2017 Ike Gauntlet Towing Results

This is the listing of the trucks we have tested on the extreme Ike Gauntlet towing challenge for the 2017 model year.

The 2016 Ike Gauntlet and MPG data.

The 2015 and previous Ike Gauntlet data.

Ike Gauntlet: Downhill

The trucks must be safe and practical on the way down. This is a test of a truck’s stopping and load handling abilities. The ability to stop a heavy load on the way down is more important than pulling it up the mountain. Truck’s transmission and brakes are put to the ultimate test here.

The measurement is simple. The trucks must maintain a safe and practical speed at or below the 60 MPH on the way down. Going westbound on I-70, we exit the tunnel at 50 MPH. The trucks are set in Tow/Haul mode and exhaust brakes enabled (if so equipped).

The point is to remove the driver’s skill from the test. The driver is not shifting the transmission manually. (Note: all of the trucks we have tested over the last several years were equipped with an automatic transmission.) The driver allowed the truck to accelerate naturally down the hill. If the truck and trailer go over the speed limit of 60 MPH, the driver applies the brake firmly (not slamming on it) in order to bring the truck down to 50 MPH. If required, the brake application procedure is repeated until the eight miles of downhill are completed. Some trucks require one or a few brake applications. These are the trucks that have especially smart “grade shifting” algorithms in their transmissions, and all systems, including the brakes, work at their best. Some truck require ten or more brake applications. These systems require more work. The goal is to have the least number of brake applications as to overheat and wear them out. There are two runaway truck ramps on this stretch of I-70 that serve as a constant reminder of the downhill danger. We monitor transmission and engine temperatures on all runs. Some transmissions can heat up as they work hard on the way down.

2015 ram 3500 hd diesel pickup truck towing a gooseneck trailer with world war ii halftrack tank on ike gauntlet
2015 Ram 3500 HD

Ike Gauntlet: The Way Up

Truck’s engine and transmission will be stressed to the maximum gaining more than 2,000 feet of elevation over just eight miles. The maximum grade of the climb is 7%. The engine will be starving for oxygen and struggling to make power at the 11,158 ft finish line. The test is to use maximum throttle input on the way up in order to maintain the 60 MPH speed limit (or the maximum speed the truck is able to maintain). The driver makes best effort to not go over the 60 MPH speed limit. This is a serious test for the driver as very slow moving semi trucks and other vehicles are obstacles to maintaining momentum and staying at or near 60 MPH.

We reset each truck’s trip computer at the start of the test. We time each run up the mountain and record the trip MPG as reported by the trip computer.

At the end, each truck is scored on a scale of 100 points. The truck has a maximum score of 25 points for the downhill section. The truck loses one point for each brake application on the way down. The benchmark time up the hill is 8 minutes. Every 5 seconds over the benchmark time subtracts a point from the truck’s overall score. The truck cannot gain points for going under 8 minutes. The benchmark MPG number is 6.0 MPG. Every 0.2 MPG below that, and the truck loses a point. The truck can gain points for doing better than 6.0 MPG.

The Ike Gauntlet test is extreme and may seem unreasonable for some. It is a challenge that many truck owners and truckers/transporters must deal with on a regular basis. If a truck does well towing on the Ike Gauntlet, you know you have a solid towing machine, no matter where you live.

2017 ford f150 ecoboost 10 speed automatic review first drive
2017 Ford F-150

Half-ton Trucks:

Towing a 9,000 lbs CM Trailers CargoMate trailer.

Year Make Model Down (Num. Brakes) Up (Time) Up (MPG)  Subjective (Avg) Ike Score
2017 Ford F-150 Crew 4×4 TT V6 10 08:02.27 3.5 20 72
2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew 4×4 V8 11 08:11.35 4.0 18.5 70.5
2017 Nissan Titan 1500 Crew 4×4 V8 9 08:12.62 3.2 16 66


2017 chevy colorado gmc canyon diesel v6 mpg towing 0-60 mph specs
2017 GMC Canyon diesel vs. 2017 Chevy Colorado V6 gas

Midsize Trucks:

Towing a 6,100 lbs CM Trailers Stocker trailer.

Year Make Model Down (Num. Brakes) Up (Time) Up (MPG)  Subjective (Avg) Ike Score
2017 GMC Canyon Crew 4×4 D I4 1 09:11.50 6.9 22 87
2017 Chevy Colorado Crew 4×4 V6 5 08:18.92 4.9 20 80
2017 Nissan Frontier Crew 4×4 V6 8 08:45.87 3.7 17 63



2017 ford chevy ram f-350 3500 hd sd dually diesel race drag

Heavy Duty Trucks:

Towing a 22,800 lbs BigTex 3XGN gooseneck trailer.

Year Make Model Up (Time) Up (MPG)  Subjective (Avg) Ike Score
2017 Chevy Silverado 3500 Crew 4×4 6.6L 10:16.99 2.8 21.5 52.5*
2017 Ram 3500 Crew 4×4 6.7L 10:28.86 2.9 20 49*
2017 Ford F-350 Crew 4×4 6.7L 10:31.88 2.6 17.5 44.5*