WARREN (WWJ) – For the second year in a row, Chrysler’s Ram 1500 pickup has won the coveted “Motor Trend Truck of The Year” award.

“It’s a totally unprecedented move,” said Edward Loh, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. “We’ve never picked the same vehicle in any of our car, truck or SUV of the year awards. That means the Ram 1500 is quite special.”

READ MORE: Michigan Announces $1.5 Million Tuition Giveaway, 100 Children To Receive $15,000

Loh says the addition of a diesel variant to the lineup made the Ram 1500 eligible for inclusion again this year. Early next year, it will become the first light-duty pickup to have a diesel option.

“It’s one of the gutsiest moves any truck manufacturers has done in a number of years,” he said. “I mean bringing diesel to the light-duty segment is huge.”

The award was presented during a private Wednesday morning ceremony at Chrysler’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant.

“We’re extremely flattered and honored to receive the 2014 Motor Trend Truck of The Year,” said Ram CEO Reid Bigland. “Obviously, we’re extremely flattered to have won the 2013 Motor Trend truck of the year.”

The Ram 1500 was one of nine finalists, along with: the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram Heavy Duty, and Toyota Tundra pickups; and the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV200, and Ram ProMaster vans.

READ MORE: AAA Offers 'Tow To Go' Program During Memorial Day Weekend

Motor Trend took the finalists to the Continental Tire Automotive Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas.

Here’s how a press release from Chrysler described the judging process:

At Continental’s 5000-acre proving grounds, the team utilized the facility’s 8.5-mile high-speed oval, 15-acre dynamics pad, 1.1-mile dry-handling road course, and multi-surfaced ride road to evaluate each truck’s capabilities and expose strengths and weaknesses. Following the team’s intensive, weeklong evaluation in Uvalde, the trucks were shipped to Motor Trend headquarters in El Segundo, California, to undergo proprietary “Intellichoice Real MPG” fuel-economy testing. Using advanced technology including a weather station, GPS data-logger, and flow-rate and gas analyzers, Real MPG measures exhaust samples every second during an 88-mile drive to record accurate real-world fuel economy.

Once testing was completed, the judges convened to determine which truck would be crowned Truck of the Year. The winner is not chosen from a direct comparison against the other contenders, but rather as a result of how each contender measured up against the award’s six criteria: Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value, and Performance of Intended Function.
With new pickups from GM and Toyota now on the market, and a new Ford F-150 expected for next year, Ram’s Reid Bigland said the competition wasn’t going to get any easier.

“We know going into every year that the pickup truck market isn’t going to stand still, and the competitors aren’t going to stand still,” said Ram CEO Reid Bigland. “That’s certainly the attitude at Ram. We have to continually improve our pickup truck.”

MORE NEWS: Holiday Travel And Gas: What To Expect At The Pump

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Email: jdgilbert@cbs.com
Facebook: carchronicles.com/facebook
Twitter: @jefferygilbert