Texas Truck Showdown 2016: Our Half-Ton Max-Towing Contest

Ford F150 Towing lead II

Not long ago we promised to get all the half-ton pickup trucks together for a max-tow competition, and it's almost here.

For this contest we gathered model-year 2016 4x2 crew-cab half-ton pickups, each equipped with their best maximum towing package, and put them in a towing-biased head-to-head competition just outside of Houston. We pulled trailers, we ran at and above full payload, we did fuel-economy testing with 10,000-pound trailers, and we let our truck-loving judges dig through each pickup with a magnifying glass and micrometer.

We collected as much data as possible and will deliver all the numbers and our impressions on Monday. As you might expect, quite a few unexpected things happened. Here are our Texas Truck Showdown 2016: MaxTowing players:

  • 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ (5.3-liter V-8, eight-speed transmission)
  • 2016 Ford F-150 Lariat (3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost, six-speed transmission)
  • 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT (6.2-liter V-8, eight-speed transmission)
  • 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn (5.7-liter V-8, eight-speed transmission)
  • 2016 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition (5.7-liter V-8, six-speed transmission)

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

 

GMC Sierra burnout II

 

Comments

Thanks papajim.

Jack,
My little BT50 will pull 10 000lbs and at 60mph.

Would I ever do it, no, even if Mazda/Ford upped the towing capacity from it's current 7 800lbs.

Half ton pickups don't have heavy transmissions. They don't have heavy diffs, etc.

Look at the transmission and diff in any "real" truck and you will see the difference in construction. Look at any real truck that has a GVM of 7 tons. They don't run "big" car gearboxes.

I do think many pickups are capable of towing a few tons quite easily and reliably.

If you want to tow 5 tons, then buy a real truck.

Jack,
My pickup has a GVM of 6 000kg or 13 200lbs or over 6.5 tons.

All this with the same gearbox used in a V8 Mustang, a Getrag MT82 6spd.

1/2 ton pickups are similar in many respects.

Yep, brakes and tires are a life-death conversation.

I put some industrial skid marks in my BVDs hauling a big load of timber back when I was a kid.

Had a proper trailer and rig, but i had no idea how long it would take to whoa it down from highway speeds and skidded right through a school crosswalk. The authorities were not amused

oh look, they included the 8 speed 5.3, which lost mileage when it went to being an 8 speed, v. the 6 speed.

All the time we waited for it, the GM folk thought it would do miracles for it.

I do wonder if they take into account the 5.3 takes 87, RAM suggests 89 for towing like that, and the 6.2 GM REQUIRES 91, and Ford recommends the Eco-Bust runs 91 for such use.

Will they tell us how the Ford does around a corner, when empty and pushed hard, and more importantly, how good it does on a rough gravel road going around the corner.

Hope it isn't a "transmission A downshifts more than trans. B while going down the hill, after so many times touching the brakes", so it gets points (for the people too lazy to put it in a lower gear themselves, or not knowledgeable enough to know.)

Wow, people towing 9,000 pounds and no Trailer brakes, @75-90. I'm guessing with that mentality, being wise and using a weight distribution hitch is too much to ask? Ah, that'should right, adjustable headlights fix it all...

Here are the results:

Pure towing capability (Sea Level):

1. GMC 6.2
2. Ford 3.5 Eco
3. Ram 5.7
4. Tundra 5.7
5. Chevy 5.3


Pure towing capability (Altitude):

1. Ford 3.5 Eco
2. GMC 6.2
3. Ram 5.7
4. Tundra 5.7
5. Chevy 5.3


LAMO,
Again you are thinking bigger numbers equate to best in class.

I'd say the heavier GMC will be a better tow vehicle.

The numbers mean diddly squat. So what if it can accelerate quicker. I doubt it will return the same FE as the 6.2.

Posted by: Big Al from Oz | Jan 22, 2016 2:22:16 PM

BARFO,

I believe you are letting your hatred for Ford get in the way of your logic. The GMC is within a few hundred pounds of the F150. You already know this because you constantly bash Ford for using aluminum and the F150 is about the same weight as the ultra thin sheet metal GM uses.

Again your hatred for Ford overshadows your thoughts because I know you are fully aware of both challenges this year with the 2015 model year trucks. Granted they were 7500lb trailers but the 3.5L GTDI was 1 MPG better than the GM 6.2L.

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2015/01/2015-light-duty-v-8-challenge-fuel-economy.html

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2015/01/2015-annual-physical-fuel-economy.html

As I already stated we will see how it does with an extra 2500lbs but if they use the same trailer but load it heavier I am willing to bet the FE will not change much with any of the competitors. FE has the biggest affect due to trailer drag and not weight.

What about the Ford 5,0 they stop to do this engine ,and they use a 1/4 Mille to test or 1/2 Mille or a mile big different on speed specially whit the different gear,,,

LAMO, aka DiM,
I actually like Ford products. Where have I ever stated the aluminium F-150 isn't competitive?

Your problem is you are a metasexual redneck Frod man. Any comment, even neutral that is directed at Ford as an attack.

Get off your high horse, child.

A EcoThirst aluminium F-150 is just a pickup, a pile of aluminium, plastic and steel. It is no more special than a Foton Tunland or for that matter my "Ford" BT50.


@Jack you might be missing Al's point. Use the right tool for the job.

Your half ton truck can accelerate to highway speeds pulling a big load--we get that.

How do you make it stop? The OEM tires and brakes are not designed for the circumstances people are discussing here.

You need a dedicated tow rig if you do that much heavy hauling.

Posted by: papajim | Jan 22, 2016 2:47:13 PM

I will not disagree with you because brakes are not as powerful as a 2500 or bigger truck. But remember even the 1500 series trucks have much better brakes than 3/4 ton and bigger had not that many years ago. They have much larger rotors, with at least twin piston calipers. Before we had single piston calipers along with rear drum brakes. Tires are the biggest issues. When towing bigger a LT tire does offer some better handling characteristics due to the stiffer sidewall.

Towing responsibility also comes in play. You need to make sure your trailer brakes function correctly. Towing 10K with no trailer brakes will make for a fun experience even in a 1 ton truck. Proper sway bar and load distributing hitch's are also key to handling.

Some of the issues we face today is anyone can buy a travel trailer and the salesman says "sure your F150 will pull that just fine". But no one looks at the loaded weight with the family and gear. You would be surprised how much extra weight your gear adds. I added around 1500lbs in my motorhome. You would never know it unless you put it on the scales. You just add things over time or your thinking this knife set does not weigh much. These bedroom blankets and sheets don't weigh much. This grill does not weigh much etc. I put my stuff on a scale to verify weight and to make sure everything is balanced as well as I can get it.


LAMO, aka DiM,
I actually like Ford products. Where have I ever stated the aluminium F-150 isn't competitive?

Your problem is you are a metasexual redneck Frod man. Any comment, even neutral that is directed at Ford as an attack.

Get off your high horse, child.

A EcoThirst aluminium F-150 is just a pickup, a pile of aluminium, plastic and steel. It is no more special than a Foton Tunland or for that matter my "Ford" BT50.

Posted by: Big Al from Oz | Jan 22, 2016 3:39:17 PM

See again your hatred for Ford is showing up right here. You do not see it because you have your hate blinders on. I challenge you to reread my comments. I did not attack you but I clearly do not agree with your statements. You are incorrect and I even posted links to provide that proof. So get off your high horse and think with your head and not your fanboism hatred.

Why is the XD not included in this test? Nissan simply added heavier running gear to better handle tow ratings at the higher end. Its not trying to compete with Ram, GM, or Ford Heavy haulers. Nissan designed a purpose built truck to handle 9,000-12,000lbs properly. Ever hear of the saying "bring the right tool to do the job"? Anyone who argues these points only need 1 test drive in the new XD. Then come back and tell us how a Ram, GM, or Ford 1/2 ton can comfortably pull the same loads.

http://www.off-road.com/trucks-4x4/review/2015-ford-f150-ecoboost-vs-2015-chevy-silverado-v8-video-54175.html

Here is another read for you BARFO. The F150 is lighter but also not a premium interior package like the GM. Obviously you add some bells and whistles it changes the weight a little.


Ever hear of the saying "bring the right tool to do the job"? Anyone who argues these points only need 1 test drive in the new XD. Then come back and tell us how a Ram, GM, or Ford 1/2 ton can comfortably pull the same loads.

Posted by: Steve K | Jan 22, 2016 4:09:35 PM

It would be better to test drive with the heavy weight. That way you can get an accurate driving experience. This would have been a perfect test environment for the XD.

So get off your high horse and think with your head and not your fanboism hatred.


Posted by: LMAO | Jan 22, 2016 3:45:00 PM

Like you've never done that you hypocrite.


Like you've never done that you hypocrite.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Jan 22, 2016 4:18:13 PM

What, using your words to prove you wrong?

GMSRGREAT - nope. that was a conversion to US gallon. I can get 20.4 mpg (USA) highway out of my 2010 5.4 powered F150 if I "hypermile". The guy with the EB uses similar techniques. I know other guys who are lucky to get 18-20 USA mpg out of the EB. They seem to be sensitive to driver input in that regard. My mpg will drop to 18 ish if I drive around 65-70 mph. I got 18.2 (US)on a trip through the Rockies to Calgary. I've gotten 20.4 mpg (US) twice going to Vancouver (well over 500 miles one way) and that is going through very hilly terrain.

@BARFo - run along now and let the North American truck guys do the talking.

"tis better to stay quiet and be thought a dolt then to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

Good to see that GM sent two different specification trucks for the test. Kind of annoying/pointless when in the past the send identical trucks with maybe a slightly different trim or whatever but both with the same engine/drivetrain.

I wouldn't be surprised if the 5.3 picked off stragglers at the back of the pack.

My prediction:
1. GM 6.2l
2. F150 3.5EB
3. GM 5.3l
4. Ram 5.7l
5. Tundra 5.7l

GM offers max tow with both the 5.3 and 6.2. That may be why they sent one of each. They should of got a 5.0 Ford but since the criteria is max tow that would of dropped it from the list.

I want to win

Rolling Can of Beer that sounds out like my dad's 2013 f150 5.0L it don't shift worth a crap.

Another story messed up with LMAO kid posting nonstop comments bout a 3.5L V6 getting one MPG better with less HP and TQ compare to a 6.2L V8 with more HP and TQ. Take the blinders off LMAO kid Ford's V6's suck.

Another story messed up with LMAO kid posting nonstop comments bout a 3.5L V6 getting one MPG better with less HP and TQ compare to a 6.2L V8 with more HP and TQ. Take the blinders off LMAO kid Ford's V6's suck.


Posted by: johnny doe | Jan 23, 2016 10:16:42 AM

You are such a tool. You forget to mention the GM 6.2 with more HP and TQ performs the same as the less HP and TQ 3.5L Ford. With less gearing in the transmission. Rather sad and hilarious at the same time.

Rolling Can of Beer that sounds out like my dad's 2013 f150 5.0L it don't shift worth a crap.


Posted by: johnny doe | Jan 23, 2016 10:12:13 AM

Well it should sound familiar because you two are the same poster. Why are you talking to yourself!

These will be some exciting results. Max towing in a half ton will be a good testament. You will def feel it all behind you but who will keep there composure the best is the question. Interested to see the braking data with max load. Especially max operational slope braking on the backside if this will be included. It will be a good shootout between the 6.2, 3.5 eb and 5.7 tundra i believe.

It's good that the vehicles are tested(?) towing their maximum ratings.

But, I do think PUTC should have a realistic tow test.

What is the average weight most will tow with one of these?

I would think the test that should be done is a 5 000lb tow test.

A 5 000lb tow test might come out with some interesting outcomes.

Even with a 5 000lb trailer you will see a dehydrated performing EcoThirst.

Will Ram be a better tow vehicle or the GMC. Ford definitely wouldn't not be. It lacks the additional mass of the other contenders. Add to this a very thirsty engine, phew, you have a loser straight up.

Most of these trucks will be driven empty or with a small trailer. I do think this is what should be look at more closely.

Added testing for the person looking at buying a pickup. It appears the Bestest is judged by having unrealistic tests that doesn't reflect actual use.

Remember, 75% of pickups are a car/SUV alternative, not a working vehicle. Because if these were working vehicles do you think a person would buy a 1/2 ton pickupto tow 10 000lbs?

Hmmmmm, BARFO so far does not contain the ability to read. I already posted 2 links for this site for a direct comparison between all these trucks towing a smaller trailer. But since his fiat brand did not do so well he continues to question how light can you go before fiat can do well. Some people just do not get it. Talk about a crappppppppy broken record.


Will Ram be a better tow vehicle or the GMC. Ford definitely wouldn't not be. It lacks the additional mass of the other contenders.


Posted by: Big Al from Oz | Jan 23, 2016 3:09:31 PM

Again BARFO reading is key. But you already know that the new F150 is within a few hundred pounds of the GM twins. You constantly bring this up,,,,,,,,,,,,,well until now because it is your latest attempt at your endless Ford bashing attempt.

Wow look at LMAO Kid go, 3 people post then he post 4. This loser is messing up the site. Time for that tool to leave.

Wow look at LMAO Kid go, 3 people post then he post 4. This loser is messing up the site. Time for that tool to leave.


Posted by: johnny doe | Jan 23, 2016 7:27:06 PM

Speaking of a loser that needs to go. You little welfare loser in his section 8 trailer park home needs to go. You offer nothing to offer except constant bashing and pure lies. So you can leave you Obama phone using loser. I hope your food stamps money doesn't run out this month.

@big al, mass without additional weight would not be an issue. Something can have a large mass and wiegh nothing. The f150 however is a little lighter but still not by a large margin. To your pount it would be more beneficial to have a little extra weight on the pickup to pull a max load such as 10000 when a pickup is only half that weight , especially if you have some cross wind action. It would also be a little more beneficial for hard emergency braking.

"Speaking of a loser that needs to go. You little welfare loser in his section 8 trailer park home needs to go. You offer nothing to offer except constant bashing and pure lies. So you can leave you Obama phone using loser. I hope your food stamps money doesn't run out this month."

Damn LMAO kid you shouldn't talk about yourself like that. You should do as George Thorogood once said "Get a haircut and get a real job, clean your act up and don't be a slob. Get it together like your big brother Bob"

Good one johnny welfare doe. You really got me there. I see your 4th grade education is really working out for you.

oilfield4x4,
The 300lbs will not make a huge difference as you point out, but in a tow test it will be noticeable at the margins.

This is why the Titan XD with the Cummins will be a sweet tow platform. It has the mass and plenty of it to out tow any 1/2 pickup.

I believe the manufacturers numbers for towing are for marketing purposes.

I'd bet if I had a aluminium F-150 fitted with the 3.5 EcoThirst towing 10 000lbs everyday it wouldn't last one year and it would be pushing sh!t uphill to better 8mpg.

Even if it was 9 800lbs or whatever the VM Ram can tow I'd bet the Ram would use 1/2 to 2/3 the fuel as the EcoThirst Frod.

So, I believe if you are going to tow with a half ton, I'd buy a VM Ram. So it can only tow a tad under 4 tons. But the reality is not many would ever do this.

A normal person would buy a heavier vehicle, ie, XD Cummins Titan.

Ok BARFO, you the ink the VM diesel would last longer than the Ford 3.5 because it is gas or because it is a Ford engine? Let's hear your reasoning behind this statement.

Many times I will check this site out when I am sitting on the toilet making a statue of Johnny Welfare!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yOlvL37680



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