By Jil McIntosh

The Trucks

  • Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4×4 SXT TRX4 Off-Road, 4.7-litre V8, $39,900
  • GMC Sierra 1500 Regular Cab 4×2 Work Truck, 4.8-litre V8, $28,090
  • Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4×4 SR5 Off-Road, 4.7-litre V8, $40,825
  • Toyota Tundra Regular Cab 4×2 Work Truck, 4.7-litre V8, $28,480

The Winner

  • Half-Ton under 5.0-litre: Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4×4 SR5 Off-Road
  • Work Truck: GMC Sierra 1500 Regular Cab 4×2

Our Take

While there were four trucks in this general class – two Toyota Tundras, Dodge Ram and GMC Sierra – it was further broken down into a secondary Work Truck category, where Toyota and GMC went head-to-head. The two Work Trucks were 2WD only and did not go on the off-road course; both were Regular Cab configuration.

The GMC Sierra Work Truck carried a 4.8-litre V8 engine, making 295 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque ($28,090). It was a base vehicle, with manual mirrors (and no remote control knob – you put your hand out the window and moved the glass), but we preferred its optional easy-clean rubber floor to the Tundra’s light grey carpet. Towing feel went to the GMC by a slight margin. We preferred the Sierra’s dash layout to the widely-spread and tough-to-reach Toyota controls, but faulted the GMC for no assist handle over the driver’s door.

2007 Toyota Tundra 4X4 double Cab SR5
2008 Dodge Ram 1500 SXT Quad Cab
2007 Toyota Tundra 4X4 double Cab SR5 (top) and 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 SXT Quad Cab. Click image to enlarge

The Tundra used a 4.7-litre V8, making 271 hp and 313 lb-ft of torque ($28,480). Under load, we found ride comfort and cabin noise only slightly poorer than the Sierra, but found that both were still good. Our nod went to the Tundra for its market appeal: it included such things as power mirrors and curtain airbags missing on the GMC for only an additional $390, which made it a much better value overall in our books.

The Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab SXT had a trailer tow package, TRX4 Off-Road package, and 4.7-litre V8 making 310 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque ($39,900). It scored fairly well on ride comfort, but had the noisiest cabin of the group, with considerable wind noise. Controls were easier to use than the Tundra (save for a finicky washer switch button at the end of the stalk), but its plain plastic dash paled beside the Toyotas and GMC. Brake pedal feel was very good, but handling under load went to the Toyota.

The Tundra 4×4 Double Cab SR5 was the priciest of the group, with Off-Road Package and 4.7-litre V8 making 271 hp and 313 lb-ft of torque ($40,825). Still, the market should find it money well spent. It took the nod for safety: its electronic stability control system is simply awesome, instantly bringing the truck back in line on a slick, muddy road that had some of the competitors in other classes going sideways. We could have lived without the warning chime that went off continually whenever it was working, though.

On the off-road course, we gave the Dodge and Toyota equal points overall, but broke them down differently. The Ram had better ground clearance, but we liked the Tundra’s tight turning circle. When all categories in the class were considered, we gave the nod to Toyota.


Overview

Judging the Truck King Challenge

The tests

Mid-size trucks

Half-Ton over 5.0-litre

Three-Quarter Ton

One-ton

More from the 2008 Canadian Truck King Challenge….

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