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Road Tests - Truck Road Tests and Comparisons at GM's Milford Proving Ground

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Comparing Towing Capabilities of Full Size Trucks
truck towing

Comparing Towing Abilities of Full Size Trucks

© Dale Wickell

Truck Towing Comparisons

The pickup trucks in this lineup were set up for towing tests. GM hooked 10,000 pound trailers to the heavy duty trucks and 7,500 pound trailers to the light duty pickups.

We compared two trucks at a time, placing them side by side and and taking off from a stop on the track's long, uphill grade. The return portion of the track was the opposite, a long downhill grade, which showed us how well the different tow modes controlled each truck's transmission and speed during a descent.

I drove three trucks on this track, a Ford Super Duty diesel truck, a Dodge diesel and a GMC diesel pickup.

  • The Dodge and the Ford both pulled stronger at takeoff than the GMC truck.

  • When the Dodge shifted into third gear, there was a noticeable drop in power -- the truck's third gear ratio was too high for heavy towing.

  • The Ford pulled well up to about 65 mph, but seemed to level off after that -- keep in mind we're still going uphill.

  • The GMC truck, while not quite as quick on takeoff, had the best high speed pulling ability.

Some of the differences in performance between the Ford and GMC trucks had a lot to do with the way those manufacturers program their computers to achieve what they regard as the best blend of power and economy.

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