Edmunds.com Offers A Solid Truck Comparison Test
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