2014 Annual Physical: Acceleration Testing


Photo by Joe Bruzek

Our acceleration testing was done at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz., near the end of January. The day was clear and cool, with little wind hampering our test runs. Each pickup had two occupants during each run, one driver and one data recorder, the latter using our RaceLogic VBOX VB2SX10.

Each truck was run with a full tank of fuel, with each tire properly pressurized. All were run with the windows up, air conditioning off and transmission in Drive. We typically did a small amount of power braking (revving the rpm up to about 2,000 with the brake depressed) before smashing the throttle to record the fastest time.

The only two vehicles we had traction trouble with were the Ram EcoDiesel (no surprise there with 420 pounds-feet of torque) and the Toyota Tacoma. The Tacoma was our lightest truck at just more than 4,000 pounds and had the best power-to-weight ratio and fairly tall (higher numerically) gears at 3.73:1. If we lost a little bit of time on the Toyota it was because we had to modulate the throttle just a smidge to provide the rear tires with as much traction as possible. Regardless, it was our quickest sprinter.

The EcoDiesel was altogether a different story. With eight speeds and a boatload of torque, we had a terrible time getting the rear wheels to stick as the transmission tried to quick-shift from 1st to 2nd then 3rd. We eventually had the best results in rear-wheel drive when we just feathered the throttle at the outset, and then going to the floor after we ramped up a bit of speed.

Since our fully loaded Ram was equipped with a full-time four-wheel-drive mode, we decided to also try our runs with the all-wheel drive engaged to see whether any differences existed. The differences were in fact significant; we improved our zero-to-60 mph time by more than a half a second and in the quarter-mile it improved by the same amount.






The Full Report:

Overview | Acceleration | Braking | Fuel Economy | Wrap-up


I do not understand how a truck can have a payload capacity so low and a tow so high. If you figure a 10% tong weight with a 8400 lb tow weight the truck would be overloaded.
Sounds to me like Dodge has some reengineering to do.
Great article, did not miss Ford one bit.

@John: leaf springs. Normal pickup trucks use leaf springs in the back. The Ram uses coil springs instead. Much smoother ride, but the payload is down.

Wow, that new diesel with the 8sp is hideously slow. I was expecting it to lead the pack with its relatively high toque numbers. Maybe if they were going to slap a diesel in a half ton they should of made one them selves instead of getting one from fiat. Slow and overpriced, imported from Detroit.

@abe smith - torque is twisting force. The Ecodiesel has tons of torque or the ability to make something turn as evidenced by the traction problem.

The fact that it is slow has nothing to do with torque but with horsepower which is defined by the amount of work done in a set time.

Put a long flex bar on a socket to remove a nut. It will turn easy but take forever to remove the nut. Put a short bar on the same socket and it will be harder to turn but one will be able to remove the nut in shorter time.

Coil springs are definitely one of the worst things about my ram. You can't put a load on it. I don't care what the rating is, I know it is too high. Even with an aluminum 2 place horse trailer with a weight distributing hitch it squats ridiculously. I know it is well within it's limits, but it looks dangerous.

@Marcus: maybe had you read it, you would know it's air suspension on this Ram, which holds plenty of weight in real world. Like semi trucks, RVs.

I agree the GVWR needs upped, and probably will be upped in the next restyle, 2015 or 2016.

There are actually some diesel models with 1200-1400 pounds of payload, plus.

As for the folks complaining about coils, the 2008 Light Duty Shootout had a squat test, the Ford was a whole 3/8" less squat, wow, and the GMs? About an eigth and quarter inch less, then the Ram. Now there is something to write home about, or not! That's 650 pounds on the hitch. Put 650 pounds in the bed. it's not the same, as it's further forward and part of it is ahead of the rear wheels.

Those two other trucks, I forget what brand, have less squat, but neither are known for a decent ride, unless you sell them, then you'll say they ride great.

But anyway, keep talking, maybe they will hear you, and raise the GVWR from the diesel 6950 to 7200-7300 pounds. If that isn't enough, try less luxory add ons, that add serious weight. Or...get a 2500/250.

Those leaf springs must be great at holding weight, that must be why I know people in person with air bags on half tons, plus this sites Sandman 4x4 needs them on his Chevy.

If they realized that a 87-96 Dakota with rollup windows would have been a better truck to produce with diesel than this one, they actually would be on target to gain market share. with new f150 that will resist the nasty rust I see on most trucks around me on its way, they are in dire straights no matter how many awards it wins. the credibility of motor trend truck of the year award has just taken a big step backward by awarding a inferior piece of equipment with a title that only the best should carry.the gm twins have there quirks but I bet that they outlast any ram made productfor many years to come. if I can physically see a truck hit 250k and the manufacturer improves upon its original design ala GM I know what the real truck of the year is. I don't need a magazine filled with college kids that spent their time writing while I spent mine using, breaking, and fixing to tell me that. I like to read I guess its a flaw of mine when what I seem to be attracted to is this bullshit! lol JMO!!!

For dragstrip runs, launch in 4Hi and change to 2Hi in 2nd gear or so.

I agree with you newbrandonyork. I fell for all the rave reviews when they redesigned the 09 ram and I went ahead and bought one. Had great fit and finish, nice soft-touch materials, attractive new look, but everything on the truck is wearing out!! Now that I've surpassed 100,000 miles I realize the quality still just isn't even close to ford and GM. It's a shame to see all the newer technology (diesel, 8 speed, etc.) that is being put into a truck that I can't buy because I know it is inferior quality.

Love the towing/payload comments on half tons, one thing is for sure, if you want to tow 8K pounds get a real truck, a HD, otherwise leave the halftons to the grocery getting

Anyone with any economic sensibility wouldn't want to spend an extra $10,000 to $15,000 (not to mention the extra cost of fuel and service) for an HD that is probably overkill when a 1/2 ton should do the job. Most people that tow only do it occasionally. I'm not going to buy an HD to occasionally tow a load that should be well within the limits of my 1/2 ton truck. I don't need another HD truck (I already have one), I just need better suspension so that my 1/2 ton isn't so crappy at carrying weight in the bed or on the tongue when my HD is in use elsewhere or when my HD is overkill for the task. What I'll do instead is buy a Ford or Chevy 1/2 ton next time. The point is that the Ram rear suspension is dismal compared to other 1/2 tons.

My point was a 1/2 ton should not be towing 8k, and I know that after 2 chevy 1/2 tons and a dodge ram 1/2 ton towing 6500lbs, none of those trucks were able to hold up and I tow about 2500 miles year and put on 18k year total, al three had tranny issues, brakes and rear end issues, never again will I own a half ton as long as I'm camping

@ lou bc

rarely do i comment against you but your analogy is a bit off. Yes torque gets the load moving and a long wrench will take forever to loosen a nut but you can add and change the gearing to compensate since you have all the extra torque. This way your using the torque and aggressive gearing to move the vehicle farther but will end up at slower speed when you reach that point. its evident in the test numbers that while it beat the ridgeline in awd it was traveling a couple mph slower at the finish........... I only bring this up because i own a buick grand national. factory rated 235 hp yet the car does a 0-60 "stock" in 4.9 seconds. its the aggressive gearing that accomplishes this. my car is mid 11's car with only an auburn added, better built trans, fuel pump, regulator, injectors, and chip and finally twisting the turbo up from the factory 14 psi. to 23psi. If you watch 1/4 mile times with GN's or turbo diesels you will notice the majority of the time as they pass the finish line that they are traveling many miles an hour slower than a typical gas powered rig...... so they couldve geared this thing different and it wouldve been faster, i personally think they took that road based on fuel economy. It will be VERY interesting to see the numbers the Titan puts down with the cummins in it. im betting fuel numbers arent far off of the motori but it will have much more grunt to it. only time will tell..


I got a kick out of hearing about your Buick GN. Twenty three pounds boost! Has it ever sucked an exhaust valve into the cylinder wall before?

@hemi lol - gearing is a way to change the length of the pry bar (for the lack of a better term).

We used to get stuck with low geared rear ends because we had limited gear choices in the transmission.

Remember the "good ol' days" where any transmission had a 1:1 top gear ratio?
Manual transmissions sold well in trucks because most had 4 speeds with a "bull low" 1st. Auto transmissions were 3 speeds.

We now have 6-8 speed and soon 9-10 speed transmissions which will render rear end gear selection almost useless.

One thing to consider is the the Ram tested is a fully loaded model that weighs a lot more than everything else in this test. That extra weight also hurts accelerations. For reference, I have a '14 Ram CC 6'4" bed 4x4 Hemi. I don't have the rambox or air suspension. I had my truck on the scales the other day and with 3/4 tank of fuel and me (210 lbs), the gross weight was 6,040 lbs.

Regarding towing and tongue weights, not all trailers have 10-15% tongue weight. For example boats are generally in the 5-7% range. Which makes a big difference on what you can safely tow.

hereyougoagaintomeeteex: downing me and my Chevy, just because I use airbags! But I will tell you the weight I can carry with them would have your Rams bumper dragging and or a danger on the road! even with your airbags! I think it is the 5 lug axles use by Ram that limit their pathetic weight limit! and not the coils or airbags! my Dakota had 6 lug, and without any airbags had a weight limit of 1800!!!! with the 5,900gvw package! and the truck weighed 4,100 with me in it! on a scale! Stop your foolish fanboism! My Chevy has a 1,788 payload rating, and a 9,600 tow rating, I can carry my 2 Harleys and tow my Airstream, and yes I choose to use airbags because if I do not, the truck in not level with the trailer, and anyone who knows anything about towing will tell you that is important with that much weight, and being that close to your max. If you were to try and do that with your Ram? yes your airbags would over heat (which is a joke in itself), or your truck would not be level! sure the Hemi would have more power than the 5.3 in my Chevy, BUT the truck would not handle it as well! and is not rated too! does Deaver make springs for a Ram?

I love how the usual Toyota bashers are completely silent regarding the Tacoma's domination in this class.

Other articles they cry how dated it is to justify why their big 3 compact truck doesnt sell half as many.

You can't blame toyota for waiting to update it when it kicks everything elses behind.

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