2015 Annual Physical: Davis Dam Towing

Chevy Silverado DD II

At Davis Dam in Kingman, Ariz., we recorded times in increments of 10 mph up to 60 mph, at which point we took a final reading. Given that the Ford 2.7-liter EcoBoost had a 4,200-pound trailer and the Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost towed a 6,800-pound trailer, it's not surprising that the times would be pretty close (in fact, the difference between their zero-to-60-mph times over the half-mile or so were within 3.5 seconds). The weight advantage the smaller EcoBoost enjoyed — a lighter truck and lighter trailer — allowed the F-150 XLT SuperCab to hit 60 mph in just 17.3 seconds. The Ram 1500 3.0-liter EcoDiesel was just less than 10 seconds slower, with both the Ram 1500 Express 3.6-liter and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4.3-liter more than 10 seconds slower.

The full results are as follows:

2015_AP_Davis_Combined - F


2015_AP_Davis_Speeds_2 (2)

How We Conducted the Test

For our final data collection test of this year's Annual Physical, we took our test trucks to Davis Dam. The infamous Davis Dam grade sits on Highway 68, a nasty hill climb from the Colorado River at its base to a rocky summit almost 11 miles up. From bottom to top, it's an almost 3,000-foot elevation gain with several sections coming close to a 7 percent incline. Rather than run a wide-open-throttle bottom-to-top climb that would undoubtedly have us blowing past legal speed limits, we chose one of the steepest sections to do a flat-out zero-to-60-mph timed run with our 4,200-pound trailer in tow.

Ford F-150 3.5L tow II

We ran each of the pickups (we had to leave the Chevy Colorado behind because one of our drivers had to leave early) up the grade with two occupants — one driver and one data recorder — along with a double-axle trailer. The only deviation we made in this test with these V-6 pickups was to haul a heavier trailer with the Ford F-150 Platinum equipped with Ford's premium half-ton engine, the twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 (with a power rating more like a V-8 than V-6 at 365 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque). And before anyone starts screaming foul, we did this to allow readers to directly compare these results with the V-8 numbers posted by our 2015 Light-Duty V-8 Challenge contenders (which were tested with the same trailer over the same route at nearly the same time).

Each 2015 Annual Physical test truck started from the exact same section of road with the windows up, air conditioning off and the transmission in Tow/Haul. Most of our runs were conducted during the day with temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s. There was no wind, and midweek traffic was light. Every run was made when we had a long break in traffic with the throttle mashed to the floor to start the VBOX timing.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

Trailer tires II


Overview | Acceleration | Braking | Fuel Economy | Davis Dam Towing | Wrapup


Very surprised the 2.7L did that much better than the 3L oil burner

Zach, you wouldn't be if you'd seen the video floating around out there with an identical run that Ford did. Of course, people wrote it off as being biased toward Ford, but this confirms its validity.

Comparing the 3.5's time here to the best time in the V8 challenge shows the Ford is nearly 3 seconds faster than the Chevy. Had this truck been allowed to compete, something tells me the winner would've been very different indeed.

@lray801 the Chevy Silverado 6.2 is actually quicker than the 3.5 ecoboost. The chevy posted 19.92 time up Davis damn vs the 3.5 ecoboost 20.76. As for the 2.7 ecoboost you can't compare it to the 6.2 time because they weren't towing identical trailers and the 2.7 was a extended cab and the Chevy 6.2 was a crew cab.

speed difference measured in seconds are not even relevant to the experiences of the normal driver. 30 grand for a regular cab diesel is certainly hitting the sweet spot for the business men.

All of the tests this year are pointless.....comparing a colorado to a 3.5 eco boost F-150 and comparing to a diesel dodge are not at all the comparisons that matter.

The 3.5 eco boost should have been included with the V-8 Tests...

The colorado shouldn't be in this test at all.....

If you want to be serious about results....

Half ton premium engines (V-6 or V-8)

Half ton Mid engines

Half Ton Base engines

Half Ton Diesels could be included with premium as they're actually priced with the premiums...

No one in their right mind is trying to decide between a colorado or a King Ranch F-150....

Ecoboost absolutely dominates in heavy hauling

Why would that surprise anyone? There is an ~60HP difference between the two engines, and the F150 is likely several hundred pounds lighter as well.

Somewhere people came up with this misconception that diesel engines are "powerful", and in general this is not true. It is substantially easier (read: cheaper) to make power from a gas engine than a diesel.

@Ryan. quit your bitching, this wasn't a comparison. it was a test.

@lee your right the trailer it was towing was 100 pounds more. But also keep in mind that the f:150 is lighter than the silverado. Also the f:150 in this test was equipped with the max tow package, and the silverado in the light duty challenge was not. But the trucks are close to being pretty much even. But this has to make you wonder. Was the switch to alluminum really worth it.

Grouping pickups by engine type i.e. V6, V8 and diesel have become irrelevant.

It should be based on tow/haul ratings.

Run a max tow/max haul shootout, a shootout for low end tow/haul ratings and a mid level rated shootout.

That will most likely not happen since Ram doesn't have a 1/2 ton that can compete in max tow/haul.

One could include 3/4 ton trucks that overlap with 1/2 ton max tow/haul ratings since there is cross-shopping at those levels.

One could include small trucks with low end tow/haul 1/2 ton rated trucks.

Another few points:

- if you specify 4x4 pickups then run them over a long gravel road loop and a bit tougher off-road loop.

- If you order crewcab trucks put 5 passengers in them. I want to know how they are for a family.

- Provide Gross combined truck and trailer weight ratings. Clearly call out ANY truck with a tow rating that can ONLY be towed by a driver and np passengers and an empty truck.

Do not forget, these times are from a dead stop! and if you were to be traveling at the speed limits from the bottom of the hill, and not from a dead stop your times would not be so different, and when you take into consideration the mpg difference between the F-150 0-60 winners and the others when all would be traveling at the steady speed limits, and getting so much better mpg with even just the Chevy , never mind the Ram diesel, the dead stop speed to 60 mph of the F-150 does not seam so significant at all! unless of course the others were not able to stay at a reasonable speed after hitting the hill at the speed limits.

I agree with Lou_BC about putting 5 people in a crew cab and exposing those that fail their weight rating.

You did not mention that you brake-launched the ecoboosts, you obviously did because otherwise the 2.7L would have performed very poorly in this 0-60.

Something is wrong with your Ram 1500 pentastar data. It has a gearing and HP advantage over the LV3 Chevy, there's no way it could have lost unless a mistake was made either in measurement, running the test, or putting it in way too high a gear.

The loss of the Colorado is a shame. The LFX has identical output numbers to the pentastar, it would have been as close a comparison as any to the difference between older 6 and newer 8 speed transmissions.

This is good data. The trucks arent overly built for towing, underwhelmed by highway gear (except for the GM) which to me makes no sense what so ever. The transmission isnt calibrated nearly as well as the ford 6 speed. They should have included the ford 3.5 N/A to compare with the other v6's

Lol lol lol.... thats all I have to say in this apples to pineapple comparison......

1: The graph is still incorrect. Time is supposed to be the horizontal axis
2: There needs to be more data acquired. Time to every 5mph increment for better curves.
3: The 3.6 Pentastar upshifts to 3rd just after 50mph. So the diesel which is at maximum power in 4th gear @ 55mph pulls ahead. So the diesel has a 20hp advantage @50mph, through 55mph, and the gas only has a 10-20hp@60mph.

Chrysler needs direct injection, which will allow for shorter gearing with the Pentastar V6 3.73 replacing 3.55. Maybe the updated wide ratio 8 speed gearset from ZF too.

GM 6.2 and EB are essentially equal, the 6.2 widths slight advantage overall. The Gen 2 EB I believe will out perform the 6.2 because of the increased torque - we will see...
I'm old school V8 but it's getting harder not to consider an EB. My girlfriend has the 2.0 EB in her Fusion and that thing pulls like an electric motor - all torque all the time :)

"You did not mention that you brake-launched the ecoboosts, you obviously did because otherwise the 2.7L would have performed very poorly in this 0-60."

Trailer- What is your basis for this remark? I own two ecoboosts and they are both very fast off the line without brake launching.

"speed difference measured in seconds are not even relevant to the experiences of the normal driver. 30 grand for a regular cab diesel is certainly hitting the sweet spot for the business men."

buddylam-How do you propose to evaluate the trucks then? The Ram diesel obviously appeals to a lot of people and you are correct that many don't need so much power but those that don't have the right to ignore this data. I feel that more data always beats less. Seriously, if there is an evaluation that you feel was missed suggest it and maybe it will be included in the next test and we might all benefit from it.

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