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.


When ford did those tests nobody could get their hands on a 2011 chevy. Should be interesting to see the results with equal trucks. Would be nice to toss dodge in there but after the shootout I think we all know how that would end. Mike, you have an awesome job

I'd place my bets with the Ford. BUT, if the Ford did lose, it makes me wonder if its because the super duty is built so much heavier? With the Ford, there is more mass to haul.

When Ford compared their 2011 to the 2010 offerings IMO that right there was a sign of lowballing and their sheep marketing to get their lovely buyers to bend over and drink the ford koolaid. My thought on the only selling point left (other than looks and personal taste) on Ford vs. a GM is SFA versus IFS and the on paper 3 hp and 35ft.lbs. GM took their time to engineer this truck to take a blow against their key competitor Ford and in my opinion they did that. Yet...not a whole lot appears to have changed in terms of sales...hopefully the 2011 GM twins will gain back some of the market

@Dan: Here's something to think about. In the Shootout, the Sierra 3500 weighed 8,100 pounds and the F-350 weighed 8,540 pounds. If we hook a 16,000 lbs trailer up to the trucks for a combined weight of 24,100 pounds vs. 24,540 pounds, is 440 pounds (about 1.8%) really enough to significantly affect the outcome?

By the way -- because it's indirectly related to this topic -- I'll give GM major props for providing a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 with an ancient 4.3-L V-6 for our upcoming V-6 Work Truck Shootout.

@ John - have you ever read the PR on a Chev site? Go look at their comparison tool if you want to comment on brand specific coolaid.
I agree with you that GM's target was Ford and I'd say the engineers at GM did a masterful job on the new Duramax. The chassis was very well developed and it showed in the shootout.
I wish that GM management was as competent as GM HD engineers.

I bet guys will start to complain that the trucks have different tires giving one competitor an advantage.

How picky do you want to get??

I looked at the tires on both trucks (Shootout specs)
Ford F350 - General Grabber LT245/75R17.
Diameter 31 inches. Circumference 97.3 inches. 662 RPM.
GM 3500 - Michelin LTX A/T LT235/80R17.
Diameter 31.8 inches. Circumference 99.8 inches. 654 RPM.
It works out to roughly 2% difference.

What up with all the ford fanboys makes excuses already and they dont even know the results you cry because the gear ratios you cry 450vs 350 .whats the problem now its apples to apples and all guys saying ford sell more who cares your not getting any money, toyota sell more then bmw does that mean toyota is better

This is always interesting but I wish they'd challenge them to some sort of durability shootout and see which truck breaks first. According to what the engineers from chevy and ford have said, I think everyone should be able to agree the ford 6.7 has more potential with some simple upgrades than the dmax can handle without breaking. The chevy may be faster stock, but this ford engine was simply engineered to handle more power. Some of my hardcore chevy buds know that and it's nice to see them a little more humble lately. Durability tests are much more interesting and exciting. But yeah really none of it proves much. Only with time can we know the full story on these trucks. But I'd put my money on the ford if you're the type that likes to put performance upgrades on your truck.

They should run the trucks one behind the other across the country nonstop in both city and highway driving carrying the heaviest possible load until one of them has a major problem. It would take months but that would be interesting.

@alex of course toyota sells more then bmw thats apples to oranges. If bmw sold more then mercedes consistently then you would begin to think they make a better product. You don't continuously purchase something if it doesn't work properly.

Personally i would love to see this. I just wonder,however, if chevy does this on their own and loses, what will they do? this seems kind of like how ford on their website does the against the competition thing.

At the end of the day what does this really prove? That one truck can tow 20,000lbs up the rockies 3 seconds faster than its competitor? This stuff is turning into a reality TV show here. I respect Ford declining this so called showdown. They have been the truck leader for almost 30 years what do they care if their truck can tow up the Rockies faster or get beat by the competitor. Mike, for you this must be exciting to do these tests and beat on these trucks. But that is your job as a writer for this site. I myself am not going to run out to the dealership of the winning truck after the test and buy one because of the results. I just don't understand the point in the real world. It is really GM/Chevy that question is aimed for since they are the ones who posed the challenge. Focus on selling trucks and drop this high school bullying contents to see who is better than the rest. Like Ford said "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,". Period.

@ Mike Levine
1.8% is not much. I guess its not about the weight of the truck but rather the weights of the trailers. If Ford has a heavier truck is that Fords problem? Would it cause them to lose by default?

i would still take the true diesel pickup with the inline 6 cummins the dodge ram when will ford and chev build a true diesel engine with 6 cyl rather than using a modified v8 gas block i don't see too many transports running v8 diesels more reliable engine that way and the dodge came close to the new chev and ford in tests not enough difference to warrant buying a v8

@Dan: The trucks are so close in weight, I don't think Ford would lose by default. And let's not forget that GM increased frame weight for 2011 when it went to a fully-boxed frame.

Overall, I think that both trucks are extremely close to each other in performance. I've said it before, I think the winner will be the one with the superior powertrain calibrations (at all elevations). For now, IMHO, that's GM and the Duramax.

May the best truck win!! I will be watching with great interest.

modified gas V8 block? Really? lol!

@ Beebe

You and many people contend that the Ford was made to handle more power based on the GM engineers statement that they had stretched the rubber band pretty far. I can understand why you would think what you would, but at the same time I question the true meaning of the statement by the engineer. I would be willing to bet based on what the aftermarket already knows about the duramax that the rubber band the engineers are referring to is not any actual hard part of the engine. It is likely the emissions capability of the engine. The newer Ford design likely can produce significantly more power and pass emissions that the older Duramax design even with the significant new parts content of the LML. Either way, I still think that the Duramax will win this competition based on the information we already have.
Lastly, for people saying that they should test at all altitudes, my question is why? These trucks have already shown that they are capable at low altitudes, but now there is a question of whether the Ford can handle high altitude based on the results from the F450 test conducted by this website. Now, we need to know if it was a fluke or if all of these trucks will behave similarly. I personally would not purchase a truck if I knew I would have trouble pulling half of its rated load up any hill no matter what altitude.

@Justin...It really is quite simple. Chevrolet is calling out Ford. Ford declined, and used an unsubstantiated "claim" of "most trucks sold" to answer the challenge.

It's kind of like asking Bill Clinton a will never get a straight answer from that guy!

I am not saying Chevrolet rules all the way down the board, because they most certainly do not. But I think it is kind of a Bi%tch move of Ford to back out of a challenge like this.

At the end of the day, people are going to buy what they want. I thank Mike Levine and his staff for making the choice so darn difficult!

When will RAM bring their 400hp HEMI gas V8 to the mix? I want to see that whip both diesels.

@Paul...Although a gas engine MAY be able to whip a Diesel in speed, a gas engine will never OUTLAST a Diesel.

This is what people why people who own Diesels will stay with Diesels. PLUS, show me a Gas engine that can make an extra 200 lb ft of torque at the push of a button. Not gonna happen.

To all those saying they should test at all altitudes - that has already been done. PUTC did the heavy duty shootout at roughly sea level. The Duramax won that round. Now we'll see what happens at high altitude since going to ~10,000ft makes a big difference on how diesels run.

As for saying one truck is lighter than the other, that's not going to change. They were built a certain way, and that's is what you would buy if you bought one. Why change it for a specific test? Same goes to gear transmission ratio's, they are built a certain way, and that's what you gotta use if you buy these trucks, you aren't going to swap gears in your personal truck. As long as the rear end is the same, that's as equal as you're going to get. There is no reason to ballast one truck and not the other. Plus, like Mike L said, the difference will be so small as to be insignificant.
I look forward to the results!

Mike how far off is the V-6 Shootout? I'm really looking forward to that.
Another commenter asked about a psuedo-longevity test. I was wondering how difficult it would be (say from 1 to 10, 10 being impossible) to get a Ram, Ford, and Chevy/GMC and go across the country? Is it the cost or logistics? It would be very interesting to see what sorts of issues/bugs come up during the trip.
As for this "challenge" I agree Ford has nothing to gain by accepting, however, I am very pleased that the test will be conducted regardless. You hold THE BEST comparo-shootouts, bar none!

I sure hope that the Duracrap wins this competition, GM needs all the extra money they can get to pay off the government.

@J: The V-6 Shootout will take place late next month. We'll publish it in November.

I'd love to do a long-term Shootout but unfortunately it's out of our budget for now. I think it would have to be at least 12 months long with some grueling tests thrown in. The trucks would have to be driven identically.

Glad you like our comparisons! Thanks! :-)

I'm glad some people brought up Ford compariing their 2011 SD's to 2010 GM and Ram trucks and based on their results, claiming to be the best. Now that they've already lost the HD shootout and have declined this comparison from GM, it looks like the "truth about trucks" is really coming out.

Government Motors can call out whomever they want to and win, it still doesn't mean they can gain market share. Wasting more tax payers money and still with no guarantee of a reuturn. Ford has to spend its own money on this dog and pony show. I can care less about one calling out the other. After looking at all the tons I'm sold on the superduty regaurdless of the out come and I sure thier are others that feel the same way or visa versa. GOVERNMENT MOTORS= NO RETURNS ON INVESTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm from Utah where 5000+ ft. in elevation is normal. We have tons of grades that go above 8000 ft. And if you have ever traveled I-80, I-15, or I-70 through Utah you know how many HD Trucks there are constantly pulling loads up and over these grades. All you flat-lander whimps can say what you want, but this type of test separates the men from the boys! This is a show of true power! Let the Pull-off begin!!

By the way, Dan from Utah is different than the Dan that commented earlier.

Dan from Utah also says,

If the Duramax wins this contest, Ford will surely fix their high alltitude hick-up in programming and the Powerstroke will be a better performer next year. And lets not forget Dodge, or I mean, Ram, they surely have something up their sleeve to improve the Cummins. I would happily park any one of the Big 3 in my Driveway.

Way to go Ford. You claim to be the best. You hold comparos of your own and surprise surprise the Ford always wins. Others challenge you and instead of accepting you claim that your greatness is based on sales. BULLS**T. Does Ford not have faith in its brand new HD and diesel?
As far as GMs rubber band duramax. Get over it Ford boys. vettelovralexand is exactly right. Do you guys think that Ford dropped the 7.3 because it could not produce more power without breaking? It seems like most Ford fans share Fords attitude that sales equals a good truck.

GM trucks would mop the floor with Ford. Ford knows it... Problem is, The GM's have to resort to this childish PR stunt to get any attention from the truck crowd which is rather disappointing to me. Why not just Build A Better Truck GM? Your engines are fantastic! We already know that. It's the truck that carries those engines that are junk. Fix the darn truck and people just might line up to buy them like the Fords. The new GM truck bodies are just tin foil on a frame. They're not durable at all. We have 3 08 GM's at work and it looks like they went through a tornado they're so tore up. The interiors look like they came from Toys r Us they're so cheap. THESE things are the problem GM. Not your engines.

On second thought, maybe Ford SHOULD accept this offer. On the agreement that the Chevy will then go head to head in a durability test of all body panels, bumpers and interiors with the Ford. Then GM would back down like babies. Ford needs to fix their engines, GM needs to fix the Truck that carries their engines.

You're really glad? FYI, GM is still comparing their 2011's to the 2010 Fords. Light duty and heavy duty.

They are still comparing their 2011 3500 to the 2010 5.4 from Ford.

And their chart on the main page comparing 2011 to 2011 is full of the old info and deceptive information.

If GM does it, it's ok, right?

As for the original shootout, the tests were done but that was before the update from Ford so there is still some retesting to be done at any altitude.

Oh and I wouldn't trust a notarized document from any dealer on the promise that the truck being borrowed isn't altered. The only way to be sure is to buy it anonymously.

Ford should have shot back with their own stipulations for the test, such as identical axle ratios with a variety of situations including low alititude. The problem is that Chevy could pick the specific test conditions/equipment that would favor their truck over the Ford. However, a variety of testing conditions with identical and agreed upon equipment would lead to a much more objective result.

It seems like the SRW Ford will have trouble with axle-hop, while the DRW should not. By choosing SRW, Chevy could be targeting a particular weakness in the HD lineup that would arise in a WOT test. Also, if the Duramax performs better at high-alititude yet not at low-altitude, then this test clearly favors the Chevy. These sounds like cherry-picked testing conditions.

What does it matter? Ford is a real company that has struggled the right way-paying bills and getting loans. GM begged and pleaded for Obama to bail them out and now they use government credit to fight Ford? If you're an American-Never buy GM or Dodge with their phoney claims to being in the interest of the everday man. Ford/Toyota/Nissan continue to do it the right way and GM has no right to call out anyone on my tax dollars. Go FORD

@ mike l i think it would be nice to see a test between the 3/4 tons . i know they have different axle ratios but thats how they come when u buy one (i just purchased a 2011 chevy dmax 3/4 ton) so it would be nice to see if the difference . the ford is heavier and has the 3.55 chevy is lighter with a 3.73 . maybe that would help the ford

@ mike i love these tests your doing though keep up the good work . i have no complaints

The one ton trucks won't be equal either. GM will get off to a better start in a WOT situation because GM dies not have traction control on the 1 tons. The Ford 1 ton has traction control.

Would GM challenge Ford to a "heavy duty tow off" if they did not know who would win ?

@The Equalizer: We're not talking about a 1/4-mile drag here. This is expected to be a multi-mile test. Any off-the-line advantage one truck has over the other is going to be negated (or amplified) by pulling finesse over long distances. We're probably looking at a difference of tens of seconds between trucks. I want this to be a 3-mile to 5-mile pull. Or more.

Jordan L, I don't get your point about the Ford 7.3, that was out around the generation of that GM 6.5 - GM fans seem to forget about that engine, and for good reason, and the Cummins 12v. I think the 7.3 out-powered the competition for years. Anyway, I would happily drive any of the 3 diesels right now. I think they are all great engines.

@ Mike - I'd like to make a suggestion.....
I'd love to see these trucks have to pull on highway and off highway.
In my neck of the woods, that's where all the heavy work gets done.
Dirt roads are for workman, highways are for tourists.
Add a gravel road loop to the equation.
An industrial road with limited public access would be perfect.
No better place to see whose truck is better sorted out than on a rough gravel road with a heavy load.

The ford girls are the biggest (*&*%)already crying and making excuses you wanted apples to apples you got it. this is about gm hd trucks vs ford superduty not about sales so stop crying

If numbers on paper are fine why is GM lying about the torque numbers for Ford? They have the updated hp listed at 400 but still list the old 735 torque number for Ford and 765 for GM. Why? Because the updated 800 torque would make GM look bad. They lie about the torque just like they lied about paying off the loans in full and ahead of schedule. Can you trust the Chevy Truck Team?

All the hype and bantering about competition is a joke. Drive what ever your want.


I owned a chevy a few years back and it had problems from the get go, and gm did not stand behind their product at all. Glad its gone.

I would rather push my ford than drive a Government Motors vehicle again. Oh yea, I forgot, it was the chevy that needed pushing.

If you want apples to apples, The Chevy Truck Team needs to get the hec out of the way. Since they want this test so bad, Chevy should just give Mike the money to go out and buy the trucks himself and money for all of the costs involved. Then Mike and his crew do all of the tests and make all of the decisions with no involvement from Chevy. If the Chevy Truck Team does it with Mike and this other mag as 3rd parties watching, it will just turn into a Chevy commercial by way of Gary White and Howie Long.

Just read the gas engine HD acceleration tests in the latest issue of Truck Trend. The 6.2L has nothing on the GM 6.0L or the Dodge Hemi. Testing was done on empty trucks. It just seems to me that given the 6.2L numbers, it ought to show more on the track. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that Ford is using the same transmission with the 6.2L and the Powerstroke. Maybe the transmission gear ratios are better optimized for a diesel? GM and Dodge use different transmissions with gas and diesel engines.


In the shootout, the Ford 1 ton diesel came out on top in the 7% hill climb by .1 seconds, and the GM 1 ton diesel came out on top by .5 in the 16%. Ford was handicapped by the TC cutting off the gas, and GM not having it and the results were still this close.

This was BEFORE the update to Ford. So Ford should increase their lead in the 7% and probably beat GM in the 16% next time.

But what does this all prove? Not much. If you think .1 to .5 seconds, or that tug match you were crying about months ago shows you which truck is better, then your just a stupid moron cause that doesn't prove a thing!

The test over a few miles is more interesting but why only do it in high altitudes and involve the Chevy team? If the Chevy Truck Team is involved with this challenge it will be just like this. "Fair Fight"? Yeah right.

What's a matter, are you scared that GM's heavy duty will beat your Ford????????? The only thing that's moronic is your bs statement about the tug of war. We are ford and we don't respond to challenges, WHAT THE HEC IS THAT? I guess Chevy and GM wins again because Ford is to chicken to even tow in the mountains.

Chevy and GM Rules! and Ford drools! Chevy has more trucks on the road with over 200,000 miles and is the most dependable and longest lasting truck on the road. How do you like that Frank?


Keep drinking your Ford koolaid.

Chevy is better in every way that matters, hp, toque, towing, the facts pseak for themslevfes!!! See the spec sheet:

Ford lovers,

STOP MAIKING EXCUSES! Accept the challenge and quit making excuses for why your favorite truck will get beat by Chevy and the Duramax!

The GM truck will beat the Ford and the Dodge and nothing you say and no matter what excuse you use, GM and Chevrolet beats the Ford and the Dodge!

GM will beat both the Ford and the Dodge in pulling contests rather it's in a race or up a hill pulling a trailer. This isn't my opinion, it's a FACT! Horsepower, Torque, fuel economy and out pulling the competition Chevy and GM is #1

You Ford lovers are a bunch of babies. You get challenged to a pull off and you say it doesn't prove anything. You get challenged in the mountains and you say it doesn't prove anything. The Duramax has already defeated both the Ford and the Dodge in the shootout hill climbs. The Duramax won every time!

Ford lovers will never accept the GM truck beating the Ford truck no matter the evidence to prove it. Ford trucks may be bigger and heavier, but they won't out work or out pull a GM truck and GM is willing to prove it in the mountains. Now stop being scardy cats and accept the challenge. And do not make any excuses when your Ford truck gets beat in the challenge. NOBODY BEATS GM OR THE DURAMAX! NOBODY!!!!!!!!!!

To the people complainging about the Chevy Team being involved and not the Ford; the whole reason Ford won't be involved is because they DECLINED the challenge from GM!

Ford has a history of this, and not with just trucks. Motor Trend wanted to compare the new Mustang V-6 against the Hyundai Genesis (I think) and Ford declined.

They make all these claims about being the best and yet don't want to compete in a comparison test that they are not in control of.

The comments to this entry are closed.