Trying to offer buyers an unbiased perspective is one of the reasons I started the Canadian Truck King Challenge 10 years ago. Since then, each year, my group of journalist judges continues to fulfill that original mandate: testing pickup trucks and vans the same way that owners use them.
This real-world competition includes empty evaluations but, more importantly, testing while loaded and while towing. The judges are members of the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada. This year judges travelled from Quebec, British Columbia and Saskatchewan to attend the event that takes place at a private 70-acre site in the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario.
This year we had a field of 11 2017 pickup trucks; falling into four classes: mid-size, full-size half-ton, full-size ¾-ton and full-size one-ton.
Each judge drives each truck, empty, then with payload on board and finally towing a trailer over this same route, one after the other, back to back. Trucks are scored in 20 different categories; these scores are then averaged across the field of judges and converted to a percentage out of 100. Finally the as-tested price of each vehicle is also weighted against the average price of the group for the final outcome.
The route we use is called The Head River test loop. It’s a combination of public roads spread over 17 kilometres. It starts on gravel, moves to a secondary paved road and finally highway. Speed limits vary from 50 to 80 km/h and the road climbs and drops off an escapement several times giving good elevation changes. At the road’s lowest point it crosses the Head River twice – hence the name. Finally – 4WD equipped trucks (all our entries were) are driven on an internal off-road course built for that purpose at the IronWood test site.
This year the mid-size trucks carried a payload of 500 pounds and towed 4,000 pounds. The full-size half-tons hauled payload of 1,000 pounds and towed 6,000 pounds; while the ¾-tons towed 10,000 pounds and also used 1,000 pounds for payload.
For the one-ton trucks we changed locations to London, Ont., where Patene Building Supply and IKO let us use 4,000 pounds of singles for payload, while CanAm RV centre lets us tow 15,000-pound fifth-wheel travel trailers.
- Honda Ridgeline – 3.5L V6 gas, 6-speed auto, AWD, Crew Cab, Touring trim. Price as tested: $47,090.
- Chevrolet Colorado - 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Z71 trim. Price as tested: $44, 695.
Honda Ridgeline – final score of 75.5 per cent
Chevy Colorado – final score of 72.2 per cent
Full-size – half-ton group:
- Ram 1500 – 5.7L Hemi V8 gas, 8-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Sport trim. Price as tested: $58,110.
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – 5.3L V8 gas, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Z71 trim. Price as tested: $59,890.
- Nissan Titan – 5.6L V8 gas, 7-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab PRO-4X trim. Price as tested: $63,050.
- Toyota Tundra – 5.7L V8 gas, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, TRD Pro trim. Price as tested: $60,025.
Ram 1500 – final score of 79.4 per cent
Chevy Silverado 1500 – final score of 76.7 per cent
Nisan Titan – final score of 74.3 per cent
Toyota Tundra – final score of 73.7 per cent
Ford, the leader in half-ton Canadian truck sales, chose not to supply a test vehicle for the first time since the Canadian Truck King Challenge began in 2006.
Full-size – ¾-ton group:
- Ram 2500 – 6.7L Cummins I6 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Laramie trim. Price as tested: $86,830.
- Nisan Titan XD – 5L Cummins V8 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, PRO-4X trim. Price as tested: $64,950.
- Chevrolet Silverado 2500 – 6.6L Duramax V8 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, LTZ trim. Price as tested: $82,560.
Ram 2500 – final score 77.0 per cent
Nissan Titan XD – final score 74.9 per cent
Chevy Silverado 2500 – final score 74.9 per cent
Full-size – one-ton group
- Chevrolet Silverado 3500 – 6.6L Duramax V8 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, DRW, Crew Cab, High Country trim. Price as tested: $83,390.
- Ram 3500 – Cummins I6 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, DRW, Crew Cab, Laramie trim. Price as tested: $88,085.
Chevy Silverado 3500 – final score 75.1 per cent
Ram 3500 – final score 71.8 per cent
It’s worth noting that all the trucks performed well, and as a group you’ll note how close all the scores are. This reflects how fierce the competition is among the truck builders. This competition brings sharp, constant innovation. These changes give buyers an ever-widening range of choices.
The overall winner of the 10th annual Canadian Truck King Challenge with the highest collective score of 79.4 per cent is the 2017 Hemi-powered Ram 1500.
Read the full report at www.woodbusiness.ca.
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