The results are in!
The Canadian Truck King Challenge focused on testing the midsize truck segment this year. We look at what’s happening in the truck world and test what Canadian truck buyers are most interested in as each model year rolls out, and right now, the midsize segment is exploding.
We sent invitations to every manufacturer asking them to provide us with the relevant trucks, including the off-road versions, a market that we knew would be of interest to Canadian buyers. Whether it’s the FX4, the TRD Pro, Rubicon, PRO-4X or ZR2 Bison, midsize trucks own the off-road market.
The builders all know that we’ve been pitting new pickups head to head for 14 years now, and some of them responded enthusiastically to this year’s midsize challenge – however, some turned down our invitation. Each had their reasons. What were they? It doesn’t matter, really; their absence speaks for them. These are the manufacturers who wanted to compete – and what they brought to the challenge.
Toyota – with the oldest continuously built midsize, the Tacoma – gave us two trucks: one for the street, the other decidedly off-road capable.
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport
EXTERIOR COLOUR: Voodoo Blue
INTERIOR COLOUR: Leather, Black/Grey
ENGINE: Direct injection 3.5L DOHC V6 w/VVT-i
MECHANICAL FEATURES: Part-time selectable 4WD w/2-speed electronically controlled transfer case, automatic limited-slip differential, locking rear differential
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
SUSPENSION: Rear leaf-spring suspension, sporttuned Bilstein shock absorbers
BRAKES: Front ventilated disc brakes, rear drum brakes
WHEELS: 17” alloy wheels
TRD Sport Premium includes: Power slide/tilt moonroof, embedded navigation, power adjustable heated exterior mirrors, wireless charging, Safety Connect automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator, emergency assistance button, enhanced roadside assistance (1-yr. subscription), 8” touchscreen, blind spot monitor system, service connect (10-yr. subscription), 6 speakers, embedded traffic and weather, remote connect (1-yr. subscription), map updates – 3 years (maximum of 3 updates), destination assist connect (1-yr. subscription), electrochromic rear view mirror, leather seats
Total MSRP: $46,696
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
EXTERIOR COLOUR: Army Green
INTERIOR COLOUR: TRD Pro Leather, Black
ENGINE: Direct injection 3.5L DOHC V6 w/VVT-I
MECHANICAL FEATURES: Locking rear differential, part-time selectable 4WD w/2-speed electronically controlled transfer case, automatic limited-slip differential, crawl control and multi-terrain select
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: Fox shock absorbers
BRAKES: Front ventilated disc brakes, rear drum
WHEELS: 16” alloy wheels
TRD Pro (optional package cost: $12,400): Dual-zone automatic climate control, power slide/tilt moonroof, smart key w/push button start, embedded navigation, power adjustable heated exterior mirrors, wireless charging, Safety Connect automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator, emergency assistance button, enhanced roadside assistance (1-yr. subscription), 8” touchscreen, engine immobilizer, blind spot monitor system, embedded traffic and weather, anti-theft system, map updates – 3 years (maximum of 3 updates), key fob remote start, LED headlamps, 7-speaker JBL audio system, TRD shift knob, TRD Pro leather seats, multi terrain view monitor, TRD-tuned rear leaf springs, black fender flares, power sliding rear window, heritage front grille, Rigid Industries LED fog lamps, electrochromic rear view mirror
Total MSRP: $58,096
FCA’s Jeep brand gave us two versions of its all-new Gladiator pickup truck. Applying the same trim levels that are available on the Jeep Wrangler SUV, the new pickups were equipped as an Overland edition and the most aggressive off-roader – the Rubicon.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland
EXTERIOR COLOUR: Billet Silver Metallic
INTERIOR COLOUR: Black
ENGINE: 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 w/Stop-Start
MECHANICAL FEATURES: Heavy-duty engine cooling, fuel tank skid plate, transfer case skid plate, 2.72:1 Command-Trac part-time 4×4 system, Torx tool kit, 3.73 rear axle ratio, Selec-Speed control, transmission skid plate, tip start, Trac-Lok anti-spin differential rear axle
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: 5-link coil suspension design, Dana M210 front axle, Dana M220 rear axle
BRAKES: 4-wheel ABS discs
WHEELS: 17” aluminum
TIRES: 33” off-road tires
Included (with Leather package, Trailer Tow package, Cold Weather Group, LED Lighting Group and other options): Class IV hitch receiver, trailer hitch zoom, LED headlamps/taillamps/park/turn/ fog lamps, rear park assist system and back-up camera, blind spot monitoring w/rear cross-path detection, 115V AC in-bed outlet, spray-in bedliner, supplemental front seat-mounted side airbags, keyless Enter ’n’ Go with push-button start, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, tilt/telescoping steering column, manual 6-way adjustable driver seat, air conditioning w/automatic temperature control, speed sensitive power locks, power windows with front one-touch down, Uconnect 4 with 7” display (Google Android Auto Apple CarPlay capable), leather-trimmed bucket seats, rear armrest w/cupholder, full length floor console premium a/rest, leather-wrapped park brake handle, leather-wrapped shift knob, premium wrapped instrument panel bezel, tonneau cover
Total MSRP: $63,265
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
EXTERIOR COLOUR: Firecracker Red
INTERIOR COLOUR: Black/Dark Saddle
ENGINE: 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 w/stop-start
MECHANICAL FEATURES: 4:1 Rock-Trac heavyduty part-time 4×4 system, 4.10 rear axle ratio, fuel tank skid plate, transfer case skid plate, heavy gauge rock protection sill rails, Torx tool kit, power tailgate lock, heavy-duty engine cooling, Class IV hitch receiver, trailer hitch zoom, 240-amp alternator
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: Front and rear Fox performance shocks, Tru-Lok front and rear axles, Dana 44 M210 wide front axle, Dana 44 M220 wide rear axle, electronic sway-bar disconnect system
BRAKES: 4-wheel ABS discs
WHEELS: 17” aluminum
TIRES: Falken Wildpeak A/T 285/70R17
Included (with Leather package, Trailer Tow package, Cold Weather Group, LED Lighting Group and other options): LED headlamps/ taillamps/park/turn/fog lamps, Park-Sense rear park assist system, blind spot monitoring w/rear cross-path detection, 115V AC in-bed outlet, spray-in bedliner, manual rear sliding window, rear window defroster, supplemental front seat-mounted side airbags, keyless Enter ’n’ Go with push-button start, rear back-up camera, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, tilt/telescoping steering column, manual six-way adjustable driver seat, air conditioning w/ automatic temperature control, speed-sensitive power locks, power windows w/front one-touch down, Uconnect 4 w/7” display (Google Android AutoApple CarPlay capable), leather-trimmed bucket seats, rear armrest w/cupholder, full-length floor console premium a/rest, leather-wrapped park brake handle, leather wrapped shift knob, premium wrapped instrument panel bezel, tonneau cover, black Jeep Freedom top
Total MSRP: $68,050
General Motors chose to send us just one truck – its newest and most capable midsize off-roader, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.
2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison
EXTERIOR COLOUR: Satin Steel Metallic
INTERIOR COLOUR: Jet Black
ENGINE: 3.6L V6, DOHC WT
MECHANICAL FEATURES: Full-locking front and rear differentials, 4WD w/electric 2-speed transfer case with shield
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: Multimatic DSSV dampers, 50MM suspension lift
BRAKES: 4-wheel antilock disc brakes
WHEELS: 17” AEV aluminum wheels
TIRES: 31” Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac off-road tires
Included: Off-road appearance package, spray-on bedliner, rear black bumper, off-road rocker rotection, EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, locking tailgate, projectortype headlamps, front recovery hooks, leather appointed seating, wireless charging, A/C-automatic, cruise control, multi-colour driver info centre, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitor, front heated bucket seats, 6-way power front seats w/lumbar control, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel w/audio controls ZR2 Bison (optional package: $7,475) plus Power Package ($2,650): Chevrolet grille, AEV front bumper, fog lamps, AEV rear bumper, wheel mouldings, front and rear floor liners, AEV embroidered headrests, fuel tank skid plate, front skid plate, rear differential skid plate
Total MSRP: $60,295
- Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison…78.5 The Winner!
- Jeep Gladiator Rubicon……………72.5
- Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro………..71.3
- Jeep Gladiator Overland………….70.4
- Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport……..70.0
The Truck King Challenge is all about “real world” testing; in other words, we use these trucks the way you, the consumer, would. As we do each year, we enlisted the aide of five experienced judges to drive the trucks back to back on our test loop. This year, with the midsize truck capacities in mind, we drove the Head River loop empty and then we did it all over again with 500 lb. of payload in the beds. Finally, each truck towed a flatbed trailer, loaded with 2,000 lb. of concrete, giving each trailer a gross weight of 4,000 lb.
This ritual of back-to-back driving over the same 20-km test loop is what makes the Truck King Challenge unique. This routine gives each judge a chance to “feel” the differences in each truck as they drive over the same course – again and again. Over two very long days, we manage to collectively drive over 2,000 km around this course.
There is always an off-road element to the challenge, but this year – because of the unique off-road trucks we had a chance to test – we spent significantly more time in the snow, mud and water.
Speaking of snow, we were dumped on with the largest single-day snowfall (for Nov 11th) in 70 years – at least, that’s what Environment Canada reported. As I’ve said before, it’s the Truck King curse – we always get rained on during testing, but snow was unique. It did make for some great off-roading video, though; that footage is on our YouTube channel.
Also of interest to consumers, each year we conduct a Fuel Study. Supported by Natural Resources Canada, we use electronic data collectors to measure fuel consumption during all aspects of our testing; we analyze how the trucks performed while running empty, but we also evaluate fuel economy while the trucks are loaded with payload and while towing. A word about our scoring: The final numbers are averaged from among all the scores submitted by the five judges. They are then converted to a percentage so we can offer a final score out of a possible 100.
Thanks to all who cared enough about their customers to participate. We are grateful for your support in our quest to bring meaningful “real world” test results to Canadian truck buyers.