Yep, it's that time of the year again - time for Truckin' to host its Of The Year contest and time for truck and SUV manufacturers to strut their stuff! For two weeks, twelve brand new means of transportation were exposed to the critique and praise of the Truck Group staff. Through extensive logistical coordination, key swapping, vehicle hogging, and continual Excel Spreadsheet vehicle/driver re-arranging, the objective was to get as much seat-time as possible in as many of the vehicles as possible. Daily commuting, combined with one day at the Los Angeles County Raceway and a separate three-day road trip, provided the vital data to make vehicle comparisons and create driving impressions.
The vehicles for Truckin's Of The Year Testing were all 2007 models, except for the 2006 F-150. The trucks made up a fiercely competitive group of seven candidates, competing for the 2007 Truck of the Year title. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was a 4WD, LTZ, 5.3L V-8, priced at approximately $37,076. The Chevrolet Avalanche was a 4WD, LT, 5.3L V-8, at approximately $45,600. The GMC Sierra was a 4WD, SLT, 6.0L V-8, coming in at approximately $43,179. The Ford F-150 was a 2WD, King Ranch, 5.4L V-8, priced at approximately $39,570. The Nissan Titan was a 4WD, SE, 5.6L V-8, cashing in around $36,420. The Dodge Ram 1500 was a 4WD, Sport, 5.7L V-8 Hemi, costing approximately $40,075. Finally, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac was a 4WD, Limited, 4.6L V-8, at approximately $33,930.
The SUV's competing for the 2007 Truckin' SUV Of The Year title created a more diverse group, with a few debuting for the very first time in 2007. The Chevrolet Tahoe was a 4WD, LT, 5.3L V-8, costing approximately $51,401. The Chrysler Aspen was the first SUV for the Chrysler brand, and shared the same platform as the Dodge Durango. This was a 4WD, Limited, 5.7L V-8 Hemi, pricing in at approximately $42,650. The Dodge Nitro also made its debut as the first mid-sized SUV for Dodge, sharing its platform with the Jeep Liberty. The test vehicle was a 4WD, R/T, 4.0L V-6, costing approximately $30,065. The Ford Expedition EL, redesigned for this year, was a 4WD, Limited, 5.4L V-8, priced at about $50,260. Finally, the Toyota FJ Cruiser was a 4WD, 4.0L V-6, costing approximately $29,883. All prices were without destination.
LACR Drag Strip
We arrived at the Camarillo Airport bright and early for a relaxed day of quarter mile runs and brake tests. After we convinced a BMW M5 to give us a good burnout and after a concerned call from the Avalanche's OnStar ("testing" does not mean "in trouble"), we encountered a complication and relocated to the Los Angeles County Raceway. At LACR the vital statistics were gathered, pizza was inhaled, and arms were left sore from NFL-caliber football sessions.