As we do every year, the Truckin' staff has put all of the newest trucks through their paces in our Truck of the Year competition.This year, six trucks were brand-new for the '04 model year, and each was thoroughly tested by Truckin' to determine the cream of the crop. Our guidelines for Truck of the Year are fairly simple - we test those truck models that are either totally brand-new for 2004, or those trucks that have undergone a radical redesign. This year, the contestants are: Chevy Colorado, Chevy SSR, Dodge Ram SRT-10, Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, and Toyota Tundra Double Cab.

Although a few of these trucks are arguably niche vehicles, with limited-production runs (the SSR and SRT-10), to be fair, we felt we needed to test all of the new trucks for 2004 to allow for an even playing field. Each member of the Truckin' staff had enough seat time with each vehicle to determine each truck's strengths and weaknesses. As we drove the vehicles, we paid particular attention to each truck's driveability, styling nuances, working prowess, interior amenities, and overall drivetrain strengths and limitations.

Each attribute of the truck was scored and tallied to check out the sum of these subjective features. On the objective side, we looked at truck qualities such as horsepower and torque, curb weight, towing capacity, payload, fuel economy, and, of course, price. In addition, we subjected the trucks to a comprehensive set of performance tests, including quarter-mile times, 0-60 acceleration, and 60-0 braking ability. With all of these factors totaled, considered, and scrutinized, we felt we had a pretty good idea of our winner.

However, we also considered other variables. Since Truckin' is basically an aftermarket-driven publication, we looked at each truck from an aftermarket-possibility point of view. In other words, what could you really achieve with these truck platforms with a well-chosen bevy of aftermarket modifications and upgrades? We also looked carefully at price and the all-important bang-for-the-buck quotient. Is the truck worth the pricetag? Do you get what you pay for?

We've divided our special Truck of the Year feature into several parts. This includes this introduction, then detailed introductions and photography on each of our test vehicles. We wrap up with the announcement of our winner and runner-up, and a two-page stats and performance focus.

So, as we prepare to open the envelope and announce our winner for the 2004 Truck of the Year, read along and see if your choice matches ours.