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Chevy, Ford renew pickup battle with updated heavy-duty trucks


For vehicles sold only to those who need to tow a few tons and trundle around construction sites, the competition between Chevy and Ford in heavy-duty pickups often resembles Betty and Veronica sparring for Archie. Today, the two released the 2015 versions of their trucks — both in ceremonies at the State Fair of Texas, Valhalla of the pickup universe — with each proclaiming the superiority of its new model. But only one was willing to put some numbers behind its claims.

Chevy and GMC have the more dramatic updates, switching the 2015 Silverado and Sierra HD to the body styles shared with the new half-ton Silverado and GMC Sierra, along with their interior upgrades. While the engine options remain the same — a 6-liter gas V-8, a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel and an option for compressed natural gas — Chevy and GMC sprinkled in new electronics, including standard trailer sway control.

Meanwhile, Ford's updates to the 2015 Ford Super Duty focus on the 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel, now blessed with an even larger turbo and other enhancements that Ford claims will push the oil burner beyond 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. Ford's also gussied up the King Ranch edition of the Super Duty, the original and still best-selling rhinestone cowboy pickup, and made smaller tweaks throughout the chassis.

Yet for all of its changes, Ford declined to put any numbers on how they might change the Super Duty's payload or towing capabilities. That allows Chevy to claim heavyweight champion status for the moment, saying its trucks can handle up to 7,300 lbs. of payload or 19,600 lbs. of regular towing (there's a special Ford capable of towing 24,700 lbs. in a fifth-wheel setup.) For buyers putting their boots on the tires, the competition's enough to make them feel like the kings of the prom.