VIDEO: Truck Trend’s 2018 Pickup Truck of the Year: Day 2 – Towing #PTOTY18
Hitched and Hauled
Our 2018 Pickup Truck of the Year competition continued on Day 2, when we put our trucks through what might be the most rigorous portion of the test: towing a load up and down a steep freeway pass. This day is the one that taxes our trucks' pulling power, braking, and chassis stability (and on crowded public roads, no less), making yesterday's track testing look like a cakewalk.
As in years past, we evaluated each truck’s towing prowess by loading down our 3,600-pound car hauler with thick rubber mats, weighing 100 pounds each. This allowed us to dial in each truck’s test tow with a precise amount of weight.
However, we altered the rules slightly for this year’s competition, and now the trailer is set for each truck class, rather than each truck. This allows us to do apples-to-apples comparisons among the class competitors; however, since we only have one midsize (Chevy Colorado ZR2), one 3/4-ton (GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali), and one 1-ton (Ram 3500 Limited), each of those respective vehicles wins its class by default. The real race in this event was between the Ford F-150 Platinum, Ram 1500 Harvest Edition, and Toyota Tundra Platinum, our resident 1/2-ton pickups that would be saddled with a 7,500-pound trailer.
Even so, we found ourselves impressed with each vehicle. The off-road ZR2 dispatched its 5,000-pound load with surprising poise, with its eight-speed automatic making the most of the 3.6L V-6 engine’s meager torque.
The F-150’s sophisticated towing tech made it easy to hitch and haul the trailer. The Tundra featured a buttoned-down suspension and great sightlines that were confidence inspiring while towing in traffic. The Ram 1500’s Hemi V-8 made great sounds and plenty of torque to get us up to California’s 55-mph towing speed limit easily.
And the diesel-powered GMC Sierra 2500HD and Ram 3500 had no problems towing their trailers (10,000 pounds for the Sierra and 12,500 for the Ram). Both featured diesel exhaust brakes that scrubbed off speed well, helping preserve the service brakes.
It’s obviously too soon to crown a winner, but each vehicle had advantages and shortcomings over the others while towing. Tomorrow, we’ll be hitting the (relatively) open road and heading up the coast for a nice road trip. We’ll test each vehicle’s highway comfort, passing power, and fuel economy, and it’ll be nice to give our aching backs a rest after spending all day throwing those rubber mats around. Tune in!