2015 Annual Physical: Wrapup

Group dirt II

The 2015 Annual Physical was not an easy one to pull off — especially since we conducted our 2015 Light-Duty V-8 Challenge at the same time, and that meant 11 test trucks and several other support vehicles — but we know the data, information and impressions we offer here should have value if you're trying to find the right pickup truck for your needs.

Our goal for the Annual Physical was to collect and present as many objective test results as possible so, depending on what priorities you have in your life, you can get one step closer to a purchase decision by seeing how these pickups compare.

We want you to dive deep into the numbers; in fact, if you haven't done this already, compare these trucks with other tests we've conducted over the years by checking out our Special Reports. And even if your intended purchase is not represented in our catalog of head-to-head tests, there's information here to help you make a smarter, more educated choice when looking for a new truck.

Group water II

Here are just some of the interesting pieces of information we discovered during this 2015 Annual Physical:

  • The 2015 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCab 2.7-liter EcoBoost is faster when loaded with 1,240 pounds than a Ram 1500 crew-cab 5.7-liter Hemi, a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro 5.7-liter and a Ford F-150 5.0-liter.
  • The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel with the eight-speed transmission did exceptionally well in our fuel-economy runs, getting a combined average during our 100-mile-plus drive route around Phoenix that was better than its EPA highway numbers.
  • The 2015 Ford F-150 Platinum with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine was the rocket ship of this test. There's no doubt in our mind that if it had been allowed to compete against the premium engines in our 2015 Light-Duty V-8 Challenge, this truck would have definitely scored more track-testing points and given GM's 6.2-liter V-8 a run.
  • The fuel-sipping 3.23:1 ring-and-pinion axle ratios in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V-6 may not be fast off the line, but most of our judges' comments centered on the fact that it was a comfortable around-town player, and they loved the huge payload numbers.
  • All of the trucks in our contest were similar in size and shape, excluding door configurations. In fact, each pickup (except the Colorado) had a wheelbase within 5 inches of one another and an overall length within 3 inches. Actual weights and gross vehicle weight ratings differed by 1,000 pounds, while max payload capacities varied by just more than 750 pounds.
  • There's no questioning the fact that the new F-150's use of aluminum and a smaller EcoBoost sent capacity and capability ripples throughout the truck (i.e., the F-150 SuperCab short bed weighs just 160 pounds more than the Colorado crew cab), but it also influences things like the ability to use a smaller fuel tank (23 instead of the standard 26 gallons, saving weight) and a smaller ring-and-pinion set (3.31:1 instead of 3.55:1). But it scoots.
  • By a pretty wide margin, the truck that most impressed our judges from a style and value point of view was the Ram 1500 Express. If there's another pickup truck in any segment that offers this much fun and technology packed into a cool package, we don't know about it.

We'll be looking more closely at these numbers to see how they compare with our past tests and last year's inaugural Annual Physical, and will likely continue to present this data for you in various head-to-head formats. For now, let us know what segment test you want to see next or what types of tests you want to see in our 2016 Annual Physical.

To download an image with all the results of each 2015 Annual Physical event, click here.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

Misc 3

Bed Loads II

Ram Express V-8 II

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


Ford 2.7 faster then the 5.7 hemi.... Who 1/2 the displacement of the hemi but faster. Did you see the empty fuel economy of the 2.7..... Almost 24 mpg's!!!!! Way cheaper to operate then the ecodiesel. Impressive!!!!! Ford has hit a homerun with this new f150 and the 2.7

Hey hold your horses! Conveniently they could not verify the fuel numbers for the 2.7 Ecoboost! The breaking action on the 2.7 was horrible!

It's nice to have the 3.5 Ecoboost test numbers to compare to the Light Duty V8 shootout.
Fuel efficiency for the 2.7 Ecoboost, Colorado, and Ecodiesel were impressive!

I think the the unloaded fuel economy of the 2.7 is kind of disappointing considering it is rated at 26 highway, but even with the ecodiesel getting 28.8 the ecoboost at 23.8 looks pretty good to me when considering fuel costs and the price premium for the ecodiesel engine. Towing economy for the 2.7 was terrible but probably not a deal breaker for most people since it isn't exactly configured for towing. I would like to see more testing and pricing comparison breakdowns related to fuel economy since it is one of the most important considerations for a lot of people who buy trucks. Why not do multiple fuel economy runs over a few days? How about get some trucks with 20,000 miles to see if fuel economy improves with breakin time? How about comparing fuel economy of e85 vs 10 percent vs. Ethanol free? How about a comparison of gear ratios to see how they affect fuel economy towing, unloaded city and highway? I don't think anybody is buying the ecodiesel or 2.7 ecobosost without fuel economy as a major factor.

I'm disappointed that so often they get trucks that are not apples to apples For these tests. Instead of begging the manufacturers to send the truck, why don't they just find an owner willing to let them use their truck for the test? I know the fords were preproduction but I'd much rather wait a while and see a more complete test. We already made us wait more than a month anyways. It seems these tests must be way underfunded. I could probably come up with a better roundup of trucks that fit the criteria by putting an ad in my local paper and letting people volunteer their trucks For a test. It seriously makes me consider starting my own truck testing website/blog.

beebe, if you think you can do a better job, knock yourself out. You ask about using an owner's truck. Right, good thinking. Can you IMAGINE the liability issues that would go along with that...?

Personally, I think the tests were well-done.

On a side note, in the same way the V8 challenge was biased against the Fords because Ford's 'heavy hitter' is the 3.5L EB V6 and wasn't allowed to compete, this test is biased toward the Fords for the same reason. I'd love to have seen how the NA 3.5 would've fared against the others.

Looking at the numbers from the 3.5EB and plugging them in to the V8 challenge points to a very likely different winner in that particular outcome. Let's see a half-ton hurt locker, mmkay?

I'll tell you what I see: Ford, Ram, Chevy all making moves to give us more power, better fuel economy, and a better truck overall. Bring it on!

I was interested in the 2015 EcoDiesel until I read this:

It doesn't make any sense in any metric of the word, just as beebe mentioned. It just makes far more economic sense to own an F-150 with 2.7 or even a 3.5 liter EcoBoost. EcoDiesel = $4000 option, 2.7 EcoBoost = $495 option!

Good solid test.....many complaining about not being apples to apples and they are right BUT good numbers to compare .

GM loaded crew cab vs Ford loaded crew cab is as always , very close (comparing to the V8 test numbers). Two different approaches to get to the same place.

GM offers more simplicity , all steel, V8 . Ford goes all alum, twin turbo v6's and a much more complex solution. They are quite close. Its amazing to me that GM can make a truck as good or better WITHOUT the alum and turbos, this makes the new Ford rather underwhelming given all its hoopla.

It will be interesting to see these trucks at 200K+ miles. Turbos , aluminum and complexity is EXPENSIVE in the long run......

Owen, when you attempt to compare the option cost across automakers you just look foolish. It makes no difference if the 2.7L ecoboost is a $495 option and the ecodiesel is a $4K option if the Ford truck starts at $10K more. Compare trucks as equipped or don't bother, you just look like a zealot advocating for his particular brand otherwise.

Mark pictures like the above with the two open tailgates side by side are very useful to us. They show a stark difference in load height between those two trucks. It looks like an F150 (lower load height) and Ram 1500 (higher load height). Can you confirm.

Sure Axle.

Both with 2WD, both with 8ft bed:

Base price of an F-150 XL with 2.7EB: $27,710

Base price of a 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman: $31,140

That's a $3,430 difference in the 2.7 liters favor.

Diesel prices in my local are currently 40% higher then gas. It makes more financial sense to drive any gas trucks over diesel unless you are stepping up to a hd truck. There is no benefit to a light duty diesel these days

on another note. the gen II 3.5L Ecoboost V6 in the all-new Ford Raptor will make 450 horsepower. and likely 550lbft. im thinking the new cummins titan is going to be spanked when this shows up under the hood of the regular 150s.

Ford's MPGs should get a little boost when they start rolling out the 10 spd auto.

Also just to make sure, is that the 'NEW' 3.5 ecoboost or a carry over 3.5 ecoboost? Im sure the Raptor has the new one anyway...

It would also be interesting for you guys to get a new 3.5 NA stx and compare it to the 3.7 stx you tested a while back to see how the new smaller one fairs.

Here are the numbers of the 2015 Ford F150 3.5 Ecoboost versus the winner of the Light Duty V8 Winner, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 6.2.

As you can see, the Chevrolet wins almost every test, you could say 8 speed vs 6 speed is an advantage for GM, as you could say Gears favor the Ford, along with slightly lighter and less payload, versus 100 pounds more trailering on the Davis Dam Run Only.

Chevrolet 54310
Gears 3,23
Weight 5620

0-60 5.92
0-60 loaded 7.09 1240 pounds
1/4 14.34
1/4 loaded 15.36 1240 pounds
Unloaded Chevy 6.2 19.8 MPG
Braking 60-0 133.7 unloaded
Trailering Chevy 6.2 10.2 MPG 6,700 pounds
Braking 60-0 132.2 loaded with 1240 pounds
Davis Dam 19.92 6,700-pound trailer

Ford F150 60880
Gears 3.55
Weight 5560

0-60 6.22
0-60 loaded 7.02 1080 pounds
1/4 14.84
1/4 15.50 loaded 1080 pounds
Unloaded 3.5 Eco boost 18.5
Braking 60-0 133.6 unloaded
Trailering 3.5 Ecoboost 11.1 4,200-pounds
Braking 60-0 135.3 with 1080 pounds
Davis Dam 20.76 6,800-pound trailer

Looks like I missed that the Ford towed the 6800lbs on more than just Davis Dam, my mistake!


I don't dispute that the 6.2 is suppose to run on higher octane fuel, where in these tests does it say what grade of fuel was used for each truck?

The Ecoboost manuals have clearly said from day one they should be on higher octane under heavy loads and trailering and if this is the case the tests should be run at the recommended ir they all should run the same grade to be fair and considering how they are running them hard and no just going to the grocery store.

The biggest story is this, ALL NEW FORD, huge weight loss, Aluminum and GM slips in an 8 speed and still wins, most tests show the 6 speed being faster from last year btw, they also offered 3.42 gears in the 6 speed/6.2.

GM's only mistake is not offering the 6.2 in more models, if you don't tow a ton the 5.3 is fine and with an 8 speed next year it will really sip the 87 octane fuelie.

Thing of all the crap GM got for this redesign and yet for what it is, quite impressive, Ford did everything and the kitchen sink and still falls short, that's because Ford engineers are just not at GM's level, they never will be, GM powertrains cant be beat from Duramax to the legendary small blocks, ford just aint got it.

GM has an 8 speed and its in production, Ford needs GM to make a 10 speed and then they pay GM to license it, anyone that thinks Ford is making the 10 speed is drinking the Mike Levine Koolaid, you can go back and read the article about GM going to Ford's design center with the 10 speed tranny for testing lol.

Finally, this is for the Ecobust owners/lovers, if you want to make that Turbo last you better run above 87 octane, that's just common sense, any turbo motor should be on the good stuff.


Do you read what you write, your manual says exactly what I just said, under trailering use higher octane gas!

"The Ecoboost manuals have clearly said from day one they should be on higher octane under heavy loads and trailering and if this is the case the tests should be run at the recommended ir they all should run the same grade to be fair and considering how they are running them hard and no just going to the grocery store."

Nope, this is what my 2011 owners manual states.

"Your vehicle is designed to run on regular fuel with an octane rating of 87 or higher. For best overall performance, premium fuel with an octane rating of 91 or higher is recommended. The performance gained by using premium fuel will be most noticeable in hot weather or in severe duty applications such as towing a trailer."

So basically it states that if you want the best overall performance then run 91 octane.

Lots of data provided. and even some opinion when it came to breaking. how about some driving impressions (remarks) about each truck. maybe some Journal quotes from all the test drivers?

Has anyone payed attention to the red ram sport r/t? Is there a sport truck comparison on the way? Mark Williams?

Did you see the empty fuel economy of the 2.7..... Almost 24 mpg's!!!!! Way cheaper.

Posted by: Scott | Jan 26, 2015 9:09:29 AM

Way cheaper? Look at the price of a new aluminum Ford. Than take a look at the MPG. Take another look at the MPG when towing. Than look at the repair bill. Than look at Fords short warranty. Than compare a diesel engine with a longer life cycle.


Way cheaper? Look at the price of a new aluminum Ford. Than take a look at the MPG. Take another look at the MPG when towing. Than look at the repair bill. Than look at Fords short warranty. Than compare a diesel engine with a longer life cycle.


Posted by: HEMI V8 | Jan 27, 2015 1:33:53 PM
Life cycle of the diesel.... Just go to the ram forums and see all the problems they are having.... This isn't a cummins in the 1/2 ton.... It's half of a 6.0 powerstroke in the ram 1/2 ton. If the 2.7 was allowed to go as slow as the ecodiesel does in these test it would get better mpg's then it did.

Also every cummins out last it wrapper.... Either way a ram is pretty much at the end of its useful life at 150k miles anyways so who cares if the motor still runs at that point unless your goal is to part it out!

The only other ram option is the hemi and it gets out done by the 2.7 in performance loaded and mpg's. Ram needs to go back to the drawing board quick or they are going to lose any gains they have made.

The final article on the repair, 120 bucks an hour is the normal charge but they cut in half to be nice, good luck getting that from an insurance repair haha, the dealer will soak any normal joe coming in the door.


The 2.7 ecoboost looks like it may be a winner. I say "may be" because it is complex..and new.

If I can do an Internet search on "f150 2.7 ecoboost problems' in January 2017 and come up with nothing major..I might buy.

@Mike G

That's a great idea, I googled F150 3.5 Ecoboost Problems and I only got this.

About 167,000 results (0.33 seconds)

Top Result


Sorry guys but I can't get a link but you can go over to TTAC and they have a wonderful story about how the new Ford 10 speed trans. will look like. They use Patents that Ford filed and get a pretty good view on how the Ford designed 10 speed will look like.

From the race track to your driveway. The tech in the next gen 3.5 is what powered this race car to the win over the big v8's.



As long as you are happy with your truck that is all that matters and I hope you don't have any ecoboost related issues.

Ever heard turbo motor on low octane fuel they rattle like crazy from spark knock. and if its not rattling that's because the knock sensor has retarded the timing to stop it thus reducing power/mpg and don't try and clean that carbon build up out or your turbos are toast got to replace cly head go ford

According to the Chevy website a crew cab 4WD 3.6 weighs 4450. The 2WD 3.6 crew cab weighs 4180. The article has the weight listed as 4520 a 340 pound difference.

It appears (from the photos and the weight specs they listed) they tested a Colorado crew cab 4x4 and didn't know it.


Did you guys see they spilled the beans on the 2017 ecoboost raptor hp.... 450+ hp which is going to easily put it at 500 ft lbs of torque. You are not going to get those kind of numbers out of a Naturally aspirated V8. The 6.2 chevy is pretty much maxed out and is going to need forced induction to keep up. My guess is you will soon see gm release the pickups with the 3.6 twin turbo out of the cadillac to try and counter the ecoboost extreme power

Can someone explain why the pickuptrucks.com 2wd crew cab Colorado weighs the same as the 4x4 crew cab tested buy Motor Trend and Car and Driver?

Pickuptrucks.com 2wd Crew Cab 4520
Motor Trend 4x4 Z71 Crew Cab 4511
Car anc Driver 4x4 Z71 Crew Cab 4536

Do you guys even know what you're testing?



This was a joke

All this back and forth is cute, but these pickups are VERY CLOSE in an overall sense and their weaknesses compared to another are ever so obvious here.

The Ram Ecodiesel and Colorado both have EXCELLENT unloaded fuel economy and both suffer badly when loaded. Neither is the most impressive in acceleration or stopping either and the Colorado is obviously smallest.

If you don't need speed or strong towing, but still want a pickup, the COLORADO seems like a great pickup!

If you want a little speed and decent towing, the 2.7L F150 is the way to go.

If you really need to tow big weight all the time, the only pickup here to use is the 3.5L F150 and the others are fine if they offer a V8 and you buy the V8.

There's complaints about weight of the pickups, but consider that some weigh the actual vehicle while others simply go w/ the manufacturers listed weight. In this case, they showed us that they weighed them on the same scale. All things w/ a grain of salt, so to speak.

The Ram Ecodiesel and Colorado both have EXCELLENT unloaded fuel economy and both suffer badly when loaded.

Posted by: Cheatrslix1 . | Feb 8, 2015 3:55:29 AM

RAM 1500 Ecodiesel has 16.2 MPG towing. Best MPG by a wide margin.

"Towing fuel economy for both the Ram EcoDiesel and Chevrolet EcoTec3 were quite impressive; however, the feel of Ram EcoDiesel with a 4,200-pound trailer was much more confident and less strained than we experienced in the Silverado 1500. Also of note, although the Colorado V-6 has a maximum towing capacity of 7,000 pounds, the 4,200-pound trailer was a handful for the midsize pickup."

You didn't read the test. Did you?

Ford F150 2.7 Ecoboost 9.8 MPG Towing.
Yeah , that's the way to go. LOL.

Man, having a little 2.7 beat up on your mainstream v8's must be heartbreaking! Keep it up, FORD!

Given that this is a comparison test of V6 motors it is a shame that one option is left out of the field and that is the Ram Pentastar 3.6L. I own a 2015 Ram 1500 Laramie quad cab, 4x4. It has the Pentastar, 8 speed transmission, 3.55 gears, Ramboxes, air suspension, skid plates and a sunroof. This well-equipped truck is definitely at the heavier end of the scale. That all said and after driving this truck for about 3,800 miles is is my opinion that this THE BEST DRIVE TRAIN ON THE TRUCK MARKET TODAY! Bar none.

I say this from the standpoint of considering ALL factors. Cost - this is the entry level engine - no up charges or option costs as with the Hemi or diesel; Mileage - I just recorded a hand-calculated mileage figure of 20 mpg in stop-and-go driving with an average speed for the entire trip of 32 mph - mind you this is for truck that weights nearly 5,000 lbs. as equipped and I am not light on the pedal; Acceleration - by the numbers 0-60 is just under 8 seconds - by driving feel it feels very powerful both over the rode and while passing it will literally snap you neck and pulls you into the seat; Payload - it is over 1,100 lbs. - a figure that bests as similarly equipped Hemi; Towing - rated at 7,000 lbs. plenty for me or any average truck owner; Reliability - naturally aspirated with no turbo chargers to breakdown - actual reviews from long-term owners rate the performance high and repair costs low; Driving day-to-day - paired with the 8 speed transmission and air suspension it is smooth and an absolutely joy to drive around town or over the interstate.

My point is this motor exists under the radar and is actually an excellent power mill for any truck - all this capability for no up charge when you purchase and continual low costs at the pump.

Now I am sure all the Ford defenders will respond with numbers and figures about the 2.7L or the 3.5L about speed and payload and on and on they'll go. But, ALL things considered:purchase cost, mileage, gas cost, maintenance cost, acceleration, payload, towing, reliability - this is THE best motor on the market! may not win any one category but overall it shines!

I had a 2014 Ford EcoBoost and it was nothing but problems. I had to run 89 octane fuel all the time and 91 if hauling, towing, or climbing mountains. After numerous recalls, return visits and reflashes I went with a non-turbo competitor.
It will take a long time of zero problems before I return to Ford. On paper and when it works, the EcoBoost is awesome. The problem is it didn't always work and my first failure was before 3,000 miles.
I might consider a V8 F150, but the competition is better.
To each their own, I'm just no longer sold on the EcoBoost concept.

google search "gmc sierra engine problems"
About 730,000 results (0.40 seconds)

top list:Top 124 Complaints and Reviews about GMC Sierra

So GM man whats your point? What are you going to say when GM goes aluminum, does the same 10spd trans as the ford will get and gm is also going twin turbo. Stop with the blinders, all the manufacturers have issues of some sort. This is competition and this is what brings us better and better things as times goes on.

@MIKE, as for the carbon build up.. unfortunately this is a by product and a problem of ALL direct injection systems, no matter the manufacturer.

Each truck was run with the air conditioning off and windows up with a relatively small amount of brake-torquing at the start line.

With the engine typically revving between 1,500 and 2,200 rpm, Bruzek would release the brake and mash the throttle, pointing the truck straight to the 1,320-foot finish line.

Ecoboost wouldn't win without brake-torquing. That's not real life test. At least, I didn't see to do that anybody at the red light in my life, but what ever makes you happy .

Loaded 2.7EB MPG is horrible. So much for the eco new engine.
That's the difference between Ford and RAM using ECO in the branding. RAM exceeded EPA MPG and Ford lies as usually.

What a time to pick a truck. I'm unbiased in brand preference and am choosing between gas motors. In my price range I can get a 2.7 or 3.5 eco, a 5.7 hemi and a 5.3 ecotec. All of which I really can't go wrong with in my opinion. From what I've read I urge everyone else to buy what you feel is best for you and not read into it to much because you will drive yourself crazy.

Respect for the GM 6.2, but as of now it's as rare as hens teeth and will cost you at least 50k. You can get a short bed reg cab XL with essentially the same output for way less $$. Kudos to RAM for their tradesman concept as well. Value per $ boys.

The 2015 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCab 2.7-liter EcoBoost is faster when loaded with 1,240 pounds than a Ram 1500 crew-cab 5.7-liter Hemi, a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro 5.7-liter and a Ford F-150 5.0-liter.

Highly recommend this article, I rate it 5 stars for your post. It actually what I'm thinking too. I hope that you will right more things like this topic because I love it. Thank you!

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