The Best Comparison of the 2012 Chevy, Dodge and Ford Half Ton Pickup Trucks
Are you thinking about buying a half ton truck? Each year there are new improvements to each of the big three truck makers, Chevy, Dodge, and Ford, so how do you choose which half ton pickup truck to buy? Which of the 2012 trucks is best suited to meet your needs? Let's break it down in a 2012 half ton truck comparison.
Each year, the big three truck makers sell between two and three million pickup trucks in the U.S. And the top seller, depending on which numbers you use, is always Ford. While numbers show that Ford has a good product, it does not necessarily mean they have the best product. Most truck buyers have certain aspects they look at to decide: handling, power, comfort, and more.
The following is a look at how each make measures up in the areas of power, comfortability, design, durability and price.
2012 Truck Power Comparison
From the 1970s until the last decade, the big three truck makers have based their truck lines on power. Every year truck reviews and commercials come out full of pictures of trucks loaded with massive loads, strapped to huge trailers, or even carrying other trucks. However, a more contemporary view of truck power would be to answer "Will it do what I need without stopping at every gas station?"
Each of the 3 major 2012 trucks have engine packages available with big horsepower, and along with it, hefty torque. However, to match the Chevy's improved gas mileage in its 5.3 L V8, you have to go to Ford's EcoBoost 3.5L V6. That's right, V6. The V6 version of the new Ecoboost line of Ford engines gets more horsepower than Chevy's 5.3 L V8, but I'm afraid the only thing harder than convincing truck buyers to buy a V6 for fuel efficiency would be convincing them that this new V6 will be able to produce 365 HP for more than 100,000 miles. The Ecoboost line has been in production for a few years now, but it will take a while to convince most truck buyers that it can handle the abuse needed. Past deisel truck owners may have less trouble believing, however, as Cummins has been providing Dodge with 6 Cylinder diesel engines for years.
The Dodge trucks do offer good horsepower, but as has been their problem for years, they continue to produce gas guzzling hogs that seem to automatically put their turn signal on for every gas station. With a rumored addition of a 6 speed transmission in 2012, Dodge could finally begin to close the fuel mileage gap on Chevrolet.
2012 Truck Comfort Comparison
Nobody wants to ride around in an uncomfortable truck, and, to be honest, most of the trucks from the early '90s and older would be considered extremely stiff and uncomfortable compared to the trucks of today. All three have made changes in recent years to improve on interior space, ride, and amenities inside the cab. For the models that I compared, crew cab XLT, LT, or SLT, there were few differences in dimensions, but a couple did stick out. The Dodge and Chevy have a couple more inches in front and rear hip room than the Ford, but Ford more than makes up for it with 4 and 5 more inches of rear leg room than the Dodge and Chevy respectively.
Aside from just dimensions, there are differences in ride quality. The Dodge has heavy duty shocks instead of the gas shocks of the Chevy and Ford, which are great for rugged use and work trucks, but give a much stiffer and less comfortable ride. Also, the amenities of the Chevy and Ford far surpass the Dodge, and even though Ford has the Sync system, the Bose entertainment system in the Chevy is hard to beat.
Finally, Dodge has not added side impact airbags to their trucks even though they added side curtain airbags. This may be why the Dodge only had a two star passenger and three star driver safety rating on side impacts from NHTSA. Dodge has made plenty of design changes and even added many creature comforts in the past few years, so they will probably make more strides to catch up in ride comfort and fuel economy soon, but being behind is not likely to help Ram sales in the short term.
2012 Truck Design Comparison
In the past few years, many changes have come in Pickup Truck Design. From large grille, hood, and fender areas, to built-in tool boxes and steps, these are not your father's pickup trucks! For the most part these design changes have been for the good, although, larger trucks do mean it is harder to get in and out. Size can be adjusted for with some great truck accessories like side steps or running boards.
Design is the one area in which I see Dodge as having made great strides. With their re-worked front end, larger cabs, and new amenities, such as the built in toolboxes over the rear wheels, which they make make standard in 2012, Dodge has really tried to capture the imagination of the truck buyer. Dodge has once again made their work trucks an asset to their owners. Although these changes have made Dodge a bit more competitive, they do not necessarily make up for their shortfalls in other areas.
Ford and Chevy seem to have focused their changes on style of the front end and beefing up their frames and suspension. Ford has included their built in tailgate step which was needed to reach into their deep bed. Chevy has, on the other hand, made some needed changes to interior design to give more head room.
2012 Truck Durability Comparison
I have three concerns in this area of comparison. First, although it is definitely too early to truly judge the durability of these models, there have already been several recalls involving both the Dodge Ram and F-150. Most of these are due to electrical problems that are mostly cautionary, one for the Ram is for rear axle issues for trucks with manual transmissions.
Second, the F-150 seems to be placing its future in its new EcoBoost V6 due to its need to keep up with Chevy on fuel economy. Even though this engine is focused on better gas mileage, there will certainly be some light truck tires worn out by its power. While the V6 could very well be the best new engine out of Detroit, I have serious doubts about putting long term trust in a 3.6 L V6 to pull and carry heavy loads. Only time will tell. For those of you that have tried this engine out, be advised, there is rumor that Ford is working on a V8 version of the engine that, if able to compare in economy, could be an amazing package.
Third, the manufacturer's power train warranty makes the above distrust more profound. The Ford power train warranty of 5 yr/60,000 miles continues to lag behind those of Dodge and Chevy whose warranties are 5 yr/100,000 miles. If Ford wants buyers to feel comfortable buying their new EcoBoost V6 they should beef up their warranty to show how much they trust their handiwork.
2012 Half Ton Truck Comparison: Your Opinion?
For most of us who love trucks, love driving them, and enjoy bragging about them, opinions are a dime a dozen. I am sure you have your opinion on each of these three makes, so please feel free to share it below in the comments. If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them, and if I disagree with your personal preference, I will respect your choice, begrudgingly, perhaps... However, please be sure to be respectful of the opinions of the other commenters, remembering they are only trucks...
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