Keep on truckin’ like a Texan with these well-built road rulers


The Sierra Denali, above, combines rugged durability with stylish details; Chevy’s High Country edition of the Silverado, below, packs 355 horses under its hood; the Toyota Tundra, bottom, is a true child of Texas — it’s built in San Antonio.


CASEY WILLIAMS  | Auto Reviewer

More than mere Louis Vuitton luggage for the prairie set, trucks are an essential part Texas life. These beefy beasts carry heavy loads, tackle rugged trails, pull pleasure crafts and coddle passengers in frigid cold comfort. Some are burly workers with gruff personalities, but a new generation of luxury trucks loves to cuddle.

2014 GMC Sierra Denali. GMC has a rep for building tough trucks, but the Denali editions are something more : both rugged and stylish. Based on the redesigned Sierra, Denali boasts a billet grille, LED running lights, projector beams, 20-inch wheels and polished exhaust. Inside are real aluminum trim, Bose audio, heated/cooled leather seats, heated steering wheel and five USB ports. Rear-seat entertainment and crash avoidance systems are optional. Under the slick hood is a standard 355 horsepower 5.3-liter V8 that achieves 23-MPG hwy. — or an optional 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that can tug 12,000 lbs. Stickers start under $50,000.

Silverado-High-Country-ext2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country. If you already have a Stetson, this is the truck to add backcountry style to your garage. Saddle leather, heated/cooled front buckets, Bose audio and heated steering wheel coddle. Body color bumpers, projector headlamps, 20-inch alloys, and corner bumper step dress the exterior. The business end includes a standard 355 horsepower 5.3-liter V8 or optional 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 — both equipped with cylinder deactivation that enable up to 23-MPG hwy. Lane departure and park assist systems are available. Prices begin under $50,000.

Tundra-1794-ext2014 Toyota Tundra 1794. A tribute to the ranch (founded in 1794) on which the Tundra plant sits in San Antonio, this redesigned truck gets the full Texas treatment with saddle leather, prairie-inspired paint hues and suede interior accents. Heated/cooled front seats, JBL audio, navigation and Entune infotainment delight. A more chiseled front complements LED running lights and 20-inch alloy wheels while a 381 horsepower 5.7-liter V8 moves it all. Safety is enhanced with Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Prices will start near $42,000.

2014 Ford F-150 Tremor. Tremor brings thumping power to urban streets. It combines the sporty FX Appearance Package with a 365 horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and the choice of two- or four-wheel-drive. Passengers enjoy a flow-through console, black leather bucket seats with red piping, brushed metal accents, red-stitched steering wheel, and Alcantara suede trim. Flat-black 20-inch alloys, popping graphics and black badges with red lettering paint the exterior. It’ll get you excited then cuddle all night. Prices rise from less than $35,000.

2014 Ram EcoDiesel. This is the only place you can get a wallet-friendly diesel in a light-duty pickup. The 3.0-liter engine, connected to Chrysler’s TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission, delivers 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. Start-stop technology, advanced aerodynamics, and an air suspension maximize fuel economy. Gas lovers can choose a 25-MPG V6 or 395 horsepower HEMI. The ride that won North American Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas is set to take more prizes. You’ll spend $2,850 over a similar HEMI-powered Ram for deep diesel pleasure.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 15, 2013.