We ran these 2015 half-ton trucks both empty and loaded for the quarter-mile acceleration test; loaded meant 31 bags of rock salt (relatively flat and evenly distributed over the rear axle) behind the cab in the bed.
These quarter-mile runs allowed us to see how strong a truck accelerates or how well the transmission engineers spaced out the gearing. Three of the trucks had eight-speed transmissions (Chevrolet, GMC, Ram), while two had six-speeds (Ford, Toyota).
During our empty runs, every V-8 made it to and some went well beyond 90 mph when running through the traps at the end of the 1,320-foot mark. Interestingly, the Chevy Silverado 1500 made it to the finish line 0.04 seconds faster than the GMC Sierra 1500, with 14.34 seconds at 97.6 mph. The Sierra ran 14.38 seconds, moving at 96.8 mph. The Ram 1500 ran 15.12 seconds at 92.0 mph. The Ford F-150 ran a slightly slower time at 15.29 seconds, but managed to record a higher trap speed at 93.8 mph. And in last place, the Toyota Tundra recorded a quarter-mile time and speed of 15.56 seconds at 90.6 mph.
After transferring our 31 bags of rock salt to our contenders, the GMC once again rose to the top. With 1,240 pounds (plus a 175-pound driver) on its back, the loaded Sierra 1500 ran faster than two of our competitors did when empty at 15.23 seconds at 92.0 mph. The Silverado 1500 recorded 15.36 seconds at 92.5 mph, with the Ram in third place at 15.98 seconds at 87.9 mph. The Ford finished fourth with 16.35 seconds at 88.3 mph, and the Tundra followed with 16.58 seconds at 86.1 mph.
How We Conducted the Testing
We did our quarter-mile acceleration testing at the same time and place that we conducted our zero-to-60-mph runs. All trucks were tested on the same day by the same driver (only one person in the truck during testing) and ran in the same direction down the track, all using the same RaceLogic VBOX data recorder.
Testing Notes From Driver Joe Bruzek
Chevy Silverado 1500: This pickup had trouble with wheelspin in two-wheel drive. I tried some launches in all-wheel drive with success. With traction control off and brake torqueing, this felt like the muscle car of the group.
Ford F-150: This half-ton doesn't like to move quickly off the line (traction control on or off), almost like the transmission computer wants to control it all before it allows power.
GMC Sierra 1500: You'd think the twins would be the same, but they had very different testing personalities: different tires, suspensions and gearing changes — everything. I had wonderful launches with this setup.
Ram 1500: There's almost too much launching power with this pickup. I spun the tires deep into 2nd gear once and I was not even trying. Its throttle is touchy off the line, but it responds well to brake torqueing.
Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: Traction control really wants to run things for the Tundra, but it doesn't seem as quick or flexible to respond as the others. There was no real way to play much with traction distribution. It needs a wider-parameter engine/transmission interface.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears