I think this is a really good point that I don't see mentioned often in the various "what can I tow" threads. The new standard is a performance standard and will weed out some grossly under cooled, under equipped vehicles, or at least greatly limit their advertised ratings.
Durablity is whole nuther thing and for that you need to look at not only long term data but also going back to the basic design of the vehicle. I do know based on my time in the auto industry that the heavier duty the vehicle the higher the duty cycle was assumed to be when sizing components. We manufactured parts for everything from small pass cars to over the road trucks, include various size pickups. For example in something like bearings, the average load as a percent of max load would be higher and the B10 life needed to be longer in a heavy duty vehicle. As the you went down in size, say to pickups then pass cars these durability requirements went down.
You can relate this to your own vehicles by looking at something like the lubricant change intervals on axles. Pass cars and light trucks might be 50 to 100K miles, while something a 3500 might be more like 15k miles (As my Dodge is.) Why? Not because the 3500 has a smaller axle but because the assumption is that the 3500 is is going to used harder and will breakdown the lube sooner. Therefore if you do tow with a SUV or 1/2 ton, you really need to pay attention to mantainance intervals and maybe shorten them up over the factory recommendation. However, if you trade vehicles every year or two it may not matter.
Not saying a 1 ton is better, it's your money so buy what works for you and your lifestyle.
Originally Posted by perryg114
These standards don't put any emphasis on how long a vehicle can perform to these standards without suffering failure. Yeah, I can put a 400 HP motor in a half ton truck and beat an F350 towing up a mountain but how many times can the 1/2 ton get the job done before something breaks?
These are long term testing questions which are almost never answered. I see best in initial quality a lot. What does that mean and who cares. If it don't last it does not matter. The Toyota with a lower tow rating might actually last longer towing than the Souped up Chevy under the same conditions.
I do think that holding everyone to the same standards is great. I don't think that standards for towing were followed at all before this. This is how we got 1/2 ton trucks towing as much as 3/4 ton trucks.