By James Raia
Pickup trucks continue to dominate sales in the United States. But Consumer Reports isn’t impressed.
Among the 17 pickup trucks tested by the leading consumer organization, only two were recommended. These were the Honda Ridgeline and the Jeep Gladiator.
The Ridgeline achieved a score of 65, the highest mark among all trucks tested.
Consumer Reports conducts about 50 different tests on the vehicles it evaluates. It evaluates braking to handling, comfort to safety and fuel economy. Predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, safety technology and crash test results are also factored into overall results.
Consumer Reports dings 15 of 17 pickup brands
The Gladiator and Ridgeline are both mid-sized trucks. No full-sized trucks were recommended.
The Ridgeline scored average or better in every category. The Gladiator nearly mirrored it but got dinged for cabin noise. Its reliability was at the top for any pickup truck.
Consumer Reports did not report results for the Ford F-150, the best-selling truck in the U.S. However, Ford launched a complete redesign of the truck for this model year. Consumer Reports is currently evaluating the vehicle.
The Ford F-250 with a 6.7-liter engine was tested. It had average reliability and scored well in owner satisfaction and seat comfort. It received a low mark for routine handling.
The Toyota Tacoma, the best-selling midsize truck, scored average or better in just half of the categories. Its road test score was 42, barely half the performance of the Ridgeline. The Ford Ranger was average almost across the board but fell below in reliability and ride.
American consumers annually buy about three million pickup trucks, about 20 percent of U.S. new vehicle sales.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.