Ask TFLtruck: How do you choose Trucks and Trailers to Test? [Ike Gauntlet]

2015, gmc, sierra, ford, f-150, ecoboost, extreme, towing, gold, hitch,
2015 GMC Sierra Denali and 2015 Ford F-150 Lariat

The image above shows the 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali 6.2L and 2015 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost finishing up another Ike Gauntlet extreme towing run. Although, we did not pit these two directly against each other, this image raises questions. How does TFLtruck chooses trucks and trailers to test on the Ike Gauntlet? Thank you for sending your questions via this website, youtube, and social media.

There is a method to this madness. The first part of the answer is – we do not have a lot of choice on which pickup trucks we are able to get from manufacturers for testing. However, we did have a say as to why this 6.2L V8 Sierra and a 2.7L V6 F-150 are going up the Ike with the same trailer.

2014 toyota tundra extreme towing ike gauntlet
Toyota Tundra 5.7L


The load we are using for this light-duty test is our new Load-Trail tilt trailer with the 1968 Ford “Bronco Bustin'” project perched on top. The total weight of the Bronco and trailer is right at 7,200 pounds. This weight happens to match our previous light-duty towing runs with the Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra almost exactly. The total weight of the old Lincoln and old trailer was 7,120 pounds.

2013 ram 1500 ike gauntlet towing video
Ram 1500 5.7L

More importantly, the 7,200 lbs of trailer the plus two people in the cab bring the GCWR for the 2015 F-150 SuperCab 2.7L Lariat 4×4 with 3.55 axle to 12,600 pounds (which is darn close to its maximum rating of 12,700 lbs).  This falls right in line with the requirements of the Gold Hitch awards. The light-duty pickups are tested at either 12,800 lbs or 15,900 lbs (depending on configuration, engine, and axle).

Using this trailer allows us to compare the F-150 and the Sierra to the other light-duty trucks. The Sierra Denali has a higher 3.23 rear axle and thus a lower 9,200 lbs tow rating.

We use the same approach when picking the loads for all categories of trucks. We take a look at the class, check the GCWR specifications for all competitors, and select the load that competing trucks can be compared against.


We picked these trucks because of the new hardware that they bring. The 2015 F-150 is all new, but we were especially interested in the 2.7L EcoBoost V6. This is the first year for the small displacement turbo-V6, and we never tested it before. The 2015 Sierra Denali is equipped with the new 8-speed automatic transmission. We wanted to know how the transmission handles the high-altitude run.

We are still working on the F-150 and Sierra videos, but you can already watch the 2015 GMC Yukon XL Denali go up against the 2015 Lincoln Navigator EcoBoost.