• Aug 10, 2007
Earlier this week we told you about a pickup truck comparison in the most recent issue of Consumer Reports that seemed a bit fishy. The comparison pitted the new 2007 Toyota Tundra against the 2007 Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram. It was clearly a fight between the Tundra and Silverado from the get-go, since both were the only two completely new trucks in the test. The Tundra, however, seemed to have an advantage in that it was ordered up with the larger of its two engines, the 5.7L V8 producing 381 hp. The Silverado, while available with a more evenly matched 6.0L Vortec MAX V8, was ordered with a less powerful 5.3L V8 producing 315 hp. Not only that, but the Tundra benefited from a 4.30 rear axle ratio that provides better towing and acceleration than the 3.73 ratio in the Silverado, which sacrifices those qualities for better fuel economy. The Silverado, however, could've been ordered with a more comparable 4.10 rear axle ratio at no extra charge.

Well, the gentlefolks at CR recently posted an answer to everyone's questions about this particular half-ton pickup comparo on their blog, which you should go read by clicking here before going on. They explain that choosing equipment for vehicles involved in a comparison is a tricky thing that involves balancing the objective of several goals.

"In general, we want to test a representative vehicle that is comparable to other vehicles in the test group (and previously tested peer vehicles). We also typically test the version--powertrain and trim level--that most regular consumers will buy. "

Read on after the jump to hear our take on CR's explanation.

At face value, it seemed to us that the cards were stacked in the Tundra's favor.

It appears to us that CR failed in terms of acquiring vehicles that were comparable to each other. We recognize the difficulty that's presented with the new Tundra, since Toyota offers significantly fewer configurations than do Chevy, Ford and Dodge. Nevertheless, there are other configurations of the Silverado that would have better matched the Tundra and likely led to the Silverado scoring higher. We admit, the Silverado may not have won the comparo even if it had been configured to better match the Tundra, as Toyota's powertrain is particularly strong and fuel efficient. In the end, however, we believe the consumer would've been better served by reading about an evenly-matched contest.

On CR's second point, that it typically tests versions of vehicles that most regular consumers will buy, we concede that is a good strategy if the plan is to offer a review that will benefit the largest number of consumers. That's fine if a single vehicle is reviewed, but totally inappropriate for a comparison test. As a consumer, why would I want to read a comparison test of trucks that aren't similar? It would like reading about the Honda Civic versus the Saturn Aura. Comparison tests, at least to us, are not about comparing what people buy, they're about advising what people should buy based on an equal comparison.

CR also gave the Tundra a predicted reliability rating of Very Good based on the reliability of past Tundras and Toyotas in general. The Silverado was labeled as too new to predict its reliability. In our eyes, the Tundra should have also been labeled as too new to predict its reliability, considering it is an all-new model built at an all-new assembly plant in San Antonio, TX. Mechanically speaking, the Tundra of today is completely different than the previous Tundra on which CR's reliability scores were based. The Tundra has also suffered 20 cases of reported camshaft failures in models equipped with the same 5.7L engine CR tested.

We still have a lot of respect for the hardworking people at Consumer Reports and value their opinion, but in the case of this half-ton pickup comparo, we believe its value is limited.


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  • 83 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      God, can't we just drop this? Who the hell uses a huge pickup truck and goes home and reads Consumer Reports at night? Besides, the Tundra still got a lower score than the Avalanche, to everyone who thinks CR hates America and looooves Osama.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Who the hell uses a huge pickup truck and goes home and reads Consumer Reports at night?"

        People with a Camry on one side of the garge and a Tundra on the other. Also, I am betting, the Tundra is their first truck.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Funny how CR is now using the same excuses that the Japanese lovers always use- whatever excuse works best to get their biased point across. If Toyota offered a 6.5L, it would have then been compared to the 6.0L Chevy, and a new excuse would be in tow for some other part of the vehicle.

      I will actually give Toyota credit in one department, the powertrain is impressive. Of course if Ford, GM, or Dodge were designing a completely new powertrain for their vehicles as Toyota just did, I'd expect that they'd be better, but since they are either part way through or at the end of their lifecycle, it's understandable why the Toyota engine looks more impressive.

      The funny thing is that when the refreshed F150 comes out in with it's new engine and 6 speed trans, the Toyota will be minced meat, of course, CR will probably find some other way to scew the outcome.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There's a reason people think CR sucks. why was that again? oh, i forgot...
      • 7 Years Ago
      The 6.0L V8 is available with the 2LT package as tested by CR. It is a $1680.00 option called "Max Trailering Pack" and includes the larger engine, heavy duty trailering equipment, Z85 suspension, heavy duty locking rear "hybrid" differential, fog lamps, and front and rear disc brakes.

      Depending on which other options you choose, you could get the Silverado for under $38k.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Now I remember why I don't read comments when it comes to Chevy/Ford/Chrysler Vs. the world. All the "I know better then you" people come out of the woodwork. What happened to having an intelligent discussion? Oh yea... we are on the internet.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I do read consumer reports, and I do value their judgments on may products. But they are sometimes wrong. This is a clear case that they started a challenge between two products, which were not fairly equal.

      The common person is going to read "toyota beats chevy and ford", but they will not read that the toyota had better options while the ford and chevy had base options.

      Consumer Reports should see what is the better sports car... the celica or the corvette. 10 to 1 they pick the celica.

      I also remember reading somewhere that the consumer reports analysts prefer toyotas over domestic brands.

      I will continue my subscriptions with CS, because they are sometimes right, and at least will give me clear numbers. Also the new ford super duty is a beast, but I prefer the avalanche. That is a great all-around truck... with room for adults.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I was listening until your celica vs corvette comment.... get a grip. Not ONE ADD in the whole magazine!! They take NO $$!! Consumer Reports is the most unbiased magazine there is. Are they wrong sometimes? Yes. I have had an auto that they were way off with. But if you ask what what engine 7/10 Chevy owners have and 9/10 Toyota owners, they will say the 5.3 and 5.7. That is a fact from the maker, not from someone blowing hot air on the internet.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sory guys but the Toyota will still outaccelerate the Chevy no matter the engine choice.

      the comparison between the 6.0L Chevy and 5.7L Toyota has been done and the Toyota was quicker, was it the better truck at the end, nope they chose the Chevy
        • 7 Years Ago
        hmm no I don't think so. I distinctly remember reading about the new Tundras throwing rods. I will stick with my Chevy at least it doesn't look like an over sized blowfish going down the road with a big ass end
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ligor--

        If you want a fast truck, get an SVT Lightning, a Harley-Davidson, a Nitemare, a Foose Edition, an SS or an SRT-10. But those aren't meant to be real trucks--they're not meant to tow or haul big loads

        If you want a truck to do some serious hauling, you don't buy it based on 0-60 acceleration times. Or 1/4-mile times. Granted the Tundra is good at that, but it's kind of irrelevant.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Lets see. according to the Car and Driver review of the previous generation 5.3L Chevy 4x4 double cab the 0-60 time was 8.8 seconds. Now the 2000-2004 Tundra had a 0-60 time of 9.2 seconds, but in 2005-2006 the engine gained 26hp(in California) and gained a 5spd auto. With those changes the 0-60 came down to 8.8. If you can feel .4 seconds then more power to you. Just because an engine is bigger don't automatically think that the truck is slower...
      Bryan
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, CR just admitted they were stupid. You compare what goes against what, not what "the public buys more". That is totally irrelevant, just like CR.
      • 7 Years Ago
      for all you domestic kids, I subscribe to CR and the new chevy avalanche was their top rated pickup truck. It lacked data to be reccomended, but outscored all the other trucks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Good for Consumer Reports to confirm they are aware their comparison was set up to favor Toyota -- true they are saying it was the work of the gods and not them -- but at least they confirmed it took place.

      In reality they should have said both trucks are very good, Toyota has some settling in problems with quality and true-truck design -- but that will be solved in the near future.

      Clearly GM has the upper hand at this point in history -- CR should publish a retraction.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think CR did a fair job. They are never going to please everyone!

      Toyota Tundra Forums
      http://www.tundratalk.net
        • 7 Years Ago
        And I think your a wanker who needs to go troll somewhere else...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota's engineering savvy and financial capacity equipped the Tundra with one of the world's most sophisticated engine and transmission combinations. Why should this light, powerful and economical powertrain be penalized to provide the advantage to Chevrolet's stone-age mechanicals?
        • 7 Years Ago
        stone-age? so proven reliability is now considered stone-age? I guess those camshaft issues must not exist in your mind. Just because it's different doesn't make it better.
        • 7 Years Ago
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