What’s the Best Half-Ton Truck for 2019? Canadian Event Crowns a Winner and Shows Real World MPG (Video)

Since 2006, the Canadian Truck King Challenge has been operating annually with the same goal every time: to have top Canadian automotive journalists provide feedback after testing the latest crop of pickup trucks, and crown the best half-ton truck of the year. 

Each one of the trucks is driven on a 19-km (11.8 mi) loop in three different states of load by every judge. First we drive them empty, then we load 1,000-lbs of payload into the bed and finally we tow 7,000-lb trailers to make sure we get a good feeling for each machine.

The event is organized by Howard Elmer, a long-time Canadian automotive journalist and (full disclosure) also my dad, so needless to say, I’ve also been involved in the event since the beginning.

For 2019, we test the field of half-ton pickups, and we have all six of the major players to work with. And before you cry foul that this wasn’t apples-to-apples (and you’re right, it wasn’t), each manufacturer is asked for a truck in a specific segment. They know the tests and each manufacturer chooses which truck to send.

For our battle this year we have:

  • 2019 Ford F-150 Lariat with a 3.0-liter diesel
  • 2019 Chevy Silverado LTZ with a 6.2-liter V8
  • 2019 GMC Sierra Denali with a 6.2-liter V8
  • 2019 Nissan Titan PRO-4X with a 5.6-liter V8
  • 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro with a 5.7-liter V8
  • 2019 Ram 1500 Limited with a 5.7-liter V8

Each truck is scored on a number of different criteria, including throttle response, engine, transmission, interior comfort, noise/vibration/harshness and more. The scores are handed out from 0-10, and each judge it responsible for scoring every truck in all situations. For 2019, the event had five judges.

Besides picking an overall winner, the CTKC also does an in-depth fuel economy study using data recorders that plug right into the vehicle’s OBD-II port. This enables the event to record fuel economy while each truck is empty, with payload and trailering. Sadly the F-150 diesel didn’t communicate with our logger properly, so the numbers for the diesel are not available.

Here is the same fuel economy data in MPG.

Who is the 2019 Canadian Truck King challenge winner? Every judge used a detailed scoring sheet to come up with an average score for each truck out of 100 points. Here are the results!

2019 GMC Sierra Denali
2019 GMC Sierral Denali

6. Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: 71/100
5. Nissan Titan:                71.3/100
4. Ford F-150 Diesel:        73.3/100
3. Chevy Silverado 6.2L:   77.3/100
2. Ram 1500:                   78.8/100
1. GMC Sierra Denali:      80/100

In the end, all of these trucks were very close, but the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali with the 6.2L V8 came out on top.