In its September issue, Consumer Reports rated the 2014 Chevrolet Impala -- with a road-test score of 92 out of 100 -- the best sedan it has ever evaluated.
Silverado bested the Ram in several key areas. It has a larger cargo bed, can tow a heavy trailer, and delivers the best fuel economy in the class -- 16 mpg overall.
The magazine also cited the Silverado's built-in, rear bumper steps and lower step-in height.
Ram better for commuters
But the Ram may be the better truck for consumers who use their vehicles for everyday commuting, the magazine said. The editors cited Ram's coil spring rear suspension, better seats, nicer interior and more intuitive ergonomics and controls.
The Silverado tested by Consumer Reports was powered by a 5.3-liter V-8 engine, six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. It returned 11 mpg city, 23 highway and 16 combined.
The Ram sported Chrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Its fuel economy came in at 10 mpg city, 21 highway and 15 combined.
The trucks were tested on CR's own test track and on public roads. Results of the evaluation will appear online beginning today and in the magazine's November issue.
F-150 not included
Ford Motor Co.'s F-150, the nation's top-selling truck, was not included in the magazine's latest tests. But the magazine noted the F-150 will be all-new for 2015. It's unclear when it will go on sale.
The magazine now ranks big trucks in this order: Silverado, Ram, F-150, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan.
"With a number of improvements for 2013, the Ram is surprisingly refined and inviting for a pickup truck, yet it's fully capable of getting its hands dirty when duty calls. A coil-spring rear suspension -- unique for full-sized pickups -- gives it a smooth ride, the powertrain is a gem, and the whisper-quiet cabin makes the truck feel like a luxury vehicle," the editors said.
Other full-sized trucks -- the F-150, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan -- still use old-fashioned leaf-spring rear suspensions, a layout that dates back to horse-drawn carriage days. They are heavy and durable but can compromise ride quality.
The full-sized pickup market -- a key and hugely profitable battleground for the Detroit 3 -- is booming as housing and construction activity recovers.
Every automaker except Nissan Motor Co. has posted double-digit gains this year in big pickup volume.
Ford Motor Co. is leading the pack with F-series sales of 499,050 through August, up 22 percent. GM, which also markets the more upscale GMC Sierra, has sold 450,501 units of its big trucks, although some of those trucks have been discontinued and discounted 2013 models.
The redesigned 2014 Silverado and Sierra went on sale in June.
Silverado sales are up 25 percent for the year while Sierra deliveries have advanced 24 percent.
Ram trucks sales have climbed 25 percent to 234,642 this year. Demand for Nissan's Titan has dropped 23 percent to 11,281 units sold through August, while sales of the Toyota Tundra are up 11 percent at 72,750.