Internal combustion engine pickups and panel vans still popular in pre-EV era


Looking for a new pickup or panel van in the pre-EV era? There’s still plenty of ICE around. Let’s take a look at some options.

The New Tacoma

The 2024 Tacoma has a new look. Toyota Canada says the medium-sized pickup has been redesigned. The V6 is gone, replaced by two turbocharged four-cylinder engines. One of them is a hybrid, the iForce Max that churns out 326 hp and 465 lbs-ft. of torque.

The ICE Taco turns out 278 hp and 317 lbs-ft. of torque. Towing capacity is 6,500 lbs. Payload is 1,709 lbs.

Toyota Canada says the new Taco will be offered in numerous grades and configurations for its new generation, and two cab styles with either a five- or six-ft. bed, a four-door Double Cab and a new two-door XtraCab with what the automaker calls “clever storage features behind the front two seats.”

XtraCab is all about maximum utility and comes with seating for two, a functional rear cabin storage area, and a six-ft. bed.
The automaker says the new Taco has no rear doors and no rear seats, but makes the most of its cabin with all kinds of additional storage options. Lockable storage on the rear floor is useful for storing things like small packs, toolboxes. A lockable storage on the back panel can hold items such as tools.

Quick access to rear storage is aided by a long-slide driver’s seat with slide memory. Additionally, the passenger seat can fold flat for use as a workspace. Comes with a water bottle holder.
There’s an eight-in. touch screen and a 14-in. available. There’s a shelf on the instrument panel. You can put your phone there. Standard on all grades is a Smart Key System with push-button start.

Safety systems are standard

All 2024 Tacoma models come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, Toyota’s suite of active safety. The automaker explains that these enhancements are made possible by system sensors with improved detection capability as for example, the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection.

Sticker shock?

At time of writing in late November, Toyota Canada had not disclosed any pricing. But the 2023 model starts at slightly more than $44,300.

RAM 1500 for 2024

The 2024 Ram 1500 comes in a Quad Cab with a six-ft.-four-in. bed, or in a Crew Cab with a five-ft.-seven-in. bed or six-ft.-four-in. bed. The Quad Cab measures 228.9 inches. The Crew Cab with the shorter bed runs 232.9 inches. The Crew Cab with the longer bed is 241.8 in. long.

The optional RamBox adds a pair of locking and drainable storage boxes on both sides of the bed.

Other bed options include a spray-in bedliner, bed extender, upper adjustable tie-downs and deployable bed step. Also available is a multi-function tailgate that’s split vertically. It can be opened barn-door style.

Towing and payload depend on the truck’s layout, as well as the trim and options, so be sure you match the truck you want to buy with what you need it to do.

Overall, the Quad Cab has a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 lbs and payload of 2,300 lbs with the V6, and 12,750 lbs towing and 1,940 lbs payload with the V8.

The Crew Cab can tow up to 7,550 lbs and has a 2,030-lb payload with the V6 and a 11,540 lbs of towing power. The V8 has a 1,860-lb payload.

The TRX can tow up to 8,100 lbs and has a payload capacity of 1,310 lbs.

In case you have some enviro concerns but aren’t interested in going full EV, there’s a RAM eTorque mild hybrid in a V6 (standard) or a V8.

Although it’s not brand new for 2024, it’s worth a looksee.
The eTorque’s 48-volt mild hybrid system adds up to 130 lb.-ft of torque for increased low-speed acceleration, especially good when towing or hauling a heavy load.

The eTorque comes standard with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine and is available with the 5.7L HEMI V8 engine.

The eTorque is a juggler: When its electric engine – the 48-volt – is on, the gas-powered is off. When you brake, the energy expended goes to the electric engine to add to its range. While all this is going on, the gas-powered engine waits patiently for its turn to run the eTorque3.

Max towing muscle for the eTorque3 is 12,749.33 lbs.
The Ram 1500 features up to 12,750 lbs. of towing capability and 2,300 lbs. of payload.

The Ram’s safety and security systems include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Blind-spot Monitoring, 360 Degree Surround View System and Ready Alert Braking. They’re options.

The automaker says the 2024 1500’s easy handling is accomplished with a link-coil rear suspension system with active-level, four-corner air suspension with adaptive damping. These features are segment-exclusive, the company says.

Ram 1500 Tradesman Warlock for 2024 has off-road features, including an electronic rear-locking differential, skid plates, one-in., raised ride height, 33-in. Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, and Bilstein front and rear performance tuned-shock absorbers. They are all standard equipment.

All 2024 Ram 1500s now include a Tailgate Ajar warning lamp as standard equipment.

On offer is the RamBox Cargo Management System which helps keep your valuables and tools safe and secure. Lockable, drainable with LED lighting and a 115 volt power outlet, the System can be locked and unlocked remotely with your key fob.

The cost of driving RAM tough

The 2024 Ram 1500 starts at $51,820 for the quad cab in Tradesman trim 4×2 and rises to $59,320 for the Big Horn trim in 4×2.

It’s $53,520 for the base Tradesman 4×2, and $57,520 in 4×4 rising to the Limited 4×4 at $85,820 to the TRX at $119,670. The Final Edition with all the bells and whistles will set you back $150,270.

At the upper end, the Limited 4×4 starts at $85,820. If you want to go all-out, the TRX starts at $119,670, while opting for the Final Edition will set you back $150,270.

Add to this, there’s a delivery charge of $2,095 for all the 1500 line except the TRx. That charge is $2,795.

Prices may vary as to province and dealer may sell for less.
Should you go for a test drive, take along your accountant.
That goes for any make and model – pickup or panel van.

F150 still Ford tough and smart

The Blue Oval’s big seller gets some add-ons for the 2024 edition. The turbo-charged 2.7 litre EcoBoost is the standard engine. It churns out 325 hp and 400 lbs-ft. of torque. Still on tap are the 3.5-litre EcoBoost, 3.5-litre PowerBoost hybrid and a 5.0-litre V8 engine.

The hybrid’s battery offers ProPower technology you can use to power your tools and other equipment.

There’s a new tailgate available. It fits all three of the F150’s box lengths. It opens from left to right in three positions – 37, 70 and 100 degrees.

The Blue Oval folks say the new tailgate makes it easier to load the bed and provides better access to its contents when a trailer is hitched to the truck.

The F150 still tows up to 13,500 lbs. Ford boasts that’s top of the segment.

The 2024 goes on sale in early 2024. The tailgate won’t be available until the spring. AWD is available on all models.

The cost of being Ford Tough

The XL 4×2 regular cab model starts at $49,655. The STX 4×4 Super Cab starts at $62,740. A Lariat model costs $80,495. The Platinum model will set you back at least $100,750. And the Raptor starts at $108,895.

The Big and Little Boxes

The Big Box

The 2024 Ford Transit Cargo Van is a solid entry in the large cargo van category. Horsepower runs from 275 to 310 depending on which one of the 38 van trims you’re after. All are rear-wheel drive.

Seats two.

MSRPs run from $56,395 to $76,000.

All Transits have V6 engines. All run on Flex fuel as well as regular gas. Flex fuel is made of corn. If your local gas station doesn’t sell Fex fuel, no matter, your Transit will run on regular gas.
Coming in the summer of 2024 is a hybrid engine and a wide range of safety devices, such as lane keeping, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

Keep in mind: Anything the Transit you’re looking for lacks, an upfitter may be able to add. So, take time to sit down with your dealer and see what the upfitter can do for you.

The not so small boxes

The 2024 Chevy Express Cargo Van comes in two models, the 2500 and 3500. The 2500 can haul up to 8,600 lbs and tow up to 3,234 lbs. The 3500 can haul up to 9,900 lbs and tow up to 4,192 lbs.

The standard engine is the 4.3L V6. It generates 276 horsepower and 298 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed transmission. The 3500 comes with a 6.6L V8. It churns out 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft. of torque. Max trailering weight is 10,000 lb. Comes with an eight-speed transmission.

Rear swing-out doors are standard. Rear swing-out hinged cargo doors and cargo doors are available. Want more? Speak to the upfitter. They may be able to help you.

Standard safety devices include rear vision camera, tire pressure monitoring. Rear-park assist, side blind zone alert, lane departure warning and forward collision alert are available. Starts at $49,324.