped their tailgate with numerous features for the 2021 model year.
39EF89AA-D88A-4BC5-8D81-55FEC2D63AC9.jpeg

Note the grab bar on the left side of the truck bed.
87C19B22-7288-4EC7-A6C6-F1195071C219.jpeg

BB6305E0-8F0B-49F6-857F-8308D8CA2710.jpeg

C51D801F-F5FC-47B1-AA66-8BA94721DF5F.jpeg





Ram 1500:
There is no denying that Ram has been stepping up their game when it comes to their trucks, and the 1500 is no exception. Once you step inside the cabin, the imposing vertically aligned twelve inch touchscreen makes a statement. The giant screen is used to control nearly everything including climate controls, which keeps buttons to a Tesla-like minimum on the center stack. There are also plenty of USB and USB-C ports to go around.

Ram uses a rotary style shifter instead of a column or console mounted shifter like it’s competitors. The quality feel of nearly everything from the buttons, to the leather feels premium and well made.

Out back, the rear seats offer a cavernous amount of room. I also really liked Ram’s “RAM BIN” which provides a large and handy storage cubby in the floorboard underneath the floor mat.
6172E2B7-5C65-4CA3-9C36-7069DF4AA018.jpeg

A361B643-9D3C-4226-AF67-36DB000160A3.jpeg





Jeep Gladiator:
I know the Jeep Gladiator isn’t considered a half ton truck, but this one is just for funsies! There is no denying that the Gladiator is one of the most talked about trucks this year, and will probably take a small bite out of the market share for the F-150, Ram, Silverado, Sierra, and Tundra.

The Gladiator certainly has the most bold interior of the group. I was able to look at an upper level Rubicon model. With its square seven inch touch screen, and the power window switches mounted dead center of the center stack (so the doors can be easily removed), it is certainly unique. The regular and 4x4 mode shifters are both mounted in the center. A large button for the locking front and rear differentials is also within finger’s reach. The Gladiator was also equipped with dual zone climate control and USB and USB-C ports.
75F03143-B7B7-445F-9D5C-00B1BC77192F.jpeg





Ford F-150:
Even though it seems like only about six of these new 2021 F-150s have made it out of captivity from their holding lots, somehow an F-150 Limited was on display, and I took full advantage of it.

The twelve inch “productivity screen” is horizontally oriented, and in my opinion, laid out better than the Ram’s vertical screen. Ford did a good job of giving you some buttons to control commonly used features, but did not go entirely overboard. Nearly every automaker offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto these days (each of these aforementioned truck do), but I think Ford’s Sync 4 is going to be one of the best in the business. Some have noted there is no “home” or “back” button. While this is true, I did not find this to be an issue at all while using it pretty extensively for several minutes.

Each of the knobs, buttons, and controls had a satisfying and tactile feel to them, and worthy of a vehicle with a sticker price cresting eighty thousand dollars. This truck was also equipped with Ford’s Max Recline seat feature. While it was very comfortable, I personally did not feel too much of a difference when compared to simply putting the seats back in a regular car or truck. And yes, I did fold the rear seats up!

It might just be my preference, or the openness the dual-panel sunroof adds to the cabin, but it feels like you have a vast amount of leg and head room in the second row. Second row passengers also get a 120 volt plug, heated seats, and their own air vents.

Although, the F-150 is currently the newest in the segment, this hotly contested half-ton truck scene changes by the day. For now (removing as much bias and partiality as possible), I’d say Ford has a winner with 2021 F-150!
B4B55D4A-35B9-4A07-AB17-68233E02AEBB.jpeg

13EF0779-A783-49EF-AAE0-B5FF87C28900.jpeg


3626A187-B119-4A0D-AAAE-99FB4982934A.jpeg
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KBKEITH

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Nice write-up, sir! Clearly Chevy/GMC now have some catching up to do. That small screen just isn’t going to cut it anymore. There will be “big screen envy” for GM owners.
 

JimL

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I really enjoyed your write-up here. It felt open and unbiased. I tip my hat...
 

mike001va

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I had the opportunity to travel to the Orlando International Auto Show this afternoon and look at the many vehicles they had on display, and I wanted to share my findings with you, our F-150 community.

I typically try to make it to this event every year because they have hundreds of vehicles to “kick the tires” on as it were, without the hassle of dealing with a high pressure salesman, or a scorching hot Florida dealer lot. It’s also one of the best ways to see what each manufacturer is doing to make strides in improving their product. Sometimes I’m impressed with things certain auto makers are doing, other times I’m left with much more to be desired.

This year, I paid particularly close attention to the half-ton truck segment as (of course) I recently placed an order for my Ford F-150. I took a close look at each truck the different manufacturers had on display. I also spent a significant amount time inside each of the truck’s interiors/cabins (both front and rear rows) and took note of the different layouts. This is what I thought of what I found.

Toyota Tundra:
To be fair, the last full and ground up redesign the Tundra received was in 2007. Unfortunately, it really showed, especially when going to sit in the offerings from Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram immediately after. This photo was taken from an SR5 model, but their TRD Pro, and Limited models were nearly identical. It is equipped with an eight inch touch screen/infotainment system. There we no AC 120 volt (regular household wall plug) anywhere in the cabin, only the old school “cigarette lighter” plugs and a couple USB ports for charging power. It was the most utilitarian and barren of all of the half-ton cabins I sampled.

18E93EDE-E0E0-46D6-8BCD-787F04011B16.jpeg





Chevrolet Silverado:
The Chevy that was on display was the High Country trim. The High Country Silverado is Chevrolet’s top tier truck, and comparable to Ford’s Limited F-150.

The interior appears to be well equipped with leather covering many of the surfaces. As I looked (and touched) closer, however, this material appeared to be some sort of synthetic and felt almost kinda rubbery and sticky on my fingertips. The Silverado had copious amounts of room front and rear. A lot of the things I touched such as the gearshift, radio and climate control knobs, levers to open the center console, all felt a bit cheap to me, and didn’t have the pleasing tactile feel that other trucks in the segment provided.

I have to say fit and finish was noticeably better than I have experienced with GM products in previous years, and it seems like there was really an effort to give the truck a lot of creature comforts such as multiple USB ports, an AC power port, wireless phone charging, and more. The eight inch touchscreen is good, but is the same one that has been in use by GM for many years.

The rear outboard seats were heated, but the armrest in the center had huge cup holders right in the middle where one would normally place their arm, making it pretty much useless for comfort purposes.

E3725B89-B376-4003-8057-5830D9BCC068.jpeg

7318E32D-0B2D-44CC-A38A-85DD4BE1740C.jpeg





GMC Sierra:
As many of you know, GMC is the sister brand of Chevrolet, and is supposed to be more upmarket when compared to Chevrolet. I looked at a Sierra Denali that was on display, which is supposed to be GMC’s top tier Sierra.

Once inside, there is little discernible difference between the Silverado High County and the Sierra Denali. This is one of the downsides of badge engineering, a problem that has plagued many GM brands for years. A few chrome and wood grain trim pieces, and the GMC infotainment graphics were the only significant differences I observed.

One of the things proprietary to the GMC is their MultiPro tailgate. The tailgate is designed to be used in six configurations. Some models also have two Bluetooth speakers installed inside the tailgate for, you guessed it, tailgating! The speakers are by Kicker audio, and there is a touchpad to control the music right on the gate. The GMC representative demonstrated the MultiPro tailgate and said the speakers run off a battery inside the tailgate that automatically gets recharged once the truck is truck turned on. I also noticed a blatant attempt to copy Ford’s integrated tailgate step by putting a post style grab handle mounted the the left side of the truck bed.
4C90ED40-098C-420F-AEFF-A4E6B4F78B7B.jpeg

The tailgate in this position/configuration is apparently what GMC is marketing as their work surface. This is likely in competition with how F-150 has revamped their tailgate with numerous features for the 2021 model year.
39EF89AA-D88A-4BC5-8D81-55FEC2D63AC9.jpeg

Note the grab bar on the left side of the truck bed.
87C19B22-7288-4EC7-A6C6-F1195071C219.jpeg

BB6305E0-8F0B-49F6-857F-8308D8CA2710.jpeg

C51D801F-F5FC-47B1-AA66-8BA94721DF5F.jpeg





Ram 1500:
There is no denying that Ram has been stepping up their game when it comes to their trucks, and the 1500 is no exception. Once you step inside the cabin, the imposing vertically aligned twelve inch touchscreen makes a statement. The giant screen is used to control nearly everything including climate controls, which keeps buttons to a Tesla-like minimum on the center stack. There are also plenty of USB and USB-C ports to go around.

Ram uses a rotary style shifter instead of a column or console mounted shifter like it’s competitors. The quality feel of nearly everything from the buttons, to the leather feels premium and well made.

Out back, the rear seats offer a cavernous amount of room. I also really liked Ram’s “RAM BIN” which provides a large and handy storage cubby in the floorboard underneath the floor mat.
6172E2B7-5C65-4CA3-9C36-7069DF4AA018.jpeg

A361B643-9D3C-4226-AF67-36DB000160A3.jpeg





Jeep Gladiator:
I know the Jeep Gladiator isn’t considered a half ton truck, but this one is just for funsies! There is no denying that the Gladiator is one of the most talked about trucks this year, and will probably take a small bite out of the market share for the F-150, Ram, Silverado, Sierra, and Tundra.

The Gladiator certainly has the most bold interior of the group. I was able to look at an upper level Rubicon model. With its square seven inch touch screen, and the power window switches mounted dead center of the center stack (so the doors can be easily removed), it is certainly unique. The regular and 4x4 mode shifters are both mounted in the center. A large button for the locking front and rear differentials is also within finger’s reach. The Gladiator was also equipped with dual zone climate control and USB and USB-C ports.
75F03143-B7B7-445F-9D5C-00B1BC77192F.jpeg





Ford F-150:
Even though it seems like only about six of these new 2021 F-150s have made it out of captivity from their holding lots, somehow an F-150 Limited was on display, and I took full advantage of it.

The twelve inch “productivity screen” is horizontally oriented, and in my opinion, laid out better than the Ram’s vertical screen. Ford did a good job of giving you some buttons to control commonly used features, but did not go entirely overboard. Nearly every automaker offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto these days (each of these aforementioned truck do), but I think Ford’s Sync 4 is going to be one of the best in the business. Some have noted there is no “home” or “back” button. While this is true, I did not find this to be an issue at all while using it pretty extensively for several minutes.

Each of the knobs, buttons, and controls had a satisfying and tactile feel to them, and worthy of a vehicle with a sticker price cresting eighty thousand dollars. This truck was also equipped with Ford’s Max Recline seat feature. While it was very comfortable, I personally did not feel too much of a difference when compared to simply putting the seats back in a regular car or truck. And yes, I did fold the rear seats up!

It might just be my preference, or the openness the dual-panel sunroof adds to the cabin, but it feels like you have a vast amount of leg and head room in the second row. Second row passengers also get a 120 volt plug, heated seats, and their own air vents.

Although, the F-150 is currently the newest in the segment, this hotly contested half-ton truck scene changes by the day. For now (removing as much bias and partiality as possible), I’d say Ford has a winner with 2021 F-150!
B4B55D4A-35B9-4A07-AB17-68233E02AEBB.jpeg

13EF0779-A783-49EF-AAE0-B5FF87C28900.jpeg


3626A187-B119-4A0D-AAAE-99FB4982934A.jpeg
good article... It seems Gm is always about 4 yrs behind Ford, but the Ram isnt bad at all... but the jeep for funsie should have been included with a Ranger Report, as THAT is its competitor. You Guys know why GM makes two trucks...although the same??? For the guys that cant spell Chevrolet.
 
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Knickell

Knickell

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Nice write-up, sir! Clearly Chevy/GMC now have some catching up to do. That small screen just isn’t going to cut it anymore. There will be “big screen envy” for GM owners.
You're absolutely right, eight inch screens are now considered dated. The question is, how big will these screens continue to get in the future? There is only so much dash inside a vehicle!
 

Bryan Simon

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Nice write-up, sir! Clearly Chevy/GMC now have some catching up to do. That small screen just isn’t going to cut it anymore. There will be “big screen envy” for GM owners.
Personally, I prefer the smaller screen.
The big screen just looks a bit too overpowering to me.
My mid level XLT comes with the smaller version
 
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Knickell

Knickell

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good article... It seems Gm is always about 4 yrs behind Ford, but the Ram isnt bad at all... but the jeep for funsie should have been included with a Ranger Report, as THAT is its competitor. You Guys know why GM makes two trucks...although the same??? For the guys that cant spell Chevrolet.

I would have to agree. General Motors has always seemed behind, but thats just my opinion. The Ford Ranger is the direct competitor of the Jeep Gladiator. It was front and center at the show, so I figured I'd be remiss if I didn't check it out.
 

mike001va

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I would have to agree. General Motors has always seemed behind, but thats just my opinion. The Ford Ranger is the direct competitor of the Jeep Gladiator. It was front and center at the show, so I figured I'd be remiss if I didn't check it out.
indeed .. huge push by Jeep.. I'm disappointed Ford didnt offer a 2.7 ecoboost in the Ranger.. I would most probably buy one for the wife. We went and looked at the jeep.. but dang.. I could barely get in it with the narrow doors.. Im 6'1 and 230lbs so I wouldnt say I'm huge
 
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Knickell

Knickell

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indeed .. huge push by Jeep.. I'm disappointed Ford didnt offer a 2.7 ecoboost in the Ranger.. I would most probably buy one for the wife. We went and looked at the jeep.. but dang.. I could barely get in it with the narrow doors.. Im 6'1 and 230lbs so I wouldnt say I'm huge
The 2.7 V6 EcoBoost in the Ranger would be sweet!
 

KBKEITH

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Personally, I prefer the smaller screen.
The big screen just looks a bit too overpowering to me.
My mid level XLT comes with the smaller version
But man.......have you really seen the screen? It’s real and it’s spectacular.

I kid. 😁

Totally cool. To each his own. Plus you save some dough in the process! Cheers. 🍻
 

Crapblaster

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In the Explorer the small screen looks better to me. In the F150 the big screen looks good. It might just be the orientation.
 
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Knickell

Knickell

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In the Explorer the small screen looks better to me. In the F150 the big screen looks good. It might just be the orientation.
That, and I think the fact it’s built into the dash and not tacked on like a cheap iPad helps with the aesthetic.
 
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