When you're on public roads, it's just as important to know how quickly your truck can stop in a panic brake situation.
We tested stopping distances from 60 mph with the trucks carrying 1,200 pounds of ballast.
Each truck was tested three times loaded and unloaded with the same driver. Tow/Haul mode was on when the trucks were loaded.
The GMC Sierra 1500 has standard front disc and cheaper rear drum brakes, while the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 have front and rear disc brakes. Ford’s discs are vented at all four wheels, while only the Ram’s front brakes are vented. Venting helps keep the brakes cool during extended use.
Last year, Ford overhauled the F-150’s brakes by adding new rotors that are 6 percent larger than the 2009’s rotors, plus new front calipers, master cylinder, brake booster and linings.
Despite the unique approaches, all the trucks had similar stopping distances when loaded with 1,200 pounds of ballast in their cargo boxes.
The Ford F-150 came to a halt in 138.78 feet, while the Ram took just over a foot longer and the GMC required just over 3.5 feet more.
The F-150 had the biggest improvement in stopping power when empty. It braked in 132.72 feet, while the Ram needed about 6.5 feet more runway and the GMC Sierra 7 feet more.
Despite the stopping distances, we believed the Sierra provided the best overall brake feel and driver feedback. We always felt confident we were controlling the truck instead of just along for the ride. The F-150 seemed to split the difference between the GMC and the Ram, while the Ram required the most brake pedal travel and had the most audible and noticeable ABS intervention during the sudden stops, almost from the moment we hit the brake pedal.