The resident auto expert at Forbes.com just wrote a story about the toughest trucks of 2012. The article (with an admittedly great title) is both odd and interesting because of the criteria.
Forbes made the first cut by only looking at vehicles selected by Consumer Reports as "recommended" picks for 2012, then checked J.D. Power and Associates' dependability ratings. Finally, Forbes looked at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Picks based on rollover and crash-test data.
Although we did get interviewed for the piece, it seems incredibly odd to have a "tough truck" competition that excludes vehicles that typically do hard work, like three-quarter-ton and 1-ton trucks. On top of that, there is no real factoring to include engines or powertrain configurations, cost, value or even how much each vehicle can carry or pull.
The top winners in the Forbes.com piece are the Ford F-150 in third, the Toyota Tundra in second, and the Honda Ridgeline in first.
Here are a few things to consider about Consumer Reports according to its 2012 New Car Buying Guide, which says it offers "unbiased ratings" right on the cover. Well, maybe the ratings aren't biased, but they certainly aren't complete. Although three-quarter-ton trucks (but not 1-tons) are listed in the guide (with a picture and reliabilitiy history going back 10 years), the trucks were not tested like all the other vehicles. As a result, they have no road test score or recommendation for these tough work trucks. Seems odd.
Further, of the pickup trucks Consumer Reports did test, the last time they did a full-size pickup truck test was three years ago. The last time they did a compact or midsize pickup truck test was more than six years ago. From our point of view, a lot has happened in that time that would make it difficult to offer an intelligent recommendation.
We don't mean to quibble with Forbes.com's choices for its "tough truck" selections, but when the criteria seem to have some pretty big holes in the very first criteria hurdle, it makes us wonder about the real value of the choices. By the way, the higest-rated pickup in the guide is the Chevy Avalanche, with a road test score of 80 from the 2010 model. (The Corvette was an 81.)