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Aggregates and Roadbuilding March-April 2017 : Page 34

half-ton and full-size ¾-ton which were tested in the Kawartha’s. The full-size one-ton trucks were tested in London, Ont., a few days later. Each judge drives each truck, empty, then with payload on board and finally towing a trailer over this same route, one after the other, back to back. Yes, it gets repetitive, but this is the best way to feel the differences between the trucks. Trucks are scored in 20 different cat-egories; these scores are then averaged across the field of judges and converted to a percentage out of 100. Finally the as-tested price of each vehicle is also weighted against the average price of the group (which adds or subtracts points) for the final outcome. The route we use is called The Head River test loop. It’s a combination of public roads spread over 17 kilometres. It starts on gravel, moves to a secondary paved road and finally highway. Speed limits vary from 50 to 80 km/h and the road climbs and drops off an escape-ment several times giving good eleva-tion changes. At the road’s lowest point it crosses the Head River twice – hence the name. Finally – 4WD equipped trucks (all our entries were) are driven on an inter-nal off-road course built for that purpose at the IronWood test site. This year the mid-size trucks carried a payload of 500 pounds and towed 4,000 pounds. The full-size half-tons hauled payload of 1,000 pounds and towed 6,000 pounds; while the ¾-tons towed 10,000 pounds and also used 1,000 pounds for payload. We chose these loads by taking into consideration the lowest manufacturer-set limits among each group of entries. The weights we use never exceed those published limits. For the one-ton trucks we changed locations to London, Ont. Here we have access to two partners who loaned us the weight and trailers necessary to test the big pickups. Patene Building Supply and IKO let us use 4,000 pounds of singles for payload, while CanAm RV centre lets us tow 15,000-pound fifth-wheel travel trailers. turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Z71 trim Price as tested: $44, 695 Between the two mid-size trucks the Honda impressed the judges. As with anything new, it had an edge. However, it wasn’t just the new factor that pushed its score past that of the Colorado. The pri-or generation of Ridgeline was a niche, quirky truck that appealed to a select buyer. This time Ridgeline has moved closer to the mainstream while retain-ing some of its unique characteristics. It did most of everything (payload, towing, even off-road) well and still offered the most car-like ride. The judges rewarded Honda for a significant generational up-date. Toyota opted not to give use a Ta-coma (which we did test last year) and the Nissan Frontier was also not offered. No doubt because it’s in the last year of its current cycle before a major upgrade. Honda Ridgeline – final score of 75.5 per cent Chevy Colorado – final score of 72.2 per cent all new, while the Chevy and Ram are midway through their current lifecycle. Toyota chose to give us an off-road ver-sion of its Tundra – the TRD Pro. This is the newest truck they had; not really the most-often purchased. But that was their choice to enter it. As you’d expect it did really well off-road. The other en-tries were exactly what we asked for. The Ram emerged as the judges’ choice for best all-round half-ton. However all the scores were close and the Chevy also did well. Of course I have to mention what is missing from the list. Ford, the leader in half-ton Canadian truck sales, chose not to supply a test vehicle for the first time since the Canadian Truck King Challenge began in 2006. Ram 1500 – final score of 79.4 per cent Chevy Silverado 1500 – final score of 76.7 per cent Nisan Titan – final score of 74.3 per cent Toyota Tundra – final score of 73.7 per cent FULL-SIZE – HALF-TON GROUP: Ram 1500 – 5.7L Hemi V8 gas, 8-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Sport trim. Price as tested: $58,110.00 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – 5.3L V8 gas, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Z71 trim Price as tested: $59,890 Nissan Titan – 5.6L V8 gas, 7-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab PRO-4X trim Price as tested: $63,050 Toyota Tundra – 5.7L V8 gas, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, TRD Pro trim Price as tested: $60,025 The full-size half-ton category is the meat of the market. In Canada it makes up just under 80 per cent of total pickup sales. As such it is one of the most com-petitively fought over among the build-ers and for us at the challenge it’s a seg-ment that we annually consider carefully – as in, what to test. This year we came up with an idea that should appeal to this large group of buyers. We asked each of the manu-facturers to give us a best-seller half-ton with the most popular combination of body style, trim and powertrain. This way we’d test the trucks that Canadians buy most often. Some, as with the Nissan Titan, are FULL-SIZE – ¾-TON GROUP: Ram 2500 – 6.7L Cummins I6 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, Laramie trim Price as tested: $86,830 Nisan Titan XD – 5L Cummins V8 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, PRO-4X trim Price as tested: $64,950 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 – 6.6L Du-ramax V8 turbo-diesel, 6-speed auto, 4WD, Crew Cab, LTZ trim Price as tested: $82,560 In the ¾-ton category note that each of the trucks was diesel-powered. As these are the most common big haulers pur-chased by Canadians we stressed them by towing 10,000 pounds of concrete. The judges made a point of saying that under load was when they really felt how the trucks behaved. The scoring here was close as each truck did well – however the Ram 2500 with the Cummins 6.7L diesel did come out slightly ahead. What was more interesting was the Nissan HD tied with the HD Silverado. The Titan XD is the lightest (GVWR) of the three trucks and has the lowest tow and payload limits – that is also reflected in its price, which elevated its overall score. These lower limits are not a disadvantage though – if anything it MID-SIZE GROUP: Honda Ridgeline – 3.5L V6 gas, 6-speed auto, AWD, Crew Cab, Touring trim Price as tested: $47,090 Chevrolet Colorado -2.8L Duramax 34 | ROCKTOROAD | APRIL 2017

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