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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Comparison: New-Ray 1:32 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, Dodge Ram 3500, and Ford F-350 Super Duty

What's been happening in the past year is a boom in modern truck replica's: The Ram 1500 is getting more notice after the 2013 update that made the truck an award-winner.  The Chevy Silverado, despite the negative reviews about the carry-over styling, got more replica's made than the previous-generation.  The Ford F-150 is rebounding with an all-new aluminum-skin generation.  One field that has not received attention lately, aside from the Japan automaker's versions, is the Heavy Duty versions of the Big 3 US automakers, and that category has been growing rapidly as well to a scary personal transportation kind more than the workhorse type (although these HD trucks have been seen more on the jobsite than the mall parking lot).  Only one diecast manufacturer has covered all three Heavy Duty pickups and that's New-Ray in 1:32 scale.  I've been impressed with the Ford F-350 that I got years ago and is more common to find than the other two, which I had to buy online.  Despite the generation gaps both are pretty capable so it's time to see who's the best.

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All three start off with a different setup:  Both the Dodge and Ford are dual rear wheel trucks with the Dodge using the Quad Cab and the Ford using the Supercab setup.  The Chevy, on the other hand, starts off with the 2500 single rear wheel extended cab with a long bed.  The Chevy stands tall with the broad chrome grille with black inserts and gold bowtie, flush chrome headlights, and chrome lower bumper.  The hood has bulges and vents, while the sides have a basic appearance with wheels that seem too small for the wheelwell, and the rear has detailed taillights, badges and a much noticeable exhaust tip.  The Ford has more glitz with separate clear headlights based on the 2004 oval projectors, black grille, and lower bumper with integrated foglights (they're inside the scoops).  The sides show a two-tone look in a sharp metallic red finish, chrome running boards, detailed towing mirrors, and roof clearance lights.  The rear has detailed badges and a large chrome bumper.  The Ram looks a bit confused with a low stance, quad cab that looks more like an extended cab, and some surfaces that seem too rounded off.  Like the Chevy the Ram has the flush chrome headlights and blacked-out grille at the front, while the sides show off a rounded dually fenders at the rear.  The taillights seem to be a bit too-rounded on the corners with seamlessly-integrated clearance lights on the tailgate.  Out of the three the Ford has the more impressive exterior appearance here.

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All three offer opening front doors and detailed interiors.  Strangely the Chevy has the LTZ dashboard shared with the Tahoe and Suburban, providing a more car-like interior with the only one to have an attached center console.  The center stack, however, does stand out too far back and thus prevents the slot from meeting the lower base during assembly.  The interior has a spacious cab for five people.  The Ford has an older-style look with the two-spoke steering wheel that I personally hate on these trucks (they're rather uncomfortable on your hands during the long haul).  Layout is simple but has all of the right controls, including a nice lower knotch in the doors to see the exterior mirrors in full.  The Ford has a center console, though it does not connect to the dashboard.  As for the rear seats, well they look uncomfortable.  The Ram, again, has confusion going on:  The front seattracks are pushed waaay back as if the Green Giant and his wife was in the front seats!  Also it has a transfer case for the 4WD system, but it's not a 4x4!  Anyways the dashboard layout is simple and useful, while the rear seats are a bit snug but better than the Ford.  The Chevy's modern and carlike layout wins here.

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What I thought was an all diesel field actually turned out to be two out of the three; the Ram has the 5.7L HEMI V8 that produces 345 hp and 375 Ib-ft of torque through a 5-speed automatic.  The Ford uses a 6.0L Powerstroke Turbodiesel V8 that produces 325 hp. and 560 Ib-ft. of torque through a 5-speed automatic.  The Chevy Silverado, based on the 2011 model, uses a more advance 6.6L Duramax Turbodiesel V8 that uses uretha injection in the exhaust to clean up the diesel emissions.  Power is 397 hp. and 765 Ib-ft. of torque through a six-speed manual.  Chevy's a clear winner here!

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Acceleration and Braking

These are not sports cars, no doubt about it, but in a sense they have to go through the same rigorous testing.  The Chevy was faster no doubt thanks to the lighter weight and the more powerful motor.  The Ford and Dodge had some similarities, but the Ford's torque was better suited for the one ton weight than the Dodge even though the Dodge has no problem hauling the weight as well.  All of these trucks use four-wheel disc brakes and yes take a while to come to a hault.  The Chevy has lots more nose dive but stopped a second-place stopping distance.  The Dodge with its lower stance had a better chance at stopping the shortest.  The Ford was the longest but was much smoother to stop than the Chevy.

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Ok, now getting a bit ridiculous.  Again, it's required so let's do it!  None are the champions of the track but this test also conducts a highway run as well to see how these trucks would feel on the road.  The Chevy has a narrow stance and lighter weight that makes it easy to drive, but then again the long wheelbase makes it the toughest to navigate narrow streets and finding a parking space.  The Dodge feels much smaller than the dually rear suggests as the lower stance provides better control, but again like the Chevy it's a big truck that's a challenge to move in smaller spaces.  The Ford feels big and it is: not as sporty and easy to park.  Also the Ford suffers from older mechanical touches while the Dodge and Chevy have more modern setups, like the recirculating ball steering instead of the modern rack-and-pinion setup.  As for off-roading only the Ford has the true 4x4 setup with the transfer case and the height, but falls second to the Chevy for ground clearance no thanks to the running boards.  The Chevy, despite the lack of a transfer case, looks to be the better off roader.  Don't ask about the low-sitting Dodge.

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Features and Payload

This is a two-part section:  The Payload is first as I used a change purse loaded with change to act as a payload (and yes even loose change can make for a heavy payload!).  The Chevy hauls the most with its long bed and even without the dual rear tires like the other two it handles pretty well despite some body roll.  The Ford comes in next with a smidge shorter bed but same hauling characteristics as the Chevy, with dual rear wheels to help out.  The Dodge has a smaller, but only slightly, bed that handles the payload as well, though it did seem like the Dodge did struggle a little with the load.  Chevy wins again.  Which brings me to the Features section that looks at all the positives about these castings in the previous tests and then some with any additional features.  The Ford has one of the best exterior and interior details here, along with the versatile 4x4 system and hauling capabilities, let down by an out-of-date interior.  The Ram looks cool and does the job, but it sits too low and has way to many incorrect details.  The Chevy has a more modern look and feel with the most versatile payload and even off-roading of the bunch (and that's without four-wheel drive!), but the design is a bit plain and suffers from a long wheelbase.  The Ford wins this part of the test.

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The Ram is a 2003-2005 model; the Ford a 2004-2007 model; and the Chevy the 2011-2014 models.  Yes, a bit of a variation in years here, yet pricing is very close.  The Ford with the Lariat and four-wheel drive one ton would be the most expensive here.  The Chevy and Dodge have a close tie on hand here, but the vote goes to the Ram due to the expense of adding more emission controls to the Chevy.  Hey, at least the Dodge wins a test for a change!

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In the end it was pretty common what the last-place finisher was: the Dodge Ram 3500.  The Ram has a unique dually look that no other diecast manufacturer has made for this generation yet, but the whole execution is incorrect: low stance 2WD with transfer case? Seats pushed way far back? Rounded surfaces?  Nothing seemed right.  Second place is the Ford F-350 Super Duty: it has the better looks than the rest with a capable payload and off-road abilities, but the truck has some dated features that prevented it from winning first place.  The Winner is the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD: It may not be the best-looking truck of the bunch but it offers quite a bit of practicality from the larger payload, modern powerplant, off-roading capabilities, and a nice interior setup.  Hopefully other diecast manufacturers can offer more heavy duty pickups in the future so that more of these big bruisers can be found in our collections, or probably shoveling dirt out of our backyards.

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