Chevrolet Challenges Ford to a Heavy-Duty Towing Showdown!


Chevrolet says power claims on paper aren’t everything. And to prove it, GM’s bow tie brand has issued a challenge to Ford to a high-altitude, heavy-duty towing and brake test in the Colorado Rockies.

Ford currently has the most powerful diesel engine available in the HD segment. The 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 was recently boosted to an incredible 400 horsepower and 800 pounds-feet of torque, taking the title away from GM’s 6.6-liter Duramax V-8, which is rated at 397 hp and 765 pounds-feet.

But Chevy still says the Duramax will outperform the Power Stroke in an apples-to-apples towing comparison.

"Numbers on paper are fine. Let's go work these trucks in the mountains, and may the best truck win," Chevrolet Silverado Marketing Manager Tony Truelove said.

Truelove and Rick Spina, vehicle line executive for GM full-size trucks, want identically configured trucks to tackle a multiple-mile ascent in the Rocky Mountains to find out which truck will finish the lengthy climb first pulling a heavy trailer. Then, they want to turn around and measure which truck has the superior exhaust brake by measuring the amount of foot brake application required by the driver to slow the truck down.

An exhaust brake saves on brake and transmission wear by creating back pressure to engine brake the truck. It also reduces the potential for brake fade during long descents, increasing both downhill safety while towing as well as overall wheel brake life.

But Ford is declining this challenge.

"We challenge our trucks against the competition in grueling prove-out tests continually, and the customer gives us the results -- sales leadership year after year," Ford Trucks spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said.

Chevrolet is moving forward with a Chevrolet Silverado HD vs. Ford Super Duty showdown and has asked to oversee the comparison along with the guys from Diesel Power Magazine. The Chevy truck team intends to obtain the Super Duty trucks from a third party, and we’ll be there as an impartial judge to verify the configurations and measure truck performance up and down the grades.

"We encourage independent testing of our vehicles as it helps truck customers learn more about each manufacturer's products," said Spina. "It also helps us understand how our trucks stack up and get a full perspective on the truck landscape —to learn who's doing what and why they're doing it. We see competition as making us stronger!"

The final details are still coming together. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more news about this challenge.


Hitch 20,000lbs to 'em and see what they can do!

I'd be curious to see what the curb weights are of each truck. If one truck is significantly lighter than the other, that could explain the performance disparity. With that in mind, when it comes to trucks towing heavy loads, lighter weight isn't always better either.

How come Ford always seems to decline? It always seems like they are afraid of the results.

Ford declined ! Chevy already whipped the ford in the last test going up the rockies by 10mph so that don't surprise me that ford declined


It's really a no-win situation for Ford. If they win, they don't really gain anything, as they're already the sales leader. If they loose it can have a potentially damaging effect that could severely hurt sales. For them, it makes more sense if the legal department just says, "no thanks."

This is the case with most companies. IIRC, when Nissan came out with the GT-R they issued a challenge to Porsche. Porsche declined, effectively stating that they aren't the ones who have something to prove.

The results of the last run up the mountains was not good for Ford. I know the rear end of the F-450 may have limited it's speed, but I think most of it was the Dmax was tuned better for altitude than the pstroke. I'm fine with the test, but they also need to test at "normal" altitudes. Rarely am I towing at such high elevations. From what I can recall, with both vehicles in 4wd, the ford (job 1) beat the GMC at the shootout...which was not at elevation. I know in 2wd the GMC continually bead the ford (wheelhop). I'll be interested to see the results. Make it a good test, Mike.

put 30,000 pounds on them and work the trucks to death dont just put a 12,oo0 pound weght on them, alsow pull at evrey altitude you can because chevy can use its weght as an advantage over ford even though ford is stronger

Also test at low altitude or don't bother doing the test.

Why did Ford turn them down, I think this say it all: "...the customer gives us the results -- sales leadership year after year,". Long live the Powerstroke!

After GM challenged Ford to a Tug of War (Ford declined) didn't Doge er Ram challenge GM to the same thing... and they declined?

Obviously GM would win. If they didn't then Tony Truelove would be fired. You know whoever starts it, they would win.

If in the future, 2012+ Ford accepts, you know they've addresded thier chassis tuning and then they would win...

Perhaps I missed it, but I don't recall reading about MPG, so Gm admitting they get worse MPG while towing?

Perhaps ford can challenge the 1500 Gm to the same tow off with 10K?

I mean where does this end?

I like Porche's answer. But while your at it lets get a Chip into a Dodge and bump that Cummins up to at least 765 torque then hook a trailer on to these bad boys thats at least 90% of their GCWR. Lets have some fun with this. As GM would say "May the best truck win."

Under equal conditions, the Ford will be the winner of all tests. If in the mountains, both must be set for altitute , not jusy the Chevy.

The axle ratios must be the same ,

If (as stated in story) are equiped the same. Then let em go. Competition is a wonderful thing!

Both trucks are going to come from a Chevy dealer and a Ford dealer - brand new. I want the dealers to notarize that nobody (e.g. Ford or GM) has touched the trucks since they came off the transport to the lot. The trucks will have similar odometer readings and will be broken in at the same time before the test.

Mike, if you can, make sure that they are configured as closely as possible. Same class (1 ton trucks), same rear end ratios, same basic interior options, same cab and bed configuration, ect.

It wouldn't be fair if one is a stripped out work truck and the other is a Denali/King Ranch for example. In fact, I would skip the big money trucks all together and run the shootout between two basic work trucks, as the more options get added the less similar the two trucks become.

@Paul810: They will be three-quarter-ton crew cab diesel SRWs. I agree that basic options are best. There is no need to get fancy here.

Why not follow with the 2011 EB/6.2L and a GM 6.2?


Is it possible to arrange a gas vs. diesel comparison of low altitude vs. high altitude performance?

You already have the low altitude numbers from your recent shootout (great article by the way), but I'd be very interested to see how the gas engines do towing in the mountains... what kind of power they are losing and how the affects towing performance.

@ Mike - to quote you "This story isn't over. Stay tuned for more news this week. It's big."

It is big.


Talk about understatement.

GM knows they have a guaranteed win at altitude based on the Rocky Mountain Power test.

Why not a test at altitude, sea level and on a rough muddy job site?
Why isn't the Ram invited?

I don't blame Ford for declining. They know that the 6.7 needs to be tuned better for high altitude.

This will kill the whole F450 vs 3500, 3.73 vs 4.30 debate.

Great follow up.


Numbers on paper vs WOT tests in the mountains? I don't buy from truck based on either of these reasons. You can keep doing the WOT speed tests it won't prove which is the best. There is more to a truck than just 0-60 times. I prefer the best OVERALL: power, durability, capability, technology, comfort, productivity, features, interior, safety, quiet ride vs whine/noise, etc. GM knows people buy the best overall and henceforth is getting desperate with all of these small p#### syndrome challenges.

I think Chevy is over confident or plans on sending a ringer. We saw this showdown before the Job 2 upgrade from Ford and GM barely won when running an equal truck. If Chevy was better they wouldn't need these PR stunts. Whats the matter? Dude Perfect not selling trucks with trick basketball shots?

I like it especially the high altitude test part! Make these trucks do some real work in real world scenarios, Say pulling a Skid steer/loader of some type up passes like Old Loveland Pass or even Wolf Creek pass. Ford bombing out of this challenge is kinda silly as they are challenging everyone under the sun with there EB motors both cars and trucks. These competitions can only make everyone better in the long run!

I'd say that whom ever is footing the bill for buying 2 trucks for the test should hand Mike a cheque for 120,000 dollars and he can go out and pick out any 2 trucks that he wants, from any dealer he wants.
No advanced notice.

Its sad that this is what chevy wants to do in order for people to buy there trucks but Ford knows that it is not buy doing some thing like this that you are the best selling truck for 33 straight years, that's why they wont do this chevy is just trying to build its self up and it is truly sad.

Does this mean GM is admitting previous model trucks were sub-par? Because they were never this adamant about these contests previously. I'm glad Chevy now has a product they can be proud of. And I would actually buy one (when I can afford one). Now they shouldn't rest until they make the Silverado 1500 as good as the F-150, Aveo as good as the Fiesta, the Impala as good as the Taurus, the Camaro as good as the Mustang, the Tahoe as good as the Expedition. GM is still sub-par on most of their products.

There are so many things to check before doing this. Besides axle ratio, tire size (and same rubber). How about equal weight? Will they put an extra 500lbs in the bed of the Chevy to equal the stronger frame of the Ford? Not likely. Apples to apples?

I think everyone is really looking for a cross country tow test. Start in LA and end up in NY. That will prove who has the best real world power, and then maybe the ford fans won't be as mad when the GM twins come out in front... again.

Turns out the only way we'll get equivalent trucks is with one-ton DRW diesels. It's the only way to get matching 3.73 rear axles.

well bring on the one tons!

@Art Anderson

"Long live the Powerstroke"

..........which one? Fords on their 4Th Powerstroke redesign in 6 years (rolling eyes)

ford, best selling trucks. you can be the best selling truck when your the cheapest fleet truck out there. those saveings go out the window when you add in the repairs.

Look at all the Ford Girly boys making excuses for ford. Best selling f-series, not best selling f-150 through f-350 and they dam well know it. GM doesn't make 450 550 etc. Ford adjusted their power figures on the powerjoke and GM said ok, the duramax will still beat the powerjoke and ford knew it would get it's arse handed to it so they declined the challenge.

The Duramax is the best diesel on the market and will out tow the powerjoke made by ford. Those are the facts and nothing but the facts.

So let it be written, so let it be done!!!!

No 12,000lb trailers this time. Minimum 20,000lb+. How bout push these machines to their limits and see who will dominate.

@Fordxtreme: It's expected to be conventional towing at a max of 16,000 lbs.

I bought a new 6.0 in 2003 and what a peice of junk. I used to ba a ford guy until that.I bought a new duramax in 2004 and its been a real good working truck not one problem. Time will tell about the 6.7 but not on my dime and i really like the new ford truck but lets wait and seeee

On one hand I'm pretty sure the GM will win but on the other is it that big of deal... nope. This looks like the desperate act of a desperate auto company and everyone (except the GM fanboys) will see it as such. Ford doesn't have anything to lose when it is in such a commanding lead in truck sales.

I think 16,000 lbs is a very reasonable test.

High altitudes aren't the only place these trucks are used. Do equal testing of both trucks at several different elevations, instead of just picking one. If you're going to do a test, don't just test one thing out of the million different ways this kind of truck can be used for. If you're going to do it, make it fair and comprehensive. And although all these comparison tests are fun and interesting, it really doesn't matter too much. Both of these trucks are capable trucks, so in the end, it mostly comes down to personal preferences (or blind brand loyalty) for most buyers. I'm glad they are going to perform the test with equal trucks though.

All these Ford fanboys are funny. Face it, Ford pansied out. They know they would lose. Oh, and all these "best selling truck" comments are pretty ignorant; there are so much more to sales than the actual product, like marketing. There are countless best-selling products in society today that, when compared to its competitors, falls way short, yet it still sells the best because of advertising and other marketing strategies.

Chevrolet just proved itself to non-fanboys. Believe what you want though.

Letting any manufacturer define the tests already lets you know what the answer is. Mike, for this to be meaningful, you need to define the test and high altitude should not be the only part of it. Otherwise, your credibility is on the line.

I agree with that Al, obviously the only reason GM wanted to do this was because of Mike's previous high altitude test. GM: "Now that we already know the outcome...." But that was an F450 with less weight on it. Go for the F350 and Chevy 3500, both with 3.73. Do various altitudes, and go for 16k-20k lb trailers. Change the parameters a little and make it a surprise, and may the best truck win. Then nobody can rightfully complain about lack of fairness. But they will anyway.

Agreed with another post, test them say across country, lower altitudes as well Most everone is NOT going to drive to mountain tops every day. Test them as they'll be used most. Also a test across country see who & what breaks and how often. Things like ownership costs. BTW Ford doesn't loose, the winning is the money going in the bank from more sales. Did we forget why these companies are in business?

@Al: If that's the case, let's just say Chevy won and save us all the time and expense. Yes?

Getting to the spirit of this, I don't see how this type of challenge is different from Ford comparing the 2011 F-150 (Best Overall Half-ton on the market now, IMHO) to competitive half-tons from Ram, GM and Toyota last week in Texas with journalists. I saw many first drive reviews bringing up exactly those comparisons.

I'll tell you why I'm intrigued by this test. I think our Shootouts are the most thorough and unbiased truck comparisons you'll find. We hire a 3rd party to instrument all the trucks and collect data.

But our Shootouts have also been criticized because we don't test on long enough grades. Readers wonder what might have happened if there was another mile to go in a test?

This test is over many miles with heavy trailers. If you were ever curious about the results of this kind of test, here's a way to find out the answer.

Mike- Glad you guys were invited to the party. Apples-to-apples will be difficult. Rear axle ratios are not the entire story- you have to take transmission ratios and tire diameters into account also. Might be good to test at least two, if not three, different stock configs. Also, as somebody mentioned, the Chevy has a significantly lower curb weight- but leave that one be, the test should be about what you'd expect to get "out of the box" from the dealer with no mods or handicaps.

@George: Curb weight is curb weight. That's not going to change and I wouldn't ballast one truck to even it out against the other.

I agree with your point about tire size. If both trucks have the same tires as the trucks we had for the Shootout (235/80R17 on GM and 245/75R17 for Ford) then by my calculations the sidewall and tire height will be taller on the Silverado then the Ford (by .18 inches). That would seem to be more of a disadvantage for GM vs. Ford's larger width and extra contact area (.2 inches).

The transmissions are geared differently. We're not going to make new cogs to even them out. Sorry. :-)

Here is the deal. Ford backing out of this is EXACTLY the same as if a kid in High School gets challenged to a fight. What do people generally think of the challenger....or the person challenged.

Perception is reality for this type of "Fight". Some might say Chevrolet is the bully, but in the end, Ford is not putting their money where their mouth is. Regardless of who is of the fighters doesn't have the backing of its own family.

Now...I seem to recall seeing Ford compare their new 2011 Superduty to a couple of 2010 Model HD pickups (it's on their website) and claiming themselves victorious. Makes me wonder why they wouldn't place their neck on the line against the 2011 LML Duramax. I don't know about you all, but I can't tow "record sales" up a hill, but I can tow real world payloads.

It is very obvious that Ford declined because they know they would loose. I for one am starting to wonder about Ford's horsepower and torque claims. The 6.2L 'Boss' was supposed to be the new benchmark in gas engines but both the 6.0L GM and 5.7L Dodge Hemi beat it in every category, though on paper the 6.2L has the highest output. The situation seems to be the same when comparing diesels, the old Duramax beats the new Powerstroke, thugh the Powerstrke has better numbers. So, either Ford is overstating their numbers, or the Super Duty is substantially heavier than the GM trucks (true in 2010, but not compared to the 2011GM HD's), or Ford screwed the gearing up.

@Big Bob: In our Shootout, Ford's 6.2-L V-8 gas engine came out on top in the 7% and 16% hill climbs. It's an awesome gas engine. It certainly tops GM's 6.0-liter and it narrowly eclipses the Hemi.

This challenge makes way more sense than the tug-o-war challenge.
Identical or as close as it can get one ton trucks with 16,000 lb loads.
Great fun.
I don't care who wins or looses.
It will be informative and entertaining.
Bob is so excited, I bet he wet himself.

the only time ford did this test,they use a 2010 Chevy,,,wow is funny ford upgrade is diesel after the shoot out,,,and again they refuse the challenge,,,ford lover this is your company,,good to advertise only,,best selling truck ,tough truck,look tough,,,on paper only....

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