As you might have guessed, the top zero-to-60-mph performer in this group of pickup trucks — by a pretty good margin — was the big Ford F-150 Platinum EcoBoost with its twin turbos and 3.5-liter engine. During empty runs, the F-150 clocked a 6.22-second time and had very little trouble hooking up off the start. Much of that credit should go to the massive Hankook tires (a new tire for Ford) as they did a great job grabbing for every scrap of traction at the relatively fresh starting box.
Not far behind the big EcoBoost F-150 was the smaller Ford F-150; the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 was about a half second behind big brother with a 6.79-second time to 60 mph. The rest of the group was pretty far behind, with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 the slowest of the group, even when compared to the hulking and plodding Ram EcoDiesel. The best zero-to-60-mph empty time from the Silverado 1500 4.3-liter V-6 was 8.04 seconds with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 clocking a 7.85 time. Even the crew-cab Colorado (600-plus pounds lighter than the regular-cab Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and more than 400 pounds lighter than the Silverado 1500) recorded a 7.82-second run.
During our loaded payload runs (always done with the Tow/Haul button on), which included 1,080 pounds of extra weight in the bed of each pickup, the results were similar with the Platinum F-150 running more than a half second faster than the XLT F-150 and more than a second and a half faster than all the others. We should note that because the F-150 2.7-liter was delivered to us late, we had to test the truck with the same payload as the Light-Duty V-8 Challenge competitors, meaning the smaller EcoBoost F-150 ran its zero-to-60 and quarter-mile loaded runs with 160 pounds more weight in the bed than the other pickups.
In quarter-mile empty runs, the Platinum F-150 ran in the high 14s, where the other trucks ran in the 15- and 16-second range. In head-to-head competition between the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 Express (both the base V-6 and weighing within 60 pounds of each other), the Ram clearly had the better setup with 3.55:1 gears, and much more aggressive and wider treads. The more they ran down the track, the more obvious it became to us that the Ram 1500 Express was the better performer.
In loaded quarter-mile runs, the smaller EcoBoost showed the least amount of difference between its empty and loaded runs (again, with the extra weight) with about a half second separating the two runs. After that, the big EcoBoost and the Rams did the best keeping the time differential between 7/10ths and 8/10ths of a second with the 1,080 pounds of payload (27 bags of rock salt) in the bed.
How We Conducted the Test
Our acceleration testing was done at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz., during the first week of December with temperatures in the 70s and very little wind. We used the same lane on a newly resurfaced quarter-mile track for all of our test runs and used the same RaceLogic VBOX equipment for each empty and loaded run.
Our "hot shoe" for this year's truck testing was Cars.com Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek; he used the same series of staging and full throttle procedures for each acceleration run. With the VBOX equipment installed on the truck, Bruzek was the only person in the test truck during each run.
Each truck was run with the air conditioning off and windows up with a relatively small amount of brake-torquing at the start line. With the engine typically revving between 1,500 and 2,200 rpm, Bruzek would release the brake and mash the throttle, pointing the truck straight to the 1,320-foot finish line.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears