Work trucks put on a show in Indianapolis

Truck debuts shun the lights of Geneva for the heartland of America

Published: March 7, 2018, 8:00 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:04 PM

2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman

While the rich and famous are schmoozing it up at the Geneva Motor Show, blue-collar types are hobnobbing in Indianapolis at the National Truck Equipment Association's (NTEA) “Work Truck Show.”

Among the large rigs presented by companies such as Navistar and Kenworth, companies such as Ram and Ford took the opportunity to introduce new editions of their light trucks.


Chevrolet took the opportunity to take the Silverado nameplate into the medium truck segment, launching Class 4, 5 and 6 chassis cab trucks. The Silverado medium duty trucks will be available in 2WD and 4WD, receiving power from the 350-hp 6.6-litre Duramax diesel V-8 via Allison transmissions with a Power Take Off (PTO) option.

Among the innovations are 1-piece straight frame rails with seven Cab-to-Axle options, and available, factory-installed rear air suspension.


Although not technically a truck, the new 2019 Transit Connect Cargo Van is worthy of recognition at the Work Truck Show for its small-business applications, especially those doing business in congested city cores. New features include the availability of a 1.5-litre EcoBlue (turbodiesel) 4-cylinder — the only one in the segment — in addition to the standard 2.0-litre 4-cylinder. Both engines are linked to 8-speed automatics. A 2.5-litre 4-cylinder with prep for use with natural gas or propane is available to fleet customers.

Standard safety systems include front collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, crosswind stabilization and rearview camera. Lane keep assist, adaptive cruise, and blind spot and rear cross traffic alerts are also available.


Mercedes-Benz took the opportunity to introduce the medium-size Metris van to the North America. The new van will come in cargo van and passenger wagon iterations, both receiving standard power from a 211-hp 1.9-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that was specifically created for this market.

In addition to up to eight airbags (depending on configuration), the ban also comes with standard safety features such as tire pressure monitoring, Attention Assist (which detects driver drowsiness and issues alerts as needed) and crosswind assist (designed to counter the effects of strong crosswinds).


Nissan introduced a specially modified 2018 Titan XD King Cab named “Smokin’ TITAN” because of its custom flatbed with a built-in Lang BBQ smoker and an host of chef-friendly features for the tailgating enthusiast who wants to replicate the backyard barbequing experience.

The custom aluminum flatbed houses three food prep stations (each with a double burner stove and wood cutting board) and a sink and water storage system, which can be swapped out for a 118-litre cooler. A 47-litre Fridge/Freezer rides in the pickup’s back seat.


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) unveiled an all-new Ram 1500 Tradesman model, which is aimed at small businesses, construction contractors and commercial fleets. It will be available in Quad Cab (extended cab) with a 6-foot bed (1,930 mm), and Crew Cab with a standard short bed (1,702 mm) or the optional 1,930-mm bed.

Standard power comes from 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 with a mild hybrid system, or optional 5.7-litre Hemi V-8 with or without the mild hybrid system, to allow it to tow up to 5,783 kg and load up to 1,043 kg (both depending on the truck’s configuration). It will be available in rear-wheel or 4-wheel drivetrains.