The testing crew at Motor Trend magazine just completed its 2013 Truck of the Year test, and the winner of the three-truck shootout is the new Ram 1500.
The three qualifying competitors for this year's event were Nissan's NV (offering a new passenger van option), the Ford F-150 (offering a new trim package, exterior styling and new interior center stack and software) and the 2013 Ram 1500 (with too many new powertrain, styling and technology features to list here).
For those who may not know, Motor Trend evaluates only all-new or significantly revised models each year for its Truck of the Year test, so sometimes it can look like an apples-to-oranges comparison test. However, we're told that's why, no matter what competitors they have in the test, the testers measure all combatants against a six-point criteria: design advancement, engineering excellence, performance of intended function, efficiency, safety and value. Last year's winner was the Ford F-150 because it qualified and won on the back of a new lineup of engines for the 2012 model year.
While judging each of these trucks by the standardized criteria, testers also took the trucks to Chrysler's desert proving grounds in Arizona for a series of objective and subjective drive events, including runs up and down Arizona's Highway 68 Davis Dam hillclimb route with a load (trailers for Ford and Ram, and payload for Nissan).
By the end of the weeklong flog, we're told the decision was unanimous — the new Ram 1500 was the easy winner. (They tested both the V-6 and V-8 versions with the all-new ZF eight-speed transmission.) Since this is probably the first time anyone has gotten a chance to fully test these trucks, it's interesting how close the zero-to-60 numbers fall between the two Ram engines (the V-6 with 3.21:1 gears and the V-8 with 3.92:1). Interestingly, empty quarter-mile times are almost identical as well. To download a copy of the winner's story, click here.
This is likely to be the first of many accolades this new half-ton Ram will win, but we'll reserve our most critical assessment of the truck until we get a chance to compete the truck against its head-to-head, similarly equipped rivals. And that test has yet to be done.
For the full Ram Truck press release, click here.