2010 HD Quarter-Mile Acceleration Test (Loaded)

Three-Quarter-Ton Gassers Loaded Testing


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Just about every issue we felt in this category unloaded was magnified with our 10,000-pound trailers in tow. The Ford was a beast to control in two-wheel drive with our trailer, while the GM truck felt smoother still.

All three did well when in tow/haul mode, making a noticeable difference in shift points and how long each gear is held. Again, the Ram HD felt to be the strong puller but was not the most stable-feeling down the track. The Silverado felt the most confident when accelerating, meaning the most stable tow vehicle and most comfortable with the load.






Both Ford and GM transmissions were quite aggressive when downshifting after the finish marker with trailers, but it’s worth calling out the cool real-time gearing display on the Ford that tells you the exact gear the truck is in at any moment. This was a huge help when trying to slow down 17,000 pounds at the end of a racetrack.

With a 10,000-pound trailer hitched to the back of the gas trucks, the track numbers immediately changed, though the results were almost identical to when the gas haulers were unladen. All of the trucks were about 20 mph slower at the 1,320-foot mark and required about 7 more seconds to run the distance.

The Ram 2500 remained the dominant truck. Again, it was surprising because we expected its transmission to be a handicap, but on level ground the Chrysler rig was “in the zone.”

The Ram was 0.6 seconds faster than the Ford and 1.4 seconds faster than the Chevy from zero to 60 mph. It was still the fastest truck at the quarter-mile mark, charging to the finish line at 64.01 mph versus 63.61 for the Ford and 62.24 for the Chevy.

The same characteristics about the Ram’s weight and powertrain that we cited above applied when there was 10,000 pounds to lug.

We noticed that the Ram exhibited some wheel slip at the start of each wide open throttle run, but it wasn’t enough to dampen performance. The Ford F-250, which had traction control, showed some axle tramp coming off the line. The GM truck, though slower, managed all of its loaded launches gracefully.

Three-Quarter-Ton Diesels, Loaded Testing







Like the gas trucks, we tow-tested at Milan with precisely weighted 10,000-pound conventional trailers. We’re not sure we’ve ever towed trailers so evenly weighted over the wheels or balanced front to back. They offered a good test for each of our turbo-diesels.

As before, we had some trouble modulating the traction of the Ford (we suspect turning off the system may have given us the extra control we needed, but that makes us wonder why it’s there in the first place). And again, once the Ford found its grip, the Power Stroke felt to be a strong puller. The Silverado 2500 needed just a touch of finesse off the line to get it moving at wide open throttle, where it clearly separated itself from the group. Likewise, when slowing down the 17,000 pounds of metal shooting through the end line, the Duramax exhaust brake and tow/haul mode did a superior job of slowing with back pressure and aggressive downshifts to make our end-of-the-track turn a non-event.

Of the group, the Ford seemed to rely on the transmission to do most of the slowing work, while the Ram HD had the strongest-sounding exhaust brake of the group (very Mack-like). The Ram 2500 was the player of the challenge that was left behind, doing a great job getting up to 60 mph, but having very little left after that.

This time, we started to see the separation we were looking for between the trucks. The Silverado improved its performance over the other two trucks, thanks to its best-in-class power settings and rear axle gearing. It was also the smoothest truck off the line again, having little difficulty managing power out from the engine to the tires without an intrusive traction control system.

The Silverado hit 60 mph in 17 seconds, more than a second ahead of the F-250 and 3 seconds faster than the Ram 2500. The Silverado was also fastest at the quarter-mile marker, and it carried the highest speed.

With Ford’s 6.7-liter V-8 now rated (as of Aug. 31) at 400 hp and 800 pounds-feet of torque, it would be very interesting to run this test again. It might not make much difference because like the first run, the Ford showed difficultly keeping its rear axle planted at wide open throttle.

The Ram suffered from loose tires at launch, and its Cummins engine started to show signs that it was having difficulty not getting bogged down after each gear shift.

One-Ton Diesels, Loaded Testing







Testing the strongest trucks with the biggest trailers was probably our premiere event of the day (unless you count the regular cab Duramax “prototype” the GM guys brought to the track).

The F-350 dually gave us our best launch of the day here and felt the strongest off the line. From the seat of our pants, it felt like the Denali and F-350 were the more powerful trucks down the track. However, the Ram HD Cummins was the loudest, working hard in the higher gears to make it to the end of the quarter-mile before its zero-to-60 time. In fact, the Ram HD Mega Cab dually hit 60 mph at the exact moment it hit the quarter-mile marker at 24 seconds flat.

The Sierra Denali 3500 pulled strong after a small slip at the start line but was able to get its six-ton trailer up to 60 mph in 18.8 seconds, a full half-second faster than the Super Duty. The Super Duty’s transmission seemed well-suited to bring the fight to the Denali after 60 mph. In fact, by the time the F-350 got to the quarter-mile marker, it had closed the gap with the GMC to almost nothing. The best time for the Denali was 22.3 seconds, while the best time for the Ford was 22.4, and we’re guessing if this were a half-mile flat-tow head-to-head test, the Power Stroke would have likely overtaken the Duramax in the next 200 feet.

Be that as it may, it’s hard not to like the strength and muscle of the GM and Ford duallies, and it’s clear the Cummins needs to bring a bigger gun to the next track fight.

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Gas 1/4 times 24 to 23 to 23 seconds, and diesel 1/4 mile times 21 to 22 to 23 seconds. No surprise here that they are all close to each other.

I don't know about anyone else but being 1 second faster down a tack isn't that interesting in a work truck.

Again, no surprise.

The Ram's wheel spin must have slowed it down,as wheel spin always slows a vehicle down...

MotorWeek got a 7.2 0-60 and 15.4 1/4 out of a Ram heavy duty ....

Pretty proud of the Cummins Ram....

Unloaded with less torque and less h.p the Ford cant shake it !! I would be embarrassed if I were a Ford fan..a truck with less power sticks to it like glue !! I have to repeat unloaded as alot of Ford fans always forget about the details.....

Just wanted to add the H.D Hemi ran 15.4 at 95 mph...could have had a few more miles on it (motorweek test) because Mopar's really wake up after more miles are put on them..and better mpg as well !!

Ram was tied with Ford in the gas but the Ram did not feel stable down the track.

Ram diesel lost to Ford and lost handsomely.

It's no surprise that a Dodge fan would be proud of this.

RAM needs to do something drastic over the next couple of years or they're gonna get lost in the power struggle.
The cummins is decent but definitely needs higher numbers, especially in torque.

These drag racing tests are all well and good, but whats really important is how well they hold speed on an incline pulling a 20klb goose-neck.

I wonder why GM doesn't cut costs by just making the 6.2 available to all segments? It has power that's more in line with the Ford and Ram, it's almost a no brainer. I'm sure GM will change things in the next year or so.......hopefully!

I wonder what it means to Ford Fan boys that the GM trucks had a better ride, both loaded and unloaded that than the Ford and Ram trucks?? All this talk about the suspension differences is a bunch of crap!!! GM trucks have proven to have a better setup. Maybe Ford and Ram trucks will switch over to what GM is doing??!! Ha!! Suck it Ford fan boys.

"better ride" is purely subjective, some of us expect our trucks to ride like trucks.


You do know this website is a member of the Cars.com family, right?

You would like you're truck to ride like a car.

The ride quality can be a reflection of how well the chassis is set up.
The GM trucks seemed to "hook up" better than the Fords in the test.
That is important in pulling a heavy load.
Traction control is important.
If these trucks had traction issues on a drag strip which are usually coated in traction compound - imagine the problems on a job site or recreation site with slick surfaces.

@Mike - I'd like to suggest that in the next test - the trucks be tested on a gravel surface as well.

Re: better ride

Pickuptrucks.com did not take the trucks off-road. PM did take trucks off-road and said Ford had the better ride off-road. PM said Ford had the better ride over any surface, pavement, broken pavement, bumps, etc. I would have liked to see an off-road test from pickuptrucks.com

From PM on how the GM handling on streets...."On rougher roads around Michigan with the bed empty, the GMC generally delivered a bumpier ride than the soft Ford but a smoother one than the Dodge. And on the deepest and sharpest impacts, the GMC actually bucked harder in the rear than either one."

So what I am getting is Ford and GM are nearly as good with eachother on a flat smooth surface. Maybe GM is better to pickuptrucks.com a flat smooth surface in the wind, but PM says Ford is better on any surface including, bumps, and off-road. "The ride quality of our 7800-pound Lariat was incredibly smooth over any terrain. It not only rides better than any truck here, the new Super Duty glides over broken pavement better than some light-duty trucks," says PM. Both liked GM's steering but Ford was not a slouch, some prefer more heft in the steering of the GM, some prefer the easiness of the Ford for tight situations and for baking up trailers. Handling on bumps and off-road also comes under handling. So look at it overall before you claim one has a better ride than the other, or just look at smooth roads with no bumps on windy days if you want to and claim "victory" for GM.

1/4 mile isn't really a decent test of pulling power. You're only evaluating the on ramp performance of the rig - which only happens once per tank of fuel. Tell me how it works on a 5 mile grade - this is performance where it counts.

Off the line traction control? Traction control becomes a non issue with a trailer with 10-15% tongue weight. A fifth wheel with 2500 lbs pin weight will keep the tires planted. Bluntly, this seems like a ploy to stack the deck in GM's favor.

Head out to the Baker Grade with a 15K trailer in the middle of summer and see which one overheats. My 2007+ GMs all ran hot when towing heavy equipment in the summer. The Ford 6.4's I've been replacing them with don't even budge the gauge, no matter how heavy the load or how how high the outside temps.

All the power in the world is useless if you can't use it when you need it. Curious to see how the new trucks would do in extreme heat and load situations. Much more relevant in the real world than drag strip numbers. Opportunity for a follow up test?

GM's ride great when sitting on the hoist in the service dept.

cuz thats were they spend most of their lives..

IFS designs are for cars..

end of story...

"its Cummins engine started to show signs that it was having difficulty not getting bogged down after each gear shift"

This sounds like total bs to me, there's no way the cummins could be bogging down, the cummins just has more natural bass to its exhaust sound.

@Mike Levine,

Ford and Ram had matching times on the charts...different times on the graph?

@Zach J: The graph times are correct. The Ram was fastest at 23.3 seconds, followed by the Ford at 23.8 seconds. The .3 looked like .8.

@ Mike

my bad!

@Zach J. 'Calibri' is a poor font for telling the difference between a 3 and an 8.

if you like a ford you said the ride is better same whit gm,,but if you have the two truck in your lane-way..to drive,gm is smooth to drive and bad road the truck not jumping left and right...just do the test ...

so the denali slip to start,so the time be faster,,,yes or no..

Fords' traction control is what held back all of its trucks in the acceleration tests. Turn it off, and get a good driver behind the wheel and it'd smoke the competition. Period.

Aside from the gas engine segment it is quite clear GM's bankrupt company smoked the super duty in every important catagory. The ride of GM's truck is clearly far superior to the ford offerings. Back to the drawing board for ford and the losing team"ford girls".

What happened to the new Ford 6 speed? I thought it was Ford's answer to the Allison tranny. Dang Ford you keep showing up late for the race.

Youve got to hand it to the hemi! It only has a 5 speed tranny while the others are running 6 speeds. Also not to mention that that the Ford is running a 4.30 rear end! I actually didnt think it would perform that well, especially against fords 6.2.

You guys are sure making a big deal out of few tenths of second on accelerations. To say one blow the doors off the other is ridicule.

Even if my beloved brand would win, I would still give credit to the other brands. To say one is better then the other based on this test is absurd.

I'd rather have the Ford with all those goodies. It makes GM trucks look like crap.

Also, the real test is "HOW WELL WILL IT HOLD UP IN 10 YEARS". This is something PUTC can not even test.


@Frank: So, we should have said all the trucks tied and not picked winners? I think you would have been first in line to call that a cop out. And you're giving Ford a lot of credit for durability for an all-new engine. Where's the basis for that?

Posted by: Lou | Aug 19, 2010 2:45:00 AM

Aside from the gas engine segment it is quite clear GM's bankrupt company smoked the super duty in every important catagory. The ride of GM's truck is clearly far superior to the ford offerings. Back to the drawing board for ford and the losing team"ford girls".



@Mike Levine,

No not all. I just feel there is more to a truck than just acceleration time.

'nuff said.

Thanks Mike!

@Frank: You're absolutely correct there's more than just acceleration time, which is why we also tested for unloaded and loaded braking distances (2 of 6 of the performance tests), fuel economy (25% of total score), and subjective (20% of total scoer).

@Mike Levine

I know I am being picky about your comments vs the data, but from what aspect can you say that you feel the F350 would have overtaken the Denali within the next 200 ft? Did you continue to run for the next 200 ft at any point or is it speculative? I only ask because the speed curves seem to be virtually parallel in the graphs above (which I understand don't have the resolution to completely say this), and the Denali still has a ~1mph advantage at the 1/4 mile mark. So, from the data provided I can only feel as though what you said wouldn't have been true. Any other thoughts on the subject?

well I think this is all about durability and how long that ol engine can last workin hard every day...we know that the 6.7 liter cummins has lasted well the last 3 years but how about these new diesels that chevy and ford now have? You think they're up to it? And plus I've been hauling for a long time and I don't really punch on the peddle when I've got eight horses loaded in the trailer so speed ain't got nothing to do with it but I do believe in torque to get up hills and such. And plus all you'd have to do is put an edge or bullydog or quadzilla chip in that ol dodge and do slight changes and it would run circles around that ford and chevy one tons and out haul them and also get better fuel mileage. But I have to admit Ford and chevy did a dang good job and have made some nice trucks with alot of power but no matter who makes what, dodge fans are going to buy their dodges, ford fans are going to buy their fords. and chevy fans are going to buy their chevys. I've seen fords eat up chevys and dodges and I've seen vice versa. Nobody is the same and everyone's different. Some like a certain engine, others like certain body styles, others like fuel mileage, others like ride comfort, others like speed, some like interior design, and others like hauling performance. It just depends on what you like and these 3 pickups offer you whatever you want. I say thumbs up for all 3 of them because when it comes down to it, they are all just one ol engine on four or six wheels

First of all this isnt a good test. Dodge still hasnt come out with there 2011 dodge ram for 2500 and 3500s. Thats why the ram has 47 hp less then the duramax.

What I would like to see is them do the same tests with older trucks like a 7.3 L powerstroke, 5.9L 12V cummins and a first gen dmax. And see how old school stacks up agenst the new trucks and also see how good they still are. Buy them with a min 200,000 km on the od

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