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New Truck Testdrives - Final Gear Editorial

Go For A Testdrive

Jul 29, 2014
If there is one thing I see far too much of in the diesel community, it would be brand loyalty. Now before you grab your pitchforks and torches, let me explain. In and of itself there is no problem with being loyal to a particular brand of anything. We all have our favorite food, favorite beer, favorite television show, and maybe even a favorite pair of underwear. But it’s probably safe to say that those preferences were formed over many years, or even decades,of trying different things. When it comes to trucks, however, it can be tough to sample many different varieties. Let’s face it, trucks are expensive-especially diesel trucks -- and bouncing from brand to brand is cost prohibitive, unlike beer.
A favorite pastime of mine has been browsing dealer lots and testdriving the latest and greatest -- or at least the greatest they will allow a young male and his friends to drive (the GT500 Mustang has still eluded my capture). This hobby started when I was young, browsing lots with my dad, and then really revved up in high school. My friends and I would visit two or three at a time, just to see what was new and drive whatever the salesman would allow. We always had some sort of story ready, but most of the time they would see right through us. It took several tries to get behind the wheel of a Mega Cab Cummins, but Ford and Chevy were always fairly easy.
"My favorite testdrive to date involved getting behind the wheel of a 2013 Ram 3500 hitched up to a 30,000-pound trailer. While this isn’t something you can do at the neighborhood dealership, it certainly should be."
Fast-forward a few years, and I now have a job where I get paid to testdrive new trucks. Granted, it’s not all the time, but when there is something new on the market we usually get a chance to check it out -- sometimes for an extended period -- to be able to report back on the good and bad. It’s a part of the job I enjoy, and I feel it helps to keep me grounded and knowledgeable when talking about the subject. So why does all any of this matter to you? Remember the brand loyalty I was talking about? In the diesel community, there is a ton of blind brand loyalty -- people so stuck on a certain brand that they would never even consider one of the others. And people get outright argumentative and disrespectful when the subject is brought up, even though they have no personal experience with anything but their specific brand of truck. I read comments on the Internet and hear in person from people all the time that their dad’s friend’s brother’s second cousin once knew a guy who had a problem with his truck and therefore that brand is garbage. Sounds familiar, huh?
If you had a look at my driveway, you might think I am a Ford guy, and to some extent you would be correct. But I like to think of myself as pretty open minded when truck, or even his or her brand -- just drive one. I know I have personally been shocked, surprised, and even amazed at what I’ve seen from each of the Big Three in their trucks, and in the entire automotive industry as a whole. If we can get everyone to at least try something new and be a little open minded about it, maybe then we can all get along just a tiny bit better. And in the end, the better we all get along, the longer our passion for diesel performance can grow.
Jason Gonderman
Jason.Gonderman@sorc.com
Photo 2/2   |   2013 Dodge Ram 3500 Front Three Quarter
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