Each year the Canadian Truck King Challenge does what we call “real-world” fuel economy testing. But, what does that really mean? And how does it differ from what the government does?
Well for starters, the government tests in a laboratory.
New vehicles are shipped to Ottawa where they are mounted on a two-wheel chassis dynamometer which simulates on-road driving to measure fuel consumption. The computer that controls this test is pre-programmed to take into account the particular characteristics of each test vehicle; then the vehicle is then taken for a “simulated” drive. It lasts about 20 minutes and tries to cover city/highway/stop & go and idle conditions.
Once the trip is complete it is repeated after the vehicle has been shut-off for eight minutes and both results are recorded. The average is what you’ll find on those black and white stickers in truck windows on dealer lots. This is one way of doing it. Though as any new truck owner knows, you’ll rarely achieve the numbers that those stickers show off.
There is another way of doing it though. The Truck King “real-world” method is the polar opposite of what the government does.
Each one of the new trucks we test are driven empty on-road by up to six different journalist judges over the same 20 km test route. Then these judges drive the same trucks while towing a trailer, and then hauling payload. In other words, they are doing exactly what a Canadian truck owner does on a daily basis.
What makes our method unique is that it takes the human element into consideration. Judges drive the loop over and over – but changing up drivers each time. Everyone drives differently and so do the judges, this adds a dose of reality to this real-world operation.
The numbers we report are produced as a result of these tests. All the stats are measured using a FleetCarma C5 logger. These units plug into the OBD port of the vehicles and obtain both standard and proprietary signals required for energy analysis. The company, FleetCarma, then produces an average of all those loops by all those judges in each condition.
This is the sixth year we have produced the real-world fuel report. Previous year’s results can be found right here on our website. As we have been doing this for a while (and intend to continue too) if you happen to be in the market for a used truck – the older results will be an invaluable guide as well.
Just one word of clarification on the results you’ll see. Each year the Truck King Challenge tests the newest trucks that are available to us. Some years we skip certain classes and sometimes certain models/powertrains are simply not provided by the manufactures’. If what you are looking for is not there – hey, maybe next year.