2015 Annual Physical: Overview

Group Five AP II

Last year, we introduced our Annual Physical concept on PickupTrucks.com in order to test and track as many new pickup trucks as possible. The 2014 Annual Physical focused on V-6 engines from the half-ton (GM's 4.3-liter EcoTec3 and Ram's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel) and midsize (Toyota's 4.0-liter, Nissan's 4.0-liter and Honda's 3.5-liter) segments.

This year we conducted our 2015 Annual Physical at the same time as our recent 2015 Light-Duty V-8 Challenge; as a consequence we opted to focus our test segment on half-tons — with one exception. To make it interesting and meaningful, we asked for pickups with V-6 engines in middle-cab configurations (typically meaning extended cabs) with 4x2 running gears with a price ceiling of $34,000. The six 2015 test trucks for the 2015 Annual Physical were the Chevrolet Colorado 3.6-liter (the aforementioned exception), the Chevy Silverado 1500 4.3-liter, the Ford F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost, the Ford F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the Ram 1500 3.6-liter and the Ram 1500 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. We should note the two new F-150s were technically preproduction trucks — we conducted the test several weeks before the start of production for the all-new half-ton.

Only two of our six trucks this year met all four of our criteria, yet the remaining four offered so much interesting data and information we decided to include all in this year's report. Astute readers will note that none of our photos include all six trucks at the same time because we had one late arrival (the Ford 2.7-liter V-6), and the Chevy Colorado did not make it to our Davis Dam test because we lost one of our test drivers for those testing days. Also, due to varying gross vehicle weight ratings and payload capacities between the V-6 Annual Physical and V-8 Light-Duty Challenge pickups, we created a two-tier towing and hauling test system. That meant our V-6 test trucks had less payload and lighter trailers for our acceleration, braking, fuel economy and Davis Dam runs than did our V-8s.

Similar in process to our 2015 Light-Duty V-8 Challenge, our 2015 Annual Physical offers many of the same data points with our acceleration and braking tests (both loaded and unloaded) conducted at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz. If you'd like to compare test runs of V-6s with V-8s, or an EcoDiesel with a Hemi, you have that opportunity now that both of these comparisons are published. Additionally, our Phoenix-area fuel-economy loops were run identically to the Light-Duty V-8 Challenge, and our final piece of testing was conducted on the Davis Dam grade outside of Laughlin, Nev., where we did the V-8 Challenge testing as well.

Unlike our 2015 Light-Duty V-8 Challenge, this Annual Physical does not have a judging component with experts scoring each V-6 player. The Annual Physical is meant to be an event in which we collect pickup-centered test data and present it to readers with as few subjective filters as possible.

Finally, in the name of full disclosure, due to a complicated set of timing circumstances, the F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost loaded acceleration and braking data was collected with 1,240 pounds of payload in the bed, whereas the F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost was track-tested (loaded numbers only) with 1,080 pounds of payload — the same amount of weight all the other V-6s carried during testing. Also, during our Davis Dam testing, the F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost pulled the lighter 4,200-pound Logan horse trailer, whereas the F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost was tested with the heavier 6,800-pound horse trailer, just like the V-8s in our Light-Duty Challenge pulled.

And in case you are wondering why Toyota, Nissan or GMC are not represented, the first two do not offer V-6 engines in their half-tons, and GMC declined because it would have sent us a truck similarly equipped to the one that we tested last year.

In alphabetical order, here are the vehicles we tested in our 2015 Annual Physical with their options and costs, and some of our collected test data.

Chevy-Colorado-4x2Clearly not a half-ton, the Colorado was included to give you a chance to see how the newest midsize pickup compares to the half-ton players and to see what kind of value you get for the money. This 4x2 Z71 Colorado, with a starting price of $30,425 (all starting prices include a destination charge), was well-equipped with the 3.6-liter V-6 ($950), a spray-in bedliner ($475), a trailer hitch ($250), MyLink navigation with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot ($495), and heavy-duty floormats and a GearOn bed bar with the added bed divider ($1,050). The Colorado totaled out at $33,645. To see the Colorado's price sheet, click here.

Chevy-Silverado-1500_4x2The Silverado 1500 just met our price ceiling due to the fact it had a starting price of $33,135, meaning it was able to offer only one significant option — a $770 trailer hitch and wiring harness that (thankfully) also included the locking rear differential. Unfortunately, that meant it did not come with a trailer brake controller, backup camera or spray-in bedliner (which would have added less than $1,000). It totaled out at $33,905. To see the Silverado 1500's price sheet, click here.

Ford-F-150-4x2The 2015 F-150 with the all-new twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 was a late arrival to our Annual Physical but made it in time for our full track-testing regimen. Our well-equipped SuperCab came in the XLT trim, which means it had a starting price of $34,775. Our test truck included the 301A ordering package that offers Sirius XM radio, rearview camera and rear window defroster ($2,150); the smaller EcoBoost engine ($795); a rear axle e-lock ($420); power sliding rear window ($350); running boards ($250); bed side steps ($325); a new-style tailgate step ($375); and several other features for a total of $39,735. To see the 2.7-liter F-150's Monroney, click here, and to see the price sheet, click here.

Ford-F-150-4x4This 2015 Platinum F-150 had just about every option imaginable and only qualified for this event because the twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost does use a V-6 block, but some readers will want to compare this truck's test results against the Light-Duty V-8 Challenge competitors. The results will give Ford — and Ram and GM — fans plenty to talk about. This Platinum SuperCrew had a starting price of $55,580 and ramped up quickly when you added the twin-panel moonroof ($1,295), max tow package ($795), bed steps ($325), bed extender ($250), larger fuel tank ($195) and other features for a total of $60,880. To see this high-lux F-150's Monroney, click here, and to see the price sheet, click here.

Ram-1500-Express-4x2This pickup, along with the Silverado 1500, was the only truck that met all four of our original criteria: V-6, midcab, 4x2 and less than $34,000. With that said, the 1500 Express was a standout in our test because of how much style and value was packed into it. With a starting price of $30,840, this quad cab (technically Ram doesn't offer an extended cab) had the stylish Express Package 22C ($1,295) that includes aluminum 20-inch wheels, fog lamps, body-colored front and rear bumpers, and a spray-in bedliner. Also included on this test truck was the Black Ram 1500 Express Group ($1,595) that smokes the rims, headlamps and taillights, packs the truck with technology, and offers a unique grille and tailgate badge. The total came to $33,980. To see the Ram 1500 Express' Monroney, click here.

Ram-1500-Regular-4x2Also falling just outside our criteria for this 2015 Annual Physical test was the Ram 1500 Tradesman EcoDiesel. For those who remember, we had a fully loaded Laramie Longhorn EcoDiesel with the air suspension during the 2014 Annual Physical, and it performed quite well. But we thought it might be interesting to see how the other end of the EcoDiesel price spectrum would match up. To make the $34,000 limit, Ram sent us a regular-cab Tradesman ST 4x2. With a base price of $26,390, we were able to get folding tow mirrors ($330), the ZF eight-speed transmission ($500), the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel ($4,000), rear sliding window ($140) and the Uconnect system ($660) for a grand total of $32,020. To see the Ram 1500 Tradesman's Monroney, click here.

To see our What You Get specification chart, click here.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears


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


Excellent! I was hoping to see a review of just a standard, regular cab Ram Eco-Diesel. Those fancy tech packed pickups are nice, but most of us can't afford that. I like simple spartan pickups anyhow. Give me a manual window anyday. Thank you PT for including this one.

Look i'm a ford driver and a ford fan for sure, but that doesn't bias me into being an idiot. 60K???!?!?!?!?!?? Hate it, hate the thought that this is what Ford thought was a good idea. I understand, pre-pro, might have been all they had sitting around. Still, as they say, 'come correct, or don't come at all'.

You claim the Colorado was 4x2 but all the pictures show a truck badged 4x4.

One of the F150's pictured (the supercab) is said to be 4600 lbs or so. Hard to believe that anybody is building a half ton extended cab truck that's under 5k lbs. Hats off to Ford and their aluminum tricks if that number is correct.

60 grand for a 1/2 ton that gets horrible fuel economy! I'd rather have 40 grand 1 ton gasser and a good car for 60 grand total.

papa jim, The Chevy and Dodge are both under 5K lbs as well.

@ Mark Williams

Why is there no link to this on the news page? In previous years these big comparisons were always listed there but the last few have not been. I have the news page bookmarked for quick easy access to the stuff I want to see, and as such never see the home page unless I intentionally go to it. I completely missed the half ton v8 challenge because it wasn't listed on the news page (and I was waiting for it) then last week you threw one little link to it in the announcement for this annual physical. I hate to be rude but I never had this issue when Mike Levine ran this site

Hold on, how is the new aluminum F150 the heaviest truck in this test? The Extended cab is only 300 lbs lighter that Ram or Chevy........so much for the it's 700 lbs lighter! If they are so light and have Eco engines, why is their gas mileage so poor? I'll stick with a more reliable Hemi or GM 5.3. I feel for the poor sap that goes and buys one a new F150.

@Confused. That's a great point. We've typically listed all our big shootouts and Annual Physicals in our Special Reports section. These big comparison tests we categorize differently than the daily news items and only have them show up in the News Feed box on the day we publish the full results. If it's any consolation (and it's not likely to be), we typically highlight those big stories in our homepage teasers box. With that said, I want to look into this to see what we can do. Thanks for the input.

Is the 27.2 observed MPG for the Colorado accurate or a misprint? If accurate, over what average speed, distance and driving conditions was it measured?

Incomplete testing, and most trucks don't meet the criteria. Good job. lol

disappointed the base F150 was a no-show. That would have been a good comparison to the base Ram and base Chevy.

Mark, can you respond as to whether the Colorado in the photos is the one tested? You describe it as a 2WD short bed Z71 package, but the picture sure does look like a 4WD long bed LT. As a prospective Colorado/Canyon buyer I'd like to know if I should expect this or better MPG out of the 2WD; not that 27 is unimpressive.

@ Ray
I think something is going with the Calorado too. According to the Chevy website a crew cab 4WD 3.6 weighs 4450. The 2WD 3.6 crew cab weighs 4180.


@Jon & Ray

Something is definitely wrong with the Colorado numbers and the description of the truck doesn't match the pictures either. As stated the weight and pictures suggest the Colorado is a 4WD. Pickuptrucks.com needs to clarify or remove the article to remain credible. It's either a glaring type-o or extremely lazy work.


I don't get your point about the GM and the RAM being under 5k. They are by only a tiny bit.

The Ford is amazing. The latest GM half ton lost 700 lbs over its previous generation and they still didn't keep up with Ford's weight saving design evidently.

The supercab Ford will be very competitive with GM's new twins, except perhaps on price. We'll see.

The next gen RAM will need to be very competitive in that regard or they'll kill all off the great momentum that brand has enjoyed during the last 4 years.

It would be interesting if they took competing manufactures and hit them with a sledgehammer. It was impressive how stout the aluminum f150 is compared to these new light weight steel that is out. i would say what lightly damages a steel truck today may just scratch the paint the new f150 or not damage the aluminum at all.

Papa Jim, you said "Hard to believe that anybody is building a half ton extended cab truck that's under 5k lbs", even though all 3 had extended cab half tons under 5,000 lbs.

I was just giving you 2 more examples.

Repair costs of the new F150


Posted by: GM_Man | Jan 27, 2015 10:13:30 AM

OUCH! 60,000 to start for a 1/2 ton. And than this. Yikes!

I can get a 3/4 ton for less. My fully loaded Power Wagon is 56,000 NO THANKS.

Will anyone respond to whether or not the Colorado was 2wd or 4wd? Again, the pictures and the specs listed in this article appear to show it's a 4wd but the article calls it a 2wd.

This should generate a lot of armchair comment. For my part, I cannot understand how a 385hp 5.0 (in your 2015 V8 shoot-out) would be 1/2 of a second slower in the 1/4 mile, than the 365hp 3.5 ecoboost pulling 500 lbs more weight. Huh? That must have been one very I'll-running 5.0.

The ecoboost and the 5.0 truck motors have been around for quite some time now. We all know that the 3.5 ecoboost (in stock form) is not much faster (indeed, if at all faster) than the last gen 360hp 5.0. The upgraded (385hp) 2015 5.0 you tested must have been mighty sick coyote... like putting out around 285hp instead of 385hp. Something sure does not seem right, here. Nonetheless, thanks for your testing and info, though.

Ford continues to shine, a really innovative new truck that is still the industry benchmak.
The new aluminum bodied, turbocharged, state of the art, F150 is just plain awsome. Everything else is just another truck.

Because the 3.5 ecoboost likely makes 380hp 460ft-lbs on premium.
Because instead of just flooring the gas off idle, they 'launch' them.
Because the 5.0 only makes more power than this 'enhanced' 3.5 ecoboost from 5500-6500rpm. Which means for a fleeting moment in 1st gear the 5.0 makes more power, and 2nd for a slightly great length of time. The 1/4 mile finishes before the 5.0 gets back to 5500rpm+ in 3rd gear.

Just wanted to point out an arguement against Car and Driver. Look at the weight difference between the 2wd chevy and 2wd f150 in this comparison. Ford is 300Lbs lighter than the already light chevy! Not to mention really close to the Colorado in weight. The F150 also has more equipment in this comparison. Love how others try to say the aluminum move was a joke. Yea when you compare a platinum to a loaded chevy the weight difference is about a 100Lbs but compare equipment. The F150 has much more gadgets that easily make the platinum F150 climb in weight. I think that the majority of buyers that are not buying fully loaded trucks will benefit from Fords weight reduction. I believe that the XLT trim is where most of that up to 700Lbs is saved. My 2015 XLT 4x4 supercrew 3.5L EB always gets better MPG than the platinum.

Regular cab work truck RAM 4x2 weighs 5160!? That's about what my 2015 XLT supercrew 3.5L EB weighs. WOW!

The tradesman isn't that great of a deal really. 32k. You can get a xl f150 2.7l for same or less. The reg cab model would be even closer in fuel economy and furthermore out class the RAM in payload and towing. RAM is a great truck too but I think Ford is doing it better. XL reg cab F150 is likely 1,000Lbs less than the RAM.

Yes, well done on the test PUTC. Wow, $60K for the Ford!! I think I'm going to wait to upgrade my truck until I can pay $100,000 for a 1500....

Seriously, love to see these comparison tests. The mileage numbers very respectable for unloaded. Not sure I could splurge the $5000 for the Ram diesel. The stripper truck is almost as much as the four door.

My Ram Hemi Crewcab is just a incredible piece of machinery. I really think that Ram could shave off 200-300 lbs without too much difficulty, this would instantly help gas milege, which is pretty good with the fantastic ZF 8 speed already. I'm not an engineer, but hey Chrysler, give me a call, I'd be happy to make suggestions, cheers!

Ford F150 as the cool factor with the Aluminum body. Just like owning a real AC Cobra with an aluminum body, nothing else matters.

@Hemiv8, your state your Power Wagon. When did you get one??

Is like to thank pickup trucks.com. nice review. Glad to see the diversity in trucks.

One thing is like to point out is how bad the 6 speed GM transmission is compared to the 8 speed paired with the same 5.3. I would like to see GM put that 8 speed behind that 4.3! Or even the 3.6. The 5.3 is a wicked setup with the new 8 speed. I'm loving it. I just got rid of a mpt tuned eco boost. And it was fast. Busted loose shifting to third in race mode. This silverado is a better driving truck by far. It tows just as good in hills at lowwer than 50mph speed. Soon as you hit 45-50 mph the eco would out tow any halfton up hill. More power in the higher speeds, but that's all. Nothing really compares the silverado to the turbo Ford. The silvy has lots of low rpm torque. The eco does but it feels later and not as instant as a n/a v8 in a GM or ram. Different strokes for different folks I'll take a silverado 8 speed over the turbo Ford's. Ford's mistake was not competing in class head to head.

"That meant our V-6 test trucks had less payload and lighter trailers for our acceleration, braking, fuel economy and Davis Dam runs than did our V-8s."

This statement shows that testing based on engine type is highly antiquated and irrelevant in this day and age.

How can you compare a twin turbo V6 to a normally aspirated V6?
The EB3.5 is designated as Ford's top dog in towing and hauling. It needs to be compared to Chevy's 6.2/5.3 not the 4.3 V6.
PUTC needs to come up with a more realistic testing regime.

I'd like to see EVERY engine offered in a configuration being tested at once. That means Ford's EB2.7 and EB3.7 along with the 5.0 V8. GM needs to show up with the 4.3, 5.3 and 6.2. Ram needs to come to the table with the 3.6 pentastar, 3.0 Ecodiesel and 5.7.
A Ram guy is much more likely to cross shop among his own brand options. Same can be said for a Ford guy.
I want to know if it is worth while stepping up to a bigger engine or diesel or TTDI.

2015? we are in 2016.

is this a Joke??? seriously...you capped it at $34K yet included in the results of Both Fords with Ecoboost engines that were $5k and $25k respectively over the capped price... I mean seriously.. why don't we compare a Nissan GTR against a V6 Accord while we are at it.. they are both V6's after all... Where is Fords N/A v6 in this comparrison???

what about the base level normally aspirated V6 from Ford?

Ford quality again, gas tanks falling out and ecoboost engines on fire. More recalls, Quality is Job None

Typical liberal media to only include certain models that they tend to like and denying others!

Selective, partisan and biased liberal media is fake!

The Annual Physical is meant to be an event in which we collect pickup-centered test data and present it to readers with as few subjective filters as possible.

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