Eleven vehicles were tested and the Ford Super Duty reigned supreme during this year’s Truck Trend Pickup Truck of the Year testing process. AutomotiveMap contributor Chad Kirchner was part of the committee that selected the winner.
The selection process is a grueling multi-day event that tests each of the contenders in a number of areas. The process included 1,000 miles of performance testing, hauling, towing, fuel economy calculation, and off-roading.
On Day 1, testing began at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Each truck was subjected to 0-60 mph and quarter-mile acceleration, and 60-0 mph braking while unladen tests. Testers then loaded each truck with its maximum payload and retested from 0-60 mph, for quarter-mile elapsed time, and 60-0 mpg braking. Then, the trucks were put to the test accelerating from 0-60 mph and through a quarter-mile while towing a trailer specifically weighted for each class.
To analyze how the trucks handled on the road under similar strain, the trucks were again loaded with the trailer and driven on a 12-mile loop down Cajon Pass in Southern California. Cajon Pass features a six-percent grade. Testers switched vehicles throughout the day allowing them to analyze each truck’s abilities back to back.
After looping Cajon Pass, the vehicles went north, heading 300 miles up the highway along the California coast to test their real-world fuel efficiency. The vehicles drove the posted speed limit in a lead-follow formation while rotating drivers and positions to give a fair shake to testers and the vehicles.
Finally, the trucks headed to Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area where the field competed in off-highway testing in miles of diverse terrain that included graded roads, rocky climbs, tight trails, and sandy washes. This testing allowed the crew to evaluate tires, gearing, traction aids, electronic traction controls, ground clearance, suspension tuning, four-wheel drive systems, thermal management, and overall vehicle dynamics.
The interiors of the vehicles were also scrutinized during the long testing period.
The 11 contenders for this year’s crown included:
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ
- Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Custom
- Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD LTZ
- Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited
- Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor
- Ford Ranger Lariat FX4
- GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
- GMC Sierra 2500HD AT4
- Jeep Gladiator Sport S
- Ram 1500 Rebel
- Ram 3500 Laramie
According to a release, Truck Trend’s experts chose the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty because of its, ” luxurious nature, powerful performance, and formidable capability of the Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited.” The evaluation team also pointed to some specific equipment that helped the truck win the award,
Our appreciation for the truck starts in the engine room, where a third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8 that produces a segment-leading 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft is found. Mated to this engine is an all-new, heavy-duty TorqShift 10-speed automatic.
The Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited has far and away one of the most luxurious interiors on the road, pickup or not. The Limited features adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and lane-departure prevention, blind spot monitoring with trailer coverage, and automated emergency braking, all of which eased stress on long drives. What’s more, the truck also boasts a B&O Play Premium Sound System from Bang & Olufsen, which when combined with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto meant we could rock out to the world’s library of music, delivered with crystal-clear fidelity. It’s possible that Ford builds the best audio system of any modern pickup.
Like last year’s winner, the 2019 Ram 1500, there’s a Super Duty for everyone. We loved the lusty exhaust note and off-road performance of the F-250 Tremor and its 7.3L gas V-8. Fleet customers who stick with the base 6.2L V-8 nonetheless benefit from the Super Duty’s excellent and hard-working basic bones. Customers who opt for a well-equipped XLT FX4 will get a fun and reasonably priced daily driver. And long-haulers who regularly tow in excess of 30,000 pounds will appreciate the F-450 and its groundswell of responsive power.
But in this test, it was the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited that took the prize, winning us over with its combination of hard-working diesel torque, excellent city and highway driving dynamics, competent off-road chops, and class-competitive or class-leading interior quality.
Truck Trend was not able to immediately elaborate further on the drive of the vehicle because Ford has embargoed drive impressions until January. At that time, AutomotiveMap will post a full review of the truck.