How Capable Is Your Truck?

Whenever Ford advertises the new Explorer it doesn’t fail to add “class-leading fuel economy” to “terrain-conquering capability.” You know why? We’re asking from a truck the very things that dumb ’em down – Economy.

WHat do you think about this short video from Ram?

While Economy is great, Capability (Practicality) is just as, if not, greater. A truck has its place, whether it’s built up as SUV or with cargo-box as Pickup. Think Drivability, Maneuverability, and Towability first. Then later.

Your Right of Way! today briefly explains the features you must look for in a truck with some but Reasonable compromise of fuel mileage.

If Capability is why you’re considering a truck or have acquired one be sure to understand the following automotive Designs. And what else but Capability should necessitate a truck? If it says, “light-duty,” be careful – moment you get one heavy-duty tasks will show up more often.

So, whether a HiLux or F150 SVT Raptor, let me walk you through the minimum you must demand.

Oversquare (or short strokes) is first on the facts sheets – an engine Design of shorter pistons within wider cylinder bores, resulting in higher engine speeds and torque. Look for values like 100mm/95mm bore/stroke and at least 400 lb-ft of torque. Otherwise look for torque in that order.

Grip is next, where you find limited-slip differential for the front axle and electronic locking differential for the rear; so all that torque spins only the wheel that’s made contact with the ground. You could be knee-deep in sand and ELD would get you through as it gets the rear wheels spinning only in unison (equal rotation) when it locks their shafts together whether or not one wheel has traction – more pinning to the ground!

Following grip is suspension. Be sure to look for air suspension, meaning on-the-fly adjustable below or above normal ride height as terrain may demand. Or a double-wishbone, coil-over-shock (may be air or gas) independent front suspension, for incredible Stability as the wheels are controlled independent of suspension travels up-and-down, side-to-side, pitching or yawing. Trucking is a lot of jouncing on- or off-road.

Macpherson strut won’t hold your load!

Now, in Nigeria, being truck territory with a lot of Kogis here and there, you want to be sure to opt for low-range transfer-case gears, a ratio like 4.70:1 may catch your eye, for daring slow-speed, rock-crawling no matter what badge your choice of truck may wear. That said, your pickup truck, no matter the cab type, should be able to tow (towability) at least 10,000lbs of trailer.

And for your Safety look for trailer-sway control that helps counteract yaw caused by trailer oscillation or driver steering inputs; hill-start assist and hill-descent control both of which electronically actuates the brakes so that your traction in both cases is under heart-calming control.

Finally, a Capable truck has at least 4 off-road modes available at the switch of a button—rain, sand, mud, and rock.

Look, leave badge and everything else alone, and go for Capability when you’re picking a truck. That’s my word and your rights!

We give credit to Ford and Ram (Chrysler) for image and video used in this post.

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