The benchmark for all towing scores is based on the grueling Ike GauntletTM. The Ike GauntletTM is “The World’s Toughest Towing Test”. The test loop consists of an 8-mile stretch of the I-70 between Dillon, CO (9,111 feet above sea level) and the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels (Continental Divide at 11,158 feet above sea level). The highway grade reaches 7%, the maximum allowed on a US Interstate. The trucks are loaded with trailers near their maximum towing capacity. The transmissions and braking systems are tasked with handling the heavy load on the way down. The cooling system, engine, and transmission are pushed near their limits on the way up.
Andre Smirnov, TFLtruck’s Managing Editor commented, “Maximum-effort testing is what the Ike Gauntlet is all about. High elevation, steep grades and heavy loads challenge all trucks to the fullest. The Ike Gauntletscoring system lets our viewers clearly see how these vehicles performed and compared to each other.”
The TFLtruck team uses the Ike GauntletTM scoring system, the efficiency results from our 100-mile highway MPG loop, and votes to determine the winner.
2019 Gold Hitch half-ton truck contenders include:
- Ford F-150
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Ram 1500
The GMC and the Ram half-ton trucks are all-new for 2019. The Ford F-150, a previous Gold Hitch winner, is used a benchmark. The Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra trucks do not have significant towing equipment upgrades for 2019.
2019 Gold Hitch Award winner:
Best Towing Half-ton pickup truck – 2019 Ram 1500
“The 2019 Ram 1500 and its 5.7L HEMI V8 eTorque system came out on top when compared to the Ford F-150 and the GMC Sierra 1500 on TFLtruck’s Ike Gauntlet. All trucks towed a 9,100 lbs trailer. While the data we collected during our real-world testing demonstrated how close the competition really is, the new Ram 1500 stood out with available air suspension and technology features that made hooking up a trailer easier and the trailering experience more relaxed.” said Andre Smirnov.