Truck Trend 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year: Day Two Towing Test #PTOTY17
Making the Grade
Our 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year test started out with a great day at the racetrack, putting each of our contenders through their paces with 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile tests empty, with payload, and towing a trailer, plus 60-0 braking tests empty and with payload.
Day Two of our rigorous testing involves hitching up the trailer yet again, loaded with 100-pound rubber mats to simulate 75 percent of each truck’s tested trailer rating. Our test this year took us to a staging area at the base of I-15’s Cajon Summit, near San Bernardino, California. With a relief of about 1,000 vertical feet from our camp to the pass’ high point, the grade averages out to about 3 percent, but some portions are steeper than others, making Cajon a great place to test our subjects’ towing prowess.
With our trailer loaded, we each took turns driving up and down the pass, and each truck enjoyed at least three runs in each direction. That meant we got a good feel for the trucks’ over-the-road handling, braking, towing-assist systems, and engine/transmission operation. The weight of the trailer taxed each truck a bit, but to our surprise, each pickup was able to handle its respective load reasonably well.
Notably, the Honda Ridgeline’s unibody design gave it the smoothest towing ride of any of our trucks, and it kept control of trailer sway very well. The integrated trailer brake controller on the GMC Canyon Denali was a much-appreciated segment exclusive, and the Nissan Titan’s husky 5.6L V-8 dispatched its load well. The Ford F-150 Raptor’s 10-speed transmission did a good job of anticipating our needs, giving us low gears when descending grades to keep the truck’s speed in check without us calling for downshifts or braking. And the Ram 2500 and Ford F-250 Super Duty’s massive trailer weight ratings were dispatched with unsurprising ease.
With Day Two in the books, we’re getting a clearer idea of what we like and dislike about each pickup, and we have a few clear favorites in mind. Follow our testing using the social media hashtag #PTOTY16, and stay tuned as the week goes on for more of our highly scientific antics. We'll reveal our winner early next month, so be sure to check in then!