Motor Trend has selected the Ram 1500 as its 2014 Truck of the Year.
The announcement was made at the Chrysler Group LLC Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan, the birthplace of Ram Trucks. A full report on Motor Trend’s comprehensive Truck of the Year testing will be featured on MotorTrend.com and in the February 2014 issue of Motor Trend.
Nine Truck of the Year contenders were put through an extensive battery of testing designed to evaluate virtually every aspect of each vehicle. In addition to the 2014 Ram 1500, the judges examined other all-new or significantly updated trucks the industry produced this year: the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram Heavy Duty, and Toyota Tundra pickups; and the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV200, and Ram ProMaster vans.
To determine which truck deserved top honors, the Motor Trend judges took the nine contenders to the Continental Tire Automotive Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. There, the judges tested each truck’s performance with the following exercises:
- Standard testing (without load): 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip.
- Limit handling (without load): closed-course cornering, braking, and acceleration.
- Tow/payload testing: 0-60 acceleration repeated with trailers attached (pickups) or payload secured (vans), loaded to 75 percent of each truck’s maximum rating (as equipped).
- Road looping: Highway and real-world replication.
At Continental’s 5,000-acre proving grounds, the team utilized the facility’s 8.5-mile high-speed oval, 15-acre dynamics pad, 1.1-mile dry-handling road course, and multi-surfaced ride road to evaluate each truck’s capabilities and expose strengths and weaknesses. Following the team’s intensive, weeklong evaluation in Uvalde, the trucks were shipped to Motor Trend headquarters in El Segundo, California, to undergo proprietary “Intellichoice Real MPG” fuel-economy testing. Using advanced technology including a weather station, GPS data-logger, and flow-rate and gas analyzers, Real MPG measures exhaust samples every second during an 88-mile drive to record accurate real-world fuel economy.
Once testing was completed, the judges convened to determine which truck would be crowned Truck of the Year. The winner is not chosen from a direct comparison against the other contenders, but rather as a result of how each contender measured up against the award’s six criteria: Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value, and Performance of Intended Function.
With the votes cast, the Ram 1500 clearly emerged as Motor Trend’s 2014 Truck of the Year. The judges were particularly impressed with the performance of the Ram 1500’s all-new EcoDiesel V-6 engine as well as its 8-speed TorqueFlite transmission, a combination that boasts a towing capacity of up to 9,200 pounds. Further, Motor Trend’s Real MPG testing supported what the team learned in Uvalde: None of the gas-powered half-ton trucks in this year’s competition – be they V-6 or V-8, 4x2 or 4x4 – could match the EcoDiesel’s mileage. After delivering observed fuel economy of 15 mpg under extreme testing at Continental’s proving grounds, the EcoDiesel continued to impress during the Real MPG test loop, returning the following frugal stats: 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined for the Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 with a 3.92 rear axle and an even more notable 18/28/22 for the Lone Star Crew Cab 4x2 with a 3.55 rear axle.
The Ram’s optional air suspension system also scored high marks in Engineering Excellence, as it delivered a compliant ride and commendable handling no matter the terrain. In terms of design, the Ram 1500 impressed with its style, packaging, and interior ergonomics; notably, the Laramie Longhorn’s luxury aesthetics and real wood trim. The breadth of the lineup was another compelling factor. Whether outfitted as a basic workhorse or optioned up to a near-luxury hauler, the Ram 1500 provides all of the capability needed in a truck.