September 2007
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Full-sized pickup trucks
Reviews of the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Tundra, plus models from Ford, Dodge and GMC

Our comparison of large, half-ton pickups included the Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Dodge Ram 1500, and GMC Sierra (all available to ).

The Tundra, formerly a smaller, refined truck with carlike ride and handling, now goes head-to-head with GM and Ford in power, towing, payload capacity and size. But it lost some refinement and livability in the redesign. Its superior drivetrain also yields class-leading acceleration.

The Silverado (and its GMC Sierra twin) rides on a new platform that replaces one that was getting long in the tooth.

The Nissan Titan, freshened for 2008, was unavailable in time to be included in this test.

Prices for our crew-cab trucks equipped with four-wheel drive and popular options ranged from $34,738 for the Tundra to $38,370 for the Ram.


FAMILY BUSINESS

Four-door crew-cab models are often seen as alternatives to SUVs. They offer seating for five or six passengers, allowing these trucks to do double duty hauling families and towing a big trailer or lugging home building supplies. But as a class, fuel economy is poor and handling is anything but nimble. Also, most pickups have a very large rear blind zone behind the bumper; only the Tundra and 2008 Fords offer a rear-view camera.

Truck interiors have improved as trucks have moved from being exclusively work vehicles. This is evident by the improved interior materials and seat comfort of General Motors' new trucks. Depending on the trim line, GM now offers two different interiors and dashboards, one more functional and the other more luxurious. And all of these trucks offer lots of interior storage as well as amenities including satellite-radio and navigation systems.


PULLING POWER

In addition to the half-ton trucks, we tested heavy-duty (three-quarter-ton) pickups from Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford. Exclusively offered by domestic manufacturers, these trucks have higher towing and payload capacities. While they are most often used by contractors and on work sites, some consumers buy these trucks to tow large horse trailers or camping or boat trailers. These three-quarter-ton trucks are often equipped with expensive, optional diesel engines that aid acceleration and fuel economy when towing.

But the trade-off is that the heavy-duty suspensions provide a rougher ride, their higher ride height makes access more difficult, and routine handling is more cumbersome. You also give up the stability control and automatic four-wheel-drive systems found on some half-ton trucks (see Heavy-duty pickups, available to ).

Like most consumers, we bought well-equipped diesel crew-cab four-wheel-drive versions of these trucks. Base prices start around $37,000, but options pushed the prices up quickly, and all three of our trucks topped $50,000.