The 2002 model trucks featured in the following roundup have been excerpted from Fleet Owner magazine's comprehensive preview of 2002 commercial trucks. The preview shows that the economic slowdown hasn't slowed down the flow of new truck models to market.

Despite the continued wheeling and dealing on the corporate level, truck manufacturers continue to roll out new and more advanced, customized and stylized products to meet a larger audience. Power and size seem to be the key changes for 2002 trucks.

DODGE

DaimlerChrysler has made some changes to its Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups for 2002: The light-truck line is undergoing its first major design overhaul since 1994.

The most important change is to the Ram's Quad Cab design, which is equipped with four full front-hinged doors, rather than the current half-sized rear-hinged doors. A total of 3 in. has been shaved off the pickup's cargo bed, giving the Quad Cab more interior room.

Several new lower displacement but higher power gasoline engines are offered on the 2002 Ram line. A single overhead cam 4.7-liter V8, providing 235 hp and 295 pounds-ft of torque, has replaced Dodge's current pushrod 5.2-liter V8, with 230 hp and 300 pounds-ft of torque. Also, the new SOHC 3.7-liter V6, with 210 hp and 230 pounds-ft of torque, is an option on the 2002 Ram pickup line, compared to its 3.9-liter V6, which provides 175 hp and 230 pounds-ft of torque. DaimlerChrysler hinted that for the 2003 model line, an 8-liter V10 and 5.9-liter turbodiesel V6 may become engine options.

DaimlerChrysler has introduced the 45 RFE 4-speed automatic transmission for its 3.7- and 4.7-liter engines. The 46 RFE 4-speed overdrive automatic for the 5.9-liter V8 and the NV3500 5-speed manual for the 3.7- and 4.7-liter engines remain as transmission options.

FORD

Ford Motor Co. has made a range of upgrades to its pickups, resulting in four new “light” models to carry it through 2002: the Ranger Edge, F-150 King Ranch SuperCrew, F-150 Harley Davidson SuperCrew and Platinum Edition Super Duty F-250. Powertrain improvements result in a “power improved” 4.6-liter Triton engine that delivers 231 hp. A four-wheel antilock braking system is now standard across the F-Series line, including XL models.

ABS is now standard on all F-250 SuperDuty trucks. An upgrade to a 7.3-liter International Powerstroke V8 diesel is now optional. Gasoline engine options remain with the 5.4-liter Triton V8 and 6.8-liter Triton V10.

Ford's line of medium-duty trucks — Class 3 through Class 7 — will remain relatively unchanged in 2002.

Four-wheel antilock braking systems and towing packages are now standard equipment on all vehicle packages for the Ford Super Duty F-350, F-450 and F-550, along with power disc brakes and 4-speed automatic transmissions. GVW ratings for the three are 9,900 to 12,500 pounds, 15,000 pounds and 17,000 or 19,000 pounds respectively.

The standard engine remains the 5.4-liter Triton V8, rated at 235 hp with peak torque of 335 pounds-ft. Other engine options are the 6.8-liter Triton V10 and 7.3-liter Powerstroke V8 diesel, built by Navistar for Ford.

The F-650, the Class 6 designation, is rated at 26,000-pounds GVW, while the Class 7 F-750, is rated at 30,000 and 33,000 pounds.

GENERAL MOTORS

General Motors Corp. sees few changes in 2002 to the line of ¾- and 1-ton pickups introduced last year. The HD line (heavy duty) GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups come in three modular frames: the 2500 HD, 3500 and Chassis Cab configuration. At the lighter end of the line is the 2500 HD, with a 9,200 pound GVW. The 3500 comes in a regular 2WD package as well as a 4WD “dualie” chassis; GVW for both is 11,400 pounds. The Chassis Cab is a four-door dualie model available in 2WD at 11,400 pounds GVW and 4WD at 12,000 pounds GVW.

The trucks are equipped with GM's powerful 6.6-liter turbocharged Duramax diesel engine. Built by DMAX Ltd., a joint venture between GM and Isuzu, the Duramax 660 provides 300 hp at 3,100 rpm, and 520 pounds-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. On the gasoline side, GM has the 8.1-liter Vortec V8, which provides 340 hp at 4,200 rpm and 455 pounds-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. There is also a revamped 6.0-liter Vortec 6000 gasoline engine with 300 hp at 4,400 rpm.

The ZF 6-speed manual and Hydra-Matic 4L80-E 4-speed automatic transmissions are standard for those pickups; an upgrade to the Allison 1000 5-speed automatic is optional. The Allison package comes with an exclusive design feature called “grade braking,” which automatically downshifts depending on the speed of the vehicle and the steepness of a descending hill.

General Motors plans to launch a new line of medium-duty trucks in 2002 to update its venerable GMC and Chevrolet C-Series. Code-named the GMT560, the new trucks will have GVWRs ranging from 16,000 to 61,000 pounds, reaching the low end of the Class 8 market. Initially, the trucks will arrive in a variety of 2WD configurations, designed in regular cab, commercial and recreational vehicle cutaway configurations. Four-wheel drive and crew cab models will be available in late 2002 and early 2003.

Though scheduled for release in 2002, GM considers these vehicles, which boast a wide range of improvements, to be 2003 models. The radiator, engine and transmission have been shifted back a few inches to increase the slope of the truck's hood, enlarging windshield space by 25% for better forward visibility. Cabs for the GMT560 trucks are said to be 50% quieter and roomier. Numerous wheelbase options are available for GMT560 vehicles. Models 4500 and 5500 (Class 4 and 5) have up to six wheelbase options. The 6500, 7500 and 8500 units (Class 6, 7 and 8) have 17 wheelbase options, ranging from 128 to 308 in.

The 4500 and 5500 can be spec'd with gasoline or diesel engines: the Vortec 8100 V8 (225 and 325 hp), and the Duramax 6600 (210 to 300 hp), respectively. Transmission options include the ZF 650 6-speed manual, Allison 1000 and Allison 2400 5-speed automatic.

NISSAN

As part of an upgrade to its Frontier light-duty pickup line, Nissan introduced the 2002 Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed. The vehicle's box measures a full 74.6 in. long, with an additional 15 in. for the wheelbase. Extensive frame reinforcements include an additional crossmember. Both the longer wheelbase and reinforced frame contribute to ride comfort.

The Frontier Crew Cab Longbed is available in three model designations — XE, SE and SC. A full range of engine options are available, including a 4-cyl. V6 and a 210-hp supercharged V6.

TOYOTA

Toyota didn't make many changes to its Tundra line of full-size pickups for 2002. The Tundra can carry more than 2,000 pounds of payload and has up to 7,200 pounds of towing capacity. Its “i-Force” 4.7-liter V8 engine is also one of the first V8s in the segment to achieve a low emission vehicle (LEV) classification. The engine delivers 245 hp and 315 pounds-ft of torque. Standard on the Tundra is a 3.4-liter double-overhead cam, 24-valve V6 engine, which generates 190 hp and 220 pounds-ft of torque.

Cab configurations for the Tundra are a two-door regular-cab with an 8-ft bed, as well as a four-door Access Cab with a 6½-ft bed. Both 2WD and 4WD are available. V8 and V6 engines are matched to a 4-speed automatic transmission; the V6 is also available with a 5-speed manual transmission. Other features include a locking tailgate, dual 12V power outlets and High Solar Energy-Absorbing (HSEA) glass.

WORKHORSE CUSTOM CHASSIS

Workhorse Custom Chassis designed a Class 2 version of its step van in 2001 to compete in the cargo van market. The FT1061 step van is touted as a “stand-up” alternative to cargo vans. The new model has a GVWR of 9,400 pounds, a 125-in. wheelbase and a 10 ft, 6-in. load space. In addition, it boasts a 76-in. ceiling height, which makes it easier to do the kind of “indoor” work that is common to plumbing, electrical and other trade jobs.

By adding a shorter wheelbase model to its semi-custom step van program, Workhorse wants to bring the advantages of its integrated step van to those companies that have previously operated cargo vans.

The FT1061 offers nearly 68 sq ft of floor space, and the back step is only 20 in. high — a considerable difference from the 30-in. drop found in most cargo vans. The FT1061 is powered by a GM Vortec V8 gasoline engine with sequential port fuel injection. It comes equipped with antilock brakes, power steering and independent front suspension.

Workhorse Custom Chassis added a new powertrain to its venerable P-47 step-van chassis. Since August of this year, Workhorse has offered the new Cummins ISB4 diesel engine, along with Allison's 5-speed LCT 1000 automatic transmission.

In the third quarter of this year, Workhorse began offering its new 2002 chassis design, called the W-Series. A 19,500-pound-GVW model will be introduced first, followed by a 16,000-pound-GVW model.

The initial gasoline engine option for both packages is General Motors' Vortec 8100 8.1-liter V8, rated at 340 hp with 455 pounds-ft of torque.

ISUZU

American Isuzu Motors brought out a crew cab for its 2002 model-year trucks. The N-Series NQR Crew Cab, which holds seven, comes on a 14,500-pound-GVWR chassis. Two wheelbases are offered: a 150 in. for 12-ft bodies and a 176 in. for 16-ft bodies. The same wheelbase and body length options are also available on a 17,950-pound-GVWR chassis.

American Isuzu also has a host of other changes for its entire 2002 lineup of low cab forward trucks. Model choices start with the Class 3 through 4 N-Series trucks. In the Class 5 segment, Isuzu offers the NQR and FRR. Class 6 and 7 offerings include the FRR, FSR, FTR and FVR models.

N-Series trucks now feature self-adjusting front-disc and rear-drum brakes, as well as antilock brakes as standard equipment. For NPR models, the 30-gallon fuel tank is mounted between the frame rails. More open space along the frame rails makes it easier to mount compartment-type bodies or storage boxes.

The 2002 Class 3 NPR GAS and Class 4 NPR HD GAS are equipped with a U.S.-built 5.7-liter engine that produces 250 hp and 330 pounds-ft of torque. The 2002 NQR adds a Class 5 weight specification of 17,950-pound GVW and a body payload capability ranging from 10,382 to 10,592 pounds. Available in four wheelbase choices, the NQR can handle bodies from 12 ft to 20 ft.

The 2002 Class 5 FRR was conceived and built to offer fleets an 18,000- to 19,500-pound-GVWR vehicle, with a 7.8-liter 6-cyl. Isuzu engine delivering 200 hp and 441 pounds-ft of torque. The standard transmission is an Isuzu MLD6Q manual 6-speed with overdrive; Allison AT542 4-speed automatic is optional.

The 2002 Class 6 and 7 FTR now include 140- and 248-in. wheelbase models, with a GVWR of 25,950 pounds for Class 6 and 30,000 pounds for Class 7.