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Commercial Vehicles 2007 The latest commercial vehicles are green, mean and loaded with extras.

By Jill Amadio

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Online Exclusive: For more commercial vehicles information, read the online exclusive portions of this article.

What are the trends in commercial vehicles for the coming year? Safety and security features, greener engines with flexible fuel capability, more power and more hybrids are hallmarks of 2007's light trucks. Commercial vehicles are safer than ever. More structural safety features are built in, while mechanical components raise safety to a new standard. Air bags on the sides of seats, curtain-style air bags in the roofline and additional air bags for rear passengers are now standard or optional in many vehicles. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is stepping up tests for rollovers, side impacts and other safety issues, leading manufacturers to respond with improved electronic stability control and other passenger safety systems.

In response to consumer demand, flexible and alternative fuels are new options on light trucks, including Ford's F-150, whose versatile power-plant runs on a mixture of gasoline and ethanol, typically 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol (E85). But unlike hybrids, fuel economy for ethanol-powered vehicles is lower than in gas-powered engines. For example, the 2006 GMC Yukon with the standard engine achieves 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway, but only 16 city/21 highway with the E85 option; however, E85 is environmentally friendlier and thus more desirable.

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