I suppose we should have seen this coming.
Just over a month ago, the new Ram 1500 was declared to have the best fuel-economy numbers of any half-ton pickup when equipped with the new Pentastar V-6 and eight-speed transmission. (The HFE model, rated at 18/25 mpg city/highway, includes a rather pricey start/stop piece of engine technology.) The new Ram also boasted best-in-class towing among naturally aspirated V-6 engines, with a Ram-rated (read: not SAE's J2807 rating) 6,500 pounds.
At the State Fair of Texas, Ford has just announced — without so much as changing a bolt on the current regular cab 2013 F-150 4x2 with the 3.7-liter V-6 — that the previous tow rating of 6,100 pounds is now 6,700 pounds, 200 pounds more than the brand-new Ram 1500. (Remember our "magical spring dust" story some years back?)
Ford said it went back and did a few more tests, and engineers say they're comfortable with the new best-in-class Ford-rated (also meaning non-SAE-rated) 6,700 pounds.
These new ratings are specific to a truck with 3.73:1 gears. In fact, a regular cab 4x4 is rated at 6,500 pounds, a Super Cab 4x2 at 6,400 pounds and a Super Crew 4x2 at 6,300 pounds. Maximum towing on a 3.7-liter F-150 with 3.55:1 gears is 5,600 pounds.
If you want more fun, take a look at the Ford press release with the towing information. Anything catch your eye?
"The Ford F-150 pickup equipped with the standard 3.7-liter V-6 engine has the highest towing capacity among competitive models. F-150 can tow a 6,700-pound trailer, besting the 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 3.6-liter V-6 by 200 pounds and the Chevrolet Silverado 4.3-liter V-6 model by 1,300 pounds.
"The Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V-6 engine beats the Toyota Tundra’s standard 4.0-liter V-6 model by an additional 1,800 pounds. The Nissan Titan offers no comparable V-6 variant.
"F-150 owns the maximum towing capacity honor, too. Both the 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 6.2-liter V-8 are rated to tow up to best-in-class 11,300 pounds."
You'd think Ford would at least know the correct name of its closest rival (when comparing maximum tow ratings, at least). But then again, maybe that wasn't an accident.
Ford continues to say it will adhere to the J2807 towing procedures when the company comes to market with a new pickup. The last new F-150 came in 2009; 2011 gave us four new engines; and 2013 gives us a few new packages and interior upgrades.
We're guessing we're still a few years away from a half-ton market where we can get all the tow testing from each of the truck makers on the same page. Until then, we're sure to see more of this type of "magical" gamesmanship.