Eleven of our 13 quantitative scoring categories are determined by objectively testing each pickup truck for time or distance (acceleration, braking, autocross), but two of our scored categories are simple math. We award winners 100 points and the other competitors whatever percentage below their calculations, whatever that might be. That means that if our winning truck got 30 mpg and the runner-up got 27 mpg, then the winner would get 100 points, and the runner-up would get 90 points (since 27 is 90 percent of 30).
In order to reward pickup trucks that offer the highest capabilities that are most likely to be of interest to buyers (or enthusiasts) of this type of truck, we created an as-tested maximum payload and maximum towing capacity category. To calculate each truck's numbers, we began by weighing each truck at the same CAT Scale outside Ann Arbor, Mich., with a full tank of fuel and nothing else inside.
The Silverado weighed 5,480 pounds; the F-150, 5,820; the Sierra, 5,420; the Titan, 5,520; the Ram, 5,600; and the Tundra, 5,800.
To calculate the maximum payload, we subtracted the truck's weight from the gross vehicle weight rating number on the door sticker, then subtracted 200 more pounds for a normal-sized driver. The Ford F-150 won this category with a calculated capacity of 1,630 pounds. The Ford was the heaviest truck in the test, with the highest GVWR by more than 400 pounds over the next closest player. The only other truck equipped with a max towing package (which often does not impact GVWR) was the Toyota Tundra, which had a calculated payload capacity of 1,200 pounds, finishing just ahead of the Ram. (We should note that the Chevy and GMC pickups did not have a max tow package, because it won't be available for a few months.) The Ram had just 1,000 pounds of calculated payload capacity.
As for maximum towing capacity, we calculated that number in much the same way. We subtracted the actual weight of each pickup from the manufacturer's gross combined weight rating, then subtracted 200 pounds for a driver.
Again, the Ford F-150 won this category handily, offering more than 11,000 pounds of calculated towing capacity with its EcoBoost engine and Max Tow Package. In second place was the Tundra with 10,000 pounds, and the GMC Sierra and Nissan Titan essentially tying for third. We should note that although the Ram 1500 only offered a calculated maximum towing capacity of 8,350 pounds, it did all our towing tests and fuel economy loops with the 8,500-pound trailer with confidence and control. Maybe that's another good reason to hope that all these truck makers adopt the Society of Automotive Engineers' towing standard J2807 very soon.
Overview | Judges' Impressions | 0-60 Acceleration | 60-0 Braking | Mileage Drive | Hill Climb | Autocross | Payload and Towing | Results