2011 $30,000 Shootout: Autocross Test


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Our autocross runs were done at Romeo, where the weather was warm and the wind was scarce.

All the trucks were run in that same direction with the air conditioning off, windows up, and the vehicle in Drive. When loaded, we engaged the tow/haul settings and when empty, we left tow/haul off. Each truck made at least three runs with and without payload. Finally, as we have all along, we kept the same driver throughout the event to minimize variations.

The course itself included long, sweeping turns, tight decreasing-radius corners, a slalom, and a sharp corner right before the final straight; it was designed to be small, short and challenging.

Once again, each vehicle held two adult males and some data recording equipment. For these runs, we did not turn off any of the traction controls (to be as real-world as possible) and found that most of them were not too intrusive until they needed to be. The only exception was the Tundra, especially when loaded. (Something you’d want if things got a little out of sorts while hauling construction gear.)

The results of our empty runs had all five trucks very close. In fact, four had finishing times between 67.32 seconds (Tundra) and 67.51 seconds (Titan). The Silverado and Ram ran in 67.39 seconds. The winning empty time on the course was 66.62 seconds, set by the F-150.

Loaded times offered a little more separation. The winner this time was the Ram with a time of 66.69 seconds, which was actually a faster time than when it was empty. In fact, our driver noted the weighted coil-spring rear end gave the Ram a more planted, confident feel. Likewise, the Hemi throttle response (noted during our fuel economy run) really helped the Ram accelerate out of hard corners better than the others. The Toyota was next with 67.34 seconds, followed by the Chevy with 68.03 seconds, then the Nissan with 68.75 seconds. In last place was the Ford at 70.26 seconds.

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Good job Toyota!


Real impressive suspension the F150 must have to go from first empty in the autocross to dead last with a load. Props to Ram for handling the load better!!

What kind of dampers do these trucks have?
mono-tube versus dual tube. GM used to have some suspension packages where you would have monotubes on the rear only.
Because if you have to replace with Bilsteins (or another premium equivalent) that is going to be almost $500 if you have to pay for installation.

The question this raises for me is if the big change for the ford is from the different configuration, or that it just doesn't handle load as well. The unloaded placing of the Nissan is impressive, considering its almost twice as old as the next oldest trucks.

this is a god procedure to become a good driver.. to drive your car on such a way where you will face a lot of problems will teach you perfectly and it will helpful to you for all the time

here you go Lou lost in BC, looks like the Ram coils handled driving duties just fine when loaded, compared to a bunch with more payload, I believe it stopped very good loaded, but Lightning Lou just wants a payload rating, slap it on there, who cares if it can handle it, right?

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