With 2013 shaping up to be a high-water mark for the pickup truck market, Consumer Reports announced a photo finish in the latest competition for top truck.
The magazine announced Tuesday that the all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the current segment leader. Yet the second-place Ram 1500 has more to offer as a daily drive, CR said.
"The reality is that you can't go wrong with either one," Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, said in a statement. "Both are capable trucks that get decent gas mileage and are as quiet inside as a good luxury car."
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The Silverado, which Highway 1 tested in July, bested rivals thanks to features like a large cargo bed, as well as greater payload and towing capacity, better handling and better overall fuel economy, CR said.
Yet CR said it was the Ram 1500 that won them over for daily driving. Not only did its larger V-8 have more thrust and a smoother transmission, the Ram also offers a better ride, quicker acceleration and more comfortable interior, the magazine said.
In third and fourth place in CR's comparison are two versions of the Ford F-150. The model with the EcoBoost (turbocharged) 3.5-liter V-6 took the bronze, while the more traditional V-8 model finished fourth.
Though most automakers won't admit to placing importance on positive rankings from Consumer Reports, the publication does wield significant influence.
After the Honda Civic was redesigned in 2012, it was widely panned by critics, including CR, which dropped the Civic from the magazine's coveted recommended list. Despite the car continuing to sell well, Honda ordered an emergency refresh for the 2013 model year.
Such an effort only a year after introducing a new generation of car is very rare. Yet Honda's effort proved largely successful because the 2013 Civic is back on CR's recommended list.
Meanwhile, on the truck side of the industry, 2013 has been a seminal year for full-size pickups. Sales could hit 2 million this year for the first time since 2007, riding a wave of stronger housing markets and energy and agricultural sectors, according to Edmunds.com.
In addition to the all-new Chevrolet Silverado -- and its close cousin the GMC Sierra being introduced this year -- Ram's 1500 was significantly overhauled, and a redesigned Toyota Tundra will go on sale soon.
Never one to let the spotlight miss its perennial bestseller in the F-150, Ford has been making noise about the next generation of that truck due next year with its Atlas concept truck.