ATHLETIC - PICKUP TRUCK OF THE YEAR
2007 Chevrolet Silverado Z71
Silverado, Chevrolet's full-size newly revised pickup comes in five suspension systems, designed to fill specific powerhouse needs. Ranging from a smooth road ride to enhanced trailering capability, best street performance on sporty, 20-inch tires and maximum towing capacity with high capacity rear springs, they fill a variety of pickup owners' needs.
RTM's ICOTY jurors chose the Silverado Z71 Off Road Crew Cab version as Pickup - Most Athletic winner for 2007. It's the model designed for true wilderness driving with special suspension requirements. For the first time in '07, Chevy has offered the Z71 package on two-wheel-drive models. Previously, it had only been available with four-wheel-drive. The Z71 is identified by body side identification and special trim touches. Eighteen inch wheels are standard. Its heavy duty suspension includes 48 mm front and rear monotube shocks, specific stabilizer bars, off-road jounce bumpers, and heavy duty limited-slip rear differential. It also includes the obligatory skid plates to protect undercarriage components and a heavy duty air cleaner to keep out contamination from clouds of off-road dirt. With the special fittings, it could eat up a lot of uncharted miles.
The ultimate street hog might not be a bike at all. For the ninth time Ford and Harley-Davidson have teamed up with a special F-150 Super Crew pickup truck edition meant to blow away the tuner crowd. This is street appeal on a serious level, with smoked out head and taillamps, hefty 22-inch polished forged aluminum wheels with exposed lugnuts, sport tuned suspension, and chrome-tipped exhaust spewing out a throaty H-D tuned rumble. Inside, piano black finishes, bright chrome and leather scream "Cool!"
For the first time in its alliance with the motorcycle icon, Ford offers the Harley in two-wheel as well as all-wheel-drive, something customers have been clamoring for. The 5.4-liter three-valve Triton V-8 powerplant churns out 300 horsepower and 365 lb. ft. of torque. That equals major attitude and gives a whole new meaning to "let's rumble."
Toyota must have taken a cue from the Southwest, where truckers live and breathe their vehicles and anything but the biggest probably won't get a second glance. This first major overhaul of the full-size Tundra pickup, originally launched as a 2000 model, has one dominating focus. Big. With 10 more inches in length, five more in height and four more in width, this is one Tundra that plans to play with the big boys. A totally new chassis adds 30 percent more tensile strength for those down and dirty jobs like towing as much as 10,000 pounds. Wider side mirrors make the job safer. But the new Tundra doesn't overlook the niceties. Among them, Bluetooth connectivity and smashing JBL premium audio. RTM gives this revised newcomer an honorable mention as Pickup - Most Athletic of the year.