Which is the Best Towing 2018 Heavy Duty Truck? Gold Hitch Awards Preview

2018 ram 2500 hd gmc cummins duramax towing ike gold hitch diesel heavy
2018 Ram 2500 HD Cummins vs. GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

The 2018 Gold Hitch™ Awards and Ike Gauntlet™ season is coming to an exciting conclusion, as we complete the HD best-towing trucks category testing. The final contender in this year’s HD 3/4-ton category is the 2018 Ford F250 crew cab 4×4 with an uprated turbo-diesel engine. Which heavy duty truck is the best towing machine with a 12,500 lbs trailer hitched behind? We will know this very soon.

The power and torque wars are alive and well, and Ford responds to the competition with class leading power ratings for the 6.7L Power Stroke V8. The 2018 version of the engine is rated at 450 hp @ 2,800 rpm and 935 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm. In case you are keeping track, this is 5 horsepower more than the GM Duramax V8 and 5 lb-ft more than the Ram Cummins I6 diesels.

Ike Gauntlet

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The Fast Lane Truck crew (left to right: Tommy Mica, Andre Smirnov, Nathan Adlen, Roman Mica, Kent “MrTruck” Sundling)

We call the Ike Gauntlet™ – the World’s Toughest Towing test because it is an 8-mile stretch of the highest elevation interstate in the country. This Interstate-70 7% grade goes from Dillon, CO all the way up to 11,158 feet above sea level and Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial tunnels. There is approximately 32% less air density at the top of the mountain. It’s very difficult for trucks (and humans) to perform at their best with less oxygen. We load all SUVs and trucks very close to their maximums. The trucks struggle on the way up, but the way down is the more important challenge as this is where the transmission/engine and the brakes play a vital role in safely slowing down the heavily loaded convoy.

Gold Hitch Awards

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Each category winner gets a belt buckle

The 2018 marks the four year of the Gold Hitch Awards. This is TFLtruck’s way of recognizing the best towing and off-road trucks in the land. The 2018 awards include four categories: Best Towing SUV, Best Towing HD Truck, Best Off-Road Truck, and Truck of the Year. Each year, the all-new or updated trucks/SUVs are eligible to compete. Don’t worry, we have not forgotten about the 2018 Ford F-150 that was updated for 2018 as well. As you can imagine, the 2019 award season will be huge for half-ton and midsize trucks.

HD Trucks: 2018 Gold Hitch Competition

Towing a 12,500 lbs CM Trailers Cargo Mate trailer.

Year Make Model Down (Num. Brakes) Up (Time) Up (MPG)  Subjective (Avg) Ike Score
2018 Ford F-250 1 8:03.02 4.1 22 86
2018 Ram 2500 1 8:05.21 4.4 19 84
2018 GMC 2500 5 8:07.68 4.5 16.5 76.5

Follow the link to see the table for 2018 Best Towing full-size SUVs.

The 2018 Gold Hitch Award winners will be announced on April 4th, 2018 in conjunction with the Denver Auto Show.

Join all the Ike Gauntlet fun in the video below!