Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

CNHI News Service Originals

September 17, 2012

Sierra pickup performance shines

In the testosterone-fueled wars between pickup trucks, one thing matters above all else: raw numbers.

It's interesting, then, that until this year there has been no standardized way of measuring how many pounds different pickup trucks can tow.

Each brand would brag about its maximum towing capability as if it were the one and only truck that could possibly have enough gumption to haul a bass boat, but each company also set its own criteria for how to measure that magic number.

The result? Since everybody was playing by different rules, it was impossible to compare each truck apples-to-apples.

All that is supposed to change this year, though, thanks to the Society of Automotive Engineers. A new rule with the wonderfully geeky name of "SAE J2807" was enacted to create a standard series of real-world tests and mathematical equations so buyers can finally see how each truck stacks up in comparison.

How did this truck, the GMC Sierra, do under the new guidelines? Its top towing rating dropped ever so slightly, from 10,700 pounds to 10,500, with the special Max Towing package.

That's pretty good considering the new criteria was widely expected to drop tow ratings drastically for many models, at least compared to the make-believe numbers the manufacturers have been reporting.

When Toyota implemented the new rules before anyone else back in 2011 — something it ought to be applauded for, by the way — the tow

ratings of its Tundra pickup dropped by up to 1,000 pounds under the new way of measuring things.

Unfortunately for General Motors, its competitors at Ford and Ram have not been as forthcoming about releasing their numbers as were originally expected — presumably because they were embarrassing. And that caused GM to backtrack, publicly going back to its old way of measuring towing, which is why you'll still see the old number of 10,700 pounds on the GMC website.

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