OKAY, NOW I get it. We’re not complete strangers to American-style trucks. The company ute is a 1970 C10, we had a long term Chevy Suburban some years ago, and I’ve driven a fair smattering of F150s and similar over recent years.
Somewhere further up the evolutionary scale is a parallel universe of monster trucks.
No, I’m not talking about the silly bloody things that jump around in stadiums, but road-going behemoths that look like they should have their own postcode.
A visit to Performax in Queensland – which also does late-model Corvettes, Toyota Tundras and heaps of other interesting gear – quickly dispelled most of the myths about these beasts. It’s a fair bet I’m not alone when eyeballing one of these things that the natural assumption is they’re big, clumsy, slow and primitive. Wrong on all counts, except one. They are big.
The examples I drove were a Chev Silverado 2500HD and Ford F-250 Lariat. They’re fierce competitors in their home market, to the point where, really, picking the difference may come down to brand loyalty. As the good folk at Performax said, it’s a Commodore/Falcon argument, and they encourage people to drive both before making a decision.
Let’s get down to a few facts and figures. Both run V8 turbo diesel V8s – 6.6 litres in the Chev and 6.7 in the Ford.
Six-speed autos are common to both, with the Chev using an Allison unit and the Ford an in-house design. Of the two, the Ford is the most powerful, claiming 328kW and peak torque at 1126Nm. The Chev is a little behind in that regard – not that it’s readily apparent from the driver seat.
Both run sophisticated electronics including stability and anti-sway towing software. There are numerous towing configurations and options (this is where talking to a Performax staffer is useful – it’s a complex area), with up to seven tonnes on a towbar or 10 on a fifth wheel set-up.
Some brief impressions.
Both are genuinely quick vehicles – much quicker than the block-of-flats scale would have you believe. Plant the right foot and they both take off. You can well imagine that something as inconsequential as a car trailer will not have much of an impact on the performance. The fuel consumption perhaps, but not performance.
And they’re seriously luxurious. You can accuse Americans of many things, but they are experts when it comes to comfort. Heated/cooled everything, including seats, are on offer and the level of electronic wizardry built into the consoles is impressive.
Price for the trucks shown here is around $150k plus on-road costs. Not cheap, but it’s far from outrageous when you compare it to a luxury car at the same pricepoint. It actually stacks up.
Both these models are on the cusp of being updated – the Chev with a new engine and the Ford with a lighter aluminium platform that essentially involves a complete redesign.
Really if you were in the market for a big comfortable towing platform, you’d have to look in this direction. My advice is to sit down and do your research with the aid of someone who knows the range, as the options are vast. You can see more at PerformaxInt.com.au.