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Consumer Reports rates half-ton pickups, raises eyebrows

While we do respect the folks over at Consumer Reports, we do not envy them. Whether the subject is vacuums, lawnmowers or half-ton pickups, nearly every test they perform is scrutinized down to the tiniest of details. We suppose it goes with the reputation of being the most reliable source of production information for consumers, but it's gotta be hell on the nerves.

In its most recent issue, CR is publishing a report on half-ton pickups that might have some crying foul and revisiting claims the publication is biased in favor of imports. Included in the test are the 2007 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8, 2007 Chevy Silverado 1500 5.3L V8, 2007 Ford F-150 5.4L V8 and 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 5.7L V8. The report puts an emphasis on towing, and (spoiler alert) the Toyota Tundra received the best score of the four pickups. The Tundra also received the "Recommended" label from CR (as did the Dodge Ram 1500), and was awarded a predicted reliability rating of "Very Good" thanks to the past performance of all Toyota's in CR's reader survey results.

We can already hear the grumbling. The domestic half-tons are offered in such a dizzying array of configurations, why didn't CR choose to buy a Silverado with the larger 6.0L V8 and a 4.10 rear-axle ratio (a no-cost option that would have matched the Tundra's ratio)? Jake Fisher, a senior automotive engineer for Consumer Reports, told Mike Levine at, "For our readers, fuel economy is more important than gaining an extra second or two faster time 0 to 60, and we tested the trucks we felt were configured as our subscribers would use them."

More after the jump...

It seems clear that CR could've have made an effort to more closely match the configuration of each truck in this test, specifically the Silverado, but they instead chose to test configurations that they felt were the most popular with consumers. We take their explanation at face value, but considering the Tundra is brand new to market and has fewer configurations, it seems a bit unfair to pit Toyota's monster 5.7L and a rear-axle ratio better suited to towing against a less optimally configured Silverado, especially when a more capable Silverado is available.

Mike Levine does a better job of explaining the intricacies involved here than we can, especially considering he just completed his big Heavy-Duty Shootout and probably knows more about testing pickups than anyone on the planet. He's also read the article in question, which we haven't. Click the Read link to get his take, as well as more quotes from CR itself.

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