By virtue of its aggregated scores across four categories (driving impressions, power/pulling/performance, feature performance, and fuel economy), the 2009 Ford F-150 took best overall half-ton honors. It earned 66 out of a possible 99 points from PickupTrucks.com, claiming top honors in fuel economy and a timed ride-and-handling test, as well as offering features not available on competitors, such as trailer-sway control. The Ford's V-8 was down on power compared to its competitors, forcing its last-place finish in two out of three pure-power towing tests. We ranked the 2009 F-150 at 8 out of a possible 10 points in our full review.
Next on PickupTrucks.com's list was the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado, which scored high in large part to its powerful 6.2-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission. It dominated the field in terms of power and pulling, and they claim it would have taken top honors if its fuel consumption had been more miserly. In our review of a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, we ranked the vehicle at 8 out of 10 total points, but the vehicle probably would have scored higher with the six-speed auto and more potent V-8 new to the 2009 model.
Third place was taken by the 2009 Toyota Tundra, which shared excellent drivetrain performance with the Chevrolet Silverado. The Tundra excelled in the brake and traction control tests, but its towing-support features hurt its overall score. We ranked the 2008 Toyota Tundra in a virtual dead heat with the Chevrolet Silverado at 8 points out of 10.
Just two points down from the Toyota Tundra at fourth place was the redesigned 2009 Dodge Ram pickup. The Ram scored at the top for driving impressions, tying the Ford F-150 at 12 points. In pulling, it scored at the bottom of the pack, at 18 points versus the Chevrolet Silverado's 33. It redeemed itself in the features ranking, earning second place at 20 points. And in the final test, fuel economy, it scored a mid-pack third place with 4 points total. In our review of the 2009 Dodge Ram, which boasts a stunning interior and a segment-exclusive coil-sprung rear suspension that does wonders for ride and handling, we deemed it worthy of 8.6 out of 10 points, our highest ranking for a half-ton pickup.
Earning fifth place with 50 points total was the GMC Sierra 1500, a bit of a quirk being that it shared an identical powertrain to platform-mate Chevrolet Silverado 1500. It did carry more equipment--and therefore weight--and came with different suspension settings, all of which apparently took a toll on performance. But in conclusion, PickupTrucks.com said, "the Sierra apparently had a bad day." We gave the 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 7.6 out of 10 possible points, lower than the 8.0 points we gave to the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
Bringing up the rear in PickupTrucks.com's test was the 2009 Nissan Titan. At five years old, it is the oldest design in the group, and many journalists have found fault with its cheap interior materials. It consistently scored near or at the bottom of all PickupTrucks.com's categories, and they found it noisy, unrefined inside, challenging to attach a trailer to, and a bit stressed when loaded down. They did appreciate excellent power from its 5.6-liter V-8. In our impressions, the 2008 Nissan Titan deserved 7.6 out of 10 points, in line with PickupTrucks.com's assessment.--Colin Mathews