Edmunds.com Offers A Solid Truck Comparison Test

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Most popular car magazines/publications – such as Motor Trend, Car and Driver, and Consumer Reports – are oriented towards cars. Not trucks, not SUVs, but cars. These car publications often evaluate trucks and SUVs completely incorrectly. Rather than talk about a truck’s towing and hauling capabilities, these publications emphasize “cabin noise” and “ride quality.” While these are reasonable criteria worth discussing, the fact is they’re not that important for your typical truck owner. We’re looking for something that hauls the mail, not something that hauls “the ladies that lunch.”

Don’t get us wrong here – comparisons are best when they evaluate a lot of criteria. However, any reviewer that says quote “Several logbook scribes thought the Tundra was just too big” has no business reviewing trucks (from Car and Driver reviews the Tundra long-term). If you think a truck is bad because it’s big, you don’t get it.

This past Sunday Edmunds.com published a balanced and reasonable review that evaluated trucks on the important stuff – hauling, towing, and overall performance. While we dont’ agree with their conclusions (the Tundra placed 2nd behind the less-than-utilitarian Ram), we appreciate this opinion:

For me, trucks are about utility. I wouldn’t own one unless I had to perform heavy towing and large payload-hauling as we did in this test. Everything else — and I mean everything — can be done with another kind of vehicle. For this reason, I can’t help but evaluate trucks without placing significant weight on those abilities.

That’s a quotation from Josh Jacquot, Senior Road test editor for Edmunds.com. While Josh isn’t a “truck guy” – admittedly so – he understands the criteria that trucks should be judged by. Kudos. This might be the first Edmunds.com review we’ve ever seen that doesn’t make a ton of ridiculous comments about trucks being “too big” or “beastly.”

Here’s what we saw that we liked:

  • “The final results show just how good the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado, 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, 2009 Ford F-150 and 2008 Toyota Tundra are”
  • “Physics suggests that a tepid 5.4-liter V8 that makes 310 hp (in the heaviest truck, no less) should not be able to out-tow others that boast 380 hp and up. Physics is right…This 2009 Ford F-150 is a nice truck in many ways, but it’s clearly time for a new engine. The 5.4-liter V8 is simply being asked to do too much,”
  • “But Toyota’s 5.7…remains mighty impressive…On the towing hill the Tundra tops the list, cruising easily at California’s towing speed limit of 55 mph all the way up at part throttle…Transmission performance is excellent, as there isn’t any hunting between ratios. This towing prowess does not come at the expense of everyday fuel economy…2nd best overall. This kind of powertrain performance is possible when a strong engine is mated to a well-calibrated six-speed transmission. Some of the other trucks in this test could learn from this.”

The Edmunds.com’s review placed emphasis on performance and capability (just like our Ram vs Tundra and F150 vs Tundra comparisons), yet for some reason they threw that out the window when it mattered most and named the Ram the winner.

How? The Ram’s towing ability is thousands of pounds lesser than GM, Ford, or Toyota. If you’re looking to pull more than 7300 lbs (that’s the tow rating of the truck Edmunds.com tested), you need a 3/4 ton Ram…or you need to go look at another dealership. The review said that “If the day-to-day ride had less edge, it might have won this comparison. It’s that close.” Ahhhh – here we are again. It turns out that when the car reviewers don’t know what else to do, they run back to what they’ve comfortable with and talk about “ride quality.” If only they had looked at a spec sheet! They would have seen that the Ram has the weakest tow rating of the whole bunch. BY A LOT!

Oh well. Maybe next time.

Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Reviews and Comparisons


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  1. Jeremy The Truck Guy says:

    Always remember, Stupid ALWAYS wins in the long run. Nothing is quite as stupid as Chrysler.

  2. Bac says:

    Here’s the video if you guys want to see it…


  3. Ingle says:

    I wonder what/who comes out the ashes of Chrysler….

  4. Justin says:

    Admin (Jason): Kind of curious why everytime the Tundra doesn’t come in 1st, these reviewers don’t know what their talking about and how could they pick XYZ truck? Keep in mind, even though they try to be as unbiased as possible, you have to take into account they are going to recommend what they like best, not what a true truck owner that uses and abuses his/her truk would pick.
    Oh and not disagreeing with your point, but if you’ve ever read an Edmunds review before, these guys are clueless, just like Car & Driver and Motor Trend for just a few. Most rags these days don’t know what their talking about, especially when it comes to full-size trucks, and have no connection with the consumer. Had they, why did the Silverado & F150 come in 3rd & 4th respectively, but still outsell the other two by leaps and bounds? Also, a site that does conduct some good unbiased and thorough research is pickuptrucks.com. They actually test in an appropriate fashion and take into account all factors about hauling, towing and understand what a true truck is.

  5. Justin – I like the PickupTrucks.com site reviews as well. The scoring system they used in their recent pickup truck shootout wasn’t very well weighted, but I have to agree they “get” it.
    My point about Edmunds was that they’re starting to get it. Your assertion that I only like reviews that agree with my position is dissapointing, especially considering that you know me to be fair and balanced and have said as much in the past.

  6. mk says:

    Did pricing come into play as well? I recently priced a 2009 6.0L V8 chevy silverado with the 6 speed tranny and 3.73 axle ratio in a crew cab in an LT1 design and the pricing was msrp of 39500 – OUCH! A similar 2010 5.7L V8 (still outguns the bigger 6.0L chevy) tundra grade pretty decked out double cab (not crew max-overkill in the backseat legroom and double cab tundra is closer to the legroom in the crew cab chevy) similarly equipped msrp was 35,500. 4 grand is a lot of difference chevy vs. toyota. I haven’t priced out chevy’s in awhile, but if they want their newer design 6.0 or 6.2L V8’s to sell, they better start lowering the price to sell them and get out of bankruptcy. I have never paid over 30K for a truck and hopefully will not for a few more years anyways. That is almost 1/2 my house built new 16 years ago.

  7. mk – Price wasn’t an issue in the Edmunds.com review we referenced in this article, but our own Tundra vs Silverado comparison found the Toyota to be substantially less expensive (just as you say). When you combine the Tundra’s higher resale value with the fact that the Tundra meets or exceeds the Silverado in most categories, it’s a pretty easy decision (at least in my mind).

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