The 2013 Light-Duty Challenge Is Here

Group 1 II

It's no small feat to put together a comprehensive pickup truck segment comparison test like our 2013 Light-Duty Challenge; there are many details that have to come together to pull it off. When you add the fact there are new vehicles involved (many of which provide huge profits for the big automotive companies), the number of hidden dangers and potential nightmares is huge. But we knew you probably didn't feel like waiting any longer.

Sure, we could have waited for the 2014 Toyota Tundra to come out in several months. Yes, we could have waited for the availability of a Max Tow Package and bigger and more powerful 6.2-liter V-8s for the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. And, yes, we could have waited for all the manufacturers to come out with their 2014 models so we could make this a "true" 2014 test. But we don't like waiting any more than we suspect you do.

Regardless of what anyone wanted, we thought there was enough value and interest in this segment and these trucks to justify asking each truck maker to enter our contest and adhere to our criteria. To their credit, none of them shrank from the challenge, and the fact that the results were so close (or in some categories, not close at all) should give all of us a pretty good reason to optimistic, no matter what your favorite pickup might be.

The Challenge yielded some standout information, including how much better the new GM trucks are, especially how impressive the new 5.3-liter EcoTec3 is. Yes, this engine will wake up an auto industry that loves to think V-8 motors are bad on fuel economy; their overhead valve technology still has a place in this high-tech universe. Likewise, the interior quality in the new trucks (specifically the Ram 1500 and both GM pickups) are light-years ahead of where they were. And finally, it's our hope the vehicle engineers for the Tundra and the Nissan Titan pour over this data to get a clearer picture of where they can make up — and in some cases overtake — some distance and terrain on the competition.

The truth is none of these trucks were dogs: They all have their own strengths, but some manufacturers are setting new bars and they won’t mind if their competitors don't step up.

 

Comments

Give us Real World scenario on these tests, bring me along, I'll drive my own truck and give readers Real World test results and opinions etc. From someone that has been driving and using trucks for over 30 years and have owned each of the trucks from all the mfgs in this test. I wont be driving 50 mph on the fwy more like 65-75. wont have the best trailering hitches and systems like you all do. Will be using the phone etc. Will be stowing things in the in cab stowage areas, actually loading real things in the bed by hand etc. Real World scenarios that i think readers would appreciate. Plumber Joe if you will for putc on potus !!!

It's a sad day for Government motors. Losing to Ford's 2011 Pickup in the 2013 comparison using the 2014 models. What a joke. I've been a diehard GM owner for 23 years now and I'm sad to say the reputation is the bottom of the barrel with the government bail out and poor body quality, interior quality and overall design. MADE IN MEXICO??? What a joke. I'm sad to say that I'm going have to look elsewhere for at least the next few years until GM makes a competitive pickup. My hats off to Ford for winning the 2013 light duty challenge with a 2011 model pickup.

"Sure, we could have waited for the 2014 Toyota Tundra to come out in several months. Yes, we could have waited for the availability of a Max Tow Package and bigger and more powerful 6.2-liter V-8s for the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. And, yes, we could have waited for all the manufacturers to come out with their 2014 models so we could make this a "true" 2014 test. But we don't like waiting any more than we suspect you do."

Exactly!

You don't wait, people say you should have waited.

You wait, people will say you're slacking and stop waiting when other sites are testing..

Even waiting for Max Trailer Tow wouldn't have solved GM's under $45k delimna.

GM's fault they cannot compete and build what the waiters want under $45k.

“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

― Abraham Lincoln

@cmon -- We like the way you're thinking. We've been thinking about getting PUTC readers more involved in the stories and tests we put together, and even have a few things planned. Real world testing makes the most sense to us too. However, not sure if we run a contest or select regionally or make it completely random but we'll need a good number of qualified participants. Might need to make it like American Idol and have auditions. More to come.

The way PUTC already does the testing is the best way because they test all trucks as evenly as possible. I don't really care of Joe the Plumber loads a real item in the bed or another guy puts heavy mats in. At the end of the day nobody does it better than PUTC.

"I wont be driving 50 mph on the fwy more like 65-75."

They already test at 65 mph...

http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/02/road-test-review-2011-ford-f-150-xlt-50-liter-v-8.html

"wont have the best trailering hitches and systems like you all do."

What is so special about their hitches? They use the hitches already on the truck.

"Will be using the phone etc."

Will anybody care?

"Will be stowing things in the in cab stowage areas, actually loading real things in the bed by hand etc."

It just sounds boring. You stow and then what? We know how storage works.

"Real World scenarios that i think readers would appreciate. Plumber Joe if you will for putc on potus !!!"

I like the thought, but I just don't see where the story is going or how your world is more real than anywhere else in the world.

A shootout with readers would be interesting though.

Put 4 readers' trucks together for an off-road challenge.

Each reader would operate his own truck.

The PUTC's Readers Off-Road Challenge
Chevy vs Ford vs Ram vs Tundra vs Tacoma (oxi)

oxi must be involved.

I have to laugh at all of the complaining. PUTC's earlier tests were more subjective and the complaints poured in about bias and needing more objective data. They go to a more objective based on collecting measurable data and people still complain.

I would of liked to see a longer test with a Rumble in the Rockies type of run. I also think that if you test 4x4 trucks, then you will neeed to run them off of pavement. It doesn't need to be hardcore offroad since fullsizers are rarely used that way stock but run them up a loose gravel road pulling a trailer, or have to pull out of sand with a load. Mimic some real world use.
The only other issue is all of the trucks need to be running the same tires.

"I'll drive my own truck and give readers Real World test results and opinions"

Easier said than done.

I like Lou's idea of a longer test.

GUTS
GLORY
TOPS IN PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY
MAKING THE FORD AND GM FANBOIS CRY A RIVER
100% ASS WHOOPING
RAM

@HEMI RAMPAGE - wow - do a Ram's hind teet produce coolaid?
Where was the ass whooping?

goofy
gutless
tea bagged
how does the ford look from behind !

Great ideas for some real world testing everybody.
Think PUTC does a great job with their tests but here are some things i look at and try to accomplish / determine on test drives to help decide which truck i buy.
1) using 4wd in off road areas would be good and or some hill climbs, how much noise does it make going in and out of 4wd.
2) ck ground clearance
3) when loading by hand which truck has the lowest tailgate height for making it easier to load and or unload. At 50 and not as spry as i used to be, that is important to me.
4) how useful are the tie down hooks
5) how easy to climb in and out of bed
6) how much interior storage for basic stuff like jumper cables. tow strap chain, some tools tie downs, ropes, rifle, tow hitch, first aid etc. when its all in this storage area, how secure is it. can you stack stuff on top of this storage area and lid not collapse or fail.
7) normal driving mpg test with ac on if its summer time.
8) ease of ingress egress of all seats and doors.
9) comfort and space use of back seats and fold up for cargo only etc.
10) good spot for the cell phone and or tablet laptop storage
11) on center steering notch or not
12) WW fluid trash the driver's side window when one washes windshield while moving
13) how loud is hvac on hi
14) Headlight aiming mechanism to compensate for loaded truck
15) road noise entering cabin
16) WOT at like 50, 60 and 70 to simulate passing someone, loaded and empty.
17) turning radius
18) hitting speed bumps at speed, to ck shock quality and ride, more than one bounce or not enough damping i buy bilsteins or ranchos
19) when you wash the truck how strong is the roof, does it cave in when any weight or pressure is put on your balance hand and see if it pops back without leaving a dent or crease.
20) ease of loading a dirt bike or quad.
21) tailgate close with the above mentioned items in it.
22) how good is radio sure i know everyones taste is different but if i were doing the testing commenting i could state my background experience (ive had the big kickers behind the seat etc and say, this is good for stock, imo, this truck has the best sounding stock radio and has the least amount of distortion at a loud volume.
Heck throw in a cd or two of either country or western, and play em on you tube. just an idea.
just some real world testing ideas from a guy that sometimes uses his truck and is cognizant of these and other things. mine is a swiss army tool has to do a lot of things vs having 2 or 3 vehicles. So i pay attention to all those and other little details. When you have a truck for awhile, its easy to know what things you like and what one thinks could use some improvement / change. I like what chevy has done with thier interiors, would like to see one .
Dodge has good interiors, just their issues and the rest of the truck imo is suspect. Ford ac doesn't work well enough for me so no to ford. Like the changes coming in the next tundra, again will have to see for myself and test drive the 2014 gm and tundra. maybe by then dodge will have bugs worked out and have that 3.0L diesel at dealerships ???

I'm concerned that these trucks are going to be too flimsy. Sure, for the first 3 years their tight, but after that, they flex, squeak, bend, etc.

I'm interested in the technology/engineering/construction differences in frames, suspension, drive line, and the panels (especially the bed panels). I want to know if the truck bed can handle a rack, and what weight.

My main concern is the 3/4 ton is too much truck, and the 1/2 ton is too weak.

Jake

This is probably the worst comparison test I've ever seen. I've owned and driven several of each of these makes, and have been closely studying truck comparison tests from different publishers for over 15 years now.

At the very least you could have attempted to match up the engines, displacements, and options packages...this is more of a premature drag race (because the new GM's started offering some 2014 models to test) than a true comparison test.

How do you expect people to take your website seriously when you publish garbage like this???

Are some of us too stunned to interpret the testing info for their own purposes?

Does the website have to pull out construction paper and crayons and draw pictures explaining how to deal with the info?

Everybody can do it better yet nobody here is doing it themselves.

There's more than enough info to get a feel for how they perform.

@Magnum - yes.

If all engines and options matched up there wouldn't be a need for a test. If anyone else thinks they can do it better, do your own test and submit it to the site for posting. Then we all can poke holes in your feeble attempt.

Jake made the smartest comments I've heard in a while.

I have owned a 2009 dodge ram and it was the worst truck ever...hemi with nav and it just seemed cheap..when I trade it in for a tundra... i got a way better truck... are these guys car guys? because I drove both ford and dodge...both drive like cars??

Dan, If everything matched up then it would be the ideal scenrio for having a test. Each make has an engine with the same displacement in a truck with the same options...hmmm then real winner would come down to the best engineering and not a mish-mash of apples to oranges options. If this website were pitting 2500 with a 6.0L n/a gas engine against a 250 with a 6.7L turbo deisel, nobody would take the results as an even comparison. Additionally these aren't even 2014 trucks. The 14 Tundra got left out, the Ford and its moisturephobic Ecoboost just doesn't fit, the GM's are under-optioned and equipped with their economy V8, while the Dodge is running its top end V8. Sure there's info that we can all use, but selecting a "winner" out of this group is like choosing an SS as a "better" car than a Camry because they both have four doors and the SS is faster...just doesn't make sense. I'm with the intelligent post made above by cmon

The match was for under $45k, four full-size doors and 4x4.

"2500 with a 6.0L n/a gas engine against a 250 with a 6.7L turbo deisel"

Apples and oranges.

EcoBoost is the right choice because it is the most popular engine. 2013's are problem free.

Tundra. Mark Williams asked for a 2014 but they didn't have one available with the new grille. Too bad.

GM. I don't recall any buyers complaining about using a large displacement V8 vs the smaller displacement V8s in 2008.

If 98% of buyers are not going to buy the 6.2, then the 5.3 is the right choice.

If the requirement is under $45k and GM cannot avoid being "under-optioned and under-equipped", you are admitting that GM has a weakness or achilles heel in pricing and options on the Ram trucks.

Ram is running the most popular engine, the Hemi, the same one that was in the last test.

They didn't just pick it on which one was faster. You just sound like a jerk who thinks he can do it better but you won't and you can't.

GM has a weakness or achilles heel in pricing and options on the GM trucks

PUTC had some simple requirements: 4x4 crewcab under $45 is not exactly strict.

If you don't like the 5.3 choice, GM will need to make the 6.2 available on a lower trim, or come out with another engine. That's GM's fault.

Again, the automakers choose how to equip their trucks for this test. You have to test them the way they can be bought, not the way you wish it could be bought. It is no ones fault but gm's that they dont offer the 6.2 on every trim or that they cant match the tundras 4.30s or a Twin Turbo to compete with Ford's EB. They had years to prepare for this.

All,

Chevy *WILL* offer a Max Trailer Tow Package on the 5.3 crewcabm but they will have to drop some options or go with a lower trim to make it happen under $45k. I still don't think it will make a big difference because it will still be the same 5.3L.

Most of you dont have a problem with EB vs 5.3 in the shootout, but for those that do I direct you to the GM press releases. GM itself is and comparing the 5.3 to EcoBoost and ANNOUNCING the bigger V8 is better and you don't have to settle with a smaller EB.

Quote the GM press release:

"Proven V-8 power with better efficiency than a turbo V-6"

"That is better than any V-8 competitor, and beats the EPA estimates for the 2013 Ford EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 for both 2wd and 4x4 models."

“Silverado’s available 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 gives customers the best of both worlds,” said Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for Silverado. “Customers get the proven power and dependability of a V-8 truck engine, with better fuel economy than a leading competitor’s smaller turbocharged V-6.”

"The 2014 Silverado will give customers class-leading V-8 fuel efficiency and the peace of mind that comes with a proven V-8 design, a combination no competitor can match"

"With our EcoTec3 engines, truck customers don’t have to do more with less – more work with smaller engines. They can keep the benefits of a larger displacement engine and still get better fuel efficiency"

http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/chevrolet/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2013/Apr/0401-silverado.html

It's the best of both worlds and better than EB according to GM. GM says don't settle. GM compares the tow ratings, fuel econ and power no less than 3 times to the EcoBoost in the charts below. GM says it beats EB with a 5.3 There are people looking for excuses. But GM was right to send it and PUTC was right to test it accordingly!

The only way to make all tests fair is to make sure all trucks weigh the same and have the same final drive ratio. The Ford weighs 400lbs more than all the other trucks. The Ford even had step bars. The Ford is a 2011 design and it still beat all the new redesigned trucks. I have had the new 4 to 8 cylinder designed GM 5.3 and the MPG was poor. Had the 2013 GM truck been tested here it would have been dead last. One reason Dodge did not meet the 8500 towing is because it would have had to raise the price and weight of the truck. Dodge knew this was the only its new redesigned truck could compete.



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