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.
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