DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co's (GM.N) Chevrolet Silverado was the top-scoring full-size pickup truck in a road test, edging Chrysler's Ram 1500, which was the preferred vehicle to drive on a daily basis, according to Consumer Reports.
Who has bragging rights in tests such as those released by the influential consumer magazine is critical because the big trucks generate profits of more than $12,000 per vehicle in a growing segment that has always been dominated by the U.S. automakers. Consumer Reports is one of the most heavily consulted sources of information by car shoppers.
Sales of large pickups in the U.S. market were up 24 percent to almost 1.3 million vehicles so far this year and make up about 12 percent of overall demand. The top-selling vehicle in the United States is Ford Motor Co's (F.N) F-150 full-size pickup.
The 2014 Silverado 1500 with a 5.3-liter V8 engine scored 81 out of 100 points, or "excellent," while the 2013 Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter V8 engine scored 78, according to the test results released on Tuesday.
The 2014 Silverado is GM's most important vehicle launch since the U.S. automaker's 2009 bankruptcy. The vehicle's design had not been overhauled since 2006. The 2013 Ram was a less extensive redesign.
"The reality is that you can't go wrong with either one," Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, said in a statement. "Both are capable trucks that get decent gas mileage and are as quiet inside as a good luxury car."
The GM and Chrysler trucks scored higher than two versions of Ford's (F.N) F-150, which each scored 70 points. Rounding out the testing were Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) Tundra (69 points) and Nissan Motor Co's (7201.T) Titan (66 points).
Consumer Reports said the Silverado beat out the Ram 1500 because of its larger cargo bed, greater payload capacity and ability to tow heavier loads.
The Silverado's tailgate is also easy to raise and lower, it has a lower step-in height, has more agile handling than the Ram and best-in-class fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon, 1 mpg better than the Ram, the magazine said.
However, Consumer Reports said the Ram was better for day-to-day driving, pointing to the truck's better ride and interior with more comfortable seats and slightly friendlier control layout. The magazine also said Silverado sometimes feels underpowered. Chrysler is an affiliate of Italy's Fiat FIA.MI.
"If you use your truck more for day-to-day driving, the Ram is a nicer place to spend your time," Consumer Reports said.
With its average reliability, the magazine recommended the Ram. It said the Silverado is too new to have reliability data on. The battle will continue, however, as Ford is expected to roll out an overhaul of the F-150 next year.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Carol Bishopric)