Toyota Tacoma tops in dirty truck war

Drive on smooth roads, drive off-road, haul a trailer and stow a lot of cargo: those were the tests at the first-ever Canadian Truck King Challenge.

Drive on smooth roads, drive off-road, haul a trailer and stow a lot of cargo: those were the tests at the first-ever Canadian Truck King Challenge.

When the smoke cleared, the Toyota Tacoma came out on top.

The mid-size Tacoma, packing a 4.0-litre V6, averaged highest among 19 trucks tested, ranging from small to heavy-duty.

The Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra and Ford F-350 took top honours in their categories.

The Truck King Challenge is the brainchild of Wheels writer Howard J. Elmer (the event is not affiliated with the Star) and is planned as an annual event.

Held at a private site north of Toronto, the three-day faceoff tests entrants under a wide variety of real working conditions.

The trucks, supplied by the manufacturers, were judged in six categories: a dead-weight pull; 20 km unburdened road test; 15 km burdened road test; off-road capability; static utility test, including cab ingress and egress, convenience and storage; and price and fuel economy.

Each tester also judged a rig’s “emotional appeal.”

Some compromises were made: the dual-wheel trucks did not go off-road, and the mid-sizers didn’t have to pull the heavy burdened trailer required of the full-size vehicles.

All were 2007 models, except for the 2006 Tundra, Silverado and Sierra, whose redesigned models were not yet available.

The categories and trucks in order of finish (winner first):


  • Mid-size below V6: Chev Colorado, Toyota Tacoma inline-four.
  • Mid-size V6 and over: Toyota Tacoma TRD, Nissan Frontier, Dodge Dakota, Honda Ridgeline.
  • Full-size 1/2-tonne V6: Toyota Tundra, Chev Silverado.
  • Full-size 1/2-tonne V8 under 5.0 litre: Toyota Tundra TRD, Chev Silverado.
  • Full-size 1/2-tonne V8 over 5.0 litre: Dodge Ram Hemi, Nissan Titan, Ford F-150 King Ranch, Chev Avalanche.
  • Full-size 1/2-tonne: GMC Sierra Duramax, Dodge Ram Cummins Diesel.
  • Full-size 1-tonne: Ford F-350 Power Stroke, Chev Silverado 3500, Dodge Ram 3500 MegaCab Cummins Diesel.Six independent auto journalists from Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan conducted the tests and graded the performances using a point system.Criteria included objective ratings such as braking distance, acceleration and weight pulled, and more subjective evaluations like noise levels, cabin functionality and comfort.

    The Truck King Challenge is not meant to compete with the Canadian Truck of the Year award given by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, which holds its annual testing and voting later this month.

    “AJAC only tests vehicles that are all-new or significantly different,” says Charles Renny, AJAC’s treasurer and a Truck King judge. “This event has taken as many trucks as it could get for 2007 and put them together.

    “They’re just `new’ in the consumer definition that they’re new in showrooms.”

    The challenge, he added, subjects competing pickups to tests reflecting “what consumers want, from a construction company to someone hauling a trailer to Phoenix,” Renny added.

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