Forbes Selects 'Toughest' Trucks of 2012

Honda Ridgeline III
Photo by Jason Fogelson

The resident auto expert at just wrote a story about the toughest trucks of 2012. The article (with an admittedly great title) is both odd and interesting because of the criteria.

Forbes made the first cut by only looking at vehicles selected by Consumer Reports as "recommended" picks for 2012, then checked J.D. Power and Associates' dependability ratings. Finally, Forbes looked at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Picks based on rollover and crash-test data.

Although we did get interviewed for the piece, it seems incredibly odd to have a "tough truck" competition that excludes vehicles that typically do hard work, like three-quarter-ton and 1-ton trucks. On top of that, there is no real factoring to include engines or powertrain configurations, cost, value or even how much each vehicle can carry or pull.

The top winners in the piece are the Ford F-150 in third, the Toyota Tundra in second, and the Honda Ridgeline in first.

Here are a few things to consider about Consumer Reports according to its 2012 New Car Buying Guide, which says it offers "unbiased ratings" right on the cover. Well, maybe the ratings aren't biased, but they certainly aren't complete. Although three-quarter-ton trucks (but not 1-tons) are listed in the guide (with a picture and reliabilitiy history going back 10 years), the trucks were not tested like all the other vehicles. As a result, they have no road test score or recommendation for these tough work trucks. Seems odd.

Further, of the pickup trucks Consumer Reports did test, the last time they did a full-size pickup truck test was three years ago. The last time they did a compact or midsize pickup truck test was more than six years ago. From our point of view, a lot has happened in that time that would make it difficult to offer an intelligent recommendation.

We don't mean to quibble with's choices for its "tough truck" selections, but when the criteria seem to have some pretty big holes in the very first criteria hurdle, it makes us wonder about the real value of the choices. By the way, the higest-rated pickup in the guide is the Chevy Avalanche, with a road test score of 80 from the 2010 model. (The Corvette was an 81.)


What the heck do you say?
I could write an article about the best ballet dancer in the USA or canadaor the best wine made in North dakota and would be as logical as these dopes writing about trucks..
Not very -- is my point

I can totally see the F-150 being on this list...Even the Tundra...But seriously...A Ridgeline...Lost all credibility with that nomination.

Take either the Honda or Toyota off road with their leak unibody & frames & write this article again please! the F-150 will be 1st out of these three!!!

I'm going to start handing out my own award. I'm going to call it Jason H's Arbitrary Nonsense Truck of the Year Award.

It will be based on which trucks offer the best cigarette lighter, and/or the most tasteful interrior dome light.

yes sir the honda so tuff it wouldn't drive over a dirt hill in the midsizer test, the toyota so tuff the gas pedal sticks wide open for yah, and the ford so tuff its butt ugly lol

The Detroit Auto Show named Land Rover as Truck of the Year. The ridgeline is closer to a truck than the Snob Rover. I hope all these "never had to work with a truck" talking heads go fly a kite. Boy was it hard to be nice!

Is this a joke a Ridgeline a tough pick up and Toyota second place with cracked and rusty frames you can`t even tow a fifth wheel with a Toyota.
Consumer report lost it`s credibility they are a bunch of clown on a prozac diet.
It show that Honda have a lot of money to buy awards to try to move more than 600 pick up a month.
Forbes should be name Forbebidden.
He Len you are right that`s a good one I enjoy.

Congrats to the winners!

Way to go Ridgeline, put the other posses in thier spot.

well I hope Mark Williams lets this link stay. It's directly about the subject. LOL, that will be the day when a Ridgeline is really tougher then a Tundra or F-150, or anyother full size for that matter. Consumer reports wants to directly compare cars to trucks. Sorry, it doesn't work that way! They never talk capacity, it's the winney "high step in", and then they compare the gas mileage, and they would say for instance, a F-150 ecoboost, or 5.3 Chevy or Hemi get terrible mileage! Well, they do pretty good for trucks! The Tundra does decent for mileage, it will also move twice the weight the subject of this story will, they gotta look at the whole picture!

The link of the Ridgeline towing a racecar trailer explains alot! This is NO PROBLEM for an F-150, a Tundra, and most full sizers with a V-8!!!

toughest truck= dodge power wagon

@ TRX4 Tom i bet that was a fun ride in that honda LOL must be the only way you can do a burn for fun in one of them too put a trailer or ton in the bed then punch it and hope for the best haha

This sort of articles main aim is to generate readership by use of catchy titles, rather than examine any worthwhile criteria.

@TRX4 etc- show me a trailer hitch and I'll show you someone who can overload it.
Anyone can hand out an award. the biggest problem here is calling it "toughest truck of 2012" when it should well be called "most likely to keep you safe and trouble free". The Honda and Toyota (and F-150) crash well and prove to be very reliable. Nothing wrong with that at all. If you're the average non-commercial truck buyer, these 3 are a very safe bet. No one honestly thinks the Ridgeline has the same capacities or reserves under load as a full-size half-ton, even if the payload ratings are just as high.

@Mrknowitall - I have to agree. The way they looked at things - it will statistically tell you the most reliable or best crash survivability, but nothing else.
It was bad wording or a case of sensationalization to sell magazines.
Consumer Report has to be taken in context. They get survey data from members. That alone will skew data. Who are their members? and how do they use their trucks?
JD Power rates much higher in my books as a credible source. The sample size is much larger and does not stop at "membership". JD Power does a better job of explaining how they research and what they look at.
I like to take CR and JD Power and compare them to each other. I also like to talk to people with the product I am interested in. I've had people walk up to me and ask me questions about my truck.
Crash test data, that one i don't want to find out about from personal experience but it is another piece of the puzzle.
It is unwise to look at just one source or to make judgements based on too narrow a search envelope.

Someone will not sleep well tonight. I own both Ridgeline and Tundra.


You know nothing about off-roading...


Sounds like another Toyota HATER on the forum...

The Tundra won J.D. Powers most dependable full-size pickup the last 6 years, where's your precious F-150 when it comes to dependability toughness?

Bull crap

Ridgeline ain't even a truck

I bet they can't wait to see on YouTube

Strait pipe ridgeline pullin ram ford chevy all at once lol

Minivan with lawnmower engine lol

@Oxi - Tundra HQ said it (durability) was virtually a tie between F150 and Tundra. That was 2010. 2011 was more of the same. Ford keeps updating their trucks. Tundra will be "all new" (maybe) in 2015.
Funny how the Ridgeline beat out the Tacoma.
Did you read the Forbes story?
Here is an exerpt
"Williams was similarly inclined. “In any argument that debates the toughest or best truck on the market, the F-150 will always be at or near the top,” the Editor stated. “Ford has done a better job of anyone at delivering just about every possible option to anyone even remotely considering a full-size pickup. If you have work to get done, it’s very likely Ford has the exact right option package for your needs, sort of like a high-quality tool maker that knows the best way to get the work done.”

I know that the unbiased people who's job it is to rate trucks for stuff like this usually come up with the Tundra at the top of the list with the F-150 right behind it (almost to close to call). I can live with the Ridgeline coming in number 1 but I think they should list them by type 1. Honda Ridgeline (mid size) 2. Toyota Tundra (Full Size) 3. Ford F-150 (Full Size). I also have to agree with fact that no HD trucks being listed makes the list really odd.

LMAO @ 5.3 LOL!

Stop crying!

hey frank guess what

I believe Top Gear USA did a toughest truck last year in Alaska. Of course I will not say who won, but was shocked it did win.

A real cool test for new trucks would be same thing in Alaska, then a few weeks on a cattle ranch, then a few weeks towing new trailers to dealers, then a few months with me.

Where was I crying at? I could have swore I typed "I can live with the Ridgeline coming in number 1" come to think of it the last time I check your truck was behind mine. LMAO @ Frank quit trolling!

So when an article or truck shootout only includes the detroit 3 brands, that's OK but when an article doesn't include .75 tons, that's "odd" or incomplete?

It's called "CONSUMER Reports" not "Commercial reports". They've clearly evaluated trucks that are popular with and most likely to be bought by consumers.

If you're looking for a farm truck or a truck for your contracting business or to tow 10,000 lbs, there's a magazine for that too.

@peter- and in that test, those whose truck died, had to ride in the Toyota, chosen to sweep. So it was like saying "which is toughest, after the Toyota"

@ Mr Knowitall:

@ Peter:
Toyota already did something like that--they gave a cattle rancher a Tundra and told them to use like a 3/4 ton... .

To the folks saying a Tundra can't off-road--the Raptor didn't make it past stage 3 of the Dakar and the Tundra was the highest placing full-size pickup.

Since when has Forbes known anything about pickups! This web site is starting to lose some of it's credibility.

Today "Jim River, AK closed in on the all time record coldest temperature of -80°F set in 1971!"

Just wonder how many of these manly PU's could stand this cold, without their frames snapping, springs embrittling, or their motors & trannies puking their guts out?

"Swift as the panther in triumph, fierce as the bear in defeat,
Sired of a bulldog parent, steeled in the furnace heat...
This is the Law of the Yukon, that only the Strong shall thrive; That surely the Weak shall perish, and only the Fit survive."

Donna think I'd be driving a Ridgeline up here!

It's called "CONSUMER Reports" not "Commercial reports". They've clearly evaluated trucks that are popular with and most likely to be bought by consumers.

Max, a Ridgeline is definetly not popular, nor a big seller. I mean do you think people see one go buy and say "wow, some
day I'll get one of those!" Not here they don't.

The Ridgeline barely tows. I realize not everybody tows, but nor does everbody tow 10,000 that have 1500-F150 and bigger, as you imply. The Ridgeline might be ok for the lightest duty urban person that wants to pick up a few 4x8s or maybe haul a lawn mower? I don't have a problem if it comes out on top of JD Powers survey and they want to say most reliable, it is what it is. But tough? Kinda think of trucks doing work, and this one doesn't like a load. Poor braking when loaded. Surprised they didn't hook up 3,000 pounds atleast to them see how they pull in the midsize shootout. People barely use them as trucks.

I wonder how much that cost Honda??? How can an Accord without a trunk lid win toughest truck? That's funnier than anything Michigan Bob could say and Chevy didn't even place!! Show you what happens when they let bean counters judge something!!!

gopher: Michigan Bob would say "Chevy wins! Let it be written!"

“Ms. Knitting Club, I’m Ms. Bridge Game, and I would like to introduce you to Ms. Tough Truck-Ridgeline.”


Yeah I watched the Alaska tough truck special by Top Gear. You do realize the whole test was a joke right?

I mean the took a Ford and Chevy from the mid 1970's and compared them to a Dodge built in the late 1990s.

I would love to see them take that same route again but only this time, do it in three brand new 2012 model trucks and compare durability from that standpoint.

At least that way they wouldnt be scrutinized for comparing trucks that have 20+ years between them in age.

The Ridgeline is very popular in my region and is driven mostly by women, many who use them to haul hay and feed, or, used by realtors to show clients around in. One realty office in my area has four Ridgelines to take their clients off the beaten path in the mountains.

And I can't quibble about the choice of the Tundra either since I own a 2011 Tundra DC SR5 5.7 and it can do everything my 2006 F150 XLT 5.4 could do and do it better, smoother and with more finesse.

The F150 remains the best selling pickup truck so I'm not surprised that it is on the list. The F150 is a very capable truck, certainly better than Silverado and RAM but not quite up to the level of sophistication of Tundra and Titan.

Then again, the Tundra and Titan are gentlemen's trucks where the F150 was designed with the laborer in mind. The difference is like the F150 being a house in the 'burbs, and the Tundra being a McMansion. They both get the job done, but the Tundra does it in style.

Yeah I watched the Alaska tough truck special by Top Gear. You do realize the whole test was a joke right?

I mean the took a Ford and Chevy from the mid 1970's and compared them to a Dodge built in the late 1990s.

Well Nate I'm a big Chevy fan and all my family does drive GM pickups, and it was cool that the Chevy won. But yes all those programs are really kind of dumb. And no it was not very fair with what they picked. They really need to do a test with new pickups. But would have been fun to be in on it.

And I think the toughest truck over a period of time would have so much to do with the individual driving and caring for that truck. Many Hondas of the early 90's had to have transmissions replace before 50,000. My brother had a 78 Chevy 4x4 with the 400 engine and that was a dog and was replaced before 40,000.

Best truck is one you are happy with and paid for.

Consumer Reports needs to drive test vehicles MUCH more often. The gap in years since they tested any of these makes this study WORTHLESS.

@Paul Emile

Consumer Reports actually buys all of the vehicles that they test (so there is no bias due to access). That's probably why they don't test as often as they could.

While CR's criteria for how they judge trucks is clearly flawed (apparently they wish everything was a Toyota Camry Hybrid), you can't really argue with their reliability ratings which are gathered from the million+ surveys they send out each year.

"Honda upset the traditional pickup truck orthodoxy when it introduced the unibody Ridgeline in 2005. It may have been a good idea, but it failed to make many converts. The Ridgeline has staggered along since then, selling fewer than 1,000 units a month. There's probably a market out there for a truck that's lighter than traditional body-on-frame behemoths and gets better gas mileage, but this one hasn't found it. "

The most disliked cars of 2011: ..

This is my main reason for laughing at the "Toughest Truck" award, because this thing isn't a truck. It's just a slightly bigger Subaru Baja....

Toyota has a stout gear box, good safety, good low low speed torque, (no more then a Hemi at same rpm, just the Hemi is slowed by the trans.) it is somewhat sophisticated, but the Titan??????? Really? What is it the Titan does good???? Tundra doesn't have near the interior or an F-150 or Ram, yeah, it has payload and a 6 speed, but how did the Tundra do in that $30,000 shootout? Those big brakes didn't stop it that well did they? Would it get the best mileage if it had the 4.1s instead of 4.3 gears? As it was it got the worst. Wasn't it poor on the autocross? Wouldn't the most sophistacated truck have something besides the smallest lugnuts in the industry? Tundras ARE good trucks, but they aren't the PERFECT truck you want to make them out to be. Not that there is one.

I think we all agree, a Ridgeline might be dependable and may have a good mileage and may be good in many other aspects but it's just not one of the toughest. I mean putting it in the same bag with F150 and a Tundra...that really seams odd


I've been driving Fords myself ever since I've been driving and I totally agree with you.

The best truck for you is the one that you are most happy with.

As a Ridgeline owner, the only thing I agree with is that it is reliable, and should be praised for that. I wouldn't say it is the "Toughest Truck", as there are many other trucks, mid-size ones included, that have out-trucked the Ridgeline in several key areas. Honda hasn't updated it since it came on the market. I hope they do, but now that they don't even include it in their commercials, who knows where it's future lies. I bought one because it is reliable and I don't need a work horse. I just need a simple vehicle that can tow and haul light duty items from time-to-time. I hope this site will have more compariosn tests and shoot outs on an annual basis of the different categories of trucks. It is great to see such statistics and real-world numbers.

I've never seen a Ridgeline used as a work truck. I guess if Forbes describes tough as being able to haul mom, the groceries and the kids to soccer practice then I guess it is tough.

How about I run into a Honda with a tundra and c how she holds up .Honda is that even a truck?

i myself pay no attention to honda and driver(car and driver) consumer reports. both only report good on japenese cars except mitsubishi all american cars are junk to these magazines. and holy cow plot spoiler they dont like real trucks. because they have maintenance. checkem out maintenance it high = low rating

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