By Jil McIntosh
- Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab 4×4 SLT, 6.7-litre Cummins diesel, $57,240
- Ford F250 SuperCab 4×4 FX4, 6.8-litre Triton V10 gasoline, $53,119
- GMC Sierra 2500 Crew Cab 4×4 SLT, 6.6-litre Duramax diesel, $66,045
- GMC Sierra 2500 Crew Cab 4×4 SLT
Three trucks met in this ring: the Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra, and Ford F250. All were 4×4 models and were taken through the full off-road course, and all three towed a trailer loaded with a Jeep Wrangler.
The Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab SLT came with 6.7-litre Cummins turbo diesel engine and six-speed automatic ($57,240). We loved both this engine and the Cummins diesel for smooth, strong and quiet operation, but we were extremely impressed with the Ram’s exhaust brake, currently the only three-quarter-ton with such a feature. It helped slow everything down without touching the brakes, and gave us extra confidence when bringing the trailer to a halt. It’ll also help keep the meat on those brake pads longer.
2008 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT Quad Cab (top) and 2008 Ford F250 FX4 Supercab. Click image to enlarge
The Ram aced the off-road course, getting through without a single undercarriage scrape, getting around obstacles with its tight turning radius, and barreling through soft spots without slipping or sticking. Only when assessing the 4WD selection system did it get topped by the Ford, which had a faster-engaging transfer case from 4High into 4Low.
The Ford F250 SuperCab FX4 was the sole gasoline-burner of the three, with 6.8-litre V10 engine and five-speed automatic ($53,119). It also rode the roughest of the group, but was the quietest, even accounting for gasoline versus diesel. Its handsome interior had a busy dash, but all controls, including the huge vents, were extremely easy to use, even with gloves.
With the Jeep following behind, the Ford’s front end lightened more than we preferred, earning it the lowest for towing feel. Its huge towing mirrors slid out electrically, though, for good visibility. It scored poorest for ground clearance on the off-road course, and was a handful to get around tight corners, especially when one had to look over its tall hood.
2008 GMC Sierra 2500 SLT Crew Cab (top) and 2008 Ford F250 FX4 Super Cab pulls trailer carrying 2008 Jeep Wrangler. Click image to enlarge
The GMC Sierra 2500 Crew Cab SLT came with 6.6-litre Duramax turbo diesel and six-speed Allison transmission ($66,045). With the Jeep hooked on, it ranked highest for comfort and towing feel, with confident steering that made you check the mirror to see if the load was really still attached. We thought the GM diesel slightly quieter than the Dodge, although both were easy on the ears.
Off-road, the Sierra ranked in the middle, touching its undercarriage a couple of times and requiring a second run at some mud. For whatever reason, the turning circle seemed tighter than the huge ring made by the half-ton GMs and by the little Canyon. Our two-person team was divided on the final scores overall, but it came down to a run between the GMC and Dodge.