We conducted our brake testing on the vast blacktop surface of the Vehicle Dynamic Area at Michigan Proving Ground, where temperatures were just below 80 degrees and the blacktop was clean and warm.
All loaded runs were conducted with the air conditioning off, tow/haul mode on (when loaded; off when empty), windows up, and traction/stability controls on. All trucks used the same route on the VDA to get to 60 mph, where we planted our foot into the brake pedal like it was a panic stop. We gave each truck about two hours to cool the brakes between loaded and unloaded test runs.
Empty testing proved the Ford better than the Toyota by nearly a foot and the Toyota better than the Ram by a little over a foot. Stopping distances were 137.2 feet, 138 feet, and 139.1 feet, respectively. Just a few feet farther back were the Chevy at 141.5 feet and the Nissan at 144.8 feet.
When we ran the vehicles with 1,000 pounds of payload in the beds, our results were just a little different. The single-cab Ford and extended-cab Ram were almost on top of each other with 140.96 feet and 141.03 feet, respectively, with a sizeable gap separating the Toyota (145.0), the Nissan (147.7) and the Chevy (149.0). It’s worth noting the Ram had the least variation between loaded and unloaded runs, with a difference of about 23 inches. The vehicle with the widest margin between loaded and unloaded runs was the Chevy — our only vehicle in the test with rear drum brakes — at 7.5 feet.