Once again it's time for us to round up the new year's crop of pickups and drive them through the gauntlet of tests that comprise Four Wheeler's Pickup Truck of the Year comparison test. This year, this meant braving triple-digit temperatures while we changed rock-cut tires out in the middle of the desert, but trust us--it's worth it. That's because putting six new trucks through our test prescription definitely is a terrific opportunity to learn what we need to know about these vehicles.
This year we decided upon a small deviation from past practice. Instead of asking the manufacturers to send us only what was new, we invited each manufacturer to send us one fullsize and one compact. Everyone came to play, but sent the products they most wanted to see us evaluate. In the end, the Chevrolet Avalanche, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, and Toyota Tundra showed up to duke it out.
We found ourselves having to come up with some rules to deal with vehicles that blur the line between pickup and SUV. For instance, we decided that if a vehicle possessed something that could be described as a pickup bed, it had to compete in Pickup Truck of the Year, and not our Four Wheeler of the Year competition. This saved us from the headaches of trying to split hairs between whether a vehicle was actually a truck or an SUV.
With the vehicles at hand and our test equipment packed, we headed out for our multi-day, multi-faceted competition. Here's how it all shook out.