We understand that few people are going to take their half-ton pickup trucks to the racetrack for time and speed. Clearly, that’s not why we do it. We believe that a wide-open-throttle run can be viewed as similar to highway passing or merging into high-flowing, high-speed traffic. It also helps us measure the differences among the trucks while we keep as many variables constant as possible.
We know these aren’t sports cars, they aren’t bracket racers, and they aren’t high-performance racecars. What the quarter-mile gives us is a consistent baseline to compare each truck against the track and against its competitors.
Sure, all these V-8 engines are different: Some have five-speeds, some sixes, and all but one have a differently sized ring-and-pinion gear. That’s what makes this contest so interesting.
Each truck was run without any payload. Only two finished the 1,320-foot runs above 90 mph: the Ford (the lightest truck we tested) and the Toyota (the heaviest).
The F-150 finished the quarter-mile in 15.48 seconds at 93.31 mph. What could be seen as a surprise to some was that the heaviest truck in our group, weighing 500+ pounds more than the Ford, finished a close second place with a 15.70-second run at 91.94 mph. Of course, the Tundra had 4.30:1 axle gears as well. A more detailed look at our data shows us the Tundra lost a little time off the line but stuck close to the F-150 until the 70 mph mark, and then the Ford’s new 5.0-liter pulled away.
The Ram — just 60 pounds lighter than the Toyota but with 9 more horsepower — finished a close third at 15.76 seconds at 89.64 mph. The 317-hp Titan, with 385 pounds-feet of torque, finished just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Chevy, whose 5.3-liter makes 315 hp and 335 pounds-feet of torque.