When it comes to all things pickup truck-related, our pal Mike Levine from PickupTrucks.com has his finger on the pulse of what's happening. Every year, Levine gathers all of the currently available contenders in a particular segment of the truck market for a shootout. With General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all having launched heavily reworked heavy-duty trucks in the last six months, that was the segment of choice for this year's 2010 Heavy-Duty Shootout. Levine collected three examples each of the 3/4-ton gas, 3/4-ton diesel and one-ton diesel duallie pickups for a battle royale at Milan Dragway in Michigan and the General Motors Milford proving ground.
The trucks were put through their paces in acceleration and braking tests, both unloaded and hauling trailers of up to 12,000 pounds. The trucks ran on the level Milan drag strip and up seven- and 16-percent grades at Milford. Levine also evaluated ride and handling and the trucks were put through a fuel economy drive loop. The bottom line results for each category are available after the jump and you can – and should – read Levine's definitive report over at PickupTrucks.com.
Shootout Matches Up New Heavy-Duty Trucks in Head-to-Head Competition
CHICAGO - August 16, 2010 - For consumers in the market for a new big hauler, PickupTrucks.com has put 9 heavy-duty pickups through rigorous testing in its Heavy-Duty Shootout to determine which of these trucks performs the best in a variety of different categories. The testing offers those consumers in the market for a new three-quarter or one-ton pickup an abundance of information for them to choose the truck that best suits their needs.
"Truck buyers crave data and expect hard numbers on their trucks," says PickupTrucks.com founder, Mike Levine. "Numbers are even more important when reviewing the Heavy-Duty pickups. This is a segment where horsepower, torque, and tow ratings count most with buyers because these trucks are purchased for full-time commercial work and hauling applications, not just personal style. Fuel economy is also a bigger consideration than ever."
It's been three years since PickupTrucks.com's last Heavy-Duty Shootout but in that time there has been tremendous change in the segment. First, the bottom fell out of the truck market when the economy tanked; second, diesel emissions regulations have gotten tougher yet again; and third, all three Heavy-Duty truck manufacturers have made significant improvements to their pickups, all of which were last updated in 2007.
All of this adds up to the perfect time for a new Heavy-Duty Shootout: Ford and GM have both introduced potent new diesel engines and Ford has also introduced a new gas V-8. Ford and Chrysler have made major exterior and interior changes and GM has given its trucks all-new underpinnings and suspensions.
"We've seen a huge rebound in the sale of pickups," says Mike. "These new Heavy-Duty trucks will definitely impact the market and our Shootout, which is the most comprehensive testing of its kind, will tell consumers which is the best to buy."
For this year's Heavy-Duty Shootout, tests included loaded and unloaded quarter mile drag runs; loaded 7% hill climbs and loaded 16% hill climbs; loaded and unloaded brake tests; and fuel economy and ride and handling testing. Testing was done in three categories: three-quarter-ton gasoline SRW, three-quarter-ton diesel SRW and one-ton DRW. To determine the best overall Heavy-Duty pickups in each category, PickupTrucks.com created a scoring system that measured the trucks competency in testing.
The winners of the 2010 PickupTrucks.com Heavy-Duty Shootout are:
Three-Quarter-Ton Gas: 2011 Ford F-250
The best overall Heavy-Duty pickup in the three-quarter-ton gas category is the 2011 Ford F-250 with 6.2-liter V-8. As the tests became more extreme up the hills, the 6.2-liter V-8 was up to the challenges, opening large gaps between the Chevy and Ram trucks. It also proved to have the
best unloaded fuel economy. But this race was very close. The Dodge Ram 2500 scored just behind the F-250 based on its tremendous pulling performance at Milan raceway and better ride and handling characteristics than the Ford. In fact, we'd suggest that Dodge Ram 2500 as our Heavy-Duty choice if the majority of your towing and hauling will be across level ground, like the Midwest. If you're going to pull heavy trailers through the mountains though – and don't want to pay a premium for a diesel – then we think the Ford F-250 is a better choice.
Three-Quarter-Ton Diesel: 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
The best overall Heavy-Duty rig in the three-quarter-ton diesel category is the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD. The Chevy's combination of powerful Duramax diesel, all-new frame and suspension and excellent fuel economy put it ahead of the Ford and Ram trucks. It's possible that if we'd had a Super Duty with the new 400/800 power ratings, it could have beaten the Chevy on performance but that wouldn't have changed the way we feel about the Silverado's ride and handling and steering characteristics, which we now think are the benchmarks in the segment, followed closely by the Dodge Ram.
One-Ton Diesel: 2011 GMC Sierra Denali 3500HD
The best overall one-ton diesel is the 2011 GMC Sierra Denali 3500HD. This amazing truck took the top spot in four of six power contests and was close behind in two more. Like the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, its new ride and handling characteristic are excellent and its braking abilities were significantly better than its one-ton competitors. Interior fit and finish in its upscale trim were closer to the Dodge Ram and Ford trucks than any other category. We could tow with a Sierra Denali all day long and feel as confident driving it as it looks good on the road.
"This was a tough competition and a lot of the final scores were very close," says Mike. "However, the F250, Silverado 2500HD and Sierra Denali 3500HD really stood out from the competition. I'd recommend that anyone in the market for a Heavy-Duty take a look at these trucks."
The 9 trucks tested in the Heavy-Duty Shootout include:
Three-Quarter-Ton Gasoline SRW
* 2011 Ford F-250 6.2L 4x4 crew cab XLT 4.30 rear axle
* 2010 Ram 2500 TRX4 Off-Road Crew Cab 4x4 5.7L Hemi V8 4.10 rear axle
* 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD 6.0L Vortec Z71 LT 4x4 crew cab 4.10 rear axle
Three-Quarter-Ton Diesel SRW
* 2011 Ford F-250 6.7L 4x4 crew cab Lariat 3.55 rear axle
* 2010 Ram 2500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel 3.73 rear axle
* 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD 6.6L Duramax Z71 LTZ 4x4 crew cab 3.73 rear axle
* 2011 Ford F-350 6.7L 4x4 crew cab King Ranch 3.73 rear axle DRW
* 2010 Ram 3500 Laramie Mega Cab 4x4 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel ATX 3.73 rear axle
* 2011 GMC Sierra Denali 3500 6.6L Duramax 4x4 crew cab 3.73 rear axle DRW
For a more in-depth look at the Shootout, visit PickupTrucks.com.
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