2017 3/4-Ton Premium Truck Challenge Video: What the Judges Thought

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As you might expect, the judges involved in our upcoming 2017 3/4-Ton Premium Truck Challenge came away from it with plenty of impressions, insights and even a few insults. And why not? They spent almost a thousand miles and untold hours behind the wheels towing, hauling and ferreting out the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the four competitors. Look for the results and full package of stories on Monday. Meanwhile, here's what our judges thought.

Cars.com photos by Angela Conners

 

 

 

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Comments

Ram tows the most, Nissan best ride. Ford is newest design; GM is most reliable. Any questions?

Not hard to see their choice of the four. It may not win the points total but it was clearly what each one of them wanted to take home...

Congrats in advance to Ford.

chev would have got a little beter mpg if it had 20's on instead of the beefy aggressive tires

The big difference between Ram and Ford and GM is you get the high hp and torque in the 3/4 ton trucks of Ford and GM. To get the high numbers in Ram you have to go up to the dually.

It's always a tricky thing trying to figure out what aspects of a comparison test are more important than others. We understand everyone has different reasons for owning a pickup so we try to respect that. We've always weighted each category exactly the same, allowing those interested in the results to make their own judgement by pulling out those tests that are less important to them while weighting others, that are more important to them, with more points. The consequence of that, for better or worse, is that our baseline total scores will very likely be very different from your own--and we're okay with that. Still, it's our hope that everyone gets a good idea how each truck performs and compares with their direct competitors.

The payload capacity on all these are so low. Add a driver, passengers, a full tank of fuel and you are down to 500 lbs payload in the bed. You could barely make it back from a Costco run if you had 5 adults in the cab. The payload is almost on par with half ton pickups.

Since every maker has their own schedule for releasing new and improved models every test contains some vehicles that are much fresher than the others. In this case Ford and Nissan are very fresh while Ram and GM are very old. In fact, since GM is about to cease production of the current model it is clear that they are essentially obsolete. This is nobody's fault, just scheduling. Meanwhile, GM is having to put a ton of cash on the hoods of each truck they move while Ford is not having to bribe their customers nearly as much:
"GM spent 26 percent more in discounts on each Silverado truck than Fiat Chrysler paid per Ram and 85 percent more than Ford allocated for F-Series, according to the Power Information Network data, which J.D. Power doesn’t release to the public."

And "GM is being “especially aggressive on incentives,” Brian Johnson, a Barclays analyst, wrote Monday in a note. The carmaker’s incentive spending on large pickups is at the highest level in data going back to 2012, “and the second highest month isn’t close,” Johnson wrote."

This is from the following article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-27/gm-dials-up-discounts-on-pickups-as-rivals-tread-on-truck-turf

GM is not only competing with the other brands, they are also competing with their upcoming 2018 model. It will be very interesting to see what next year's testing reveals. Meanwhile, if you want a cheap truck check out your local GM dealers.

Why doesn't the Chevy have the trailer camera system? It would be nice to see how it works. In terms of performance it is only between the Chevy and the Ford. But it will be an interesting test for sure. It is sad the 2500 Cummins has nearly the same horsepower as the Duramax from 10 years ago....

@Walt

April 27
DETROIT (Reuters) -

General Motors Co on Friday reported better-than-expected first-quarter net income driven by strong sales of its profitable large pickup trucks and crossovers in the United States, sending its shares up nearly 2 percent in premarket trading.

U.S. sales of Chevrolet trucks and crossovers rose 3.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively, during the quarter, while GMC truck and crossover sales jumped almost 10 percent.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker's pretax margin was 8.2 percent, an improvement of 1.1 percentage points.

Oh my god... The 'cutout' on the front window of the Ford is a design feature and does not give you better visibility than the other trucks. Ford raises the lower window frame so they can add the 'cutout'.

Just look at the mirror position of the Ford versus the other trucks.

As predicted, the lower trim level LTZ has been attacked comparing it to the premium levels of the competitors. The Chevy High Country is the Premium trim level. Also, where is the even higher trim level GMC Denali?

@ Bobsled,

False. A duelly is not required to hit the highest ratings for the Cummins. You must have the Aisen. That means SRW OR DRW in a 3500.

Also, the Cummins performs just fine in the 2500 with 800 ft lbs. you must understand the truck computer will limit the amount of torque available. That means you most likely would not see anuwhere near 900 lbs. The only way around this from a factory truck, is by purchasing a manual. The manual Cummins is rated at 660 ft lbs. the advantage is the operator controls how much torque is applied in first gear (you could have it all if you wanted to). Lastly, it is important to note, the Ram offers 3 different Cummins configurations, all based on the transmission. Shouldn't matter which one you choose, because these trucks all have more than enough power.

Why are you jumping on the Chevy's interior? You are comparing top of the line trucks to a mid- level LTZ. The Chevy is $10,000 less than the Ford. Why aren't you using a High Country or better yet a Denali?

The off center steering wheel thing is really getting old. I have a 2015 GMC Sierra and I don't notice it at all. I guess it's something you notice if your gut rubs on the wheel.

"@Walt

April 27
DETROIT (Reuters) -

General Motors Co on Friday reported better-than-expected first-quarter net income driven by strong sales of its profitable large pickup trucks and crossovers in the United States, sending its shares up nearly 2 percent in premarket trading.

U.S. sales of Chevrolet trucks and crossovers rose 3.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively, during the quarter, while GMC truck and crossover sales jumped almost 10 percent.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker's pretax margin was 8.2 percent, an improvement of 1.1 percentage points."


That is all true. Right now though Ford is relatively weak in cars and GM is weak in trucks, at least as far as what customers are willing to pay for them. That should change for GM with the upcoming redesign. That is why right now I own Ford trucks but GM stock. I just hope that GM pulls off both the design and factory changeovers well. As I recall Ford's profit took a beating after their changeover to aluminum as the it took a while to get production back up and the accountants started charging off the costs associated with the change. GM needs to keep their game up though because the F150 has already been three years in its current form and a major freshening is due for the 2018 models. Now that the cab is shared with the Super Duty line those updates may get added to the Super Duty trucks sooner than three years.

Ford for sure on this one. I was suprised the Ram didnt get more positive comments on the interior, not surprised about the chevy interior, it is very outdated

Bill. how much do you and your 4 buddies weigh to reduce the load capacity from 2,000lbs down to 500. Someone needs to go on diet and skip the stopping at Costco....

I'd take the Ram, cause it does not look like a brick coming at you.

@Walt

GM's impressive Q1 numbers become even more so when you see today's GDP Q1 report: that number was under 1 percent. For Detroit to look good in 2017 the momentum will need to pickup, and Congress only seems interested in getting re elected next year.

I really like the Titan XD, it would be much better though if they give it an exhaust brake and increase the power output to say something like 375hp/650tq. I think that would make the acceleration/towing so much more confident. 310/555 is just not enough when the truck only weighs 400lbs less than a heavy duty truck.

Seriously. its that hard to reach the exhaust brake switch on the Chev? But its more than easy to reach the controls on the Ford's screen? Or the brake control switch on the Ram? What a joke! The seat was too low in the Chev? It has power height control so use it !

I don't believe PUTC has ever tested or reviewed a Chevy High Country, particularly the unit with the saddle color interior. The High Country has been praised by other journalists. What are you fearing guys. The steering column offset is a feature that is designed in as a convenience that allows the driver to more easily enter and exist the cab. It's been on every GM twin I have ever owned. I can never sense it being present unless you go looking for it. Even then, there is no discomfort because of it. Remember, it is designed in as a convenience.

@GMS, I actually dont get that either, how exactly is it more convenient than any other truck? I have no issues getting in any of the big three HD trucks, so explain how that works exactly

It is sad the 2500 Cummins has nearly the same horsepower as the Duramax from 10 years ago....


Posted by: Tim | Apr 28, 2017 8:47:08 AM

Ram gets better MPG and out tows Chevy by a ton.

The off center steering wheel thing is really getting old. I have a 2015 GMC Sierra and I don't notice it at all. I guess it's something you notice if your gut rubs on the wheel.
Posted by: Jack | Apr 28, 2017 10:12:09 AM

I honestly never noticed it until it was pointed out in a Fast Lane Truck video. I drive trucks made by all three and it has never bothered me.

Then again the square wheel wells never bothered me either, not even the Dodges or Jeeps that use similar shapes. Knowing some of the brand loyalists out there, if GM started using round wheel wells, they'd be whining about GM stealing their round wheel well idea ha ha.

That is all true. Right now though Ford is relatively weak in cars and GM is weak in trucks, at least as far as what customers are willing to pay for them. That should change for GM with the upcoming redesign.
Posted by: Walt | Apr 28, 2017 10:21:20 AM
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GM is 'weak' only in the fact that the truck market is so saturated with new trucks that it's getting more expensive to move the Silverado/Sierra 1500's. Especially now that they lack the latest tech gizmos and gimmicks that get guys to trade in their half-paid-off pickup they just bought a couple years ago. Living in the upper midwest, EVERYBODY has a new truck. Those that don't own one, don't want to pay more than $30k for one. They usually end up buying a Ram because the dealers here put a TON of cash on the hood.

__________________________________________________
As I recall Ford's profit took a beating after their changeover to aluminum as the it took a while to get production back up and the accountants started charging off the costs associated with the change.

Posted by: Walt | Apr 28, 2017 10:21:20 AM

We also can't forget the slow sales start the 2015/2016 F-150 had. Dealers were pushing out big incentives on 2015 F-150's with the 2.7EB to get the public to give them a chance. By early 2016 Ford was dumping a huuuuuge numbers of F-150's into fleet sales and by November there were a lot of dealers offering $10k in incentives, likely a huge rush at the end to make sure their famous "best selling 'truck' for xx years" propaganda tagline would remain safe.

I'd take the Ram, cause it does not look like a brick coming at you.
Posted by: Dave | Apr 28, 2017 10:28:25 AM

Real trucks have square bodies.

Great job GM! Out gun from the start with a lower trim, they gotta figure out a way for that cheap plastic Ford to win somehow.

@HemiV8, While you are absolutely right about the fuel economy and "rated" towing capacity, I guarantee that the Duramax will eat the Cummins' lunch when both are towing the 13k maximum of the Chevy. Don't forget that on the Dmax already outpulled the high output Cummins.

Where is the test?

I was about to pull the trigger on a black 2017 Chevy this afternoon but noticed that it had been repainted, noooo!! It wasn't. The sales manager told me to look at another black one and same thing. No way the orange peel on both trucks were outrageous!! They looked like they were painted with a roller.
I could have done a better job with an HVLP. Didn't buy the truck.

@GMS, I actually dont get that either, how exactly is it more convenient than any other truck?

Posted by: Nitro | Apr 28, 2017 2:45:20 PM

Getting into the Chevy is simply easier. Go park a f-150 and silverado side by side, tilt the steering column full up and go sit in each one. Find out for yourself.

Ford for the win, easily.

I didn't care for the offset steering wheel that much in my last chebby

I'm sure these so-called hack automotive journalists will all give the ford unrealistic marks, just like they did in the work truck challenge. The bias is disgusting. This website should go under.

FORD KING OF RECALLS!

Ford’s Third Recall In A Week Affects 2017 Ford F-250s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei1WdHXvOsM

For those commenting and the 'reviewer' in the video. The offset steering wheel is not unique to GM. If you do a Google search you'll find pictures and post about this offset design in Mecedes Benz, BMW, Audi, VW, Toyota, Subaru, and even Keep.

Yeah and in your google search Mercedes offset steering you will see that an offset steering wheel is something that definitely annoys people and prevents people feeling ergonomically right and enjoying their car.

All I'm saying is it's not unique to GM. That means they did it for a reason and not some colossal mistake. Given that GM, MB, Audi, and others have used this my guess is there is probably something to it.



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