Our Inaugural Annual Physical: This Time, V-6s

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Photography by Joe Bruzek

We get to drive a lot of new pickup trucks here at PickupTrucks.com, and we take our responsibility seriously when it comes to communicating our impressions and test data to our audience. Within that vein, we've decided to conduct, with our colleagues at Cars.com, an "Annual Physical" on various pickup segments to collect data and information you might find interesting when comparing similar pickups.

This type of event will be different from our regular Challenges, where we put similarly outfitted vehicles in head-to-head competition with various scored events, eventually declaring a winner.

Our Annual Physical will be an opportunity to field as many vehicles as possible within a segment to find out how they perform in tests including zero-to-60 mph and quarter-mile times and what kind of fuel economy they return.

For this first attempt, we concentrated on V-6-equipped pickups for the 2014 model year. We contacted every truckmaker in the U.S. and made our request. The vehicles in this category that are missing from our 2014 Annual Physical are the 3.7-liter V-6 Ford F-150, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost Ford F-150, the 3.6-liter Pentastar Ram 1500 and the 4.0-liter regular cab 4x2 Toyota Tundra. We were told by each truckmaker that they could not get a truck to us in time for our event.

In alphabetical order, here are the pickups we had for our inaugural Annual Physical and their specific options and costs.

 

T_XChevyFinal

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The Silverado is a two-wheel-drive LT double-cab pickup with 3.23:1 gears and the 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6, rated at 285 horsepower and 305 pounds-feet of torque. Base pricing for this model is $33,785, with our particular model including the All Star Edition Package ($2,640) that offers dual-zone climate control, a trailer package, 18-inch wheels, remote start and the 8-inch MyLink screen. Our test Silverado also included side steps ($750), a trailer brake controller ($230), all-terrain tires ($200) and movable upper bed tie-downs in the bed ($60) for a grand total of $38,605 (including $1,095 destination). Click here to see the Chevy Monroney and click the truck's chart (above) to see a larger version.

 

T_XGMCFinal

GMC Sierra 1500

The Sierra is a four-wheel-drive SLE double-cab Z71 truck with the stronger pulling 3.42:1 gears and base 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6 rated at 285 hp and 305 pounds-feet of torque. Base pricing for the well-equipped SLE 4x4 is $37,065. Our test unit had the SLE Convenience Package (power pedals, park assist and sliding rear window) for an extra $665 and the SLE Extra Value Package ($1,620) that offers power seats, remote start, dual-zone climate control and a trailering equipment setup. The SLE also included an 8-inch screen for navigation and IntelliLink ($795), and the Z71 Off Road Suspension Package ($775), which includes aluminum wheels, high-capacity air cleaner, monotube shocks, extra skid plating and hill descent control. Finally, the truck had a trailer brake controller ($230) and all-terrain tires ($200), for a total of $41,595, which includes destination of $995. Click here for the GMC Monroney and click the truck's chart (above) to see a larger version.

 

T_XHondaFinal

Honda Ridgeline Special Edition

This Ridgeline came with the SE Package that offers a unique, blacked-out honeycomb front grille, high-gloss black rims, darkened headlight and taillight surrounds, and standard fog lights. Our test unit came to us in Alabaster Silver Metallic with 4.53:1 gearing and an all-aluminum 3.5-liter SOHC V-6, rated to make 250 hp and 247 pounds-feet of torque. The base price for the SE starts at $37,505 and is fully equipped with every option Honda offers, including the somewhat-outdated-looking navigation system and three months of free XM satellite radio. Including destination ($830), our SE Ridgeline cost $38,335. Click here for the Honda Monroney and click the truck's chart (above) to see a larger version.

 

T_XNissanFinal

Nissan Frontier Pro-4X

Our test Frontier crew cab came to us in full four-wheel-drive apparel with 3.36:1 gearing and a powerful all-aluminum 4.0-liter DOHC V-6, producing a Society of Automotive Engineers-rated 261 hp and 281 pounds-feet of torque. Base pricing for the rugged 4x4 is $31,850, but our pickup had the Pro-4X Luxury Package ($2,650) that includes an outdated navigation system with a 5.8-inch screen, leather-accented seats and Pro-4X logos, power seats, power moonroof and roof rack. Lastly, our truck had a spray-in bedliner, Class IV trailer hitch and detachable bed extender (all for $570). Total pricing, including destination ($860), came to $36,050. Click here for the Nissan Monroney and click the truck's chart (above) to see a larger version.

 

T_XRamFinal

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Although the EcoDiesel is offered in almost every trim package Ram offers, our test truck came to us fully loaded. The turbo-diesel engine sat inside a Laramie Longhorn 4x4 with 3.92:1 axle gears (according to the axle tags, not the Monroney); the turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 is rated at 240 hp and 420 pounds-feet of torque. Base price for this edition is $48,730, with our test unit adding the 28K Convenience Group that includes auto high-beam control, rain-sensing wipers, 20-inch aluminum wheels, chrome sidesteps and monotone paint ($495). Other big-ticket items included the $2,850 upcharge for the EcoDiesel (over the Hemi), a tri-fold tonneau ($500), power sunroof ($995), a trailer brake controller ($230) and the segment-exclusive air suspension ($1,595). All tallied, including destination ($1,095), our test Ram cost $56,640. Click here for the Ram Monroney and click the truck's chart (above) to see a larger version.

 

T_XToyotaFinal

Toyota Tacoma

The Tacoma in our test is a PreRunner (meaning 4x2) with four full-size doors (Toyota calls this its double cab) and a long bed. It has 3.73:1 axle gears and an all-aluminum 4.0-liter DOHC V-6 with the lowest horsepower rating of the segment -236 hp and 266 pounds-feet of torque. Base pricing for our Blue Ribbon Metallic Tacoma is $25,160, with our particular unit including the premium Entune audio and navigation system that gave us all sorts of connectivity and a 6.1-inch touch-screen ($1,265). Our Tacoma also had the SR5 Extra Value Package ($1,935) that includes, among other things, keyless entry, cruise control, fender flares, bucket seats, leather steering wheel and backup camera. Lastly, our PreRunner had the V-8 Tow Package ($650) that includes a heavy-duty alternator, oil cooler and battery, as well as a Class IV receiver hitch and wiring. Including destination ($860) and select package discounts ($355), the total came to $29,515. Click here for the Toyota Monroney and click the truck's chart (above) to see a larger version.

 

The Full Report:

Overview | Acceleration | Braking | Fuel Economy | Wrap-up

Comments

I think it was a pretty informative test overall, although I think you have some high end V6's like the Diesel against some more budget models. Vehicles people would normally not cross shop. That said the numbers themselves on each truck is very good information.

Wow, that RAM is overweight. With a curb weight of 6460 lbs, its payload is less than 500 lbs! FAIL! You can't even carry 5 average American adults. LOL.

I would love a Ram with a diesel, however, I dont have anywhere near the income to purchase one just yet (or ever at this point). I would like to see them send you a plain Jane test model, like a Tradesmen or Express that is pretty basic without all the bells and whistles. Great work guys, keep it up.
Also, i kinda would like to see the various Ram cab configurations and the two different rear ends tested against each other. Regular cab verses extended, 3.91 vs the 3.55. Just to see if any of them have an advantage over the other

Holy smokes on the price for the diesel Ram. I think it's fair to say that the Tacoma was the most well rounded truck in this test; and it was the cheapest MSRP too.

The price of the taco is what i paid for my tundra, so it was a no brainer on what to buy. 2x the truck and capability and space. these prices are insane imo. Though one should be able to get $10K off on the domestics anyways.

So it says here that the ecodiesel is available on almost every trim. I have read in other places that it is only available on upper models, and have also read other places that it is available on most models. On their website you can only build and price on the upper models. I think the cheapest I could build it was close to 40,000. So is it available on the lower models or not?

Mark Williams, why did you hide the links to the window stickers that were in the article originally?

My mistake, you hid the links to the charts since you can click the chart itself.

You can get the Ecodiesel in all trim levels except for Express and Sport. Starting with the tradesman. Only other restriction is you can't get it in a short bed regular cab, but you can with the 8 foot bed. All other cab and bed configurations you can get it in as well. So it is pretty widely available across the lineup save for just a few exceptions.

its pretty comical that the silverado/gmc has only 40% US/ north american content with 51% coming from mexico! ram has 66% US and 26% coming from mexico. The honda has 75% US parts and the Tacoma has 70% US parts yet they are considered foreign LOL LOL

@hemi lol - it is highly illogical to bash a brand based on badge but it gets done daily on this site.

Wondering if Ford's new philosophy is to not provide pickups when they know they won't perform favorably. There's plenty of inventory on dealer lots.

I bet that there Tacoma has more parts from Japan.

Lol, you sell those 100% Japanese built Prius' then get on here and try to act all patriotic. Lol

Every manufacturer builds some in Mexico. Toyota even has Mazda building their stuff there.

@ ken

I don't think that is why Ford failed to participate considering Ford won the last v6 shootout handily. Chances are they would look very good in this comparison if they had provided the same f-150 with the 3.7 v6 as in the last test. In that test it averaged 21.4 MPG unloaded, 0 to 60 in 7.85 seconds, 60 to zero in 138 feet. I know the conditions were different different cab configurations etc. but it probably would have done well. Here is a quote from the last test
"In almost every performance test, Ford’s all-new six dominated the competition by significant margins"

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2010/11/2010-v-6-shootout-best-overall-work-truck.html

I know chevy and ram have since updated their trucks, but I'm sure the Ford would still do well in a comparison. It would have been very interesting to see and I'm quite disappointed they didn't participate in this one.

Ford = loser. They make about 700,000 trucks a year and cannot find one or two. B.S.

Ford should put a chicken on the hood of all their trucks.

@Greg, Charlie -

Car companies release vehicles from their Journalist Test fleet.

They do not pull vehicles off of the car lot because once they hit the car lot, the auto company no longer owns them.

I think its not a very good excuse that you couldn't get some of the trucks in time.

@trx 4 tom hater

the Tacoma has 15% parts content from Japan, 70% from the US/north american and USA built Engine and Trans and Assembled 80% at San Antonio and the overflow assembled at the Baja plant in Baja California. Thats a HUGE difference next to GM's 51% Mexican parts content and EVERYONE i looked at in a local store was assembled in SILAO MEXICO. whatever you want to do to justify your thoughts go for it.

@hemi lol
We live in a global society now. 'Nuff said.

OH now its a global economy when the "foreign" autos are far more american.......... I was the one who always said it was a global economy but the haters on here say its foreign its not american. its funny how when the story changes people wanna go all "its global" LOL LOL its really comical to me thats all.

880 is the listed payload on the Ram website with premium options and 4x4. Now read the fine print. That's the best case scenario properly equipped.*

You have to take off for options which will lower the payload from 200 to 400 lbs. Hence bringing you right around to what PUTC listed at 490 lb. There was no mistake. The only mistake was by those thinking the EcoDisel can actually haul or tow something.

Best possible payloads with a ED crewcab and 4x4 will be 850 to 1200 lbs properly equippped, meaning you have to take off for options. Actual payloads will be 500 to 1000 at best.

I don't know how in tarnation Ram is saying you can tow 8,200 lbs with this thing. This is less payload than a golf cart.

@hemi lol
Sorry but you're the one who is contradictory. If we really do live in a global economy, then why do you even bring up what places parts for trucks come from or what % American they are??? If you believe that we live in a global economy, then talking about stuff like that is irrelevant.

@Greg, no that would be copying gm and Ford doesn't want that!!

Come on Mark, Ford couldn't provide one for you in time for the test? You're best buddy, Mr. Levine has all kinds of connections with Ford and he couldn't get a hold of one? You honestly expect us to believe that load of crap? For anyone who didn't believe that this site is controlled by Ford and Mr. Levine, this story is exhibit A. So if they couldn't get it to you in time for the tests, why not postpone the story/tests until YOU COULD get one from Ford? Unbelievable. Sorry Mark, you and this website have lost ALL Credibility, if you ever had any? GM's 4.3 V-6 makes Ford's V-6 look like an outdated POS. Ford is SCARED, so they told you to run the story without them. Just admit it Mark, you're controlled by Levine and Ford!!! Anything that would shed a negative light on Ford is prohibited on this site. Admit it Mark, we all know it's true. Sheesh!

They could have gotten a F-150 V6 off the lot somewhere but they would have had to buy it. That's not in the budget. Renting - probably would be hard to find a 2014 and it probably would be a base RC if they could find it. Not worth the time.

Toyota didn't provide a Tundra either.

Ford is under no obligation to make the old last gen trucks available for testing when they already debuted the new trucks and they are coming out soon. And quite frankly I wouldn't expect them to.

All of you who now ant V6 shootouts, where were you 3 years ago when the Ford V6's were new and readilly available and you were still pimping the V8's??? Hmmmm.

Remember GM didn't provide any trucks for the 4x4 shootout.

These attacks on Mike Levine are stupid spam and need to stop.

PS Ford isn't "scared" whatever that means. Ford has an all new truck with two new V6's.

Sounds like the GM fanboys are scared since they still want to test against the old Ford trucks.

That window passed a year ago. Sorry you missed out. You should have gotten your new trucks and V6's out sooner.

Remember GM just made the new V6 available. It was only V8's for awhile. Who's fault is that? GM.

Jason, Ford's NA v6 does not compete well with either GMs LV3 or Chrysler's 3.6L pentastar. I couldn't care less that there was no NA ford V6 since its already not competitive. What *was* missing was a Ram with the Pentastar. Pentastar vs LV3 is a matchup worth watching.

Back in the day the double cab was a "true crew" cab with four full size doors. Nowadays it's a wannabe crew extended cab...

"Lastly, our PreRunner had the V-8 Tow Package ($650) that includes a heavy-duty alternator, oil cooler and battery, as well as a Class IV receiver hitch and wiring." And when do Toyota Tacomas have V8? The 4Runner hadn't had one since 2010's makeover.

Wow, that Ram Ecodiesel payload is something else...makes the unibody Ridgeline look good, though it still sucks fuel like a ship. Sorry, I usually don't rant, I guess today is not a good pickup day from the V6 physical series... Happy trucking!

The Chebbie should be banned on the HORRIBLE looks alone. Seriously, I bet a 10yr old kid from Mexico can draw a better looking truck

@mileage man
I wouldn't say the ford v6 is irrelevant. It is rated 19 mpg combined where the ram (with an 8 speed) and chevy are both 20 mpg combined. Judging by HP and Torque numbers its performance is probably very close to or better than the pentastar and a little behind the GM. It may not perform as well overall, but it would have been very interesting to see the difference between it and the others. I for one am very disappointed it wasn't a part of the test. Definitely worth noting though that the ford 3.7 v6 is being replaced with an all-new engine later this year, so it's not like Ford is far behind. The ford 3.7 reigned supreme among the v6 options (not counting the ecoboost) for the last three years. It was only very recently surpassed, and ford is likely going to reign again with the all new 3.5 later this year. Not to mention the new 2.7 ecoboost which will probably outperform the 3.5 by a long ways.

That Ram has an allowable payload of 490 (!!!) (!!!!!!!) pounds.

There are some touring motorcycles with more payload capacity than the Ram!

The weight of the Dodge Ram has to be off.
Maybe someone misread someone else's handwriting.
5460 pounds is more correct.

This shootout raises more questions than it gives answers. I am not yet a 100% fan of the Ram Ecodiesel, but need to defend it here. A fully-loaded crew-cab RAM with a toneau and heavy air-suspension WILL WEIGH MORE than the shorter double-cabs of the Chevy and GMC test trucks! And, those several hundred extra pounds WILL make the 0-60 a bit SLOWER and WILL LOWER the payload (the RAM payload still stinks big time) and WILL LENGTHEN the break time. This was not an apples-to-apples shootout. Also, RAM does have a normal-gas V6, why wasn't this used instead of the EcoDiesel. That would have been a better shootout.

"The Chebbie should be banned on the HORRIBLE looks alone. Seriously, I bet a 10yr old kid from Mexico can draw a better looking truck"

- I agree man, Chevy trucks have been an eyesore since 2003. And Especially 2007. And they wonder why they lose market share. Morons. Why not stick the Bowtie emblem in place of the GMC emblem on the same trucks??? The Chevrolet buyers can have a good looking truck and the GM buyers can have a good looking truck. Pick your badge and pick your trim. Chevy guys want the Denali trim anyway. GMCorp. is so stupid sometimes. I think Chevy is headed to their grave soon. Maybe GM knows this? Or it was an intentional plan spanning back several years now to kill em off and turn them into a race division only like Dodge is now using their Vette and Camaro. There's no other explanation on how they went so fast down the tubes looks wise and quality + options wise.

Once upon a time, Chevrolet trucks were top dog. You bought a Chevy no matter what it would cost you. Those days are long gone.

If you can't get all the trucks then why do this bogus test?

Another fail by pickup trucks.com.

Those who don't like the Ecodiesel screw off and buy the truck you like. You must really be in complete fear of Ram and their truck line up the way you all love to bash them all the time.

#1 - FORD would have been a waste to bring to this Party. They would have stood mid pack and I don't care what you hatters out there say with an 09 Chassis that still kicks ass today!!!
#2 - Why can't Ram find anything else but a "Longhorn" on any test they get asked to participate in. ANSWER - POS car like build well covered with leather and a diesel with a payload of 500 Lbs.
#3 - What is a Honda doing in this test, it's a Car poser like the ram and built like a car.
#4 - The Toyota and Nissan can't even start to compete with any full size truck....never should have been in this test...which is a complete waste.
The rest of the story.........The GMC/Chevy twins are the only new truck that belong in this test. I'm a Ford guy but that's how I see this article...just something to stir the pot and create more TROLL input!!!

I keep hearing about if you put 5 200 pound guys in the truck you only have 500 pounds of payload.

Who out there is really putting 5 200 pound guys in the truck all the time?

That is what I thought none of you are.

How shameful the Chevy with the monster 6.2 V-8 in the top trim level can only carry 800 pounds of payload when you put 5 200 pound men in the truck.

http://www.chevrolet.com/silverado-1500-pickup-truck/specs/capabilities.html

Up the Chevy to a crew cab with the monster 6.2 V-8 and it can only handle 746 pounds of payload with 5 200 pound men in the cab.

Fords don't fair any better.

I noticed the Chevy had side assist steps compared to the GMC which did not-aside from the gearing could the slight increase in weight and the increase in wind resistance have contributed to the lower speeds and fuel economy of the Chevy in this test as compared to its sibling?

- If the new trucks aren't out then don't test them or any!!!
- Do not accept any more Ram Laramie Long Horn...Diesel is not in the same league therefore, do not do it. You loose credibility when accepting a high end truck to compare to all the other base trucks.
- Separate the small midsize from full size.
- All base V6 trim super cab...not crew cab, not all available in crew.
- Add the smallest EB2.7...for mileage reason's only. Is the $495.00 charge worth the twin turbo's???

Please please please do it this way, it's the only real world way to do it that really compares and makes sense.



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