In his New York Times comparison of heavy-duty pickup trucks, Ezra Dyer opens with a provocative comparison:
Heavy-Duty pickup trucks are the supercars of the truck world. They have more power than drivers are likely ever to exploit, and bragging rights depend on statistics that are, in practical terms, theoretical.
How does he figure?
While you can’t buy a diesel engine in a mainstream light-duty pickup, heavy-duty pickups now offer propulsion suitable for a tandem-axle dump truck.
I’m not exaggerating. Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 packs 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque; the base engine in a Peterbilt 348 dump truck offers a mere 260 horsepower and 660 pound feet. Does your pickup really need more power than a Peterbilt?
I’m guessing most HD truck owners won’t take kindly to the question, especially coming a scolding Gray Lady. But if you read the full review, you’ll find that Dyer was able to locate at least one contractor willing to admit that he realized he just didn’t need his HD’s overabundance of ability. It goes against the grain of the “bigger, faster, tougher, more” marketing message that has helped make trucks such a huge part of the American market, but is it possible that the tide is turning? Have pickups improved too much? The huge sales of Ecoboost V6-powered F-Series certainly suggests the we may just be moving towards a more pragmatic truck-buying market…