Profiling Trucks That Can Haul
Can a truck be sporty? Well that depends on what you definition of ‘sporty’ is. If being a sports truck means it has a lot of horsepower and can accelerate quickly, well, then there are a lot of sport trucks. However, throw an Escalade or a 600HP Cummins diesel Ram into a tight bend and most allusions of sportiness will disappear.
To me, a sports truck needs to be about more than horsepower. It needs to be able to handle, brake and maneuver far better then its hulking mass would suggest. Ultimately though, it’s a debate that really comes down to personal opinion.
The concept of a ‘sports truck’ is nothing new. There have been many notable sport trucks in the past such as the Dodge Lil’ Red Express Pickup Truck, GMC Syclone, GMC Typhoon, Ford F-150 Lightning variants, Chevrolet Silverado SS variants, and of course the ridiculously overpowered Dodge Ram SRT-10.
So, what sport trucks are available today? If you scour the market you will find 8 stand outs. The Subaru Forester would have been on this list had the manual transmission option not been dropped for the turbo models. Read below and see if you agree with these selections.
BMW X5/X6 M – With a turbocharged 4.4L V8 making 555HP and 500lb-ft of torque as low as 1500RPM, what’s not to love? Expect an improvement over the already impressive handling and braking of the basic X6 xDrive50i. This will be one seriously sporty truck.
Chevrolet Trailblazer SS – This is more then just a Trailblazer featuring a 390HP Corvette engine. Although it cannot handle quite as well as say, the Grand Cherokee SRT-8, this truck can tow a boat on the weekdays, drag race on the weekends and still attack freeway on-ramps.
Infiniti FX50 – Not only does this truck rival the X6 as the sportiest looking offering, it also backs it up with performance. With a 390HP V8, it can out accelerate the Trailblazer SS, handle as well as the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 and, being an Infiniti, features the same level of luxury as the ML63 AMG.
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 – This truck is a brute. The 6.1L V8 makes an impressive 420HP. With 20” rear wheels sporting 285 width tires, the SRT-8 can scream to 60MPH in the mid-4 second range. Add to that handling that rivals the best SUVs here, and you have one purpose built truck. Just don’t try towing with it.
Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG – Using an ex-military vehicle isn’t always a good idea for a hotrod. But that did not deter Mercedes-Benz’s performance department AMG. Stuffed into this 5600lbs truck is a 5.4L Supercharged V8 making 500HP. Add to that 19” wheels with 275 width rubber hooked up to a sport tuned suspension, and you have a driving contradiction. Think of this truck as the equivalent of GM putting the Corvette’s 505HP LS7 V8 into the original Hummer.
Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG – This 5200lbs truck can hit 60 in under 5 seconds flat and can handle as well as most sport sedans. This is achieved due to its 503HP 6.2L V8 and giant 295/35R21 tires. Although arguably not as cool as the G55, the ML63 is the far sportier truck offering from Mercedes-Benz.
Porsche Cayenne Turbo – When Porsche decided to make an SUV, many car enthusiasts were worried. Could the legendary Porches make an SUV sporty? Well, yes and no. The base models of the Cayenne are anything but sporty, but work your way up to the GTS, Turbo and upcoming Turbo S and things get sporty in a hurry. What else would expect from Porsche?
Toyota Tacoma X-Runner – Not all sport trucks need to make upwards of 400HP. Take the X-Runner for instance. It only has 236HP and 266 lb-ft. So what makes it sporty? Well, there is its relatively low curb weight (3735lbs), close ratio 6-speed manual transmission, LSD equipped rear drive layout, and 255/45R18 tires. All of this adds up to a pick up truck that can tow 3500lbs, or hit the auto cross track.