All our test trucks came equipped with optional backup cameras, except the Nissan Titan, which doesn’t offer one. We really liked this feature. It helped when maneuvering in parking lots and saved time during our frequent trailer-hitching activities.
The cameras were mounted in the bezels around the tailgate handle or integrated into the truck’s rear badge. Rearview video was displayed inside the cabin in either the rearview mirror or on the navigation screen, depending on whether the truck had a navigation screen.
Our GM twins, the Silverado and Sierra, used both display solutions. The Silverado’s backup video appeared in the rearview mirror, and the Sierra’s was shown in the navigation screen in the center stack. Though we liked looking level at the backup video in the rearview mirror, the much larger navigation screen was easier to use.
The F-150 also displayed the picture from its backup camera in the rearview mirror, but it was easier to use than the Silverado’s because it added helpful reference and distance marks to make up for the loss of accurate depth perception from the camera’s fisheye lens. This made it as easy to use as the larger displays that lacked reference lines.
The Dodge Ram and Toyota Tundra displayed video in their navigation screens, like the Sierra. They were all about equal to each other in quality and driver assistance.
When we put together specs for the manufacturers involved in the Shootout, we were very clear we’d be performing towing tests with the trucks. Only the Nissan Titan showed up with optional double-lens, extendable trailer-towing mirrors. The rest of the herd had standard single-glass mirrors.
If you’re going to tow frequently, trailer-towing mirrors are invaluable. We were able to get by with the rest of the trucks because our test sleds used flat metal plates to weigh them down. In all but the Titan, it would have been difficult to see around the sides of the trailers if they’d had wide, tall profiles, like an Airstream or a boat.