The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty was named Motor Trend magazine's truck of the year on Thursday, beating out contenders from Ford and Toyota in the closely watched competition.
The award is a welcome piece of good news for Chrysler Group, which has seen its sales continue to lag even as competitors rebound. The Ram Heavy Duty beat out three other competitors: The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, the Ford Transit Connect van and the Toyota Tundra 4.6-liter work truck.
The vehicle of the year designation is important to automakers, who often use Motor Trend's endorsement in their advertising.
Last year, Ford's F-150 truck took the prize. Last month, Motor Trend gave the 2010 Ford Fusion its car of the year award.
Motor Trend praised the Ram Heavy duty for its powerful yet clean engine and its quiet comfortable ride. The magazine also said the truck's 17,500-pound towing capacity beats out rivals, while the platform received significant upgrades that improve ride, handling and noise compared with the previous model.
The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty starts at $28,165 for a regular cab model, $36,865 for crew cab models and $36,865 for Mega Cab models. It is slated to arrive in dealerships before the end of the year.
Motor Trend said it has refocused the prize this year to reward trucks with greater utility, as leisure truck buyers have largely deserted the market. The magazine said the new focus is reflected in the choice of finalists, like the Ford Transit Connect, a cargo van.
The Ram truck is the best-selling vehicle in Chrysler's lineup, though sales fell 37 percent to 9,787 in November.