2015 Annual Physical: Braking

Colorado braking II

As a general rule, it's not unusual for the heaviest pickup trucks to have better stopping distances, and that's exactly what we saw during these tests. During our empty runs, the top two heavyweights (the Ford F-150 Platinum at 5,560 pounds and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at 5,160) had the best empty 60-mph-to-zero stopping distances at 133.6 and 135.4 feet, respectively.

2015_AP_Braking_Empty_2 (2)

Our test driver noted that although the Ford F-150 XLT SuperCab had the longest stopping distance, it shared the fully loaded F-150's feel and confidence during emergency braking, feeling far smoother and more relaxed than the other pickups. Even though the Ford went just a few feet longer than the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 V-6 and less than a foot longer than the Ram 1500 Express V-6, the Ford's brake feel was head and shoulders above in poise and composure.

2015_AP_Braking_Loaded_2 (3)

During loaded runs, the bigger, heavier and more balanced (in regard to front-to-back weight distribution percentages) pickup was also the clear winner here; in fact, the Ford F-150 Platinum stopped in just 135.3 feet. Again, maybe this isn't too surprising because the same large tires with tremendous grip that seemed to help so much during acceleration runs were also working very well when bringing the half-ton truck to a stop. It's worth noting that the fully loaded top-of-the-line 2015 F-150 weighed 300 pounds less and stopped 10 feet shorter than the heavier, less-equipped F-150 that won our 2013 Light-Duty Challenge.

We also must mention again that the F-150 XLT SuperCab 2.7-liter EcoBoost likely had longer stopping distances when loaded because it had more bed weight (1,240 versus 1,080 pounds). Yes, that's only one extra passenger but when inches and feet matter, they can make a difference. The vehicle with the longest, loaded stopping distances (and the worst pedal feel, as noted by our test driver) was the Ram 1500 Express. Its wider, more aggressive treads did not seem to help here at all.

How We Conducted the Test

Braking testing is pretty simple when done right. First, we selected the most consistent section of the quarter-mile track at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz., and then gradually ran each of the pickups up to 60 mph in top gear a good distance before that stretch of asphalt. Once our test driver reached the proper speed in the correct gear, he removed his foot from the throttle and mashed the brake pedal. Our RaceLogic VBOX recorded the exact distance the truck traveled from the moment the brake pedal was touched to the moment the vehicle came to a complete stop.

Braking load II

The conditions for brake testing were calm and cool, with no wind at the track and temperatures hovering in the low 70s. Some slight cloud cover kept the asphalt cool, but our truck tires were plenty warm.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears


Overview | Acceleration | Braking | Fuel Economy | Davis Dam Towing | Wrapup


Weight should be the enemy of braking performance not an ally. That said better weight distribution would help but the stopping distance in the 2.7 Ecoboost isn't very good (unloaded)

Are the actual brakes smaller in size in comparison to the larger 3.5 Ecoboost? The extra tire contact patch is likely a component as well.

Comparing these results to the 1/2 ton v8 the 2.7 isn't as bad as some of the v8's

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