Whether it's surging from a dead stop, merging into traffic towing a 4-ton horse carrier, cresting a highway hill or simply enjoying the power of your pickup, acceleration is key to performance for truck drivers and owners.
We conducted our acceleration testing at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich., on the vehicle dynamics blacktop area there. We tested each truck's zero-to-60 ability on a smooth, flat surface on a sunny spring day in May. Temperatures were about 75 degrees with a negligible breeze.
Each truck was run with the windows up, air conditioning off, in two-wheel drive and in Drive when empty. We turned traction control off during each run, modulating the brake and throttle at launch to incur the least amount of wheel spin with the maximum amount of acceleration at launch.
We made at least three runs with each pickup in three modes:
- With 1,200 pounds of rubber mats strapped in the bed
- With an 8,500-pound trailer hitched to the rear bumper (with a weight-distributing hitch)
When the test was conducted with a load (payload or trailer), the runs were made with Tow/Haul engaged and duplicating all other criteria. Tow/Haul was not engaged when the trucks were empty.
Each run had two adult males inside weighing about 185 pounds each. One was the test driver whose only job was to launch and drive as consistently as possible during each run; the other was the RaceLogic representative who diligently recorded our data and was there to problem-solve any issues that might come up. In all, we made fewer than 60 runs but it was still a long day (we also did brake testing the same day at the same place, but that's another story, literally. See our Brake Testing story).
During our empty runs, the three strongest players were the Ford, Toyota and Ram, with the Ram 1500 getting more traction off the line than any other truck. The Ram got to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds and did so in 362 feet. The F-150 got to 60 in 7.1 seconds in a slightly shorter 360 feet. Finally, the Tundra performed well, getting to 60 in 7.2 seconds, also in 362 feet.
We have to thank the crew at Chrysler for helping us load and unload the different trucks with dozens of thick rubber mats in order to provide a heavy, low load for our zero-to-60 runs with 1,200 pounds of payload. Since pulling a trailer is different than running empty or carrying a heavy cargo load, we thought it important to get acceleration numbers for each truck from each scenario.
It may come as a surprise to some that the Ram didn't have the fastest time with a 1,200-pound payload. In fact, this was the only acceleration test where the Ram didn't perform flawlessly. The Ford's twin-turbo V-6 got to 60 mph in just 8.3 seconds, the Toyota in 8.4 seconds and the GMC in 8.7 seconds.
Lastly, our zero-to-60 runs with the 8,500-pound trailer (supplied by GM's engineering team) gave us some interesting results. We should note first that the trailer was right at the Ram 1500's maximum trailer weight outer limits. However, 8,500 pounds was well below the maximum trailer weight capacity of the Ford F-150 (which had the optional Max Tow Package; Ram does not make one for the 1500). With that said, the two trucks tied to in the race to 60 mph, each recording a time of 17.0 seconds on their best runs; however, because the Ford did it in fewer feet, we gave the tie to the runner, or Ford in this case, awarding the F-150 the 100 points for this zero-to-60-with-trailer test.
Overview | Judges' Impressions | 0-60 Acceleration | 60-0 Braking | Mileage Drive | Hill Climb | Autocross | Payload and Towing | Results