2014 Canadian Truck King Challenge: How We Test



By Howard J Elmer

My private Iron Wood site in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, is home to the annual Canadian Truck King Challenge, but most of the testing takes place on Canadian regional roads. We use a public 12-mile test loop that consists of a hilly gravel road, broken twisting asphalt and a smooth highway section. All the vehicles were 2014s except the Fords, which were 2013s. We take trucks out in groups of five and drive them round and round, switching drivers on each circuit until all five judges have driven all five vehicles. The trucks are always driven in the same condition: all empty, all towing or all with payload. We believe there is no better way to compare vehicles.

How They Pull

Payload this year was 1,000 pounds of patio stones on pallets. The trailers we used were twin-axle dumps and car carriers. Most of our trailers weighed in at 6,000 pounds, with one at 6,100 and another at 6,900. The smallest truck, the 2014 Toyota Tacoma, hauled 3,500 pounds. All the trucks hauled well, but the torque of the 2014 Ram 3.0-liter V-6 diesel with an eight-speed transmission stood out from the rest; also, its air suspension held the load level and firm on the road. The 2014 Toyota Tundra, while new this year and still powerful, feels like it suffers from a lack of chassis rigidity. The 2013 Ford F-150 generally felt good, with the biggest surprise to our judges being how well the base 3.7-liter V-6 handled payload and towing. The new GMs are clearly strong and their transmissions smooth, but we found the ride slightly twitchy under load, and several judges had steering complaints. On the fuel side, though, we thought it impressive how close the results were between the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado's 5.3-liter V-8 and the newer, bigger 6.2-liter V-8 — much more power but very little extra fuel consumption.

Going Off-Road

The off-road portion of our test has the shortest course. It's done on a half-mile-long trail I built myself. It offers muddy hills, rock-strewn fields, a water-filled trench and an off-camber test, which gets a few wheels in the air. It's about as tough as any real-world situation in which truck owners might find themselves, probably worse than 99 percent of most.

Three things stood out to us this year. First, as truck makers look for more aerodynamic advantages they keep adding length to the front air dams; we had several trucks scraping repeatedly throughout the course. Second, we really liked the mechanical locking rear differentials on the GM trucks; they worked quite well. During the off-camber portion of the course, the GM rear differentials were the only ones that locked up to prevent the airborne tire from freely spinning. Third, and this is a gripe that we've had for several years, the Fords still have the electrical trailer hookups below the bumper where they collect a lot mud, dirt and grime.


One technical addition we made this year was to install a data reader to each truck that allowed us to record actual, directly comparable fuel mileage during testing. We made a point of recording each truck in each of the different testing conditions — empty, loaded and towing. The resulting figures are as real world as they get.

The Heavy Duties

The HD trucks were tested outside London, Ontario. We towed 14,000-pound fifth-wheel recreational vehicle trailers over a 200-mile route and then stripped the fifth wheels off and loaded up 3,000 pounds of shingles, then set off on a 120-mile route. Each judge drove the three trucks back-to-back, rotating regularly. Last year's winner, the Silverado HD, did just as well this year; however, it suffers from an aging interior, small info screens and clunky software. (Mind you, we've already seen the 2015s, and they look to be a huge improvement — but we can only grade what we get.) Ram was in the same boat last year; we knew a new 2013 HD was coming but we had to test the 2012 truck that we had. This year, the 2014 Ram 2500 squeaked past the 2013 Ford F-350 Super Duty, which always has been a strong hauler.

Strangely three of the four Fords in our test had electrical gremlins when hooked to trailers. In fact, one had no power at the plug and then halfway through our towing loop, it simply came on. Another worked only on the emergency light circuit. A third kept telling judges the trailer was unhooked, though it wasn't, yet the lights and brakes worked fine. Weird.

In the end, we tested all the trucks in three different categories as thoroughly as we could. And the 2014 Rams did well, with the Ram 1500 4x4 Outdoorsman Quad Cab Pentastar V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission winning the Under $45,000 category; the Ram 1500 4x4 Laramie Crew Cab EcoDiesel V-6 with an eight-speed winning the Over $45,000 category; and the Ram 2500 4x4 Laramie Limited Crew Cab Cummins inline six-cylinder winning the Heavy Duty award.

2014 Truck King HD 036[5] II

CanadaUnder45K MPG Chart Final (3)


CanadaOver45 MPG Chart Final (3)

2014 Truck King HD 012[5] II

CanadaHD MPG Chart Final (3)




The new Ecodiesel in the Ram seems to get some decent mpgs. This is the first test i've seen with results on mileage for the engine. Not bad.

Having a 2010 Denali I am pretty impressed how well the new 6.2L has done in terms of MPGs. Nothing new to me about the MPGs by RAM´s new 3.0L EcoDiesel having almost the same specs in our M-Class Diesel. Towing with it always gets me great milage.

wow, congrats to the ram 1/2ton diesel, what a difference a diesel makes, just awesome to see those numbers above all the turbo talk on the v6 gassers, bout time a 1/2 ton gets a diesel, can't wait to see numbers on the nissan with a cummins!

EcoDiesel would be my 1/2 ton pick and the Dmax for 3/4 ton.
I wonder if there is any acceleration and braking data for all categories.

The Duramax got better empty mpg than the EcoBoost ?

Can't believe the Ram 1500 Hemi got such terrible mileage, 2mpg worse then the Toyota empty.

So if i put weight ( payload) in the bed of my tacoma it will increase my mileage by almost 2 MPG? Am i missing something?

I'm wondering the same thing tman. Same with the hemi. Better mileage with a payload than empty.

The weight lowers the truck making it more arodynamic thierfore better mileage.

Hmm, so the winning criteria of this challenge was decided on who had the best fuel mileage, and not who towed the weight the best. Got it. I would say no doubt the Ecodiesel would get better fuel mileage then the other truck's it was compared with, but there is no way it towed better, got up to speed with load quicker, or was able to keep speed versus at least 6 of the other trucks. Even the Hemi is better at towing than the Ecodiesel minus fuel mileage.

"The new GMs are clearly strong and their transmissions smooth, but we found the ride slightly twitchy under load, and several judges had steering complaints.

The 2014 Toyota Tundra, while new this year and still powerful, feels like it suffers from a lack of chassis rigidity.

The 2013 Ford F-150 generally felt good."

The old battered down F-150 still riding better than ever...

If you go to the truck king challenge web site, there was some "excess idling" that was noted on the fuel consumption reports. I had posted the link on the "2014 testing season" thread. I'll repost here:
Looks like some information was left out do to "ease of posting".

Ford's 5.0 gets similar loaded and towing mpg to the 3.7 V6 and the EB3.5 gets better mpg than the 3.6 V6 and 5.0.
The 6.2 Chevy isn't much worse than the 5.3 as far as mpg goes. That will help sell that engine if there isn't a huge mpg penalty.
The Ram 3.6 V6 is pretty good on gas but the VM 3.0 beats it. The Ram 5.7 is one of the worst engines for mpg. The Ram 5.7 gets better towing mpg than the 3.6 V6.
The only one worse is the Tundra 5.7. Even the Chevy 6.2 gets better mpg.
If I read the data correctly - this is the listing for mpg:
#1 - Ecodiesel 3.0
#2 - 3.6 Pentastar
#3 - Ecoboost 3.5
#4 - 3.7 V6 Ford
#5 - 5.3 Ecotec
#6 - 6.2 Ecotec
#7 - 5.7 Hemi
#8 - 5.7 IForce

The Ecoboost and Ecodiesel mpg are as follows:

EB3.5 - 12.2 litres/100km = 23.1 (Imp) or 19.3 (US)
VM3.0 - 9.1 litres/100km = 31 (Imp) or 25.9 (US)

EB3.5 - 12.9 litres/100km = 21.9 (Imp) or 18.2 (US)
VM3.0 - 10.5 litres/100km = 26.9 (Imp) or 22.4 (US)

EB3.5 - 19.7 litres/100km = 14.3 (Imp) or 12 (US)
VM3.0 - 16.1 litres/100km = 17.6 (Imp) or 14.6 (US)

The fuel mileage numbers don't look right to me. The Chevy/GMC are too different. Did one have a 3.08 vs 3.42 rear-end? It also doesn't seem very logical that the 6.2 GMC would get better fuelmilage with a payload then empty.

I find it odd that they would not have trailers with te same load. "Most of our trailers weighed in at 6,000 pounds, with one at 6,100 and another at 6,900."
That could have a significant effect on results.

I am impressed by the VM Motori diesel - the future of truck engines is here.
The MPG numbers speak for themselves.

In the past I would never consider a 6.2 GMC but if there is only a slight mpg penalty with the new engines, you can have your cake and eat it too. That is impressive for that size of gas motor.

The reason I wouldn't select the GM 6.2 for any reason is because eventhough it gets decent mileage it still gets less mpg - in the bottom 3, it will be on a higher trim package = $$$,, and the engine will cost more itself. Not in my price range for a half ton.

Also note the Tundra got the worst mileage again. This is three tests in a row that the Tundra's claim that it doesn't matter what the rating is because it gets better mpg than the competition doesn't hold true: 2013 Light Duty Shootout, TFL IKE Gauntlet, and Canadian Truck King.

I dont think the Ecodiesel should be in the same category or even compared to the Ecoboost, 6.2L, or the 5.7Ls. I think doing so gives people the false impression that the Ecodiesel is just as powerful and capable as the other power plants when it is not. Sure the Ecodiesel gets better fuel economy than the Ecodiesel gets better fuel economy than the other engines, but so does the Pentastar 3.6L. It would be down right stupid to compare that to the Ecoboost, 6.2Ls, and 5.7Ls.

When you decide to upgrade from the Pentastar 3.6L to the Hemi 5.7L, you do so know that you will be getring a more powerful and capable engine with some fuel economy loss. When you "upgrade" from a Hemi to the Ecodiesel then you are getting a less powerful and cpable engine with fuel econmy gain. You are essentially paying more to go backwards by paying money to save money. Also, with diesel at around $.45 higher than regular unleaded, the Ecodiesel would actually cost you more in fuel per year over the Pentastar 3.6L given these fuel ratings not to mention the $4000 initial cost. For those that don't tow more than 6,000 lbs occasionally, it would be a wiser choice to go with the quicker and faster Pentastar 3.6L than the Ecodiesel if saving money is your concern.

Lets see, 1000 lbs for the loads? what would happen if say the loads were upped to say 1700lbs hummm? or maybe even 1800? oh wait that would only leave the Ford to compete, maybe we should stay at the 1700lbs? oh wait, then the Ram could not come out and play even though it "air ride suspension keeps the load nice and level"? hey? it just seems to me that 1000lbs is not enough! is that all the Ram can carry, and have a driver? If I was to spend over 45k on a truck (I wont) it would have to be the one with the most powerful and almost most fuel efficient engine, and that would be the Chevy/GMC with the 6.2! and with the HD tow package would be able to haul over 1800lbs, and tow the most! and get decent mpg to boot! I wonder how least I could get a 4X4 Chevy for with the 6.2 in it? I just went onto Chevy.com and was able to build a 4X4 double cab LTZ with the 6.2 with the tow package for $44,080!!!! so just under 45K!!!

Congratulations to President Obama and his favorite truck, the all-new Fiat 1500 EcoDiesel!

Sandman, I think 1,000lbs is a good test in a half ton truck after all that is 1/2 a ton, any more weight I would be using a 2500 anyway.

I just tried to build a Ram diesel, an came out at 48K for the same equipment as the Chevy.

Bobby, in the Ram you would have too, or go alone.

duramax has best milage wow
and the power stroke the worst
seems that all other tests including fords own are rubbish
the new high output cummins (850 lb.ft) is impressive though

honestly with the new price tags on the half tons a hd diesel would sound like a reasonable choice

@Lou BC,
Yes the Ecodiesel is impressive but not just fuel mileage. This is a test of a Fiat Ducato in the US
Notice several things:
He describes a AMT transmission pretty unknown in the US.
He was impressed by its hauling ,saying his personal 273hp gas vehicle could not have done the same as the Ducato with a similar weight.
As well he gets it wrong with the Ford Transit it is RWD and will not have to be converted to RWD.

@Mark, the Power Stroke is almost 2mpgs better than the Cummins. How do you figure it is the worst?

I want to know where they found a Ram Ecodiesel

A comments section that isn't completely full of trolls, brand-bashing and name-calling? I'm impressed.

Of course, having said that, I've probably jinxed it, and everything from here on out will be complete Scheiße.

But it's probably because PUTC reported on the test results completely, leaving nothing out. Or I should say--anything they did leave out, they made clear that it would be easily found on the official website. And it was. Congrats to the new EcoDiesel Ram 1500. Now we just have to see how it holds up in the coming years. If it can make it to 100K miles with no major mechanical mess-ups, it's definitely in the running for a full-size pickup if I ever need one.

After reading more and more on the Ram Eco Diesel, I would say that Ford will have to have the 3.2 Duratorque F-150.

Fiat/Ram might have a lead with the diesel, but I wonder if they can maintain that.

Many vehicles are 'firsts' and don't captialise on that.

The Ecodiesel will not be available for some time. Apparantly they are piling up at the factory in Italy because they do not meet USA EPA requirements. If that is the case, how did they get these trucks into the press fleet?
It is supposed to be fixed with a "reflash".
That seems to be the universal fix at Fiat.

I know the Jeep Eco diesels are shipping this week after piling up on assembly line lots. They were on hold because of a lack of Urea Tanks.

Apparently this test is in Canada. Fiat-Ram may have tested these in Canada first because they don't meet US requirements?

Why put the 5.3 v8 with 6 bangers where is the 4.3 gmc in this test.

The EcoDiesel should reach 30mpg highway. If it's getting 25+ combined. Amazing.

@Emilio Palacios - I suspect that engines like the ecodiesel will be the wave of the future.

The Truck King challenge testers said "All the trucks hauled well, but the torque of the 2014 Ram 3.0-liter V-6 diesel with an eight-speed transmission stood out from the rest"

This engine will do for Ram 1500 what Cummins did for Dodge HD's.

I took the avg of each engine and place them in order from best to worst:

1. Ram 3.0 = 20.9
2. Ram 3.6 = 18.3
3. Tacoma 4.0 = 16.9
4. F150 3.5 = 16.4
5. F150 3.7 = 15.9
6. GM 5.3 = 15.8
7. F150 5.0 = 15.7
8. GM 6.2 = 15.5
9. Ram 5.7 = 14.3
10. Tundra 5.7 = 14.0

Notice that the smaller engine have better mpg than the larger engines.

@ Lou BC

I don't think it will do to to the Half ton what the Cummins did to the HDs unless it had A LOT more power.



Over 9 seconds to go from 0 to 60! Ouch, that is 2 seconds less then the Pentastar V6 Ram! I will gladly pay for more fuel for more power. Also, did I read it right that the top of the line 4 door 4wd version that they tested only has a max tow rating of only 7,300 lbs? Double ouch! That is less than evan a 4x4 3.55 5.0L Screw.

As I said before, if you want better fuel economy then the Ecodiesel is your motor, but you will sacrifice power, performance, and capability. Then again, aren't those the reasons why you pay for an engine upgrade? For more power, capability, and performance with the understanding that will loose fuel economy. I can see some guy shopping at the Ram dealer now trying to grasp this. "So Mr. Truck salesman, what you are saying is that I have to pay an extra $2,800 over the Hemi to get less power, less performance, and less capabilities just to get better fuel economy? I thought it was the other way around" You have to ask yourself why people buy the Hemi over the base 3.6L. Simply put, for more power and capabilities. Not for fuel mileage or to pay money to save money as some would put it.

Also, I don't think the Ecodiesel will fair very well going up the Ike Gauntlet towing 7,200 lbs. The guys in the Fourwheeler article said they nearly the maxed the 7,300 tow rating in that 3.55 4x4. When talking about where they were going to tow, they said "Fortunately, our offices aren’t too far from what’s known as The Grapevine on I-5, which slows many big rigs down to a crawl. We made a 120-mile torture loop that took us both ways up and through the Tejon Pass that peaks out at 4,160 feet." That is only 4,160 feet in elevation at it's peak! That is about 5,000 ft less than the elevation that the Ike Gauntlet starts at. Pulling up those 6 grade hills in the Ram with less than 7,300 lbs, the guys at Fourwheeler wrote "While ascending the steepest areas on the route, which included the 6 percent grade of the Grapevine, we had our foot to the floor and the V-6 was spinning at 4,000 rpm for several minutes in order to maintain 55 mph." They had to keep it floored just to maintain 55 mph pulling less than 7,300 lbs up a 6% grade hill at less than 4,000 ft elevation.

The Ike Gaunltet starts at 9,000 ft and peaks out over 11,000 ft. The Ecodiesel would be pulling about 7,200 lbs up hills that are grades up to 7%. Not only that, but it will have to maintain 60 mph doing it instead of the 55mph that it could barely hold in the Fourwheeler article. How did the Ecoboost pull the load in the Ike Gauntlet?


You want to maintain 60 mph in the Ecoboost? No Problem. You want to go 70 or 80 mph? Just give it more throttle. Even the Ram Hemi held the speed limit although at much higher RPM. I have a bad feeling that the Ecodiesel will have a hard time even holding the speed limit of 60 mph when it goes up the Ike Gauntlet next month. With the Ecodiesel, it's going to be like... You want to maintain 60 mph? Well, that is a problem. So please don't think this is a powerful as the rest of the engines they compared it to. It has it's own place, but not with the big towing engines like most people think it does.

"Over 9 seconds to go from 0 to 60! Ouch, that is 2 seconds less then the Pentastar V6 Ram! I"
Are you talking of power or acceleration? diesels are slower than Petrol engines but have a lot more "grunt' as The Canadian test also states.

"Instead, consider the EcoDiesel V-6 a fuel-economy play for the Ram Truck brand. With mpg in the high 20s and possibly exceeding 30 in some situations, it's easy to see the appeal of such a truck for the typical 1/2-ton truck buyer that rarely tows in excess of 7,000 pounds. Regardless of if you are a Ford, GM, Nissan, or Toyota fan, the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is one of the most significant pickups of the last decade, and it will surely alter the 1/2-ton-truck playing field in the future"
it would be interesting to see their reaction to the 3 Litre Ecodiesel with a much greater tow rating?

@Robert Ryan

That is what am talking about. The Ecodiesel may be good for someone that tows less than 7,000lbs and should not be compared to 10,000 lbs towing engines that have the "grunt", as you put it, along with the acceleration. The Ecodiesel just cannot compete with these engines because it does not have the power to do so. So why even compare them in fuel economy? Also, most truck buyers that tow less than 6,000 lbs would probably be best suited with the Pentastar V6 since it would end up costing you less if diesel is $.45 more than regular unleaded. That way they can keep that acceleration they are used to while still saving money at the pump.

look at ALL1 try to make turd eco sh*( ford look best. he is crying try his best to put down the ECO DIESEL because his ECO BUST GOT ITS A@# WHOOPED! HEY ALL1 HOW MANY COILS/ INTERCOOLERS /HEADGASKETS AND ALL THE OTHER FAIL PARTS REPLACE ON YOUR ECO GAS JUNK LMAO!






I am not saying the Ecodiesel is a bad engine. It just does have the same puliing power as the HEMI 5.7L, Ecoboost 3.5L, Ecotec 6.2L, or Boss 6.2L, or I-force 5.7L, and shouldn't be compared to those engines in any way.

@LMAOI am not saying the Ecodiesel is a bad engine. It just does NOT have the same puliing power as the HEMI 5.7L, Ecoboost 3.5L, Ecotec 6.2L, or Boss 6.2L, or I-force 5.7L, and shouldn't be compared to those engines in any way.

Sorry, I messed up the first time.



The tolls are here. No point in having an intelligent debate with actual facts. I think I have had it with this site. Mark Williams, I like your work, but these D-bags are going to be the ruin of your blogs.

Did anyone find if the Silverado High Country had the 3:55 or the 3:73 NHT (MaxTrailer option).This too would lead someone to believe that a 5.3L and a 6.2L were close in fuel mileage testing.And was the Ram 1500 5.7L a 3:73,4:10 or 3:55 axle

Interesting that they used a Ford F350 against the Ram and Chevy 2500's in a fuel economy test.

They should have used an F250 with 3.55's, as that's the gearing equivalent to a Chevy 2500 with the stock 3.73's.

Using an F350, which is geared lower, would likely account for the worse tested fuel economy.

@ALL1- Do not give the trolls any satisfaction by giving in to them. Post your points and try to ignore them. I had a guy using my old blog name "Lou" for several months false posting. Trolls and fanboys aren't much different.

@ALL 1 Have you ever towed with gas and diesel engines? I have. 04 Durango 5.7L 330hp 370 tq 3.55 gears (wifes), 93 Ram 2500 2wd diesel 160 hp 400 tq 3.54 gears (was mine is sold now). Guess which one towed better? Diesel HP and TQ is not the same as gas HP and TQ. The Durango was quicker to highway speed but it couldn't compare to the diesel.

All1, Don't say you have had it with the site or that it is "ruined" just because a couple people post stuff in the comments you disagree with. If this blog was like some of the news sites I go to they have hundreds or thousands of posts after each article and I don't agree with everyone who posts comments. Are those sites ruined because of trolls? Of course not. Just post what you want and let others posts what they want and try to have a nice day.

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