In this episode of the Ike Gauntlet™, the world’s toughest towing test, we compare two of the newest premium heavy-duty pickup trucks – a 2021 Chevy Silverado HD Duramax and a 2021 Ram 2500 HD Cummins. MrTruck and I hitch up an 11,400 lbs trailer to these trucks and take it up and down the steepest and highest elevation highway in America. We are also verifying the fuel economy on all trucks at the pump. The results may surprise you.
The Ike Gauntlet™ is the world’s toughest towing test because it’s an 8-mile stretch of the I-70 interstate with a 7% grade that climbs to an elevation of 11,158 feet above sea level. If the Suburban can handle this extreme elevation, steep inclines, and rough pavement – then it can tow with confidence anywhere.
This 2021 Ram 2500 HD is equipped with a 6.7-liter I6 Cummins turbo-diesel. The power output on this 3/4-ton is 370 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque. This truck is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This truck is rated to tow up to 20,000 lbs and has up to 2,000 lbs of payload capacity.
The 2021 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD is packing a 6.6-liter V8 turbo-diesel. The power rating is 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. The Silverado uses a 10-speed automatic transmission. This truck is rated to tow 18,500 lbs and has a much more usable payload of over 3,000 lbs.
Both of these heavy-duty trucks demonstrated excellent downhill performance. As always, we use tow-haul mode and exhaust brake for this towing challenge. The Chevy HD downhill run resulted in just one brake application, which is an excellent result. Just set your optimal speed on the downhill with the brake pedal, and the truck does the rest. The Ram HD surprised us even further. It finished the downhill with zero brake applications. The automatic exhaust brake, the transmission downshifts, and the truck simply controlled the downhill speed after Mr.Truck let go of the accelerator.
Both truck managed a perfect and benchmark time up the mountain of around 8 minutes (this is an 8-mile stretch of highway with a 60 MPH speed limit). The Chevy showed a 4.2 MPG on the trip meter for the uphill portion. The Ram showed 4.7 MPG.
When we went back to the fuel pump to confirm the fuel usage for the entire run on both trucks (around 23.5 miles roundtrip), we were once again surprised to see the results. The Chevy Silverado HD showed 8.2 MPG at the pump, the Ram HD showed an impressive 9.0 MPG.