In order to bring these three-quarter-ton pickups with us for the second week of our Challenge as we drove from Davis Dam in Arizona to the Eisenhower Pass in Colorado, the answer was simple: Make the smaller trucks the cargo. It worked out perfectly. We were able to use each of them as trailer weight for our Ultimate One-Ton Heavy-Duty Challenge, which gave us the chance to bring the trucks with us without driving them the full distance.
Unlike the one-tons that were pulling 20,000-plus pounds and doing a full top-to-bottom run up the Davis Dam hill climb, and eventually the Eisenhower Pass grade, we tested our three-quarter-ton gas pickups over a specific stretch of the Davis Dam grade — a half-mile section on one of the steepest sections of the full climb. It was about four miles up from the base of the hill, where the average incline is just a touch less than 7 percent.
The new Ram 2500 chassis and powertrain had a strong run up the desert mountain, clocking in at 46.35 seconds at a top speed of 79.4 mph. The 6.4-liter Hemi is impressive in this type of test, launching off the line with a slight hesitation then ramping up power smoothly and forcefully. The Ram was only a hair faster than the Ford F-250, which had 3.73:1 gears and the 6.2-liter V-8 engine. The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 (with its 4.10:1 gears) came in several seconds later with a half-mile time of 53.19 seconds and top speed of 77.7 mph.
How We Did the Testing
For weight, unlike our Week 1 tests (in Michigan, where we used bags of rock salt for acceleration and braking tests), we used 275-gallon tanks that we filled with water (bringing each tank's weight to 2,400 pounds) and strapped into each pickup bed. This put each truck close to its maximum gross vehicle weight rating; we wanted to see how capable the trucks were when with dealing with this kind of load.
Our test runs were done at night to minimize (actually eliminate) any traffic worries, and the cooler temperatures were definitely appreciated; outside temperatures during the test runs were well above 80 degrees.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears