While this year's Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year competition might remind some of a favorite move franchise that offers a predictable plot with an inevitable ending, we take nothing for granted and put all of the vehicles through the gauntlet. And even though this flick might seem like it has an ending that can be seen a mile away, there is an exciting subplot in this "upteenquel" that had all of our editors wondering who came out the hero's sidekick in the end.
The eligibility requirements are simple and are the same as always. Each vehicle is invited to participate based on it being all new or substantially revised for the upcoming model year. Each vehicle is also required to have a two-speed transfer case, have a production run of at least 1,500 vehicles available in the U.S., and must be on sale by January 15, 2010.
For 2011, our field of vehicles included the Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ford F-150 SVT Raptor , and the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD.
As always, we score each of the vehicles based on a testing criteria of five weighted categories that include Trail Performance (30%), Empirical Data (25%), On-Pavement Performance (20%), Interior (15%), and Exterior (10%).
Our first entry in the field represents the newly reborn General Motors heavy-duty truck, in the form of the 3/4-ton Chevy Silverado 2500HD. The Silverado HD, which benefits from a completely new drivetrain and chassis, features the upgraded LML 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel V-8, which uses urea for emissions reduction and can run on B20 biodiesel. The $8,395 Duramax option includes the stellar Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission and puts out 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque in this application. Our tester came with 3.73:1 gearing, an Eaton G80 rear locker, and a price tag of $56,308.
Representing Ford in the heavyweight class is the new 3/4-ton F-250 Super Duty and its all-new 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8. The 6.7L was designed and built entirely in-house by Ford and begins a new chapter in the Power Stroke history. This $7,835 package comes with Ford's Torqshift six-speed automatic transmission and puts out 400 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque. It, too, uses urea and can run off of B20 fuel. Our F-250 was optioned with 3.55:1 gearing, a selectable rear locker, and an as-tested price tag of $60,525.
Rounding out the trio is the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2. The Raptor, which has been covered extensively in these pages, should be familiar to Four Wheeler readers by now. With long-travel suspension, 35-inch tires, internal bypass shocks and a rear locker, the Raptor was conceived for, and possibly in, the dirt. Now packing 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque with a 4.10:1 gear ratio, the Raptor certainly has the engine to make the most of its remarkable chassis. Last year we tested the 310hp, 365 lb-ft of torque 5.4L base model, because the 6.2L-powered version was not on sale in time for last year's test, so it remained eligible this year. Unfortunately, a 2011 vehicle wasn't available to us, so Ford sent a 2010 model in its place. The only major difference in the 2011 model is the addition of SelectShift transmission gear selection, Driver Information Center (DIC), and the availability of silver on the color palette. For 2011, all Raptors are powered by the 6.2L engine, and the base price will go up accordingly. Last year's Raptor started at $38,020 for the 5.4L and $41,020 for the 6.2L. For 2011, all Raptors are powered by the 6.2L and will start at $41,550.