2013 Light-Duty Challenge: Braking

Toyota braking II

When you're carrying a payload and need to come to a sudden stop on the highway, you want to be damn sure your brakes are going to hold up. That kind of security is an absolute must for truck owners.

We conducted the braking portion of our test at the same wide-open blacktop facility where we performed our acceleration runs: the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich.

The conditions for this test were perfect, with temperatures around 75 degrees and a slight breeze. We drove each truck consistently, without any modifications to the controls or switching, and simply ran each truck up to 60 mph, getting to its top gear and then we dynamited the brakes.

We specifically used a section of proving grounds where the tarmac was very smooth with an even surface; it was different from where we did our acceleration runs. Of course, not all our stops were done on exactly the same portion of pavement but they were done on the same stretch, within 50 yards or so of one another.

Brake Testers II

We used a combination of readouts to know when we were at exactly 60 mph, which included a digital readout from our RaceLogic VBOX as well as the truck speedometer (some of which were slightly optimistic while others were pessimistic). We typically needed two or three tries to get a spot-on speed reading.

The truck with the shortest stopping distances in the shortest amount of time when empty (albeit with two grown men inside: one test driver, one data collector) was the Ford F-150, stopping in just 132 feet in 2.9 seconds. Right behind the Ford was the 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, stopping in 3.0 seconds in 138 and 137 feet, respectively.

Things got more interesting when we duplicated the brake test with 1,200 pounds of 1-inch-thick rubber mats loaded in the bed. The winner this time was the GMC Sierra, stopping in the same amount of time (3.0 seconds) but in just 6 feet more. In fact, only one loaded pickup stopped in less time from 60 mph than it did empty. That was the Nissan Titan, which stopped just 3 feet farther along with all that weight over the rear end. Additionally, three trucks effectively tied for second place during our loaded braking test with the same statistical score.


Overview | Judges' Impressions | 0-60 Acceleration | 60-0 Braking | Mileage Drive | Hill Climb | Autocross | Payload and Towing | Results


Looks like they fixed the GM brakes! Bout time!

Good to see this test all that had Good Year SSA tires had them for the sake of comparison! One truck does not have SSAs as original I guess.

Damn, those Tundras take forever to stop!

Tires are a problem for new Tundras, mostly because Toyota puts cheap tires on most of the trucks (for reasons that elude me). Considering the Tundra's larger swept area, I'd argue that the results here are influenced by tires.

It would be interesting to repeat this test with all vehicles wearing the same rubber.

Additionally, did the autocross testing process reveal any info about brake fade? If so, shouldn't it be included here?

Tires stop a vehicle, not the brakes.
4/6 has Goodyear SR/A, a pretty good control sample.

What about tire pressure? All the tire sizes here have more than enough load carrying capacity, so it would have been nice if the tire pressure was set to the same before the test regiment.
Say 35psi hot.

where is the braking test with the 8500lb trailers???????? THAT is when its most important??!!

Last I checked, rotor size, front to rear brake split, and tires, vehicle weight and springs are are also important. So it's not just tires.

How is it that the Chevy and GMC have different stopping distances? Those two trucks are identical - all the parts are the same. Is it tires, or is it just that every truck is a bit different?

Either way, it seems like the difference between first and last isn't that big if two identical trucks can have a 3' difference...

"where is the braking test with the 8500lb trailers???????? THAT is when its most important??!!"

What's it matter? The Tundra would be last there too!

For a truck that is supposed to have finesse, and such good brakes, lol. Crappy on autocross. Now only marginal on uphill trailer tow and drag race contests.

But tell yourself whatever you must to make yourself think it's so good.

@Gib - I've seen similar results in other tests. The Sierra and Silverado are NOT the same truck with different looks. It is most likely because GMC and Chevy engineers are allowed to tune the trucks slightly differently. If the results are close, it may be a case of "within parameters" variation.

It is interesting to note that the 2 last place trucks were NOT running Good Year SR-A's.

I do believe that all of the trucks should run identical rubber.

@Hemilol - valid point.

The "Detroit" iron has integrated trailer sway control, and the "imports" do not, this would of been the place to prove the superiority of those systems.

I can't figure out why everybody thinks the GMC and Chevy should have put down identicle numbers. I would bet any amount that you could have taken
two identicle "brand X" trucks and gotten different results. That's just how it is. No two vehicles will perform exactly alike.

I too would have liked to have seen the braking test performed with the trailers in tow. I am sure the Nissan and Toyota had aftermarket brake controllers installed for the test. As long as they used the same trailer for the testing (to allow for any differences in the actual trailers brakes themselves) then I think it would have been OK to do.

The braking performance of the Tundra is bad, by comparison. Sure, putting the same tires on all the trucks might level the playing field, but each truck, AS EQUIPPED, was how the respective manufacturer feels is fine to sell to the public.
While it stops shortes unloaded, the Ford had the biggest change in stopping distance, while the Nissan and Toyota, at 9 and 7 years old, had the smallest change.

@TRX-4 Nope.
You nail the brakes, brake assist engages, and since this is cold braking performance (not endurance brake fade testing), the ABS is fast enough to keep the tire(s) rotating.
That means it is the tires' traction with the ground that determines stopping distances.

That is why if you normalize the tires, you can attempt to see if someone's ABS programming/hardware is marginally better than another's. It looks like Ford was the worst here in that regard.

The interesting factor to me here is that it took the Ford 12 feet more to stop while all the rest only took about six feet longer and the Nissan only took 3 feet longer when loaded. While the overall distances put Ford in second place loaded, I don't like the fact that it seemed to demonstrate the most fade.

Why is there an excuse on every test for the tundra? The truck is good but due for a major overhaul. It's awesome how the ram continues to improve every year or two unlike the gm trucks. Total overhaul and there numbers are mid pack and the styling is an evolution of ugly.

@George C: Nope to you. All the above I mentioned affects braking, and you want to make them all run same pressures? They are of different rim sizes, aspect ratios, and different vehicle weights. And different front to rear weight percentages.

Even shock valving makes a difference, if they do not control the weight to the front distribution as well, the abs has to control braking.

When you get 6 trucks on same sheet of music, then you can set them at a standard psi.

Otherwise, stay in school.

Every truck tested here stopped better than the tundra does empty, while loaded? how in the world does tires make that much difference? unless under-inflated?

how did the same site get different results from the last time they tested. the first time they did this Tundra won....

The comments to this entry are closed.