Which truck is best for you? We continue our Goldilocks video series by taking a new 2020 Ford F-250 FX4, a 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss, and a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon to the Ike Gauntlet – world’s toughest towing test with a 7,000 lbs trailer.
We are towing a Cimarron Norstar three-horse trailer that is loaded with ballast. We got the trailer from our friends at Transwest Truck, Trailer, RV in Frederick, Colorado.
In episode 1, we ran these same trucks and the same trailer on our highway towing MPG loop. Check out the Goldilocks Ep.1 to see exactly what fuel efficiency these trucks got when verified at the pump.
Goldilocks Ep.2 – Ike Gauntlet
The Ike Gauntlet is an 8-mile stretch of interstate highway I-70 at the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels and the Continental Divide. At 11,153 feet above sea level and 7% grade, it is the highest elevation and steepest allowable grade for the United States interstate highway system. The air is about 32% thinner at this elevation. Engines and people struggle to breathe here.If a truck is successful at towing in this extreme environment, it can tow anywhere.
On the way down the mountain, we count brake applications in order to control the speed of the truck and trailer between 50-60 MPH. The speed limit is 60 MPH on this stretch. On the way up, we measure time up the mountain and computer-reported MPG.
The 2020 Gladiator Rubicon is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 / 8-speed automatic. This engine is rated at 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It has a 7,000 lbs maximum towing rating. The 2020 Trail Boss is an LT trim with a 5.3-liter V8 and a 10-speed automatic. The engine is rated at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The maximum towing rating is 9,500 lbs. The 2020 F-250 FX4 has a 7.3-liter “Godzilla” V8 under the hood with 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a heavy duty 10-speed automatic.
In the end, the Jeep was the slowest up the mountain, had the most brake applications, but reported the best fuel efficiency. The Trail Boss performed better than the Jeep on the downhill, but not by much. It made a nearly perfect 8 minute run up the mountain. The F-250 had by far the best and the most controlled downhill run, and a nearly perfect climb. I say a heavy duty truck is the best for handling heavy trailers in the mountains.