I love watching the horse power and towing capacity arms race between the big 3 as much as the next pickup truck driver. Let’s face it though, how often do you push your truck to it’s limits? I use my truck for truck stuff on a daily basis, but most of the time I’m not hauling 3000lbs of lumber, I’m hauling 500-1000lbs. My current truck is a couple of generations behind and nothing on the market in the current generation has me running to the dealership.
So I’ve collected a few ideas that I’m offering to the auto makers for free, just because I’d love to see them implemented in a next generation truck. If someone implemented one or more of these features in a next generation truck they’d definitely have, mine and my wallets, attention.
1. Integrated lumber racks
Everyone who works in the trades has a BackRack on their pickup. I frequently have to haul materials that are between 12 and 20 feet long. Even with a tailgate down it can sometimes be awkward to transport materials that long. So people buy backtracks and mount lumber and other long materials resting on the tailgate and on a steel frame just behind the cab. It works, but it doesn’t look great and BackRacks aren’t cheap either.
I’d love to see a rack that integrated into the frame of the cab. Slap a rubberized traction pad and some tie down mounting points on the roof and you’ve just created the ultimate integrated lumber rack. The Ford Atlas concept truck had something close to this, but surprise, surprise it got cut from the final production vehicle.
2. Weight rated tail gate
This dovetails nicely with my last point. I’m constantly seeing trucks with collapsed tailgates because someone rested just a little too much weight on them. Tailgates in modern trucks are pretty tough and certainly capable of handling many hundreds of pounds. The exact number though? No one seems to know. I’d love to have a tailgate rated to 1000lbs so I can stop worrying when I stack heavy materials on mine.
We’ve seen, lights, ladders, keyless locks and cameras crammed into tailgates over the past decade. How about a rigid steel frame and a weight rating sticker?
3. Payload monitor
On a semi regular basis I stretch my truck to its payload capacity, and I often find myself worrying that I’ve loaded in too much weight. Swelling payloads capacities are great, but in reality when you’re on the jobsite or at the lumber yard, you’ve got no idea how much weight you’ve put into your truck. A sensor that let you know when you were approaching the payload capacity would be extremely useful in these situations.
Even better would be an accurate scale that let you know exactly how much weight was in your box. That might be a bit pie in the sky, but I purchase materials by weight pretty frequently and I’m left taking my suppliers word for it when I say I want 600lbs of crushed rock and they load it into my truck off of their scale. A feature like this would help me protect the suspension and frame of my truck and protect me from getting ripped off by unscrupulous suppliers.
4. A garbage can
This is so simple, I can’t believe it isn’t already in every car. I like to keep my truck clean, but even I’m guilty of letting receipts and straw wrappers accumulate in cupholders. I’ve got a center console bin that’s a mile wide and a mile deep, it’d be perfect for a small trash can. With all the interior space in modern trucks you think we could afford to give a cubic foot over to a trash can. Heck, automakers could even make money by selling us disposable bin liners.