Only 1 American Pickup Truck Manufacturer Is Still Not Offering Rear Coil Springs
There may once have been a stigma against using rear coil springs in a pickup truck. But since the 2009 model year, Ram has offered rear coil springs in all its half-ton trucks. Ford SVT even upgraded the regular F-150 to rear coils to build the Raptor edition. General Motors is the only American pickup truck manufacturer still not offering rear coil springs, though it may be poised to leap over the technology in favor of something even more advanced.
The Ram 1500’s coil springs are the secret to its smooth ride
Chrysler Corporation released the fourth generation of its Ram pickup truck for the 2009 model year. It was the first truck in its class with rear coil springs. Some naysayers worried about the half-ton’s trailering and payload capacities. But over the years, it’s proven itself as capable as its peers still riding on rear leaf springs. In fact, Ram also upgraded its 3/4-ton 2500 to rear coil springs while bumping that truck’s tow rating to 19,980 pounds.
Some off-roading fans claim that rear coil springs make pickup trucks and SUVs more capable on the trail. Even reviewers who never leave the pavement say the rear coil springs are the secret behind the Ram 1500’s smooth ride.
As soon as Ram went to rear coil springs, the technology enabled some unique options. For example, the Ram 1500 was the first full-size truck available with four-corner air suspension from the factory. This means you can adjust the height of your Ram 1500 for climbing in and out easily, better mpg, or increased ground clearance. The technology isn’t perfect, though. The Ram 1500’s air suspension shuts itself off at extremely low temperatures, but the truck remains completely drivable.
Does the Ram’s air suspension actually improve its mpg? Probably not as much as its multi-cylinder deactivation system or eTorque mild-hybrid setup. But all these technologies combined give the V8 Ram identical fuel economy to the V6 Tundra.
Other half-ton pickup trucks are adopting rear coil springs
Toyota redesigned its Tundra for the truck’s third generation in 2022. The automaker made some dramatic choices, including deleting all V8 engine options. The latest Toyota Tundra also rides on rear coil springs. One reason may be that it shares its chassis with off-road SUVs such as the Land Cruiser. But Toyota might not have attempted the switch if Ram hadn’t pioneered ahead.
When Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) set out to create the gnarliest off-road pickup truck around, it took a “leaf” out of the Land Cruiser and Ram’s book. The automaker tossed the F-150’s rear leaf springs in favor of coils. The Raptor “37” pushes the factory-lifted suspension to the maximum to fit 37-inch tires but retains the rear coil springs.
There is no Chevrolet Silverado with rear coil springs
Are you a Chevrolet fan dreaming of a Silverado 1500 with rear coil springs? You’ll just have to order them aftermarket. There is no 2023 Chevy Silverado with rear coils. Even if you order the off-road-oriented Silverado 1500 ZR2, you get beefed-up rear leaf springs.
So what about GMC? There is no GMC Sierra 1500 with rear coil springs. But the GMC’s new flagship truck–the resurrected Hummer EV–uses five-link suspension similar to the Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra. Why? Because this supertruck vaults over rear coil springs and comes with four-corner air suspension, just like some Rams.
Next, find out whether rear coil springs are really better or see how Ram’s air suspension works in the video below: