For the September pickup truck test, we decided to put a different spin on the monthly "Personal Picks." Instead of probing the minds of our engineers and editors, we went directly to the people who use trucks on a day-to-day basis: the maintenance staff of Consumer Reports' auto test facility.
Here is the last of the pickup truck picks from our hard-working crew:
Half-ton pick: Chevrolet Silverado
I found it difficult to pick one, and I especially had a hard time deciding between the Toyota Tundra and the Chevrolet Silverado. Both trucks performed very well and were comfortable and easy to drive. I guess it comes down to style. So, my pick goes to the Silverado, which I preferred head and shoulders above the Toyota. Payload in a half-ton truck is not a feature that I rank high, simply because I've owned them and don't expect much. I look at these vehicles as an alternative to an enclosed SUV with a restrictive cargo area -- an overdeveloped "grocery getter," if you will. If I was going to "work" a truck, this group would not be my first choice, unless "working" meant going to Home Depot for a couple of pieces of lumber with the family.
Three-quarter ton pick: Chevrolet Silverado
Now the three-quarter-ton diesel trucks are a different animal. Of the three, again, I chose the Chevy. I evaluated each truck on fairly equal ground, having "worked" each one. All the heavy-duty trucks are able enough, and each impressed me with their payload and towing ability. The power, especially, was mind blowing since I was comparing them to the gas-powered 1-ton truck I currently drive. In this group, my final decision came down to the drivetrains, comfort, and cab layout. That being said, I wouldn't trade the Silverado's Duramax/Allison combo for anything. The Chevy's seating was more supportive for me and the control layout was familiar. One of strengths of the Dodge was its engine brake; this should be a standard feature on all makes. It was actually addicting and I missed not having it while trailering with the others. I also liked the extendable mirrors from the Ford. If I had a major complaint for the Silverado, it would be the ride.
Half-ton pick: Toyota Tundra
If you're only towing occasionally, the half-ton models will suit the need since they're much more geared for comfort and built for more for family use and weekend warriors. My pick in this class is the Toyota Tundra. Toyota's reliability and good looks make this truck a no-brainer. It's very well built and drove and handled great. Its design incorporated the things that I want in a truck for work, daily routines, as well as weekend fun. Ride comfort, handling, cab room, and easily accessible controls made this pick on the top of my list. I was pleased with the Tundra's overall design and available options. Visibility was a nice feature in this truck, and I quickly felt comfortable in the drivers-seat. I would be very happy with this choice for a half-ton pickup.
Three-quarter ton pick: Ford F-250
All the three-quarter-ton trucks seem well built, but I felt most comfortable in the Ford F-250. It had plenty of responsive power and the true feel of a work truck. I especially liked the large telescoping mirrors, which made it very nice for towing, as well as the easy-to-reach brake controller. The stylish and roomy cab is well balanced for both comfort and work; I especially appreciated the ample storage inside. Although it's a large vehicle with a long wheelbase, I was surprised with its good turning radius. I felt visibility was better in the F-250 than the others, making me feel most comfortable in this truck. I was easily accustomed to the drive and handling, and I am confident that this truck would be a good choice for me.