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March 2009 Pickup Truck Of The Year & Ugliest Trucks - Limited Articulation

Posted in Features on March 1, 2009
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This month's issue is a study in contrasts. Since it's March, it means we've just finished running our annual Pickup Truck of the Year test--in which we thrash a bunch of shiny new rigs, fresh off the showroom floor, to within an inch of their vehicular lives and pronounce one Best in Breed for the coming model year. On the other hand, we're also spotlighting some 4x4 trucks that haven't been shiny or new for decades, and whose owners are perfectly proud of the fact.

Last October, we asked you to share your dirtiest little secrets, aka, your ugly trucks--the antithesis to the high-dollar creations you often see on the covers of truck magazines (including ours, sometimes). Many of you responded with an assortment of I-can't believe-it's-still-running-and-rolling wrecks. And this month, we're proud to share the best (read: worst) of your Ugly Trucklings, and invite you to savor every crumpled body panel and rotting floorboard. Best of all, we decided to keep quiet and let you, the readers, tell your trucks' own stories in your very own words. Check out your entries--and our lucky contest winner--on page 40.

On the opposite end of the spectrum this month, this year's Pickup Truck of the Year features four notable new 4x4s:

The all-new Ford F-150, which has been literally redesigned from the frame up to deliver even greater class-leading comfort and ride quality, with utility and work-truck features typically found in heavier-duty trucks. The F-series has been Ford's bread and butter for decades--would the new version continue the tradition?

The new Dodge Ram, which promises to revolutionize the science of truck design with the first multilink rear suspension ever employed on a light-duty truck. We know how well this long-travel setup works with Jeeps, but a big truck that has to tow and haul stuff? We had to find out.

The Hummer H3T. Now, before you start to fire off any "Hummer Avalanche" hate mail towards us, rest assured: the H3T is a genuine chassis/cab, body-on-frame pickup truck with a fully detachable bed. It may not look like any pickup truck you've ever seen before, but trust us, it qualifies, and then some.

And finally, the Suzuki Equator, the result of a joint venture with Nissan. It's Suzuki's first-ever North American pickup, and since we've been a huge fan of the F-Alpha Frontier from the get-go, we were curious to see how the newest incarnation of this truck would fare against some serious competition.

As it turned out, we weren't the least bit disappointed in any of these trucks. Long story short, this might have been the best batch of brand-new pickup trucks we've ever tested at the same time and over the same grueling courses, and if you're in the market for a light-duty truck this year, you won't go wrong with any of these, on or off pavement. Unfortunately, we could only pick one winner, and you can see who took the nod for '09, starting on page 28.

--Douglas McColloch

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