Midsize pickups are one of the best platforms for off-road packages, but once outfitted for the trail, how do these trucks tow?
At the recent 2020 Canadian Truck King Challenge, I had the chance to try out four of today’s off-road trucks back-to-back with an identical 4,000-lb trailer. Those included the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, Ford Ranger FX4, Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison and the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon.
For a full specs breakdown, see the chart here:
Pulling away in both the Gladiator and Colorado ZR2 are similar experiences, with eight-speed transmissions hooked to 3.6-liter V6 engines, though the Chevy makes a little more power. And while the Colorado feels a little better off the line, both of these V6s need to be revved up high to get them into the power, and once both are there, plenty of jam can be found.
In the Tacoma, the 3.5-liter V6 feels anemic in this group, waiting a beat to fully deliver power and then never feeling all that strong. Even with the ECT Power button engaged, Toyota’s version of tow/haul mode that adjusts the shift mapping and throttle response, the Taco is definitely the weakling of the group.
Pulling away in the Ranger FX4 is a different experience from all these trucks, as turbo lag is minimal but low-end torque is instant, pulling away with more authority than any four-cylinder should have. Having more ratios than the other trucks with its 10-speed automatic also helps the truck pull the best feeling from its small turbo engine.
Dynamically, the Ranger also provided one of the best rides of the group, followed closely by the Colorado ZR2.
Want to hear more about this comparison? Make sure you watch the full video embedded above.