What is the right truck size for you? We put our latest project trucks to a 7,000 lbs towing highway test to find out! The Goldilocks Truck ep. 1 is about testing each class of truck (midsize, full-size, and heavy duty) for ease of trailer hook-up, towing, and highway efficiency.
The contestants are: brand new 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon (“baby bear”) versus 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss (“mama bear”) versus 2020 Ford F-250 FX4 (“papa bear”).
The trailer is a Cimarron Norstar three-horse that we got at our friends at Transwest Truck, Trailer and RV. The trailer is approximately 20 feet long and 7.5 feet wide. We have the trailer loaded with ballast for a total weight of 7,000 lbs. This trailer type and weight is very typical and common. It’s similar to a camping trailer, medium-size boat, car hauler, or cargo trailer you may be towing.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
This midsize truck “baby bear” is currently the smallest class of pickup you can purchase in the United States.
The Gladiator is powered by a familiar 3.6-liter gas V6 with a rating of 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The engine in our truck is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The maximum towing rating for this truck is 7,000 lbs. We are maxing out this midsize truck in this episode.
2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss
The full-size truck (aka. half-ton, aka. 1500, aka. “mama bear”) is the most popular pickup you can buy in the United States.
The Silverado Trail Boss is powered by the latest version of the 5.3-liter gas V8 with 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. This particular one is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The maximum trailer rating for this Trail Boss is 9,500 lbs.
2020 Ford F-250 FX4
The heavy duty truck (aka. Ford Super Duty, aka. “papa bear”) is heavier and larger version of a full-size truck. These HD pickups have heavier frames and heavier components for higher payload and towing capacities. This F-250 is powered by a 7.3-liter gas V8 with a rating 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. The “godzilla” engine is mated to a heavy duty 10-speed automatic transmission. This specific crew cab 4×4 truck has a maximum tow rating of 14,700 lbs.
The test is a 66-mile loop on Interstate I-76 in Colorado. We are using cruise control and tow/haul mode in each truck and maintain a constant speed of 70 MPH.
- Gladiator Rubicon: 5.9 MPG
- Silverado 1500 Trail Boss: 8.2 MPG
- Ford F-250 FX4: 7.7 MPG
After all of the other evaluations, the Silverado 1500 comes out on top for towing a trailer of this size and weight. If you are towing a lighter trailer (around 5,000 lbs or less) – then a midsize truck would work fine. If you are towing heavier (9,000 lbs or more) – then a large heavy duty truck is more appropriate.
Check out the video below for all the other measurements and towing fun.