2011 $30,000 Shootout: Quarter-mile Test


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We understand that few people are going to take their half-ton pickup trucks to the racetrack for time and speed. Clearly, that’s not why we do it. We believe that a wide-open-throttle run can be viewed as similar to highway passing or merging into high-flowing, high-speed traffic. It also helps us measure the differences among the trucks while we keep as many variables constant as possible.

We know these aren’t sports cars, they aren’t bracket racers, and they aren’t high-performance racecars. What the quarter-mile gives us is a consistent baseline to compare each truck against the track and against its competitors.

Sure, all these V-8 engines are different: Some have five-speeds, some sixes, and all but one have a differently sized ring-and-pinion gear. That’s what makes this contest so interesting.

Each truck was run without any payload. Only two finished the 1,320-foot runs above 90 mph: the Ford (the lightest truck we tested) and the Toyota (the heaviest).

The F-150 finished the quarter-mile in 15.48 seconds at 93.31 mph. What could be seen as a surprise to some was that the heaviest truck in our group, weighing 500+ pounds more than the Ford, finished a close second place with a 15.70-second run at 91.94 mph. Of course, the Tundra had 4.30:1 axle gears as well. A more detailed look at our data shows us the Tundra lost a little time off the line but stuck close to the F-150 until the 70 mph mark, and then the Ford’s new 5.0-liter pulled away.

The Ram — just 60 pounds lighter than the Toyota but with 9 more horsepower — finished a close third at 15.76 seconds at 89.64 mph. The 317-hp Titan, with 385 pounds-feet of torque, finished just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Chevy, whose 5.3-liter makes 315 hp and 335 pounds-feet of torque.

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I do not get why you choose a regcab against ext,and crewcab's. A axle ratio on one truck at 4:30 against a 3:55 and then you do performance evaluations.I could have save you alot of time and effort,I could have pick each ones order in all catagories.Not rock science.Try all crewcabs,same axle ratio's,and try this one on instead of drag racing each one try 7-12 percent towing with a/c on,80-plus temps boats and travel trailers dirt bike haulers etc you choose.Fuel mileage and towing and comfort's are what are evauation show time and time again.Creature comforts in the back for the kids is also important.Try one more time.

@Topcat - "they" did not chose a reg cab. THat is what Ford sent. Only criteria - send what you think is your best truck for under 30K.
You need to read through all of the posts in regard to rear end ratio's. Transmission gearing makes up for rear end ratio's.

and tires size finishes the equation.
Ford had the shortest overall gearing & lightest weight.
GM had the tallest gearing & least power.
Nissan & Dodge are outclassed by their legacy 5 speed automatics.
Toyota just needs Valvematic.

Wish the Dodge had 3.92..or actually to be fair I wish all the trucks had 4.30 axle ratio's !!

I wonder why the Nissan was so slow, I know when I bought my Titan Motor Trend tested a 2007 Crew Cab 4x4 0-60 in 6.8 seconds and this is a lighter 4x2


The Titan had something like a 2.8 rearend ratio. Everybody else was running a 3.4 to 4.3. That makes a big difference.

It's easy to see why Ford had a single cab truck in this. Their trucks cost too much. That's all 30k will buy you, a truck with no room!


I just specced out an XLT 5.0L extended cab on their site for less than 30K.

Ford chose to put a regular cab in this test so they could option more heavily vs giving it a backseat...Which obviously hurt their finishing results considering that Ford won 6/8 comparisons and still finished 3rd place due to the fact that it didn't have enough room.

So what was the time and speed of the Titan and Chevy? All it says is the Titan was .2 faster, but gave no info on the gap between the Titan and the Ram or of the Chevy?

You gave great points here. I did some research on the subject and have found nearly all people agree with your blog.

Thank you for sharing. I completely agree with you. I really like this article. You would probably get more readers if you interviewed controversial people for your blog.

It's getting old hearing excuses that the tundra has 4.30 gears. Anyone who knows about cars/trucks knows its not just rear end ratio. So enough with the mention of shorter rearends when u don't wanna be honest about transmission ratio factors.

Take a f150 with 3.73 n a tundra with 4.30, calc their trannies ratio n get ur final number, that's the honest truth of who's running the shortest.

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