To all our loyal readers and contributors (both commentarians and editorial providers), we want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving and say thank you for all your passionate and consistent interest in our website.
We've had a good year, and with your help we hope to have a great year in 2013. Taking a moment to look back over the past 12 months, here are five stories we are thankful for being able to bring to life, offering them to you first as world exclusives. Clearly, we love our comparison tests, but we expect test drives as well.
Here are just a few of our favorite stories. Maybe you have a few others.
1) Duel in the Desert: SVT Raptor vs. Ram Runner. We are thankful that about a half-dozen things needed to happen at exactly the right time to pull this one off. Right up until we started the test, there was a chance the whole thing could blow up on us. Thankfully, the weather held out, the trucks held up, the crew was safe, and the helicopter didn't run out of fuel.
2) 2012 Global Pickup Shootout: Our roving reporter in Australia was able to get four popular midsize pickups that, for one reason or another, we don't get in the United States. Naturally, we decided to compete these utes against each other outside Sydney to see which one tops the list.
3) Ultimate 4x4 Shootout: Who makes the best 4x4 pickup in the U.S.? We asked each manufacturer to send us its best four-wheel-drive pickup truck, and then we put them through a battery of off-road contests. Ford, Nissan, Ram and Toyota tackled rocks, mud, sand and the weather for a chance to be the King of the Hill.
4) Ram 5500 Long Hauler: The new King of the Hill towing champ. Concept trucks are supposed to be one-offs that allow designers and engineers to gauge consumer interest. They're not supposed to give it to us to drive 2,300 miles towing a huge fifth-wheel weighing almost 20,000 pounds. But we're glad they did.
5) Raptors In Moab: SVT Raptors on the slickrock. When Ford wanted to debut its recently upgraded Raptor (mostly a new front camera and limited-slip differential), the automaker wanted to show off its extreme-duty pickup in a unique yet challenging environment. Naturally, that meant the ancient and expert 4x4 trails around Moab, Utah. Thankfully, no one died.