2011 $30,000 Shootout: 0-60 MPH Test


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Our first-day track tests were conducted at the Milan Dragway. Temperatures hovered around 72 degrees with a slight breeze throughout the day.

All tires were measured and left at manufacturer-recommended pressures with the concrete launch surface sticky and cool. Each truck was loaded with Ricardo test equipment (www.ricardo.com), and two adult males sat in the front seats during each run. Each truck was run with the windows up and the air conditioning and traction control switched off. Each truck was run at least four times, with at least two runs in Drive, and at least two runs executed by manually shifting the electronic transmission. And, of course, we had the same driver behind each wheel.

To no one’s surprise, the F-150 — the lightest pickup with the newest, most modern engine — ran the fastest to 60 mph with a time of 6.97 seconds. That turned out to be 1.5 seconds faster than our two slowest trucks, the Chevy and Nissan, which tied with a time of 8.41 seconds. The best time for the Ram was a respectable 7.5 seconds, while the Toyota, at 7.12 seconds, had the most trouble getting its power to ground, requiring a little finesse at takeoff to prevent the wheels from breaking loose and spinning. All the other V-8s did a good job of controlling wheelspin when we mashed the throttle at the green light. We were especially impressed with the F-150, which had struggled for us in past tests, keeping its rear axle quiet and free from hop.

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Not surprising that the Tundra spun tires more than the others- the only truck with a deep rear axle. I'm still amazed Ford can publish the towing numbers they have, using a fairly short rear end.

The Ford has a lower overall first gear ratio and slightly taller through the next five. There is a big difference between the GM and Ford transmission ratios and the Toyota's. Two different ways to accomplish the same thing.

Your time for the Titan is almost 1.5 seconds slower than any other test I have read. My 2005 gets to 60mph in around 7.5 seconds. Did the Titan have a traction control feature on that shut down low gear rpm off the line? I can break my tires loose real easy. Doesn't add up.

I think a reg cab 5.7L Tundra with tow package would have one this part of the contest but toyota does need to add VVEL and Direct Injection 30hp+ and 30lb ft+ to the next gen Tundra. I think the should be able to beat the Ford mid range engine even if it has the weight advantage so congrats to Ford.

@Mark Williams,

Great stuff! However, we need charts and graphs!

I can email you some cool stuff in PDF! Lol!


You probably have a much higher rearend ratio in your Titan.

I think its intresting that the Crew Cab 5.0L 4X4 F-150 tested back in Febuarary ran a 7.1 second 0-60 and the Regular cab 2WD 5.0L F-150 in this test run's a 6.9 second 0-60. I guess the 5.0L doesn't mind a little extra weight. I suppose part of the reason could be the fact that the F-150 in this test has a 3.55 rear end vs the 3.73 used in the one test in Feb.

@PUTC: I do not know if you are aware or not, but alot of modern vehicles have systems in place that limit off-the-line acceleration.

My Ram has this - it's called Torque Management - it cuts fuel and timing to the engine under hard acceleration when the engine speed is below 3000rpm. (I'm sure you felt the extra surge you got from the engine once it got revved up. It's not that it makes high-end power, it's the computer limiting what you get to play with on the low end.) It does this to save wear and tear on the drivetrain components, but it also greatly slows the trucks acceleration. I know Ram is not the only one to do this - GM has something similar, but I am not sure about the others.

If you ever spent time a Ram with a tuner and one without, you'd notice a HUGE differnce, even if the tuner is on the lowest setting, because tuners will remove the Torque Management feature. Even with the 3.55s (not 3.92s :( ) on my Ram, a tuner allows me easily spin the wheels (both) from a stop. Without the tuner, I hardly get a chirp, and the engine feels sluggish (like you stated in your article).

While I understand what you are saying about merging or passing, most merges and passes do not come from a dead stop. For future tests, why not make a run from 40mph? That should make sure that every truck is close to or beyond this computer-limited power range.

Also, this would allow you to better test the transmissions gearing, their response time and feel, and the general cohesiveness of the drivetrian.

I purpose you start at 40 in Drive and floor it to accelerate to 60 for one test, and for a second, use the manual gear selection mode to downshift to the lowest possible gear that will maintain 40mph (Depending on the gearing, that might be 1st in the Ram and Chevy, and Nissan.), then perform the same test by either manually up-shifting or allowing the transmission to upshift itself. (I know if you hit the limiter hard in the Ram it will upshift on it's own. If you appoach it slowly, it will hold the lower gear.)

I feel this testing procedure would be (much) more accurate for testing merging and pass capability, and it also puts all the competitors on a more equal plane since the computers aren't limiting anything...

@ Simcik
There are two components of torque management (Chrysler did this years ago. Even before throttle by wire)
The first part is shift torque management. The engine output is reduced, if not outright cut, during the shift. This makes the shift quicker & enhances transmission longevity/durability (because the transmission is not fighting the engine output)

The other part is stall torque management, if you get the vehicle immobilized. Once the vehicle is underway, it has no effect.

What you are probably feeling is the engine coming on power because of the VCT phaser advancing the camshaft for improved mid-range.

@George: While what you say is correct in regards to the older system, they do more than that now. It does use the VVT (partially) to control it, but it IS limited below 3000rpm.

Timing is retarded, fuel and air are cut, and the converter clutch is allowed to slip partially.

During shifts, fuel and timing are cut to create smoother shifts and decrease stress, again accomplished by using the VVT system in conjunction with other components. HOWEVER, this does not make the shift quicker. It actually makes it longer. It cuts the power to cut the hydraulic pressure inside the torque converter and valve body and lessen the jerk on the components when the shift it made. It also prevents some converter can converter clutch slip.

And stall torque management is mostly controlled by the torque converter clutch (electronic) which allows the engine to rotate more freely when the driveline comes to a rapid stop.

All of these can be heard on a Hemi running aggressive exhaust and no tuner, and it can be seen on just about any modern electronic data logger. Dyno tests also show the limited increase in torque and hp below 3000rpm and then a significant increase.

However, like I said, they are limiting the engines output now at RPMs below 3000rpm under hard accerlation for low speeds. If you're already moving, you can eliminate some of the effect, which is useful in towing or off-roading.

Shift can be quicker by cutting and/or reducing power. That is simple physics. Chrysler documented quicker shifts with their electronically controlled transmission with torque reduction during shifts. That was 20 years ago.
Hydraulic pressure inside automatic transmission is not dependent on engine power. They are dependent on engine speed (which runs the pump), minus how much is dumped via variable line pressure systems. (or variable displacement pumps)
Nearly all torque converter automatics make their gear shifts with the torque converter clutch open. Very few have gear ratios close enough to do so.
The torque converter clutch is open in 1st gear, not even with tow/haul mode engaged.

Maybe it is just Chrysler using electronics to make up for bad engineering elsewhere, or cost cutting.

Well, other publications do list 5-60 mph times.


Not sure where you are getting your information, but I am sorry to inform you that it is not fully correct. All torque converters are viscous couplings. Viscous couplings work with pressure. Pressure (in this case) is caused by a more rapidly spinning crankshaft, and you need power to generate more rpms. Don't really see how you can say you don't?

And yes, Chrysler did see faster shifts with electronically controlled throttle bodies vs hydraulic ones, but that has nothing to do with cutting power or why otrque management exists.

Cutting power is bad for quick shifts. Why do you think that all shift kits include the components needed to enlarge passages (and thus increase pressure) inside the throttle body? Higher pressure = faster shifts = more power transfer = less power loss.

Engine speed and engine power are tied together. Cutting timing and fuel slow the speed of the engine by eliminating power, thus lowering hyraulic pressure, and lengthening shifts (which makes them feel smoother), but wastes more power and puts more wear and tear on the clutches.

Furthermore, while the converter clutch does allow slipage in 1st gear, it does this to allow the converter itself to lock up sooner, and eliminating the need for a higher, less efficient stall speed to get the vehicle going. The converter itself takes longer to fully engage than the electronically activated clutch, so naturally, using the clutch to make small adjustments makes since as it can more rapdily respond to a chance in demand.

Also, when decelerating, or when using the manual selection mode, this is overridden and the clutch is locked, allowing for engine braking and more throttle control.


And finally, I'm nore sure why any of that even matters. I'm suggesting we get past the computer limitation of the engine's power and thus it's true ability to merge and pass. It has nothing to do with bad electronics or any of the other crap you've mentioned. It was done for driver comfort and to allow for less maintainence, which Dodge is smart enough to realize alot of people won't do. Most merges come from a rolling speed anyway, not a dead stop. And passing? Well, that's a no-brainer. Come drive my truck with the tuner (which removes the torque management), and then drive it without and tell me if the factory is letting all 390 horses run off the line... You'll see what I'm talking about.

And like I said, Ram isnt' the only one doing this. GM does it for sure, and I'm pretty sure Ford does too. I do not think Toyota does, which is why they have issue with spinning the wheels so easily, and I have no idea about Nissan...

A torque converter is a hydrodynamic device. Pump/impeller/stator.
The torque converter lockup clutch 'short circuits' those three elements. It is open by default.

'Shift kits' are for hydraulically controlled transmissions. Enlarge passages is for more/quicker flow, not more pressure. That is irrelevant in the age of the electronically controlled transmission.
Cut the power, so the transmission can decelerate the appropriate components quicker. There is a maximum heat rate that the clutch pack material can absorb, so if the transmission has to continue to fight the engine's output, the shift will be longer.

Transmission hydraulic pressure is purely dependent on engine speed. (did you read the linked .pdf)

Certain entrance ramps have a metered access, there is a red/green light for merging. So there is a real world need from zero to 60. (if not faster)
The Ram is slow because of the tall 1st gear. GM/Ford/Toyota only go to 35mph in 1st, Ram/Titan go to 45mph (because of antiquated transmissions) That is a huge difference. (remember work=energy, and velocity squared)
Your tuner probably just ramps up the throttle by wire curves.

AJJ - I have the Big Tow gears but the ratio isn't that big a difference. What I did find out is that 2011 2wd Titans have a first gear full throttle cut out that sounds alot like the guys above are discussion that RAM has. Pro-4X models allow WOT in first gear as does my 2005. That explains the slow 0-60 time on the truck tested.

@simcik could it be that you are experiencing the stability management that doesn't completely shut off? even if you push the button and the dashboard light says stability/traction off, it stays off until 35 mph and then it comes on even if the light saying it is off is on. as well, you don't really feel the power in a hemi until 4000 rpm, but then it pulls hard. also when the torque converter is not locked to raise rpms, and then it locks, it is similar to dumping the clutch in a manual transmission, which the factory would consider unsafe. the owners manual strongly recommends not WOT from a dead stop. there are always dummy limiters like a stall converter, which not only keeps it from strait out full power to the pavement but gets you up to speed quicker and into the power band quicker which is better for towing. think about it, if a hemi in a truck put full power to the ground at a dead stop you probably not control it fast enough because the tail of the truck would rotate around faster than you could turn the steering wheel. but overall you can tell the hemi is limited in the trucks for quality, durability, towing/hauling, comfort, safety, etc. just drive a challenger with a hemi or listen to one. you can tell even the catalytic converters are more restrictive on a truck because the cars are louder and i am talking both with aftermarket exhaust. i have a hemi truck with true duals not dual tips but true duals which i had the exhaust cut before the y pipe and then i had an h pipe which comes on the cars standard (x pipe is better but aftermarket, i didn't have room for x pipe) and 2 glasspack mufflers (resonaters really) and it is still not as loud as a challenger hemi, and glasspacks are strait through. so trucks always get the restrictive crap because they are just work horses.

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