The Driver’s Seat Editorial; We’re Fundamentally Different
The Driver’s Seat
It’s award season again, and it seems like everywhere you turn somebody is getting or giving a trophy. We’re not immune either, as we’re giving out our 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year award in this issue as well. It really can be quite overwhelming. So as everyone reaches for their little bit of notoriety and pushes for their award to be the most anticipated of the year, I’ve been sitting back thinking about just what exactly makes us special and sets our award apart from the hundreds of others in the automotive space.
Our award is fundamentally different than the others in a few key ways. First of which is the fact that we don’t focus on just one area of excellence. Some give awards based on technological advancement, while others base theirs on residual value and others safety. We take a holistic approach in our judging. We look at what each vehicle offers in all categories and use this knowledge to choose the pickup that brings the best combination of value, technology, capability, comfort, styling, and capacity. In choosing what we feel is the best overall, we sometimes pass over what others see as the preeminent pickup of the year.
Our testing is also data-driven. There are no conference room discussions or secret ballots that determine the recipient of our prize. We also don’t whittle the group down and vote on only a select few. Later in this issue, we’ve laid out exactly how we test, and in full view is our scoring breakdown, every category for each vehicle, from first place to last. We pride ourselves on transparency, and we do our best to answer every question asked of us about how we came to our conclusions.
This brings us to our most asked question: “Why didn’t you test X?” We get accused every year of not testing someone’s favorite pickup or one that they think should have won the award. The deal is simple: we send out invitations to every manufacturer with an eligible pickup, and it is up to them to accept or decline. It is also up to the manufacturer to decide which configuration they want to compete with, since we don’t test variants. This differs from some of the other major awards that have jurors who may have never spent any amount of time with the vehicle physically in their possession. Seems crazy for sure, but that’s how some of the others are judged.
Last, is our people. Our Pickup Truck of the Year judging staff is one of the more diverse groups that you’ll find giving out an automotive award. This year we had a few staffers with more than a decade of truck testing experience each, as well as a couple judges who had never been on a Pickup Truck of the Year test before. We have guys who have owned trucks their whole life, and those who have just gotten into it. There were avid outdoorsmen and sporty city dwellers. We had someone who specializes in diesel performance, one from the lowered street scene, and a couple from the off-road side of things. While some organizations might have one or two “truck guys” on staff, everyone at Truck Trend is well versed in all things truck. Our staff has the largest depth and breadth of pickup knowledge out there, and I’d challenge anyone to say otherwise.
I don’t mean to say any of this as an attempt to discredit any other award. My goal is to further our own Pickup Truck of the Year accolade through awareness. The more people know about us, what we do, why we do it, and how we do it the more credible we become.