Reports Tow Tests and Ranks Half Ton and Heavy Duty Pickups.
By: Mike Levine Posted:
08-06-07 15:00 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com
#2: 08-10-07 12:35 PT
Reports has posted a response and further explanation about the
pickup testing. You can find it here, on Consumer
#1: 08-07-07 06:35 PT
the original story, I said that Consumer Reports did not include
towing as a component to calculate a truck's overall road-test
Consumer Reports does give a vehicle (the specific model tested)
points for towing and payload capacity but does not score 0 to
60 towing performance times.
Reports has just released its latest
rankings for full size pickup trucks and the results prove one thing – pickups are a pain
in the arse to compare.
I've got a lot of respect for Consumer Reports. Some folks say
CR has a bias favoring import vehicles, but there’s no reason to
believe the hype. What’s in it for them? They don’t receive
a penny in advertising from the automakers and they purchase all of their
test vehicles directly from the same place you or I would, at a dealer.
And CR examines all the vehicles it tests at its own world class facility
in Connecticut, where cars and trucks are subjected to 50 different performance
tests with the best vehicle instrumentation money can buy.
But some may question more than usual this year’s
testing approach for half-ton pickups, which scores the new 2007
Toyota Tundra ahead of the new 2007
Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and also ranks
the latest Dodge Ram
1500 and Ford F-150 pickups.
Reports Half-Ton Test Specs
|Make / Model
|2007 Toyota Tundra
Reports has placed a lot of editorial emphasis on towing capability, and rightly
so given this year's advertising hype about which light duty pickup can
tow the most. In the absence of a standardized, industry-accepted approach
to testing towing capability - which exist for measuring engine power and fuel economy - manufacturers have been free to throw out
any big number they want with a lot of small text underneath to explain
in exactly what circumstance and truck configuration that number might
So, CR hooked
up each of the trucks to a 7,400-pound trailer to measure their 0 to
60-mph performance. Why 7,400-pounds? Because the Chevrolet Silverado,
configured with a 315-hp / 338 pound-feet of torque 5.3-liter V8 and
a 3.73 rear axle, was rated at ‘only’ 7,500-pounds
tight because here’s where it gets complex.
you’re going to test comparable pickups, especially towing,
it’s not enough to line up trucks with similar engines. You also
need to gather trucks with similar cabs (regular, extended, crew), bed
lengths (short, long), and drivelines (2WD, 4WD, AWD). And you also need
similar rear axles, which are, perhaps, the most difficult component
to match between trucks.
are rated with a number to describe how many rotations the driveshaft
must make to turn the rear axle (and rear wheels) once. For example, the Silverado tested
by CR had a 3.73 ratio, which means its rear axle
turns once every 3.73 driveshaft rotations.
axle ratio can make a big difference in towing performance. The higher
the ratio, the faster the driveshaft turns and the sooner the driveshaft
can transfer peak horsepower and torque from the engine to
the rear wheels. The result, generally, is faster acceleration and
higher towing capacity than a rear axle with a lower ratio.
As an example, if you take two 5.3-liter V8 crew cab short box 4WD Chevrolet
Silverados - one with a 3.73 rear axle and the other with a 4.10 rear axle,
not only will the 4.10 pickup accelerate faster than the 3.73 truck, but
it can also tow 1,000-pounds (13%) more.
The tradeoff for a higher axle ratio, though, is usually lower fuel economy, because an engine that's working harder is also burning fuel faster. It's one of the most difficult purchase decisions a buyer might make after model and engine selection - compromising between rear axle performance and fuel economy for optimal towing.