2007 Toyota Tundra Double Cab SR5. Click image to enlarge
By Grant Yoxon
Over three days at the end of September, eight judges drove 23 new trucks more than 4,400 kilometres in a combined total of 200 hours of testing to determine the winner of the 2008 Canadian Truck King Challenge.
And the results are in: the Toyota Tundra Double Cab SR5 is the Canadian Truck King for 2008.
Autos sent two members of its staff to rate the trucks – Managing Editor Grant Yoxon and Assistant Editor Jil McIntosh. It was a lot of driving, towing, hauling and packing, but it was also a lot of fun. The Autos team drove every truck, and assessed points for each vehicle based on a variety of objective and subjective criteria (see side bar). To find out what it really means to be a judge at an event like this, read Jil’s article, “Judging the Truck King Challenge”.
The contenders for the 2008 crown were selected and entered by the manufacturers. All vehicle manufacturers with trucks in their line-up were invited to attend, and were asked to supply trucks at their discretion. Not all manufacturers responded. If you’re wondering why certain trucks are missing from the list, it’s because manufacturers chose not to enter them; the manufacturers decided which engine sizes, body configurations and options or option packages they entered.
The Truck King Challenge is an independent event, produced by TruckKing Media Group and is not sanctioned or sponsored by vehicle manufacturers. As with many independent tests, however, manufacturers do pay a fee to enter and the fee is the same for all.
2007 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab. Click image to enlarge
The 23 trucks were divided into seven categories and a winner was determined for each category. All tested vehicles were 2008 models with the exception of the Toyota Tundras and the Toyota Tacoma 4X4, all of which were 2007 models.
The categories and winners in this year’s competition were:
- Midsize under V6: Toyota Tacoma Access Cab 4×2
- Midsize V6 and over: Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4×4 TRD Sport + Towing
- Half-Ton under 5.0-litre: Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4×4 SR5
- Half-Ton over 5.0-litre: Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4×4
- Three-Quarter Ton: GMC Sierra 2500 Crew Cab 4×4 SLT
- One-Ton: Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Crew Cab 4×4 LTZ
- Work Truck: GMC Sierra 1500 Regular Cab 4×2
We’ve provided our assessment of all the vehicles in each class. Please see the links at the bottom of this article. But please note that our opinion is our opinion and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the other judges, or of the final results of the competition.
2008 GMC Sierra 2500 SLT Crew Cab. Click image to enlarge
Such is the nature of a competition that includes both subjective and objective criteria. What one judge rates highly may not impress another, but the combined scores of eight judges reveal the best of an excellent group – the all new 2007 Toyota Tundra Double Cab SR5.
Powered by Toyota’s new 5.7-litre V8 engine, with 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, the Tundra Double Cab proved to be a versatile truck. In our opinion it was the best truck in its class for towing and hauling, with strong, smooth acceleration, a comfortable loaded ride and confident steering. It also got our approval for safety with standard front and rear head side curtain air bags and an excellent electronic stability control system that kept the truck on the road in conditions that had some of the competitors going sideways.
2008 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 LTZ Crew Cab. Click image to enlarge
Off-road the Tundra was less capable than the Dodge Ram 1500 (our choice in the over 5.0-litre class for off road ability), but we appreciated the Tundra’s tight turning circle where room to manoevre was limited. The Tundra’s dash is a good looking piece, but controls are harder to reach and less intuitive than those of the new GM full-size trucks.
In an ideal world we’d take the Tundra’s on road drivability, loaded and unloaded, and its great fuel economy, the interior and controls of the GMC Sierra, the roominess and off-road prowess of the Dodge 1500 Mega Cab and the down shifting superiority of an Allison transmission. But alas no truck has it all. When all the score sheets were added up, and fuel consumption, price, braking and acceleration factored in, the Toyota Tundra came out on top. The majority rules and for 2008, the 5.7-litre Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4X4 rules as Canadian Truck King.