Photo by Joe Bruzek
Our acceleration testing was done at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz., near the end of January. The day was clear and cool, with little wind hampering our test runs. Each pickup had two occupants during each run, one driver and one data recorder, the latter using our RaceLogic VBOX VB2SX10.
Each truck was run with a full tank of fuel, with each tire properly pressurized. All were run with the windows up, air conditioning off and transmission in Drive. We typically did a small amount of power braking (revving the rpm up to about 2,000 with the brake depressed) before smashing the throttle to record the fastest time.
The only two vehicles we had traction trouble with were the Ram EcoDiesel (no surprise there with 420 pounds-feet of torque) and the Toyota Tacoma. The Tacoma was our lightest truck at just more than 4,000 pounds and had the best power-to-weight ratio and fairly tall (higher numerically) gears at 3.73:1. If we lost a little bit of time on the Toyota it was because we had to modulate the throttle just a smidge to provide the rear tires with as much traction as possible. Regardless, it was our quickest sprinter.
The EcoDiesel was altogether a different story. With eight speeds and a boatload of torque, we had a terrible time getting the rear wheels to stick as the transmission tried to quick-shift from 1st to 2nd then 3rd. We eventually had the best results in rear-wheel drive when we just feathered the throttle at the outset, and then going to the floor after we ramped up a bit of speed.
Since our fully loaded Ram was equipped with a full-time four-wheel-drive mode, we decided to also try our runs with the all-wheel drive engaged to see whether any differences existed. The differences were in fact significant; we improved our zero-to-60 mph time by more than a half a second and in the quarter-mile it improved by the same amount.
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