For many drivers, the ability to tow thousands of pounds in their pickup truck is second to none. It doesn't matter if you use your truck for heavy-duty work or purely for recreational reasons - you want to make sure it has the potential to handle whatever you throw its way.
'King of Beasts'
With so many drivers prioritizing towing capacity, PickupTrucks.com decided to conduct an extensive test known as the "King of Beasts" to see which vehicles performed the best. The website took the 2013 Ford F-450 Lariat crew cab 4x4 and pitted it against the 2013 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty. Each machine was forced to complete a 1,600-mile trip with a cargo load of 24,000 pounds behind it.
To start the test, the website reached out to manufacturers to get a version of the biggest pickup trucks offered from each. The vehicles were attached to a trailer weighing 8,270 pounds and loaded with more than 16,000 pounds of rocks. Although the two automobiles do have different towing capacities - the Ford boasts a limit of 24,700 pounds and the Ram sits at 28,800 pounds - the website wanted to see how the machines would perform in a real-life setting.
The trip took the automobiles through the Davis Dam, located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, as well as into Colorado's Eisenhower Pass. While these areas do contain paved roads and therefore do not test the off-roading capabilities of each vehicle, it did offer a chance to grade performance on different inclines, altitudes and situations, which provided some welcome insight on the towing of the two trucks.
The test was designed to push each of the trucks to its limit. At the end of the experience, pros and cons emerged for each of the vehicles, providing PickupTrucks.com with plenty of aspects to consider.
Strengths of the 2013 Ford F-450 included visibility and mobility. The design boasts rounded hood corners and large windows, which make things easier on a driver towing a heavy load, and it also benefits from improved handling. It achieved solid mileage and had a helpful smart transmission as well.
However, things weren't all rosy with the Ford. According to the testers, the vehicle didn't offer the kind of sleek interior that is normally associated with its high price tag - upwards of $70,000 - and the diesel exhaust fluid gauge left much to be desired. Controlling heavy loads on hills and uneven terrain was also an issue.
On the other side of the spectrum was the 2013 Ram 3500. A new interior package - including an easy-to-use DEF gauge - and excellent steering highlighted some of the advantages of the Ram. Its powertrain was particularly impressive, as it acted as if they heavy load was a much lighter haul than it really was. With so many benefits, PickupTrucks.com selected the Ram as the winner of its "King of Beasts" towing challenge.
PickupTrucks.com looked at more areas than just towing capacity. It also used the test to evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy and comfort of the trucks while they were towing the thousands of pounds of cargo. The Ram 3500 boasted solid results in acceleration, frequently passing other motorists and rigs with ease, and the truck was also more effective at braking under pressure. Although Ram's range left much to be desired, the other benefits offered by the full-size pickup more than made up for it.
Fans of off-road driving know how important a truck's ability can be. Tests like this one from PickupTrucks.com may give drivers something to think about, but various truck modifications and alterations may change the playing field, leaving motorists with the need to conduct their own driving tests.