In this episode of the Ike Gauntlet ™, the world’s toughest towing test, we compare two of the newest premium heavy-duty pickups – a 2021 Chevy Silverado HD Duramax and a 2021 Ram 2500 HD Cummins. Mr. Truck and I hit an 11,400 pound trailer to these trucks and go up and down the steepest and highest freeway in America. We also check fuel economy on all trucks at the pump. The results might surprise you.
the Ike Gauntlet ™ is the most difficult tow test in the world as it is an 8 mile stretch of I-70 freeway with a 7% grade that climbs to an elevation of 11,158 feet above the level of the sea. If the Suburban can handle that extreme elevation, steep inclines and rough pavement, then it can confidently tow anywhere.
This 2021 Ram 2500 HD is equipped with a 6.7-liter Cummins I6 turbodiesel. The power of this 3/4 ton is 370 horsepower and 850 lb-ft of torque. This truck is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This truck is designed to tow up to 20,000 lbs and has a payload capacity of up to 2,000 lbs.
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD is equipped with a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8. Horsepower rating is 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque. The Silverado uses a 10-speed automatic transmission. This truck is designed to tow 18,500 lbs and has a much more usable payload of over 3,000 lbs.
These two heavy trucks demonstrated excellent downhill performance. As always, we use tow mode and the exhaust brake for this towing challenge. The Chevy HD downhill track only resulted in a braking, which is an excellent result. Simply set your optimum speed downhill with the brake pedal, and the truck does the rest. The Ram HD surprised us even more. He finished the descent with zero braking applications. The automatic exhaust brake, transmission downshifts, and the truck simply controlled the descent speed after Mr Truck let go of the accelerator.
Both trucks had perfect, benchmark mountain time of about 8 minutes (this is an 8 mile stretch of highway with a speed limit of 60 MPH). The Chevrolet showed 4.2 MPG on the trip odometer for the uphill section. The Ram showed 4.7 MPG.
When we returned to the fuel pump to confirm fuel mileage for the entire trip on both trucks (about 23.5 miles round trip), 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.