Utility vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from crossovers to vocationals and semis. But for everyday work at the nursery or on the job site, midrange pickups and cabovers provide the reliability and adaptability green industry pros require.

Utility vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from crossovers to vocationals and semis. But for everyday work at the nursery or on the job site, midrange pickups and cabovers provide the reliability and adaptability green industry pros require.

When it comes to getting the job done, nothing beats a good truck. This all-purpose vehicle gets more use than a toothbrush, hauling everything from plants to crews to equipment and more. They’re the workhorses of the industry, and if you spend a lot of time in one, you know how important it is to select the right model. Here we’ve featured five options, in alphabetical order, to give you just a glance at what’s available.


Photo courtesy of Hino Trucks

The Hino 195 COE (cab over engine) models for 2014 – with a gross vehicle weight of 19,500 pounds – are available in diesel and diesel-electric hybrid power trains and feature 210 horsepower producing 440 foot-pounds of torque from Hino’s 5-liter J05E Series engine, utilizing Aisin’s A465, six-speed automatic transmission. Both models also feature a 33-inch-wide, 56,900 PSI frame with a center-mounted rear fuel tank.

Standard cab equipment on both models includes all-steel welded cab construction, air conditioning, cruise control and a convertible three-person seating capacity. The center passenger seat is a foldaway type with back seat console; an optional crew cab provides enough room for equipment plus staff.

Hino cabovers can be upfitted for your particular business needs.

For more information, visit http://www.hino.com.

Honda Ridgeline

Photo courtesy of Honda

The four-door, 2014 Ridgeline from Honda features a closed-box, unit-body structure and independent front and rear suspension to deliver a unique combination of truck capability, a spacious five-passenger cabin, and car-like ride and handling. The Ridgeline also delivers a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds and a half-ton payload rating, all while offering innovative and unique features that include the large, In-Bed Trunk® and dual-action tailgate for easy access.

A 5-foot-long composite cargo bed with eight tie-down locations provides a payload rating of 1,100 pounds, while four cargo area lights illuminate both the bed and the in-bed trunk. A dual-action tailgate opens down for traditional access to the cargo area or to the side for ease-of- access to the 8.5-cubic-foot In-Bed Trunk®. The cargo area measures 49.5 inches wide between the wheel wells, 20.7 inches deep and 60 inches long (79 inches with the load-supporting tailgate in the down position).

A MacPherson strut front suspension and fully independent multi-link rear suspension with trailing arms provide a smooth ride and responsive handling. A heavy-duty braking system includes 12.6-inch front and 13.1-inch rear four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

The Ridgeline’s all-aluminum, 60- degree, SOHC 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine produces 250 horsepower and 247 foot-pounds of torque. Variable-valve timing enhances low-rpm torque while extending high-rpm horsepower for a broad power band. The five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission features Grade Logic Control to help maintain the most appropriate gear when going uphill or downhill to avoid gear “hunting.”

A fully automatic Variable Torque Management® four-wheel drive system (VTM-4®) provides confident operation in rain, snow, ice, sand and mud, while also improving on-road and towing performance by distributing torque to all four wheels as needed. The system operates predominantly in front-wheel drive mode during dry-pavement cruising conditions and continuously proportions torque to the rear wheels during acceleration and low traction situations. The VTM-4 lock button located on the instrument panel allows the driver to temporarily hold engagement of both rear wheels to aid traction in the first two gears at speeds of up to 18 mph.

Four models are available in this line: the Ridgeline RT, Sport, RTS and RTL. A Ridgeline Special Edition is due out this month.

For more information, visit http://www.honda.com

Mitsubishi Canter Series

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Fuso offers a series of tough cabover trucks that are particularly suited to nursery and landscape applications. The Canter FE and FG series of medium-duty trucks provides typical cabover maneuverability and long cab-to-axle distances for a given wheelbase to provide more room for tools and equipment. Plus, a unique frame design allows quick and easy mounting of a wide variety of landscaping body styles.

Exceptional fuel economy (when compared to similar models) can deliver 8.45 percent better savings, and when the Canter’s ECO mode is engaged, savings can be improved to 13.8 percent. And that’s with up to 2,200 pounds greater payload capacity than a leading competitor.

A few of the features include exceptional maneuverability – according to Mitsubishi Fuso, the Canter FE125 model has a turning radius of 34.1 feet, tighter than a Mini Cooper – as well as an improved transmission with a Duonic six-speed automated manual-type transmission that eliminates torque interruption between shifts and features ECO mode for higher fuel efficiency. The dash-mounted shifter can be left in the drive position or manually operated up (+) or down (-) through the gear selection for optimal driver control. Shifts are seamless, with no shock or torque interruption.

Inside, the line features large expanses of glass, easy-to-see and easy-to-reach instruments and controls, ample side and overhead storage space, plus plenty of coin and cup holders, bins and glove boxes. The passenger seat folds to provide a platform for laptops, tablets and clipboards – it becomes a business desk on wheels.

For more information, visit http://www.mitsubishi.com

Nissan Titan

Photo courtesy of Nissan

Nissan’s full-size Titan is offered in a range of body, bed and drivetrain configurations to fit a variety of buyer needs and uses: King Cab and Crew Cab body styles, a choice of 4×4 and 4×2 drive configurations, two wheelbases (138.8 inches and 159.5 inches), three bed lengths and four well-equipped trim levels – S, SV, PRO-4X and SL. Titan is also available as a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) designed to run on E85 ethanol.

Built on Nissan’s rugged F-Alpha pickup platform, the Titan features a powerful 5.6-liter DOHC Endurance V8 rated at 317 horsepower and 385 foot-pounds of torque and a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Titan has a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,500 pounds for King Cab and 9,400 pounds for Crew Cab (when properly equipped).

Titan King Cab offers a 139.8-inch wheelbase and 79.1-inch bed, while the Titan Crew Cab features a 139.8-inch wheelbase and 67.3-inch bed. The Crew Cab SV Long Wheelbase model features a 159.5-inch wheelbase and an 87-inch bed, nearly 20 inches longer than the standard wheelbase Crew Cab bed. Titan King Cab models also feature Wide-Open rear doors, which open 168 degrees for easy rear cab access. Key to the door’s design is a hefty, two-stage hinge with four axis of rotation. The doors open first to a conventional 85 degrees, then can be swung the rest of the way for easy loading and unloading of cargo or passengers.

The available Utili-track Bed Channel System has five special “C” cross-section rails that are mounted in the bed (two channels in the bed floor, and one each on the bed side rails and the bed header panel). Removable, heavy-duty utility cleats (rated at 200 pounds) slide into the channels, providing a wide range of attachment points for tying down cargo. The channels are open at the rear of the bed, allowing the cleats to be completely removed when not in use for easy cleaning.

For more information, visit http://www.nissan.com

Toyota Tundra

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Newly designed for 2014, the Toyota Tundra offers three cab styles: two-door Regular Cab, four-door Double Cab and the super-sized four-door CrewMax. Tundra Regular Cab and Double Cab models are offered in standard bed (78.7-inch) or long bed (97.6-inch) configurations, while the CrewMax comes with a 66.7-inch bed. All beds are 22.2 inches deep.

A 4-liter Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) V6 is standard on Tundra Regular and Double Cab models and produces 270 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 278 foot-pounds of peak torque at 4,400 rpm. It is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic. The available 4.6-liter, DOHC i-Force V8 offers 310 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 327 foot-pounds of peak torque at 3,400 rpm.

The Tundra workhorse is the 5.7-liter, DOHC i-Force V8, which generates 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 foot-pounds of peak torque at 3,600 rpm. The 5.7-liter is offered in both gasoline and “Flex Fuel” variants. Both V8s come standard with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. All Tundra engines feature an aluminum cylinder block and DOHC heads, along with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) for a broad torque curve and optimized efficiency.

Tundra 4×4 models use an on-demand, electronically controlled four-wheel drive system featuring a six-pinion planetary reduction gear set to provide 4×2, 4×4 Hi and 4×4 Lo ranges. The driver selects the drive mode using a dial on the dash.

The standard Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto-LSD) helps provide better acceleration in deep sand or mud and on mixed-friction surfaces. Compared to a conventional mechanical limited slip differential, the Auto-LSD system is much more responsive and has better wear characteristics. The Tundra’s VSC system integrates traction control (TRAC) and enhances traction on or off-road by helping keep the vehicle on its intended course.

Integration of these technologies also provides driver-selectable versatility to tackle just about any road surface or driving condition. In “normal” mode, VSC, TRAC and Auto-LSD all function to help enable traction and control capability. “TRAC Off” and “Auto-LSD” modes activate Auto-LSD to help extricate the Tundra from extreme conditions. The “VSC Off” mode turns off all three of these systems.

For more information, visit http://www.toyota.com