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#PTOTY20 – Day 2 Recap

Right on Track

Chad Kirchner
Oct 17, 2019
Driving to the top of the Cajon Summit on Interstate 15 you crest at 4,260 feet. The gap between exits is several miles and there's a 6-percent grade both up and down the highway. It's where we spent our entire day putting the 11 pickup trucks contending for Pickup Truck of the Year to the test.
While we've seen pickup trucks sprawled across California's interstate system hauling nothing but air in the bed, the purpose of the pickup truck is to work. It might be going to and from a job site. It might be towing a RV on the weekend. All of the truck makers make exorbitant claims about their trucks. A test like this should be easy.
Yes, all of the trucks are capable of towing our loaded down trailers competently, there were some standouts. Not every diesel truck had an engine exhaust brake, and not every exhaust brake was able to maintain a steady for the truck coming down the hill.
Photo 2/22   |   Ttptoty Daily Recap Day 2 05
The Cummins-powered Ram 3500 had a strong showing here, holding 55 mph down the hill and downshifting at the appropriate times. Trucks like the Ford Super Duty and GMC Sierra HD have 10-speed transmissions, meaning that they might have to shift more often to keep the engine in the sweet spot for the downhill.
Then are are the two gasser heavy duty trucks. The Chevrolet 2500 Custom has a 6.6-liter V-8 and a 6-speed automatic while the Ford Super Duty Tremor has a 7.3-liter and a 10-speed auto. As you'd expect, they don't perform the same, especially as the air gets thinner at altitude.
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For folks who live in the Midwest or the east, climbing a hill a mile high is a rare occurrence. Just getting out of Los Angeles requires climbing into the mountains. Massive tractor-trailers towing their max weight are interspersed with folks trying to get their four wheelers out to the desert for the weekend. Every one of these folks need to be able to confidently and safely get there.
Which of our test trucks did it the best? You'll have to wait to find out.