The finish was so close among the top three in PickupTrucks.com’s and Popular Mechanics’ latest full-size pickup comparison test — the $45,000 Light-duty Pickup Challenge — that it was pretty much a photo finish.
A 2013 Ford F-150 XLT beat out the 2013 Ram 1500 SLT Big Horn by a mere 11.5 points — 1,765 to 1,753.5 — after exhaustive performance testing that accounted for more than two-thirds of the score, as well as qualitative judging of value, interior and exterior styling, ride and other subjective attributes.
The Ram was actually the favorite of the judges, but the Ford came in first after all the road testing and measuring were tallied.
“Watching the top two in a comparison test like this is more like witnessing King Kong wrestle a giant anaconda or a T-Rex,” The site writes. “You know you shouldn’t be standing around watching the bloody battle, but it’s just too dang mesmerizing to look away.”
The all-new 2014 General Motors pickups put in a very good showing, with the GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Z71 in third just 15.75 points behind the winning Ford and 4.25 behind the second-place Ram. The Sierra, which also was judged the best-looking truck of the bunch, edged out its General Motors’ sibling, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Z71, which followed in fourth place.
It was a fight to the finish among the top two, with the Ford or Ram winning more than three-quarters of all the test’s quantitative events. Although the Ram won both autocross events, both hill-climbing events and the empty 0-to-60 run, it came undone in calculated payload and towing capacity. It beat the Ford in the styling and value qualitative judging.
The head-to-head battle of full-size pickups costing up to $45,000 was conducted by editors of both publications. PickupTrucks.com doesn’t exactly shout the name of the winner, but you can find it at the bottom of its story on the results, one of many on the shootout on the site.
It apparently mattered to Ford, though, which lost no time in ballyhooing its win.
“The results of this test show why F-Series has been the best-selling pickup truck in America for more than 30 years,” says Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. “We know our light-duty customers are looking for a pickup truck that delivers the leading combination of towing, payload, horsepower, torque and fuel economy, and this shootout proves F-150 continues to lead the pack.”
In fifth and sixth were the 2013 Toyota Tundra SR5 — due to get new interior and exterior styling later this year for 2014 and the aging 2013 Nissan Titan Pro 4-X — the sportiest of the group but now outclassed. Nissan says there eventually will be a new version, maybe for 2015.