To determine the best overall heavy-duty pickups in the three categories we tested, we created a scoring system that measured the trucks in three areas. Each test was worth a maximum of 100 points.
The first component is subjective evaluations of important characteristics, and it accounts for 20 percent of the total score. It includes unloaded ride and handling, ride and handling with trailers, grade braking ability, fit and finish and overall value based on features and MSRP. The three authors all agreed on the scores.
The second component accounts for 55 percent of a truck’s rating. Points were awarded based on the trucks’ power and pulling capabilities during instrumented testing. For each test -- the fastest truck by time or the shortest to stop by distance – first place was awarded 100 points, and the second and third place trucks were assigned scores relative to how close they finished to the leader. For example, if the fastest truck through the quarter-mile finished in 15 seconds, and second place truck finished in 16 seconds, then the second-place truck received 93 points.
The third component is fuel economy, and it makes up 25 percent of the score. It’s based on measured fuel consumption when the trucks were unloaded and trailering. Like the power contests, the best-performing truck in each of the three groups was awarded 100 points and the second and third place trucks were given relative scores based on their efficiency.
We're immensely thankful to all the manufacturers involved for their support putting this event together, and especially GM for loaning us the trailers and allowing us access to the Milford Proving Grounds. We'd also like to thank our longtime partners from Ricardo Inc. who instrumented all the trucks and certified the data collected from the Milan and GM Proving Ground towing and brake tests.
Thanks also to Kent Sundling from MrTruck.com for once again teaming up with us on the Shootout. Kent is one of the most valuable and knowledgeable trailering and towing resources in the country. Thanks to Mark Williams for joining us as a tester and co-writer for the first time. Mark's help and input was invaluable putting this story together. The same goes for the staff from Cars.com. We couldn't have done this without their logistical support, input and creativity.
And, of course, we're very thankful to you, our readers. We do this for you.