What's the Best Half-Ton Truck for 2018?

2018 Half-Ton Challenge Pickup Trucks Group Shot

By Aaron Bragman

It's been a big year so far in the pickup truck business — three of the top vehicles in the market are brand-new. These redesigned challengers have been unleashed into the red-hot full-size pickup class in the hopes of dethroning — or at least taking a big bite out of — America's perennial sales favorite, the Ford F-150.

2018 Best Half-Ton Truck Challenge

Results | Bed Features | How We Tested

Five out of six automakers accepted our invitation to this 2018 Best Half-Ton Truck Challenge, sending us what they deemed their best half-ton pickup; we did not have a price cap. The redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 is making a play for the high-end market by introducing one of the nicest interiors you can get in an American vehicle — any American vehicle. The redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is trying to entice loyal repeat customers by delivering a vehicle that drives much better than the old one. GMC's new 2019 Sierra 1500 brings some new technology to the party with a slick new tailgate and a carbon-fiber bed. The 2019 Nissan Titan continues to refine itself, now with a better multimedia screen and a Fender high-end audio system. And, of course, the best-selling truck in the class, the Ford F-150, carries over relatively unchanged for 2018 with its all-aluminum construction and turbocharged V-6 engine.

Why didn't Toyota accept our invite on behalf of the 2019 Tundra? We're guessing it's because the truck hasn't been significantly updated in years, and in the last big half-ton test we did in 2015, the recently refreshed model placed a distant fifth out of five competitors. The Nissan Titan light duty, however, has never participated in one of our shootouts — only its bigger brother the Titan XD has — so the new Nissan was due for a shot at the title.

The Judges

To evaluate the latest and greatest half-ton trucks, we brought along three expert judges:

  • Mark Williams, PickupTrucks.com editor: Williams has been driving pickups and 4x4s for more than 30 years, reporting on all aspects of pickup trucks and running PickupTrucks.com for the last eight years.
  • Aaron Bragman, Cars.com Detroit bureau chief: Bragman has been a truck reviewer for more than a decade, logging thousands of miles towing and hauling as well as reporting on the class and industry.
  • Andy Mikonis, regular PickupTrucks.com contributor: Mikonis has been a professional car and truck reviewer for more than 18 years, driving up to 100 new vehicles annually; he's also owned six full-size pickups and a few truck-based SUVs.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Bed

Testing and Scoring

Nashville, Tenn. — aka Music City — where they write songs about trucks like these served as ground zero for our week of testing. We had 16 empirical categories to score, of which 11 were measured through testing. These included tests of acceleration, braking, cabin noise levels and fuel economy while towing. We even threw the trucks on a dyno and measured exactly how much horsepower and torque each one was putting out. Combined with our subjective tests that had our judges rating areas like interior quality, value, cabin storage, visibility and driving dynamics, we arrived at a score for each truck. Empirical scores could stack up to a total of 1,600 points, while the subjective judges' scores added in a possible 600 more, for a total possible perfect score of 2,200 points. None of the trucks scored perfectly, of course, but it was enlightening to see where each of these models had its strengths and weaknesses.

To learn more about how we conducted our Challenge testing, see our How We Tested article. To find out how each of these trucks was equipped, see the What You Get chart below.

Here's how each of the five trucks fared in our tests.

 

No. 5: 2019 Nissan Titan Pro-4X, 1,887 points

2019 Nissan Titan Towing

Our Test Vehicle

As-tested price: $54,190

Equipment: 390-horsepower, 5.6-liter Endurance V-8; seven-speed automatic transmission; part-time four-wheel drive; Bilstein off-road-tuned shock absorbers; electronic locking rear differential

Rear axle ratio: 2.94:1

Torque: 394 pounds-feet

Towing capacity: 9,380 pounds

Observed fuel economy, towing: 12.4 mpg

The verdict: Every successive Titan gets a little bit better, but the 2019 is still outclassed, outgunned and out-teched by the domestic competitors. Hampered by an older transmission and off-road gearing, the Nissan Titan scored tops only in the empty-bed 60-to-zero-mph braking test.

Analysis: The lone off-road-oriented entry in this test of on-road-focused pickups, the Titan's Pro-4X trim level didn't give it a disadvantage it in our testing. It was strong, capable and felt the most trucklike of all the entrants — the rest eschewed trucklike feel for carlike comfort. It did fall behind the pack due to its seven-speed transmission (its competitors had eight- or 10-speed models), tighter cabin space and a multimedia system that's improved for 2019 but still features a smaller touchscreen than all the competitors.

2019 Nissan Titan Center Display

The Good

Driving dynamics: Everyone liked driving the Titan (when it wasn't towing), citing its civilized road manners and well-damped ride quality. "The drive experience here surprised me. I've been a fan of the Pro-4X for off-roading from the start, but I forgot how nice it daily drives on pavement," Williams noted.

Interior layout: While not the most modern interior, nor loaded up with the latest tech, the Nissan Titan still featured a well-thought-out cabin with big, legible gauges and easy-to-reach controls. Mikonis certainly was taken by it: "The leather on the steering wheel is nice. Even rear-seat passengers are treated to soft elbow points, seat heat, nice stitching, power points and USB ports."

Braking performance: The Titan scored top marks in only one empirical test: the empty-bed 60-to-zero-mph emergency braking test, where it beat the last-place Ram 1500 by a whopping 20 feet. Everyone praised its strong brakes out on the street: "Impressive brake feel on both ends of the spectrum," Williams said. "Very easy to modulate when looking to scrub just a touch of speed and when you have to dynamite the brakes."

The Bad

It's heavy: The Nissan Titan was the portliest truck in our test, which is amazing considering the amount of equipment both Ram and Chevrolet crammed into their respective trucks. The Titan weighed almost 6,000 pounds and had a 7,300-pound gross vehicle weight rating, but only a 1,360-pound payload capacity. Put five 200-pound guys in the cab and it doesn't leave much payload capacity for the bed.

Struggles when towing: That big Endurance V-8 engine has decent power, but sometimes has issues using it when you need it most. "I got into one tight spot merging when towing and didn't have the power to get out," Mikonis said. "It was working hard to pull that trailer; I wouldn't recommend it for frequently towing heavier loads like that — at least not up and down mountains." Fingers point to the Titan's 2.94:1 final drive ratio as the likely culprit.

Front-seat comfort: All the judges agreed that the Titan's seating position was different than that of the other trucks. The Nissan's seat bottoms have the driver sitting very high in the cabin, and they don't lower sufficiently for comfort. One of our taller judges found them to be intolerable: "The front seats were a deal breaker for me. I couldn't adjust the angle of the bottom to not feel upward pressure on my thighs," Mikonis said. "I couldn't get comfortable with the head restraints, either."

Research the 2019 Nissan Titan | Search Inventory | Photo Gallery

 

No. 4: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country, 1,952 points

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior

Our Test Vehicle

As-tested price: $67,420

Equipment: 420-hp, 6.2-liter Ecotec V-8; 10-speed automatic transmission; part-time four-wheel drive; head-up display; automatic emergency braking; LED headlamps; power up/down tailgate; moonroof

Rear axle ratio: 3.23:1

Torque: 460 pounds-feet

Towing capacity: 9,560 pounds

Calculated fuel economy, towing: 11.9 mpg

The verdict: A welcome refinement and improvement over the old Silverado 1500, with dramatically better ergonomics and road manners, but the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is let down by a luxury trim interior that's uncompetitive.

Analysis: The Chevy delivered some decent empirical scores thanks to its 6.2-liter V-8 and well-matched 10-speed automatic transmission, delivering the highest dyno-tested horsepower and torque numbers. Yet it felt more like a mid-pack player in terms of acceleration and braking tests. But the knockout punch? Sure, it has a sleeker and cleaner design than the previous gen 1500, but our judges were unimpressed by the truck's new interior appointments. For a luxury truck charging luxury money, the new digs pale in comparison to the crosstown rival Ram 1500.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Engine

The Good

Big engine, big power: Everyone loved the big 6.2-liter V-8's massive power and torque. Empty, the thing roars around town with basso thunder; loaded and towing, it's like there isn't even a trailer there. "The powertrain was a huge standout for me — gobs of torquey thrust off the line and butter-smooth shifts at wide-open throttle," Williams said. Mikonis agreed: "For me, it's all about having the torque to handle a load drama-free."

Top-notch towing tech: Chevy's new trailering app makes it a cinch for people new to towing to learn how to hook everything up. It provides all kinds of camera angles through the backup camera, a checklist to make sure you've done everything you need to do and even an automatic light-checking function so you can check the lights on your own after connection. "I'm particularly impressed with the new trailering app and a lot of the associated tools that go along with it," Bragman said. "The cameras and the content make hooking up a trailer easier than it normally is."

Outstanding handling dynamics: The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was the athlete of the group thanks to its massive engine and big 22-inch wheels. "Over good road surfaces, the suspension is impressively smooth and quiet, and it's very impressive when pushed around corners — not something you typically associate with half-ton pickups," said Williams. Bragman agreed: "I really liked driving the Chevy. It has a well-tuned chassis and some of the best steering feel I've ever experienced in a pickup."

The Bad

Not nice enough inside: Judges were universally disappointed with Chevy's High Country trim appointments. "The interior has a lot of problems, from cheap trim — why is the door handle a two-piece plastic affair with unpleasant sharp edges? — to odd placement for the fake wood trim. It's all below your knees, where you can't see it anyway," Bragman said. "Underwhelmed by the High Country trim," agreed Mikonis. "You are welcomed in by chintzy plastic covers on the sills. I found uneven stitching on the seats. And the brown panel on the passenger-side dash looked like a giant turkey leg."

Not enough information: Chevy continues to believe that truck buyers only need so much information in the gauge cluster and no more — but we disagree. "Why have a stunningly well-matched and muscular engine and transmission if you're not going to allow your customers to see how it's working?" Williams asked. "We need to see what the tranny is doing and what gear it is in. Period."

Rough ride on bad roads: The price you pay for fashion. Some judges found that the 22-inch wheels on this High Country model imparted a rough ride felt in the cabin that wasn't present in its sibling GMC, which had smaller wheels and taller tires. On top of that, we suspected that the wheels had an impact on how the Chevy towed: "I would save the money and pass on the 22-inch wheels. I think they softened the springs for ride quality, causing them to sag when towing," Mikonis said.

Research the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Search Inventory | Photo Gallery

 

No. 3: 2019 Ram 1500 Limited, 1,976 points

2019 Ram 1500 Towing

Our Test Vehicle

As-tested price: $68,390

Equipment: 395-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8; eight-speed automatic transmission; part-time four-wheel drive; eTorque 48-volt mild-hybrid system; four-corner adjustable air suspension; RamBox cargo storage; Harman Kardon Premium Audio; adaptive cruise control; full-speed collision warning; electronic locking rear axle; panoramic moonroof

Rear axle ratio: 3.92:1

Torque: 410 pounds-feet

Towing capacity: 11,080 pounds

Calculated fuel economy, towing: 12.1 mpg

The verdict: With an interior that shames Cadillac and Lincoln, this may be the best American luxury vehicle you can buy, period — but all that swag prevents the Ram 1500 from being the best pickup it can be, leaving it struggling to catch up to more powerful competitors.

Analysis: The Ram's interior is a stunner — from the tactile feel of its wood trim to the massive, eye-popping touchscreen. It's obvious where Ram spent the development money. It won over our judges, who subjectively scored it as their favorite pickup of the test. It's still too heavy, however. It took almost a full second more from zero-to-60 mph than the quickest truck, recorded the longest stopping distances and delivered the worst payload capacity in the test.

2019 Ram 1500 Cockpit

The Good

Gorgeous interior: It's no exaggeration to call this one of the nicest interiors in the auto industry today. It's nicer than any American luxury brand and rivals the Germans in fit, finish and material quality. "The Limited's interior materials are stunning," Mikonis said. "I'm glad to see Ram continuing to showcase what they can do with interiors. It's too nice for anything beyond personal use. This one would definitely be the first choice for a transcontinental trip."

Hemi performance: It may not be the most powerful motor in the test, but damned if it doesn't sound like it is. "It sounds so gloriously mean," Bragman said. "And its power delivery is smooth, smooth, smooth." Around town, without a load, the Hemi V-8 is a sweet engine with plenty of usable torque and an engine bay design that we ranked as the best for most easily reaching serviceable items.

RamBox utility: Ram may not be reaching into new bed technology territory like GMC is, but the improvements to the RamBox storage bins are notable. "The small upgrades they've made to the new RamBox are subtle but impressively executed: lighting, 115-volt three-prong plug and pressure-touch latches. Another feature I wish was available on every pickup ever made," Williams said.

The Bad

Body panel fit: Maybe it was just that our test truck was an early production model, but the panel fit and finish on the Ram 1500 was notably poor. Mikonis was especially disappointed: "There was a significantly uneven gap between the grille and the bumper cover. Going around the truck, there was inconsistent fit between doors and fenders/body, and uneven gaps side to side."

Pricey luxury: Both in sticker price and performance — this was the most expensive truck in our test — but we weren't really upset about it. It's one of the few luxury vehicles we've driven, regardless of type, that actually feels like it's worth the cost that the manufacturer is charging. "Not surprisingly, this was the priciest player in our contest, and I understand there actually is a value argument to be made here," said Williams. "Still, this level of luxury seems designed for people who don't want or need a truck." The limited payload capacity seems to back that up.

Invisible eTorque system: This model included the $2,645 eTorque mild-hybrid system (it's standard on the Ram 1500 V-6 but optional on the Hemi V-8 truck) but not one of the judges could tell if it was doing anything. It's supposed to net 1 or 2 more mpg, but driving styles vary so widely, it was difficult to determine if the system was conserving fuel. We'd love something, anything, that demonstrates the system's function in motion — a power-flow screen on that fancy multimedia display or a light on the gauge cluster that lets us know when it's adding electric torque, something to prove we got our money's worth that doesn't require calculating its effect monthly at the gas pump.

Research the 2019 Ram 1500 | Search Inventory | Photo Gallery

 

No. 2: 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat, 2,005 points

2018 Ford F-150 On Track

Our Test Vehicle

As-tested price: $61,030

Equipment: 375-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6; 10-speed automatic transmission; part-time four-wheel drive; Technology Package; blind spot information system with trailer detection; B&O Play Premium Audio; leather interior; Pro Trailer Backup Assist; power telescoping tow mirrors

Rear axle ratio: 3.55:1

Torque: 470 pounds-feet

Towing capacity: 12,800 pounds

Calculated fuel economy, towing: 13.2 mpg

The verdict: No longer the new kid on the block, the Ford F-150's lightweight construction and strong motor helped it turn in a solid showing against the newcomers, proving just how right Ford got this truck for its 2015 redesign.

Analysis: Just 13 points separated the F-150 from the winner of this competition, with the Ford scoring strongly in towing, fuel economy and payload capacity thanks to its lightweight construction. Judges liked its driving dynamics and amenities, but they had issues with its seat comfort and value proposition — the Lariat was one of the least expensive of the group (technically a mid-level trim), but it did not offer as many safety and technology features found in its more expensive competitors.

2018 Ford F-150 Interior Controls

The Good

Information presentation: Unlike Chevy, Ford doesn't mind providing its customers with all the details about what their truck is doing. From always showing the driver what gear the transmission is in to the best-in-class surround-view camera tech, Ford keeps the driver informed. "Maybe Ford customers like more info than Chevy customers, but if that's the case, Ford definitely played to their audience," Bragman said. "There's tons of usable data from the F-150's gauges and screens."

Towing champ: The combination of the powerful EcoBoost engine and smooth 10-speed automatic transmission made the F-150 one of our favorites for towing. "It's as if Ford is dumping the money in the right places here. Everything about towing shows extra effort — best towing mirrors, best surround-view camera setup, best max towing and gross combined weight rating numbers by far," Williams said.

Multiple drive modes: While the GM trucks had selectable drive modes, they didn't seem to affect the truck very much. Not so on the Ford F-150, with its five driving modes that transform how the truck operates. Williams was particularly smitten with this feature: "The five-level selectable transmission settings (that also impact steering feel and throttle sensitivity) are a huge standout feature. I hope every pickup truck I ever drive for the rest of my life has the same feature." Put the Ford F-150 into Sport mode and it becomes a legitimately fun sport truck. In Tow/Haul mode, it was stout and solid, barely registering the presence of the dump trailer full of cement board.

Fuel economy: The EcoBoost engine isn't known for being particularly fuel-efficient when towing a load, but when the truck is empty, it can do quite well. "Given our past experience when doing heavy towing with the EcoBoost, I was really surprised how well it performed when towing our dump beds through the Buffalo Valley," Williams reported. "Maybe with the addition of the new 10-speed transmission, we can hope for better mpg results from the F-150 twin-turbo option when empty and loaded."

The Bad

Seat comfort: Our judges differed greatly on the shape of the F-150's seats, with Mikonis rating them the best in the test and Bragman calling them out as odd and awful. "The seats may have been the most comfortable in the test," said Mikonis. "I've had issues with the head restraints on other Ford products, but not these. The cooling function worked the best, too." Bragman wasn't having it, however: "There's a lump in the seatback that just won't deflate enough, and the seat bottoms feel short. The combination of the two makes me feel like I'm always sitting on the edge of the seat."

Nice leather, cheap plastics: Kudos to Ford's interior stylists for choosing some dramatic colors for the F-150, but some of the material choices leave much to be desired. The seat leather is good, but the plastics on the dash, doors and steering wheel feel cheap, especially at this price level. It's not just on the inside, either — step on the Lariat's running boards, and they creak and flex, proving that they're just chrome-clad plastic.

Challenging technology: Ford's Sync 3 may have been a massive improvement over the company's prior multimedia system, but it's starting to show its age versus the latest from GM and Ram. "The Ford feels like it's not user-friendly," Mikonis said. "There's no one-touch/one-swipe function on the windshield wiper switch. The array of climate-control buttons is overcomplicated; the fan-speed buttons are too small and at the very bottom of the cluster of climate-control buttons. The preset buttons for the radio take up a lot of real estate. The center console screen graphics look dated, and I found the home button hard to hit when moving. And I couldn't smoothly slot the transmission into Drive without going past it to the Manual setting."

Bed access: This was a weird one. While every other truck had some sort of feature to help you easily get into the truck's bed — power running boards on the Chevy, GMC's MultiPro Tailgate on the Sierra, a kick plate on the Ram and Nissan — the brand that invented the tailgate with a step didn't have on one this $61,000 truck. The GMC MultiPro Tailgate is standard on its mid-level SLT trim — why isn't Ford's integrated tailgate step standard here?

Research the 2018 Ford F-150 | Search Inventory | Photo Gallery

 

No. 1: 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT, 2,018 points

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Exterior

Our Test Vehicle

As-tested price: $63,040

Equipment: 420-hp, 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V-8; 10-speed automatic transmission; part-time four-wheel drive; MultiPro Tailgate; Max Trailering Package; Bose Premium Audio; 20-inch wheels; power moonroof; Trailer Camera Package

Rear axle ratio: 3.42:1

Torque: 460 pounds-feet

Towing capacity: 12,260 pounds

Calculated fuel economy, towing: 12.8 mpg

The verdict: GMC's redesigned Sierra 1500 is the quickest, strongest truck in this test, made better by the inclusion of some novel new technology.

Analysis: The new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 turned in some positively stunning acceleration numbers thanks to its big 6.2-liter V-8 and transmission gearing, but it also came in tops in braking performance when loaded to max payload. The interior suffered from the same malaise as the Chevrolet, it but wasn't judged as harshly as the SLT trim isn't meant to be a luxury truck. It wasn't the judges' subjective favorite, but its strong empirical test results pushed it over the edge to win our comparison test.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Tailgate

The Good

Powertrain perfection: The judges were pretty sure that the powertrain combination in the Sierra — 6.2-liter V-8, 10-speed auto, max towing package — is what won the day for GMC. "This truck was the perfect combination for this test," Mikonis said. "The Sierra was my favorite truck for the types of driving we were doing." Williams agreed: "The 6.2 V-8 mated to the 10-speed does things effortlessly, instantly empowering the driver. The clear separator for the GMC is the towing package, which gave it the bigger rear axle, better final drive and tires, and the bigger payload and GCW numbers. In the end, that's probably what pushed it ahead."

Panel fit and build quality: Williams noted that the Sierra was screwed together better than any of the trucks in the test and was notably better than the Silverado, despite being made in the same factory on the same assembly line.

MultiPro Tailgate wonders: When GMC first showed the new MultiPro multiposition tailgate, we were skeptical of its usefulness, but not anymore. It's a tailgate, it's a bed extender, it's a work surface, it's a step into the bed — the thing is genuinely useful. "I caught our photographer using the MultiPro Tailgate as a desk, completely spontaneously," Bragman said. "I've used it to haul loads of randomly shaped stuff, too, and it really does work." And it's standard on the mid-range SLT model.

The Bad

Same interior as the Silverado: While the GMC Sierra's exterior styling is substantially different than the Silverado, that didn't carry over to the interior. "The layout is fine, but at least make the buttons different," Williams said. The SLT interior really isn't all that different in materials quality from the supposedly lux Silverado High Country, Bragman noted. "The leather isn't any worse; the wood trim is still fake; and you're missing the head-up display, but you've saved around $4,000 off the sticker price, so it evens out," he said.

MultiPro Tailgate worries: As cool as the new tailgate is, it's made up of a lot of pieces, parts and fiddly bits that weren't screwed together as well as we'd like. "I'm curious how people will receive the MultiPro Tailgate due to the fact that there are so many moving parts in there, with extra latches and seals that need to keep out ice, dust and water," Williams said. "It has value, but more parts and pieces could mean more expensive repairs." We also noted a potential issue with the tailgate: If you leave your hitch ball in the hitch and activate both of the tailgate panels without guiding it down with your hand, it will slam hard into the ball, potentially denting the top panel of the tailgate.

Premium fuel: The price you pay for having that big engine doesn't just happen at the dealership: It's going to happen at the pump every time you fill up and decide to use Premium. The 6.2-liter Ecotec3 suggests premium fuel, adding to its expense if you so choose. While its mid-pack fuel-economy numbers seemed respectable, you'll could be paying more per fill-up than most of the other trucks depending on how you drive.

Outward visibility: "One thing GM didn't change was the bunkerlike cabin visibility," Bragman said. There's a big, imposing dash in front of you, combined with a blocky, upright hood and a short windshield. "The mirrors were suitable for towing, but their wide bases and the thick A-pillars add up to a large forward blind spot," added Mikonis. "Also, the bottom of the rear side window frame kicks up at the rear accentuating the rear blind spot." In short, not the best outward visibility in this pickup truck.

Just like in our 2018 One-Ton Heavy-Duty Truck Challenge, the judges all subjectively picked the Ram as their favorite, but the numbers tipped the scoring in favor of a GM product. This time, however, it's the new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT crew-cab half ton that's won the top honors.

The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500's combination of impressive performance results along with a spacious, well-equipped cabin; a monster of a powertrain; and some fetching new looks put it on top for this Challenge. It performs better than its luxury Chevrolet sibling, is just as nice inside, has some unique and useful tailgate tech, and is even less expensive to boot.

If you're looking for a luxury vehicle, the Ram 1500 can't be beat, and if you want a Tonka truck, the Nissan Pro-4X is a hoot. The Ford F-150 is a solid choice for someone who wants all-around performance. But if you're looking for a workhorse that combines style, ability, new technology and value, the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 is our new champ.

Research the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 | Search Inventory | Photo Gallery

More From PickupTrucks.com:

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry

2018 Half-Ton Challenge Results Chart
 

 

 

Comments

Any GM truck you buy with a 6.2L is number #1.

If you consider highest fuel costs per mile driven, it is indeed #1. In sales it's not even close to the volume engine for GM, makes a guy wonder why.
It is the #1 engine GM supplies for testing reviews, also makes a guy wonder why.

Anybody see this commercial on the History channel last weekend?

https://youtu.be/SR_mGhT2iLM

Best truck commercial in a long time.

Good job, Ford!

If you consider highest fuel costs per mile driven, it is indeed #1. In sales it's not even close to the volume engine for GM, makes a guy wonder why.
It is the #1 engine GM supplies for testing reviews, also makes a guy wonder why.

Rodney, I agree with what you are saying about the 6.2, although I am a fan of the engine, I just would not want to put out the extra $ per gallon of fuel (although premium is recommended, not required). GM often supplies this engine for competitions, because they would like to win the competitions...the 5.3 would not fare as well. Unfortunately, you can only get the 6.2 in top trim levels, otherwise they would sell a lot more of them. I think at this point, I would either get the 5.0 Ford, or the 5.3 GM...no premium fuel, and both get good fuel economy.

Except for Nissan, all The competitors used carryover engines. I guess technically you could say Ram added ETorq. So here again, all Toyota would need to do is update a few things and it probably would have been at least in the middle of the pack ahead of Nissan and competing more with the Chevy or Ram. A more fuel efficient transmission, better suspension for towing and definitely move the starter from inside the engine out to where it can be changed by an average Joe. Ford and GM are the top dogs but I don’t understand why the other three aren’t doing more to be truly competitive. Seems fishy to me.

Can't argue too much with the results here. I owned a 2019 Ram for a total of 6 months, what an absolute piece of garbage truck. It leaked water on the inside, had endless electronic glitches and failures, and the proverbial last straw was a clunk in the suspension that FCA could not fix. Their quality sucks, their service sucks, and quite frankly, if you took away the beauty of interior there is not much to write home about with the mechanical package. I bought a new Sierra AT4 with the 6,2 and 10 speed. So far the huge difference between this and my old Ram is in the driving, the GM feels as if had plenty of engineering done to provide a better driving feel. The whole truck feels more responsive, and much MUCH more powerful than the Ram. As a bonus, I'm getting about 2mpg better too!

@ Mark

Are those dyno figures correct? The RPMs and tallies seem off from other dyno runs. Maybe misprint?

Cheers.

@ town & country; my neighbor had a '11 RAM & was a great truck at first but problems started around 40 000 miles & never stopped, he finally got rid of it to some poor sucker...no wonder it made No.1 on this list;

https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/research/this-is-the-least-reliable-car-in-the-industry/ar-BBPxco6?ocid=spartandhp

The Ford guys are always fooled by shiny metal skin and power.

The RAM guys are always fooled by the luxury interior(excepting Cummins RAMs).

And the GM guys actually enjoy a truck for being a truck--you know, the word "truck" actually means the platform that carries stuff.

The bed, the chasis, the reliability, the brakes, the steering, the tailgate, the suspension, the power management(not just the power), and the load dynamics.

For now, and for a long tine prior, the GMs are for the non fools, and the rest are for Ford and RAM(excepting Cummins, of course).

Curious that Full s&it only, Ford Drools and just the fake truth hasn't chimed in on the results. Maybe they're taking time to put together a sad defense of another #2 finish against a GM.


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Nov 12, 2018 12:25:10 PM

awwwww did you miss me

good job to Mark and the boys, this is the biggest reason i come here, love the way you guys do testing

I believe PUTC and other truck media sites let the manufacturers off easy. And it's not hard to see why. The guys at TFL gave an honest review of the Subaru outback and look at what happened, Subaru stopped sending them cars to test. They had to end up buying one. The manufacturers talk a big game but they're really sensitive to criticism. I've watched interviews with chief designers and department heads and seen how the interviewer has to tip toe around the egos and swallow the ubiquitous marketing propaganda these guys feed them. You'll never know the truth about a truck until you've owned it well past the warranty expiration.

No. 4: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country, 1,952 points


"The new Silverado will be a game changer!!"------TNTGMC

It’s game changer....

In the minor leagues

looking back at 2016 dyno results by PUTC, the 360hp/420tq ecoboost dynoed at 305hp/347 tq. how does a truck that makes 50 more tq at the crank end up with 67rwtq less than what the 2016 dyno'd at?

https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/01/whats-the-best-light-duty-truck-for-towing-2016-texas-truck-showdown.html

My reactions scrolling down slowly:

5. Nissan Titan......(silent) "yes...."

4. Chevy Silverado......(more silent) "wtf?? another biased review??"

3. Ram 1500...... YES!! The GMC beat the Ram!! Yes!! (my whole study hall looks at me)

........nervously scrolling down. Please Santa, all I want for Christmas this year is a GMC victory so I can post childish gibberish smack under my multiple usernames......aw man.... scrolling a little further.........

2. Ford F-150...... YES!! YES!!! YES!!! I haven't said yes that loudly or that many times in a row since my sister snuck into my bedroom at 2 a.m. last year!! YES!! YES!! YES!!.....woah, flashback...

1. GMC Sieraa..... YES!! YES!! YES!!!

Want a good laugh? Read this link on reliability!!

https://www.cheatsheet.com/automobiles/the-pickup-trucks-with-the-worst-reliability-ratings-for-2019.html/

@ fourloko

“ looking back at 2016 dyno results by PUTC, the 360hp/420tq ecoboost dynoed at 305hp/347 tq. how does a truck that makes 50 more tq at the crank end up with 67rwtq less than what the 2016 dyno'd at?

https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/01/whats-the-best-light-duty-truck-for-towing-2016-texas-truck-showdown.html


And look at the max torque RPM for the 2019 Ram in new test on the dyno - 5200rpm? And 5150rpm for the Nissan???

I would love to Mark explain more about the dyno results

My truck is Ford F-150 eco super cab. When I bought it I was still doing hay and real work. It has been a good rig.

I have retired from the hay business but still use a pickup a lot and just don't tow as much. With that in mind it is RAM all the way, which is what I am seeing what other guys are deciding as well. They are selling the 65k+ trucks as fast as they can get them in my neighborhood. All of the trucks are so powerful it is just silly. Oh, and yes, I test drove the best of the best of each.

Any GM truck you buy with a 6.2L is number #1.


Posted by: TNTGMC | Nov 12, 2018 6:33:29 PM
——————————

Obviously a lie. The Chevy Silverado High Country, with a 6.2L, came in second to last.

Rather pathetic for a brand new design. Barely beat the last place Nissan Titan.

You know the Ford fan girls got their panties all twisted when then start posting as someone else. The GM 6.2 is the most powerful engine in this test and it delivered.

I know who I am. Do you know who you are?

The GM 6.2 is the most powerful engine in this test and it delivered.


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Nov 13, 2018 4:59:39 PM

Only because of premium fuel. Run regular unleaded and it’s power advantage disappears. And it’s already test worst mileage becomes even more of a laughable measurement.

The manufacturers talk a big game but they're really sensitive to criticism...Posted by: MLS956 | Nov 13, 2018

True, but the press can be really destructive.

And they can be clueless. I'm reminded of some of the awful cars that Motor Trend has giving the COTY award to during the last 50 years. So many reviews have a hidden agenda.

And it’s already test worst mileage becomes even more of a laughable measurement...Posted by: Brawndo | Nov 13, 2018

@brawndo

You are laughing alone.

Most published reviews (and most personal reviews) of the 6.2 GM engine deliver glowing praise. Not much laughing that I hear.

Worst mileage in this test. In your old age, did you forget reading that already?

No doubt the Dyno results are a bit wonky. Hopefully an explanation is forthcoming.

Two years ago, pickuptrucks.com did a comparison on fuel economy of Ford/Chevy/GMC/Ram/Toyota. In that test the GMC 6.2 liter won the towing mpg test as well as the unloaded mpg test. On the unloaded hwy mpg test, the GMC returned 23.9 miles per gallon...this was before the vehicle dropped 400 pounds, gained the 10 speed transmission and before the new version of cylinder deactivation. Ford also did well in test with the 3.5, but Ram and Toyota were well behind. See link:

https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/01/texas-truck-showdown-2016-towing-mileage-test/comments/page/2/#comments


The GM 6.2 is the most powerful engine in this test and it delivered.


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Nov 13, 2018 4:59:39 PM

Only because of premium fuel. Run regular unleaded and it’s power advantage disappears. And it’s already test worst mileage becomes even more of a laughable measurement.


Posted by: Brawndo | Nov 13, 2018 7:51:11 PM

I doubt this is the original brawndo.

Probably frank crushing again.

Having owned two 6.2 gm’s now in the last 7 years, I can assure you premium is recommended only. The current motor has 190k on it and runs fine on any fuel. I would recommend at least 89 octane towing or in higher ambient temperatures of 80’s or higher. The motor does tow better with premium or mid grade. It also tends to dog out a little when temps get in the 80’s on 87 octane. I’ve also found it runs fine on e15. No noticeable mileage or power reduction.

Doesn’t the eco boost recommend premium as well???

The 6.2 is not a factor in winning. Two trucks had a 6.2. one was first and one was fourth. The difference was the tailgate. This was won by a freaken tailgate.

Two years ago, pickuptrucks.com did a comparison on fuel economy of Ford/Chevy/GMC/Ram/Toyota. In that test the GMC 6.2 liter won the towing mpg test as well as the unloaded mpg test. On the unloaded hwy mpg test, the GMC returned 23.9 miles per gallon...this was before the vehicle dropped 400 pounds, gained the 10 speed transmission and before the new version of cylinder deactivation. Ford also did well in test with the 3.5, but Ram and Toyota were well behind. See link:

https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/01/texas-truck-showdown-2016-towing-mileage-test/comments/page/2/#comments

Posted by: Texas1836 | Nov 13, 2018 11:48:49 PM

They also tested the smaller engines which got worse than the unrealistic numbers posted in the link you provided. The Ford 2.7 and Chevy 5.3 got better mpg with 1,500 payload than they did empty....ummm yeah, okay. This test is bogus. How does the Chevy finish so far behind the GMC? That alone is laughable. They're either 1-2 or there 3-4. This site has zero credibility. It used to pick the Powerstroke in all it's comparisons even though it got beat handily by the Duramax and the GM fans cried foul. Now the Powerstroke and Duramax are within tenths and the GM truck wins every shootout. The same GM people who used to complain now gloat and say how unbiased this site is. The 3.5 Eco only yielding 280hp and tq? C'mon, that should have set a red flag for anyone who has previously dyno'ed that engine. Whole test is a farce. You all pick the Ram, but give it 3rd place after you found ways to get the highest bidder into 1st.

https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/02/texas-truck-showdown-2016-mpg-mileage-test.html

The 6.2 is not a factor in winning. Two trucks had a 6.2. one was first and one was fourth. The difference was the tailgate. This was won by a freaken tailgate.

Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 14, 2018 6:42:47 AM

The GMC had the towing package with 3:42 rear gears vs the Silvy 3:23. Interesting, the GM twins had the highest ratio rear gears among all the trucks and still out accelerated the others. Just the fake truth, are you sure the 6.2 isn't a winning factor or are you still sore about the Ford seeing only the GM taillights during testing.

For nearly everything, I would agree with the judges that the Ram was probably the best • feeling • truck of the bunch; I've been quite surprised by just how good FCA's Jeep products have been over the last decade, despite the early issues caused by the former Daimler match-up.

On the other hand, considering how much I like the feel of the Jeeps' brakes, I'm concerned about the Rams' coming across worse than the others, even if not by all that much. Where the judges claimed the Ram's brakes felt soft, the Jeep brakes are remarkably smooth and even, with very strong stopping power for their types. I honestly would have expected the RAM to have similar feel since, at least with the Wrangler Unlimited, the size and weight aren't all THAT much lower. I can state from first-hand experience that I like the FEEL of the FCA brakes better than my Colorado's as it is much easier to modulate the pressure for a smooth stop with little 'bounce' to the nose once stopped.

So the GMC wins with the same interior that hurt the Chevy so much?? Both GM trucks showed up with the same 6.2. Not sure how this worked out.

So the GMC wins with the same interior that hurt the Chevy so much?? Both GM trucks showed up with the same 6.2. Not sure how this worked out.

Posted by: AJ | Nov 14, 2018 10:57:52 AM

Well, kind of seesm that way? If you buy a GM truck with 3:42 and tow package compared to a GM truck with 3:23 gears you get more points for having a higher payload, higher towing etc. In other words if you get the tow package you get the best truck in the class based on extra credit for capability that probably 90% don't need. If you don't buy the tow package you have the next to last best truck in this test. The "Empirical scores" can be based on anything the publication needs to base them on to get desired results. I said in another post how Ford used to win everything on here. The SuperDuty would get crushed in performance but still win based on empirical testing. Now the SuperDuty and Duramax are basically in a dead heat performance wise, but the SuperDuty can't win any PUTC test....Funny. The same GM guys would cry foul. Now they are bragging....If you take the bogus dyno results out and give Ford what it got on this very site before, it would be your "winner" as the oldest truck....Hahaha. The judges liked the Ram, by far, better than any other truck just like consumers do. That's the real win.

I don't want the fancy tailgate.

@ ramrod

Lmfao!! Excuse, excuse, excuse. Stop whining and look at the data! The performance speaks for itself! Maybe ram should have spent more time on engine and Durango exterior instead of all the time in the cabin making truck act like a luxury sedan instead of a practical, reliable work horse like GM trucks?

@ ramrod
Lmfao!! Excuse, excuse, excuse. Stop whining and look at the data! The performance speaks for itself! Maybe ram should have spent more time on engine and Durango exterior instead of all the time in the cabin making truck act like a luxury sedan instead of a practical, reliable work horse like GM trucks?

Posted by: TNTGMC | Nov 14, 2018 3:36:41 PM

You were the king ding-a-ling crying about this site being biased when Ford won the HD shootouts just a few years ago. Now you are the "unbiased" PUTC queen. 3 "expert" judges picked the Ram as the best truck. It took the same "empirical" scoring to satisfy advertisers money and not give the Ram the win. Heck if they had a dyno operator who could test the F-150 properly, it would have been the winner, barring some "other" empirical category. What percentage of GM 1/2 tons come with the 6.2? 5-10%? Ram sells about 70% with the hemi and Ford has either 2.7 or 3.5 EB in about 75-80% of F-150's sold. All of those engines will dismantle the 5.3 that the vast majority of GM trucks are sold with. You call the Ram a Durango and other trucks on here car based names because your a child. You are literally the least seriously taken person on this site. Your age shows with your b.s. post. Your right there with Johnny doe (if you're not actually him) and chingon or whatever that Ford kid's name is.

@ ramrod

3 years ago the duramax killed the performance data and lost. That's what I was upset about. Your ram didn't win ANYTHING in the performance categories. Big difference bone head. Get your melon fixed before u open your mouth.

Man the ram does look like a durango. That's not being childish. Go put them by each other. They look very similar. Now who's being biased?? Your funny

And u guys complaining about 6.2L being top end. U can go find a fully loaded slot like I did for $42k after rebates. And yes that will beat up on your hemi. Oh it's really not a hemi either.

SLT

GM won....These tests are about as useful as a Ford car!

Ways To Prolong The Life Of Deep Cycle Lead-Acid Batteries https://docdro.id/DkDqXpC .,

I cant believe the Ram didnt drop more for having such a miserable payload rating. 1100 pounds makes this a non contender for any family that has even a medium size Travel Trailer.
Family of 4 600lbs conservativly. and a 5000lb trailer should have 500lb hitch wieght and your maxed before you even load gear.

Sadly this was the truck I wanted too.

Wow! This is a very poor test! I do not understand how the same truck gets both 1st and 4th place. Just goes to show that they put way too much distance on performance when in reality the performance between all 5 are within single percentage points of each other.

If they used the 2019 F150 limited with the 450hp/510ft-lbs engine I'm sure it would have won based on how lopsided the value of performance and Dyno numbers (useless stat @ sea level) are placed over features and driving impressions.

Me thinks there be an Injun in the woodpile. A GMC glorified Chevy but is rated so much better? I understand the Chev having a better towing capacity than the Jimmy, the GMC has a car rear end under it! The 150 has by far a higher towing capacity, GCWR, larger fuel tank, and several more B.I.C.'s. You show no bed access or power tailgate, these are available options, so that doesn't was either. Let's go guys you are better than this!

I have seen this opinion before that people in Ford truck seats feel like they are sitting on the edge of the seat.

My XLT seat is likely the same seat design as this leather one, just different material. I never feel like I am on the edge of the seat. The complaint says they believe the seat bottoms are too short.

I once had a 2007 Dakota SLT quad cab. I felt like the seat bottoms were too long and irritated my thighs. But than, I am 5'6", and fairly muscular thighs.

So that also means I fit comfortably in my 2018 F-150. To each their own. You can have those long seat bottoms, no thanks.

No. 4: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country, 1,952 points
A.K.A. "GAME CHANGER"

If one runs regular gas, the 6.2L will back the timing, providing less power and the trucks will get even worse mpg.


“ For all vehicles except those with the 6.2L V8 engine, use regular unleaded gasoline meeting ASTM specification D4814 with a posted octane rating of 87 or higher. Do not use gasoline with an octane rating below 87, as it may cause engine damage and will lower fuel economy.
If the vehicle has the 6.2L V8 engine (VIN Code J), use premium unleaded gasoline meeting ASTM specification D4814 with a posted octane rating of 91 or higher. Regular unleaded gasoline rated at 87 octane or higher can be used, but acceleration and fuel economy will be reduced, and an audible knocking noise may be heard. If this occurs, use a gasoline rated at 91 octane or higher as soon as possible. Otherwise, the engine could be damaged. If heavy knocking is heard when using gasoline with a 91 octane rating or higher, the engine needs service.
Posted by: TNTGMC | Nov 12, 2018 11:08:57 AM

That's no different than Ford and their recommendation for the F-150 and its 3.5 Ecoboost. 87 is okay but premium should be used when towing or driving aggressively. If heavy knocking is heard, your Ecoboost is probably Ecobusted. Not to mention Ford was exposed for stating 87 Octane Recommended even though their advertised power estimates are all based on 93 octane, not 87.

The 3.5 Eco only yielding 280hp and tq? C'mon, that should have set a red flag for anyone who has previously dyno'ed that engine.

Posted by: RamRod | Nov 14, 2018 7:12:09 AM

That result was not a surprise. Ford misrepresents the facts of how they come to the power ratings they advertise. They have people convinced they make their advertised power on 87 octane when in reality they rate all their engines using 93 octane. They were embarrassingly exposed a couple years ago when Mustang Ecoboost owners were wondering why their 2.3 Ecoboost felt like it was falling on its face in warmer months of the year. If they used 91 octane the engine felt strong, but run it on 87 octane and it would pull boost and feel gutless. Then somebody with access to internal Ford information released documents that showed that the Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost made less power on 87 octane, even though Ford never made it obvious that you needed premium to make the advertised power. The situation is similar with many of Ford's other tubo-gas engines. Rated using 93 octane, but never makes it obvious to the public that their engines won't make that power using only 87 octane.



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