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TOYOTA TUNDRA, CHEVROLET SILVERADO RANK BEST IN TESTS OF FOUR, FULL-SIZED, CREW-CAB PICKUPS BY CONSUMER REPORTS


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Tundra and Silverado both achieve “Very Good” overall scores;Chevrolet Silverado 2500 is top-rated by CR among heavy-duty diesels tested

YONKERS, NY August 6, 2007; The Toyota Tundra and Chevrolet Silverado placed first and second in Consumer Reports’ tests of four full-sized, crew-cab pickups for the September issue. In separate tests of heavy-duty diesel pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 easily outpointed competitors from Dodge and Ford.

The Tundra slightly outscored the Silverado in CR’s tests, though both achieved “Very Good” overall scores. The half-ton, crew-cab trucks were tested against the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram 1500, which are built on older platforms and received “Good” overall scores.

The previously-tested Chevrolet Avalanche remains Consumer Reports’ top-rated full-sized pickup; the Avalanche, too, achieved a “Very Good” score.

For the first time ever, Consumer Reports also tested three heavy-duty (three-quarter-ton) pickups from Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford. Exclusively offered by domestic manufacturers, these trucks have higher towing and payload capacities than the half-ton vehicles. In that group, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 achieved a “Good” overall score. Both the Dodge Ram and Ford F-250 earned “Fair” scores.

“The Tundra’s powerful and responsive powertrain helped it to achieve the best overall score in this group,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. “And, at 10,300 pounds, the Tundra’s towing capacity rivals that of the heavy-duty diesel trucks that we’ve tested.”

Prices for the crew-cab trucks equipped with four-wheel-drive and popular options ranged from $34,738 for the Tundra to $38,370 for the Ram.

Two of the seven trucks tested in this group are recommended—the Tundra and Dodge Ram 1500. Consumer Reports is predicting above-average reliability for the Tundra based on the earlier models and other Toyotas. The Silverado is too new for CR to have reliability data. The F-150’s below-average reliability prevents CR from recommending it. Consumer Reports only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR’s Annual Car Reliability Survey of its own subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

Full tests and ratings of the trucks appear in the September issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale August 7. The reports are also available to subscribers of http://www.ConsumerReports.org.

The Tundra, formerly a smaller, refined truck with carlike ride and handling, now goes head-to-head with GM and Ford in power, towing, payload capacity, and size. But it lost some refinement and livability in the redesign. Its superior drivetrain also yields class-leading acceleration. The Tundra SR5 ($34,738 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price as tested) is powered by a 381-hp, 5.7-liter V8 engine that delivers very strong performance and makes the Tundra notably quicker than the other trucks in this group. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts quite smoothly. The Tundra averaged 15 mpg—the best in the group—in CR’s own fuel economy tests. With the optional TRD package, the Tundra’s ride is stiff and jittery even on the highway. The truck handles well in normal driving, but the steering lacks feel. It pulled CR’s 7,400-pound trailer to 60 mph in 16.1 seconds, the fastest in the group. Braking was the best in the group. But it was still mediocre overall, with long stops on both wet and dry pavement.

The Silverado is considerably improved over the previous model. It has a fairly comfortable ride and easier access and cargo loading than the others. A new rack-and-pinion setup has improved steering feel and response. Interior quality has also improved and the payload rating is generous. The Silverado 1500 LT ($37,235 MSRP as tested) is equipped with a 315-hp, 5.3-liter V8 that delivers good performance. It pulled the 7,400-pound test trailer to 60 mph in 22.6 seconds. The four-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth shifts and is very good overall. Like the Tundra, the Silverado’s brakes were rated “Fair” overall.

The F-150’s handling is sound and the cabin is roomy, but the ride isn’t that good and the noisy engine strains under acceleration. Uncomfortable seats detract from the driving experience. Stability control, full-time four-wheel-drive and side-curtain air bags are all lacking. (Only the Harley Davidson version has all-wheel-drive. The F-150 rides stiffly and jiggles a lot even on the highway. Handling is quite sound, though, with reasonably good steering feel. The F-150 XLT ($36,705 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 300-hp, 5.4-liter V8 that delivers decent acceleration. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The F-150 pulled CR’s 7,400-pound trailer to 60 mph in 24.1 seconds. The Ford’s brakes, too, tested “Fair” overall.

The Ram 1500 has improved since the last time it was tested by Consumer Reports in 2004. It now rides and handles better, and it’s quieter. The optional, full-time four-wheel-drive system and electronic stability system are definite pluses. But the ride remains jittery, the rear seat is cramped, and getting in and out requires a steep climb. It also has disappointing interior fit and finish. Though tall and hulking, the Ram handles relatively responsively. The steering reacts quickly and is reasonably well-weighted. The Ram 1500 SLT ($38,370 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 345-hp, 5.7-liter V8 that delivers very good acceleration—the best of the domestics—but gets only 13 mpg in CR’s tests. The Ram pulled CR’s 7,400-pound trailer to 60 mph in 20.5 seconds. Like the others, the Ram’s brakes tested just “Fair” overall.

Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site; the magazine’s auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe to Consumer Reports, call 1-800-234-1645. Information and articles from the magazine can be accessed online at http://www.ConsumerReports.org.