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.
With our field assembled, we headed out to the track for instrument testing. This year, our testing took place on the tarmac of the former El Toro Marine Base (www.eltorofield.com) in Orange County, California, where we were assigned an abandoned runway for our acceleration and braking runs.
Performance stood out among our trio of competitors. Whether it was gas or diesel, none of these trucks made less than 397 horsepower or 434 lb-ft of torque.
In the race to 60 mph, the Raptor, with an impressive run of 7.17 seconds, was nearly chased down by the 1,200-pound-heavier Chevy, which posted a remarkable run of 7.23 seconds. The 7,800-pound Super Duty, which was no slouch itself, went to 60 in 8.48 seconds. In the quarter-mile, it was more of the same, with the Raptor crossing the line in a blistering (for a truck on 35s) 15.57 seconds at 90.38 mph and the Chevy close behind with a run of 15.75 seconds at 86.54 mph. The heavier Ford brought up the back of the pack with a run of 16.49 seconds at 82.86 mph. And in case you were wondering just how much of a difference the 6.2L makes in the Raptor, our 5.4L-powerd Raptor in last year's test did the deed in 17.17 seconds at 82.85 mph, with a paltry 0-60 run of 9.47 seconds. It should be noted that our Super Duty came with 3.55:1 gearing, while the Silverado HD had 3.73:1. Try as we might to get similarly optioned trucks, you cannot get equivalent axle gearing in these 3/4-tons.
One area where the American OEMs have made great strides in their products is the braking systems. Once an afterthought on full-size trucks, this crop of vehicles shows that braking is as important as ever, with all of the trucks offering solid pedal feel, good braking feedback, and reasonable braking performances. From 60 mph, the 6,000-pound Raptor had the shortest distance with a stop in 158.56 feet, while the big Chevy and Ford put a stop on forward momentum in 164.68 and 165.83 feet, respectively.
The next test we performed was our Ramp Travel Index. However, this year we were without our 20-degree ramp, so we improvised by using a forklift and a special formula that translates the lift height into a 20-degree ramp equivalent number. The Raptor proved to be the flexiest of the group with a 494 RTI, followed by 361 for the Super Duty and 221 for the IFS-equipped Chevy.
With our lead feet attracted to the floorboards like Brubaker to sleeveless shirts, the Chevy won fuel economy honors, with an overall observed fuel economy of 14.56 mpg, followed by the Super Duty (13.88 mpg) and Raptor (11.25 mpg). The best tank of the test also went to Duramax, with a high of 15.6 mpg.
During the course of the testing, the staff often joked that the Chevy Silverado HD was the most updated truck that no one knows about. The fact is that the Silverado HD has a completely new chassis and powertrain, yet it looks exactly like the old truck, with exterior changes that are so minimal, they are hard to notice even by ardent observers. And if the exterior changes are minimal, the interior changes are nonexistent.
If you were magically plopped into the driver's seat, you would have no idea you were in a completely new truck. And herein lies the problem for the Chevy; with no noticeable interior upgrades, it doesn't feel like a new truck when compared to the outgoing model. Nor, at $55,000, does it feel like a value. While the Super Duty is more expensive, it feels like a much more feature-packed vehicle, especially when you consider all of the technology stuffed into the Ford. With small, crowded buttons, no navigation system on our tester, and interior styling that hasn't aged well, stepping out of the Super Duty and into the Chevy was an exercise in disappointment.
However, once we settled into the still comfortable leather seats and got used to the view past the plastic armadillos growing out of the hood, criticisms were quickly forgotten. If there is one thing that the Silverado excels at, it is putting power to the ground. The Duramax starts with authority, and while the cabin isn't quite as insulated from diesel sounds as the Super Duty, it isn't obtrusive at all.
Pulling away from the stoplight under restraint will challenge the willpower of the most responsible driver. However, letting go and stomping on the throttle results in an unholy amount of power delivery that makes you wonder just how the wheels don't spin around inside the tires. On two-lane roads, the passing power felt unnatural, with gobs of tire-chunking pop available at any speed.
Part of the Silverado's chassis rebirth was with heavier-duty suspension components. It used to be that the Silverado HD's suspension rode firm in the rear, while the IFS was tuned soft for comfort and compliance. No more. The Silverado owns the most impressive towing and hauling numbers in this test, besting the Super Duty by 1,000 pounds of trailer and more than 300 pounds in payload, and it can be felt in the suspension. The Chevy now feels more substantial to pilot, and while it still owns the road in terms of ride quality, it isn't quite as plush as it once was. When driving the Silverado, we felt that the steering was quicker and more direct than the Ford, which makes it a little nicer to use as a daily driver.
One would expect that the Super Duty, with its unsprung axle mass, would be the worst-riding in the test. But whatever kind of magic Ford's suspension engineers have worked, we are believers. The shock tuning was comparatively supple over the highway, with the only lack of refinement coming over concrete-surfaced freeway undulations that sent the big Ford vacillating until the road mellowed. If the Super Duty was nearly the Dodge Power Wagon's peer on the highway, this is the only area where it falls short. Clearly the 2011 model is superior to any previous version of this truck. Our testers noted how well the Super Duty handled and felt planted on twisty mountain roads, despite its slower steering.
While Ford claims King Kong power numbers in the Super Duty, we feel that the lighter Chevy does a better job of getting it to the pavement. Ford should, however, be lauded for the TorqShift transmission that always seems to have the right gear and never gets in the way of the Super Duty's engine. Our only real complaint toward the Power Stroke was difficulty in modulating its power output in very slow and tightly curved mountain roads. Unless you were to drive the Super Duty back-to-back with the Silverado HD as we did, you would be hard pressed to know one is significantly quicker than the other. They both offer exceptional drivetrains.
Like the Silverado HD, the Super Duty also uses urea to clean up emissions, though Ford has shrunk the fuel tank down to just 26 gallons to make room for the urea tank. This is the same size as the Raptor and a full 10 gallons less than the Silverado, giving the Ford a 160 mile range disadvantage to the Chevy at the observed fuel economy numbers.
This is too bad because once you are in the Super Duty you don't want to get out. With seats that were unanimously approved by the staff, the quietest cabin in the test, and generally excellent visibility with big mirrors, the Super Duty was the truck we wanted to spend our time in on long hauls. It doesn't hurt that there is a host of forward-thinking technologies, such as navigation with Sirius TravelLink, a new informative DIC, and an upscale stereo unit with Sync that can provide an assortment of entertainment and information options to the driver. Despite having hard-touch plastic like the Chevy, the Super Duty's was better grained, and overall, the interior looked much more upscale.
There is just so much to like about the Super Duty, but we were all in agreement that the Super Duty's new face wasn't doing it any favors. We not sure who approved its new shiny mug, but it was probably the least-liked element of the new truck and it never once grew on us. Unlike the Silverado, the 2011 F-250 won't be mistaken for a previous-gen Super Duty, but then again, the Silverado isn't wearing a caricature of itself.
One Ford in the test that had no detractors about styling was the Raptor. Wide, purposeful and gorgeous, the Raptor needs no introduction. It causes little kids to stare, adults to swoon, and jaded magazine guys to smile. And now, with the very engine the Raptor was designed to have originally, it's the truck it should have been at launch.
The 6.2L SOHC V-8 was delayed when the Raptor debuted last year, and to make sure the truck was not late to market, Ford used the venerable 5.4L in its place. Trucks with the 5.4L installed, which was a last-minute addition to the Raptor program, never got the suspension tuning attention they deserved, leaving the base Raptor feeling a bit unpolished.
Strap your butt into a 6.2-powered truck, and the difference is immediately noticeable. The suspension is much more refined. And while the ride is still firm, it has lost much of the harshness. Just like the 5.4 Raptor we tested last year, the 6.2 truck still has noticeable understeer that discourages the truck from being pushed too hard on the twistiest roads, but the wide track is good for directional stability.
As it turns out, directional stability is good for a vehicle packing 434 lb-ft of torque. The Raptor is big and heavy, but the 6.2L makes the truck feel about 1,000 pounds lighter. Regardless of a transmission that was sometimes hesitant to downshift, the Raptor offers surprising acceleration from any speed, and even with the electronic nannies on break, it abstains from wagging its tail too enthusiastically when provoked. However, refraining from assaulting the skinny pedal is often futile, as evidenced by our observed fuel economy. How could we not dip into that thick powerband for a dose of adrenaline and mechanical mayhem? But be warned-that sort of behavior will not make you any more socially acceptable to those pleading for you to get your carbon footprint under control. Behave yourself, and the Raptor delivers acceptable fuel economy.
But behaving is not what the Raptor is all about. It is rowdy, fun, and irreverent. Passengers enjoy an exhaust note that would make the Hemi crowd jealous, while the exhaust noise may have motor cops questioning the origins of the muffler.
This year, our Raptor wore a classy black interior, without the gaudy orange inserts of last year's truck. This tester was much more understated and to our liking. The rest of the interior is typical of Ford, but in ours, being a 2010 model, we missed the DIC and SelectShift options. Some felt the seats were overstuffed, others thought they were perfect. Can you tell it was difficult looking for things we didn't like about the Raptor?
This year, our trail testing took us through some of our favorite destinations in and around the Southern California deserts and mountains. In an attempt to get a variety of terrain tackled, we went from our secret test loop in Johnson Valley to the San Bernardino Mountains and beyond. We found dirt, sand, rock, and even a river to cross, giving us a chance to really evaluate each vehicle in a variety of terrain.
You may have seen this one coming, but the Raptor was the staff favorite in the dirt. With long-travel Fox Racing bypass shocks, an any-speed rear locker, and electronic stability and traction controls that could be tailored to each situation-or turned completely off-the Raptor was built for this environment.
Even with its wide footprint, the flexy Raptor made mincemeat of our test hill climb, and on the way down, the Raptor flexed its best-in-test crawl ratio. And when the hills got really steep, the excellent Ford Hill Descent Control (HDC) system was praised for its quiet and proficient operation.
Through the whoops, the Raptor put the others to shame, it incited fistfights and Roshambo amongst testers who wanted more seat time, and it never once got stuck. In fact, it was the Raptor, with its go-anywhere capability and meaty tow hooks, that was often sent in to rescue the other rigs when they got stuck.
Our only complaints: a suspension that sometimes exhibited harshness at low speeds, a lack of a front mechanical traction aid, and missing interior grab handles.
So if the Raptor was an undisputed joy to drive in the dirt, the Chevy Silverado HD was our penalty box. With a punishing ride and stunning lack of flex, the Silverado spent much of its time watching the other trucks at play.
When it was on the trail, the street-tuned suspension and limited travel was unrelenting in the way it jiggled our guts and made our backs long for the next available chiropractic appointment. At any speeds over a crawl, testers could be heard wondering aloud where all those IFS benefits we've heard all about were.
One concern was the poorly protected undercarriage, with nothing more than a sheet of Rubbermaid protecting some vital components. And although we never hit it, the 5.8-gallon urea tank is hung without protection in a vulnerable location that had us cringing every time we encountered rocks. Steel skidplates should be the bare minimum to any truck that has any pretenses about leaving the pavement.
Thankfully, it wasn't all bad for the Silverado in the dirt. It did master the hill climb, where it easily walked up the rock-strewn slope, thanks to a mix of wheelbase, traction control, and the Eaton G80 rear locker. A very well-engineered exhaust brake somewhat made up for the lack of HDC.
This brings us to the surprise of the test, the Super Duty, which seemed to surpass everyone's expectations. Not only was the solid-axle truck compliant in the dirt, but it did well just about everywhere, except for deep sand and undulating rollers.
The selectable rear locker similar to that of the Raptor and newfound suspension tuning helped push the Super Duty as close as it has ever been to Power Wagon territory. The F-250 walked up the hill climb with comparable ease as the Chevy, but was then able to use HDC on the way down for a drama free descent.
Although it still had its moments of launching the passengers headlong in to the headliner when a driver got into something too hot, the Super Duty was able to tackle most of the trails. As long as we were able to keep the Super Duty out of the whoops, it proved to be a competent trail machine. The bottom line is that you can wheel the Super Duty in confidence anywhere it will fit. Now, if Ford would just add those premium shocks, winch and front locker . . . .
After a week on the road and 1,000 miles logged in the books, we argued our points, gathered up the score sheets, and came up with the one truck in this group that was worthy of our 2011 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year award.
3rd Place: Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
Duramax power, Allison transmission, stout chassis, newfound brawn
Looks like the old truck, dated interior, unyielding off-highway ride
A new star trying to get by on "so last year" looks
From The Logbook:
2nd Place: Ford F-250 Super Duty
Power Stroke power, compliant ride, feature-packed
Ungainly grille, small fuel tank, price
Perfect sidekick for a buddy flick
From the Logbook:
Winner: Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
Ford's Raptor is without peer in the industry. This 1/2-ton not only sets the standard for every 1/2-ton on the market, but it has earned its place in the history among great factory-built 4x4s.
The spec sheet is littered with the credentials most trucks dream about in the aftermarket. With features like a wide track, long-travel suspension, Fox Racing bypass shocks, 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, 4.10:1 gearing, any-speed-selectable rear locker, Off-Road Mode, HDC, 45:1 crawl ratio, and excellent skidplates, the Raptor encompasses nearly everything we would ask for in a 1/2-ton pickup, and now add a potent 411hp engine to power, and the package is as complete as we could ever expect from an OEM.
On looks alone, the Raptor deserves respect. Its chamfered body turns heads and transforms the slab-sided pedestrian F-150 into something sexy and purposeful. There isn't a line on it that isn't there for a reason-even the hood vents are functional.
From clawing through sand washes at freeway speeds to comfortably cruising down the highway to the next trail turnoff, the Raptor always feels perfectly civil. Throw some rocks in the way, and the 35-inch tires and rear locker will get you over them. The Raptor is up to the challenge.
For all of the prowess the Raptor maintains in the dirt, where is the compromise? It can still haul 1,000 pounds, tow 6,000 pounds and is comfortable enough to commute in. The Raptor has the most up-to-date navigation, telematics and Sync systems for integrating phone and media devices and many other features usually reserved for luxury cars.
What more can we say about Ford's Raptor that we haven't said in these pages already? It is a fantastic truck and probably one of those special, once-in-a-lifetime products that we wished we could tell people we once had in our own garages.
The Raptor is an amazing machine, and now that it finally has the muscle to match its body, it is truly deserving of the 2011 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year award.
6.2L power, amazing exhaust note, whoops-resistant
Reluctant tranny, no mechanical front diff, no interior grab handles
2011 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year
From the Logbook:
- "Still can't believe anyone signed off on this truck-it is unreal."
- "There about three things in my mind that I would add, and nothing more."
- "It doesn't get much better than this."
- "I could easily drive this truck cross country, it is so comfortable."
- "Trans calibration could be improved."
Specifications As Tested
|Vehicle/model||2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab||2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCab||2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab|
|Price as tested (see sidebar for details)||$56,308||$48,505||$60,525|
|Type||OHV V-8||SOHC V-8||OHV V-8|
|Bore x stroke (in)||4.06 x 3.90||4.02 x 3.74||3.90 x 4.25|
|Intake||Direct injection with high-pressure common rail, turbocharged, intercooled||Sequential multi-port electronic||High-pressure common rail, turbocharged, intercooled|
|Mfg.'s power/torque rating @ rpm||397 @ 3,000/765 @ 1,600||401 (411) @ 5,500/434 @ 4,500 (premium fuel)||400 @ 2,800/800 @ 1,600|
|Mfg.'s suggested fuel type||Ultra-low sulfer diesel or B20||Regular unleaded||Ultra-low sulfur diesel or B20|
|Transmission||Allison 1000 6-speed automatic||6R80 6-speed automatic||6R140 TorqShift 6-speed automatic|
|Transfer case||Magna part-time 2-speed||Borg-Warner 4419 part-time 2-speed||Magna ESOF 273 part-time 2-speed|
|Front||Long- and short-arm independent torsion bar/American Axle 9.25-inch||Coil-on-shock, long-spindle double-wishbone independent, aluminum lower control arm, forged steel upper arm, Fox Racing Shox/Ford 8.8-inch||Monobeam, coil springs, shock absorbers, stabilizer bar/Dana Super 60 10.0-inch|
|Rear||Semi-elliptic, two-stage multi-leaf spring/American Axle 11.5-inch/Eaton G80 mechanical locker||Hotchkiss-type non-independent live, leaf springs, outboard shock absorbers, Fox Racing Shox/Ford 9.75-inch/GKN ELD (electronic locking differential)||Live axle with leaf springs, staggered shock absorbers, stabilizer bar/Ford 10.5-inch/GKN ELD|
|Type||Power-assisted recirculating ball||Power rack-and-pinion||Power-assisted recirculating ball|
|Front||13.97-inch vented disc, dual-piston calipers||13.8-inch vented disc, dual-piston calipers||13.66-inch vented disc, dual-piston calipers|
|Rear||14.17-inch vented disc, dual-piston calipers||3.7-inch vented disc, single-piston calipers||13.39-inch vented disc, dual-piston calipers|
|Wheels (in)||20 x 8.5||17 x 8.5||20 x 8|
|Tires||LT265/70R18 Michelin LTX A/T2||LT315/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO||LT275/65R20 Michelin LTX A/T2|
|Overall length (in)||240.1||220.9||246.8|
|Overall width (in)||80.0||86.3||79.9|
|Track f/r (in)||68.8/67.3||73.6/73.6||68.3/67.2|
|Minimum ground clearance (in)||8.2||10.0||8.1|
|Bed dimensions LxWxH (in)||78.8 x 62.4 x 21.0||67.0 x 50.0 x 22.4||81.8 x 69.3 x 20.0|
|Turning diameter, curb-to-curb (ft)||50.5||44.6||50.8|
|Approach/departure angles (deg)||18/24.1||31.1/24.9||20 /19|
|Breakover angle (deg)||19.3||20.8||18.1|
|Maximum towing capacity (lb)||16,700||6,000||15,700|
|Fuel capacity (gal)||36||26||26|
|0-60 mph (sec)||7.23||7.17||8.48|
|Quarter-mile (sec @ mph)||15.75 @ 86.54||15.57 @ 90.38||16.49 @ 82.86|
|Braking 60-0 mph (ft)||164.68||158.56||165.83|
|Ramp Travel Index||221||494||361|
Options As Tested
2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab
Interior Plus Package ($470); HD Trailering Equipment Package ($780); Convenience Package ($545); Exterior Plus Package ($550); off road suspension ($275); Duramax turbo diesel ($7,195); front bucket seats with leather-appointed seating surface ($1,795); 20-inch forged polished aluminum wheels ($1,395); Allison six-speed automatic transmission ($1,200); 6-inch tubular chromed assist steps ($689); rear vision camera system ($450); head curtain air bags for front and rear outboard occupants and seat-mounted side impact air bags for the driver and right front passenger ($395); Protection Package ($384); mirrors, camper-style, heated, power adjustable ($240); radiator cover ($55); camper/5th wheel trailer wiring provisions ($35); destination charge ($995)
2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCab
Preferred Equipment Package 517A ($3,000); Luxury Package ($1,950); Graphics Package ($1,075); Sony navigation radio ($2,430); tailgate step ($375): trailer brake controller ($230); rear view camera ($450); destination and delivery ($975)
2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab
Preferred Equipment Package 608A ($7,835); LT275/65R20 OWL all-terrain tires ($1,375); 3.55 electronic locking axle ($390); FX4 Off-Road Package ($295); engine block heater ($75); upfitter switches ($125); extra heavy-duty alternator ($75); stowable bed extender ($250); Tough Bed spray-in bedliner ($450); cable lock ($120); lower accent two-tone paint ($470); Lariat Ultimate Package ($3,995); destination and delivery ($975)
|Previous PTOTY Winners|
|'90||Mitsubishi Mighty Max|
|'91||GMC K2500 HD|
|'92||Dodge Dakota Club Cab|
|'93||Ford Ranger SuperCab|
|'94||Chevrolet S-10 ZR2|
|'95||Ford F-250 SuperCab Power Stroke|
|'96||Toyota Tacoma XtraCab|
|'97||Dodge Dakota Club Cab|
|'98||Toyota Tacoma XtraCab TRD|
|'99||Chevrolet Silverado Z71|
|'00||Dodge Dakota Quad Cab|
|'01||Toyota Tacoma DoubleCab TRD|
|'02||Dodge Ram Quad Cab|
|'03||GMC Sierra Quadrasteer|
|'05||Dodge Ram Power Wagon|
|'06||Dodge Ram TRX4|
|'07||Chevrolet Avalanche Z71|
|'08||Ford F-350 Super Duty FX4|
|'09||Hummer H3T Alpha|
|'10||Ram Power Wagon|
Douglas McColloch, Editor
In a word (two, actually), the Super Duty. It can still tow your house up a 90-percent grade, keep your family entertained with all the latest BlueSyncPod goodies they'd ever want, soak up miles on the Interstate with its forgiving new suspension, deliver acceptable highway mileage, keep you comfortable and cozy in its sumptuous cab, and it'll four-wheel just about anywhere the Raptor can. It just won't do it as quickly, or with as much panache. I may change my mind whenever Ford stops offering this truck with a solid front axle, but for now, as a multipurpose workhorse that can Do It All, the Super Duty still sets the benchmark in the heavy-duty segment for me.
Ken Brubaker, Senior Editor
The Raptor is so cool it hurts. Plus, it's fun to drive. But it hasn't forgotten how to work, and that's a key ingredient. As a bonus, the base MSRP is only a smidge over $40,000, so the price of admission for this incredible thrill ride isn't out of line. Yep, I desperately need a Raptor.
Sean P. Holman, Tech Editor
I'll pick the one that lets me drive on a 1,000 mile trip, wheel the hell out of it, and drive home. As a fan of historical exploration, I never know what I might come across on an abandoned desert trail, but in a Raptor, I won't care. I can cover huge amounts of ground at a time and still have a warranty if something breaks. Someone at Ford gets it. That person should tell other people.
Robin Stover, Feature Editor
Despite two very potent new diesel powerplants for 2011, I have to go with the all-encompassing, and go-fast-friendly Raptor. It is the most dynamic OE pickup truck I have ever driven. Terrain that most vehicles have difficulty with at 35 mph, the Raptor easily trounces at highway speeds. Kudos to Ford for building such a stellar dirt machine with street manners to boot.
Greg Smith, Art Director
As much as I want to say I'd take the Raptor, it's just not practical for my needs. My truck has to be able to tow upwards of 10,000 pounds, get decent mileage for commuting, plus have a great interior with plenty of room for four. That leaves just one truck, the Super Duty. Although the grille isn't the prettiest thing, I'm sure someone in the aftermarket will come to the rescue.
Jason Gonderman, Web Editor
If I had to take one of these trucks home today it would have to be the Super Duty. While the Ford Raptor and Chevy Silverado HD are both amazing trucks in their own right for me the Ford Super Duty makes the most sense. The Super Duty's new engine makes amazing power, the available rear locker provides awesome traction in the dirt, and the interior is second to none. This is the truck that I could spend many comfortable hours in towing a load, driving to work, or exploring the back country.
Steve VonSeggern, Publisher
The Raptor is simply the smartest thing SVT has ever done to a truck, period. This is almost exactly what I would do to an F-150 with aftermarket parts anyway, so having it done by the factory and with a warranty is just a dream come true. Ford needs to be given serious credit for bringing this truck to market. They obviously get it.