Tow Rating Kerfuffle Redux: It’s Ford vs. Chevy

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2014-Chevrolet-Heavy-Duty-Truck-Towing-Bestride’s Bryan McTaggart provided a followup of his Ford vs. Ram tow rating kerfuffle with a second story about Ford vs. Chevy for the right to claim which manufacturer actually provides the highest tow rating in America. The battle’s really starting to heat up now, with a turnaround from GM and a double-down from Ford.

The controversy started with Ford and Ram sniping at each other over which brand offered the greatest towing capacity in a Class 3 truck. The root of the argument was that Ram embraces the SAE J2807 standards for rating towing capacity which stipulate that the towing vehicle performs the following, for any given weight:

  • Accelerate to 30 mph in 12 seconds or less
  • Accelerate to 60 mph in 30 seconds or less
  • Accelerate from 40 to 60 mph in no more than 18 seconds
  • Climb a 3,000 foot run over 11.4 miles of Arizona State Route 68 without dropping below 40 mph (35 mph for dual rear wheels) with the air conditioner running full blast
  • Climb a 12-percent grade, moving 16 feet from a standstill five times within five minutes
  • Carry the equivalent of two 150 pound passengers, plus 100 pounds in payload (for trucks over 8,500 GVWR)
An example of the way Ford tests cars on a 12 percent grade in Germany. (Ford)
An example of the way Ford tests cars on a 12 percent grade in Germany. (Ford)

The test also stipulates that the vehicles must be equipped with the same level of equipment. That’s where the battle started.

Ram equips its trucks just the way they come from the factory. Ford, on the other hand, does its own test not endorsed by the SAE, and removes weight by eliminating rear bumpers and other equipment. notes: “GM was accused of the same practices that Ford was using to artificially lower the weights of their trucks, specifically by deleting the rear bumper and swapping steel wheels for alloy wheels that would never come on a heavy-duty model. GM maintained that they were in the right to do so, since they offered deletion options on the trucks.”

The article states that after “careful review,” GM made an “about-face and is now not only going to change curb weights to reflect a fully-equipped standard truck, but has also embraced the SAE J2807 standards that Ram has been using.”

Ford, on the other hand, has doubled down on its own bespoke test, and is threatening litigation if Ram doesn’t stop using the “Best In Class Payload” designation in its advertising. In an Automotive News article, an unidentified Ford spokesman commented, “We have made no changes to the way we determine maximum payload ratings for Ford F-series Super Duty.”


Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at