Americans love pickup trucks and there's no sign of it changing. The entries into the pickups category ranged from compact to extreme duty. The Chevrolet Colorado Z71, RAM Rebel and Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-road were allowed on the extreme off-road course, since the trucks have factory off-road packages.
Chevy sent out a Colorado Z71 with the 2.8-liter Duramax turbo diesel that promises 23 mpg. The Z71 off-road package includes a locking rear differential, 2-speed transfer case and off-road suspension. The Colorado was the only truck to support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system.
Nissan brought a second Titan XD out to play – the Platinum Reserve. Like a fine bottle of scotch, the Titan XD Platinum Reserve is about refinement and plushness. The interior is a step up from the Pro4X and the exterior is covered with chrome trim to stand out from the rest. Despite the upscale accoutrements, the Titan XD Platinum Reserve is ready to work with its 5.0-liter Cummins turbo diesel V8 and 12,000 lbs. rated towing capacity.
It's been over half a decade since the RAM brand was spun-off from Dodge, but I still find myself calling the trucks Dodge RAM. The Rebel is an off-road package available on the RAM 1500. Checking off the Rebel option adds skid plates, air suspension, higher ride height and beefier tires.
The exterior receives powder-coated bumpers and a unique in-your-face blacked RAM grille. The headlights are blacked out to match the rest of the trim too. Visually, the RAM Rebel really does it for me, but I'm a sucker for black trim and black headlights.
Toyota introduced a brand new Tacoma for the 2016 model year. The TRD Off-road trim adds a limited-slip differential, off-road suspension with Bilstein shocks and locking rear diff. A multi-terrain select function lets you select what type of road you're driving on to optimize the 4WD system. There's even crawl control, which lets you set a speed you're comfortable moving along at on tough terrain.