What We've Been Up To: 2015 Light-Duty V-8 Challenge

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We've been pretty busy the last few weeks as we get ready to close out 2014. Which should make sense since the half-ton truckmakers have been pretty busy too. Almost all of the segment players have made some significant upgrades since the last time we did a light-duty comparison. Those with good memories will remember that our 2013 Light-Duty Challenge included two all-new pre-production GM twins (each with the smaller V-8) going up against the No. 1-selling Ford F-150 EcoBoost and value-packed Ram 1500 Hemi. At the end of that competition, Ford just beat the Ram by a hair.

Given the fact that Ford's much-publicized all-new F-150 is on sale, Toyota has significantly upgraded the Tundra's interior and exterior look, and the GM twins now offer a Corvette-based 6.2-liter V-8 and new eight-speed transmission, we thought it was time to get the band back together to see what kind of music happens this time.

For the 2015 Challenge we took five 4x4 crew-cab V-8 half-tons ($55,000 price cap) to Arizona for a week of hauling, track testing, mileage driving and towing (on the Davis Dam grade).

The good news is you'll likely have more data than you'll know what to do with, and the finishing order is likely to make many people very unhappy. The bad news is you have to wait until Jan. 5 for the details. In the meantime, we'll post stories about different aspects of the trucks and some fast facts from the tests so you can see some of the results ahead of time. More to come.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears





Axle, the EcoBoost V6 accelerates significantly quicker than the 5.0. 10 more HP at peak does nothing against a low-end torque with a flat curve.

My predictions

GMC 6.2
ram 5.7
Tundra 5.7
Ford 5.0
chev 5.3

the chev 5.3 might even beat the ford if it has the 8 speed, wouldn't that cause so serious butthurt too the ford mafia lol

Sorry about the grammer in the above post, I am in a hurry lol

@Alex and 1LLA

Assuming equal gearing and weight the *only* thing that matters in a WOT throttle acceleration over a sufficient distance is peak power. The RPM it is made at is irrelevant. The torque curve is irrelevant. Peak power is everything. If you don't want peak power to matter then advocate for the comparisons to not be races, which is a stupid way to drive a truck and an especially stupid way to tow.

usually you seem to make reasonable comments but the last couple just make you look like you don't know what you're talking about. It is already well documented by other tests that the ecoboost is faster unladen than the 5.0. Actually even the 2.7 is faster in the few comparisons ive seen. You are beating a dead horse. Towing performance may yield different results, but I'd still bet on the ecoboost being faster.

Ant nothing going to beat a Ford. My x wife bought a Silverado and it come apart in one year

Ford wins this V8 test, if it doesn't last years test would have to be considered FUBAR.

Actually Axle in order for your scenario to be correct, you would need a CVT to keep the 5.0 at peak power, otherwise it looses at any other stage in the RPM band, so yes, the curve makes a difference. Then even if you got your CVT, they have a higher parasitic loss than regular automatics anyway, so it still wouldn't win. If you don't believe me, go test drive the 5.0 and the EcoBoost V6, and time them from 0-60. It's common knowledge that the 3.5 blows the doors off the 5.0. I think the 2.7 would beat the 5.0 too. Torque does make a difference in acceleration. It's the leverage that gets you going. If there is insufficient torque, the extra horsepower will struggle to do anything with it. But yes, simplistically speaking, torque is not what wins 0-60, power does that. But in reality, torque is a factor, so sometimes a car with slightly less horsepower but a lot of more torque can win. Sometimes its the car with a lot more horsepower, but a little less torque. The proof is in the pudding, go drive them!

There are 2 "hints" in the pictures, one picture has the Ram only and the next picture has the Ram in front of all the other trucks!
I still can't believe PUTC would cave in to all the Ram Cry Babies in here and pick the Ram as the winner!

If one is talking constant wide open throttle then the 5.0 may gain an advantage over the Ecoboost simply because the EB3.5 reaches its power peak lower in the RPM. The power also seems to drop off quicker with the EB 3.5.

A good analogy is that of the Ford 5.4 and previous GM 5.3. In any "racing" scenario the 5.3 always squeaks out a slight win BUT if you talk to unbiased drivers they all will say that the 5.4 is a better tow motor.

With all the hoopla about the new 2015 ford weighing so much less than the competition, I thought it would be at least a couple hundred lbs less on a loaded truck. Boy was I wrong!

Ford trades back some of its weight savings with more luxury gear, and this, basically the heaviest of all 2015 F-150s, presses the scales to the tune of 5577 pounds. While that makes the F-150 the lightest among the loaded luxury pickups we’ve recently tested, it only undercut an all-steel Silverado High Country 4x4 crew cab we tested last winter by a mere 95 pounds, or just a big dinner down at the local choke-n-puke. You’re entitled to wonder why Ford had to fuss with aluminum when using alloy merely got its curb weights down to those of its fiercest competitor.

Just 95 lbs less than a large 6.2 L V-8 Silverado? What a joke.
And the same combined mileage.

We also saw good numbers in the stopping test (179 feet) and on the skidpad (0.75 g), though the hard-working V-6 returned fuel economy only just matching the latest Silverado test subject’s 6.2-liter small-block, at 16 mpg. There’s no denying that the 3.5-liter is a magic machine, making huge and sophisticated power from just 213 cubic inches. But here again, Ford seems to take a complicated route to achieve similar results as Chevy.

You can

@hdmax - the GM trucks aren't much heavier but how many guys complained about wavy box sides, thin easily damaged metal and other assorted complaints about weak bodies? Same can be said for interior comfort, fit and finish.

Yeah like 1LLA said, you are at peak power for just a split second in each gear. Once you get into the higher gears, the engine with less torque will struggle more because less torque is applied to the wheels. A simple analogy is for you to try turning a lug nut on your car with your fingers. Turn it with all your power. Then put a wrench with a long handle on it, you will see the extra torque is moving it quicker, and you will be using much less power.


You need to actually read what I wrote, which you clearly didn't do and you clearly do not understand the situation. Let me repeat, given equal GEARING, WEIGHT, and at SEA LEVEL the truck with more power will ALWAYS win a race over any significant distance. ALWAYS. PERIOD. Seriously go take a physics class. Learn what the definition of power is. Take a few mechanics classes. Learn what the terms mean you are talking about.

You seriously just took those ridiculous Ike Gauntlet tests, with two different trucks, driven COMPLETELY differently, with DIFFERENT transmissions, at EXTREME altitude, and attempted to refute the point I raised. You obviously did not read what I wrote, or did not understand it, because if you had you would have realized that your attempt to offer evidence was nothing other than a demonstration of your own ignorance.

Seriously go test drive two 2015 trucks same day when you get the chance and open up a 3.5L ecoboost and a 5.0L coyote over a wide open mile. You'll be amazed at what you see.

As to the rest of the whining about this test its really getting to be ridiculous. You have no idea if they had an ecoboost F150 or not, and the point I have been making is that *even* if they do not its irrelevant because the Coyote will match or beat the ecoboost in most or all of the ridiculous tests that are done here. I get it, you're an ecoboost fan boy. You've heard the term "torque curve" and you like having power available at low RPMs. None of that changes the reality that peak power is what matters in these tests.

I'm glad to see that the 5.0 is going to be put to the test. When my dad was shopping for his truck he couldn't decide which motor to go with so my friend talked to his old boss, a Ford service manager, and he told him to go with the 5.0 because he was starting to see a lot of Ecoboosts come in with problems. He said they weren't holding up as well with higher miles. He personally felt like the 5.0 was a more solid motor. Just one guys opinion but it's enough to keep me and my dad out of an Ecoboost.

Do some research dude. The ecoboost is definitely quicker than the 5.0. You can argue about how and why all day long, but it is already well-documented in the previous generation and every comparison I've seen for the 2015 shows the ecoboost is faster. The 5.0 might have a higher top speed (if it wasn't limited), but how quickly it accelerates has everything to do with the torque curve.

I'll explain the why as simply as I can. You realize that horsepower is actually a measurement of torque multiplied by the rpm of the motor? An engine doesn't put out the same amount of power throughout the rpm range. The 5.0 may have more horsepower at peak, but at lower rpms the ecoboost actually has more horsepower. That is why the ecoboost is quicker. It has more torque through most of the rpm range than the 5.0 does. So it has more horsepower MOST of the time. The 5.0 has a higher peak output, but through most of the range the ecoboost is faster. If you say the torque curve doesn't matter, then you know very little about acceleration. It is impossible to determine how quick a car can accelerate based on peak horsepower alone. You have to know about the torque curve.

By torque curve I mean the torque that is created at a given rpm, which creates a curved line if you graph it out. You could make a horsepower curve based on the torque curve and it would show the same thing.

I wonder if he gets it yet?


The Eco-Boost and the 5.0 use the same transmission in the F-150 BUT a blind man can see the transmissions are programed different where the Eco-Boost the transmission stays in a lower gear longer making it "feel" like low end power and torque.
Also the ratio of the rear diff makes a night and day difference.

Its all smoke and mirrors where the engine power is enhanced by the transmission and the rear axle.

I feel good I made the right choice picking the 5.0 in my F-150

I won't be sad and upset if the 2015 F-150 comes in last in the up-coming PUTC shoot-out cause that's NOT my truck! My F-150 is the 2013 that WON the last shoot out test!

Wouldn't that be amazing that the 2013-2014 F-150 is BETTER than the 2015 ? If that happens I bet the Ford boys would call a corporate meeting and drink poison Kool-Aid together!

Ford? you need to hire me as your PR Man! I have an extreme way of marketing your new F-150 I can have people eating out of my hand with my good looks, look at George Clooney he's a moron but with his good looks he gets respect! you're doing too much, cramming too much information in too soon where the customer is confused with too much unknowns. You got to dumb down the F-150. Make it simple stupid!

2013 Ram 1500 ENGINE FIRE with pictures!


Hemi ? The F-150 isn't the ONLY truck that catches on fire!

If those charts are correct, by 3K rpm the 3.5 has at least 50 more hp and 100 more lbs/ft than the 5.0. Only near redline does the 5.0 have a slight advantage. No way in everyday driving would the 5.0 be a better tow vehicle, or drag racing vehicle for that matter.

@tom 3
of course they are programmed differently. They are programmed for optimum performance for the engine. I love the 5.0 and am leaning towards buying it over the ecoboost, but there is no doubt the ecoboost is a faster and stronger tow engine. I do not think it is as durable as the 5.0 though and the 5.0 is a great motor.

Also, it is ridiculous to say the 14 f150 is better than the 15 f150. The 3.5 ecoboost is carryover in a lighter truck and the 5.0 has been upgraded and is more powerful than previously. The 2015 has a better interior and way more optional features. Also you can get the same axle ratios in the ecoboost and 5.0. The only disadvantage of the 15 is the lowest axle ratio may have been discontinued, but the weight loss should more than make up for it. Car and driver went 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds in a fully loaded 2015 platinum supercrew 4x4. The 2014 f150 couldn't do that.

There is a high chance that the Ford 5.0 did win the contest. The only time it has been in a PUTC direct v8 competition it won. The 2011 $30,000 contest. It was a regular cab with more options but it still got the best fuel economy and had the best performance. Some people said the ext cab performance was very similar. So even though the two other ecoboosts options would of been a better choice for power/ fuel economy/ and total sales the 5.0 v8 might still win this real world PUTC test. Ford winning would make a lot of people upset and it still has 2 better engine options.

I would be devastated if the Ram 1500 wins!
The Ram Boys would gloat forever! We would never hear the end of it!
I sure hope the boys from PUTC understand that!
PUTC needs to be political correct in this day and age to keep the peace and allow the F-150 to win. It will keep everything peaceful in here cause everybody expects the F-150 to win and us F-150 Owners won't gloat and harass the Ram Boys the way they constantly harass us.

I told the wife I wanted something for Christmas that goes from 0 to 160 in seconds thinking she would get me a crotch rocket bike, but she got me a bathroom scale.

Also, keep in mind, at any given rpm, the 5.0 has a higher piston speed than the 3.5, which also has a higher piston speed than the 2.7. At 2,000 rpm, the piston speeds are 1,217 fpm (5.0), 1,163 fpm (3.5), and 1,100 fpm (2.7). Measuring engine output against engine speed according to RPM only, is like comparing torque at the wheels without regard for axle ratios, gear ratios, and tire diameter.

Well here is more proof that peak horse power doesn't mean anything. I just drove the 240HP Ram EcoDiesel, and it has way more get up and go than my 300HP 5.4 V8. It seemed to like drifting too! :)


The Eco-Boost isn't "Flex Fuel" and the 5.0 is !

Did you hear the new excuse dealers are using to worm outta a warranty claim?
They will tell you the damage to the engine was caused by you using the wrong fuel 10% ethanol.
but but you say that's the only fuel I can get !
They say that's not their problem


I had a loaner 2014 5.0 XLT from the dealer. I timed it from 0-60 in 9.4 seconds. Twice! My 2005 5.4 does it in about 10.0. The EcoBoost V6 does it in about 6.5.

@1LLA, I thought so too. Idaho Falls (4,700 ft).

Yeah good point, I was just surprised the 5.0 didn't blow my 5.4 away, though it felt like it did. But I think as it got to the higher speeds, the rate of acceleration slowed down. I think the 5.4 might be slightly better off the line too, it feels torquier, but the 5.0 feels smoother and nicer. Yeah the EcoBoost would kill both these at higher elevations. The EcoDiesel I test drove yesterday felt like about 8-8.5 seconds, though I didn't time it. Wish I did.

@ alex
I am also from Idaho. Test drove a 5.0 yesterday for the first time and was surprised how much slower it felt than the 3.5 ecoboost. I am still leaning towards the 5.0 though because I believe it will last longer and still plenty of power for my needs.

@Beebe, where in ID are you? I took the Ram EcoDiesel for a spin yesterday, I can't get over how good that was to drive, I think that engine would last a long time too. New Titan diesel coming, man we are spoiled with so many good choices now.

I'm near glenns ferry. There seems to be a high proportion of idahoans that post here. At least four regulars.

I agree it is good to have options, but I don't trust ram quality due to the many problems I've had with an 09. Maybe mine was worse than normal, but it would be stupid for me to go back to ram after my experience. After tons of research I am set on a ford with chevy an easy but not close 2nd. Maybe tundra if I got a really really good deal, but the only thing I like about the tundra is competitive reliability. I am hopeful about the titan. Saw a colorado yesterday at a gas station and was surprised how narrow it was. Not as nice looking in person as I hoped and too small for my needs.

My wife is from Murtaugh, that's over by your way. I'm really pumped about the new Titan. I worked at St. Luke's in Twin for a little bit. I am hoping it has the ZF 8 speed cos that transmission seems perfect. I think it would be hard to beat the reliability of a Nissan with a Cummins diesel! Yeah Idahoans love their pickups! I noticed there is a guy from American Falls or Aberdeen who posts here too.

there is some real crazy terrain abou ten miles straight south of murtaugh where Ive hunted chukar. Real steep, muddy, huge ruts, with nasty jagged lava rock and snow to hide the nasty rocks (not like those round, smooth, pretty boulders down in moab). Can't hardly beat the hills of murtaugh for a place to test the offroad capabilities of a vehicle. I broke off both running boards on my truck there in one trip and I was being careful.

@1la and beebee

None of what you have written is at all relevant to the points I have raised. Peak horsepower is going to be the only factor that is relevant in a race of sufficient distance (controlling for everything else as mentioned above). In the idiotic tests that are done at Davis Dam (Ford's stupid racing stunt) or the Ike Gauntlet, peak HP will determine the winner *every* single time. A vehicle with more peak HP will hit a higher speed in each gear and a higher speed overall. From the perspective of the Davis Dam test PUTC did here (as mentioned above) the Coyote and Ecoboost will more or less workout to be a wash, thus leaving all of you ecoboost whiners looking ridiculous.

Also, Beebee, when you write: "The 5.0 may have more horsepower at peak, but at lower rpms the ecoboost actually has more horsepower. That is why the ecoboost is quicker. It has more torque through most of the rpm range than the 5.0 does. So it has more horsepower MOST of the time. The 5.0 has a higher peak output, but through most of the range the ecoboost is faster. If you say the torque curve doesn't matter, then you know very little about acceleration."

Its you who knows very little about acceleration. When you spend ALL of your time at peak power RPM then it really doesn't matter what the torque curve looks like, does it?

" It is impossible to determine how quick a car can accelerate based on peak horsepower alone. You have to know about the torque curve. "

Actually you need dramatically more information than that. But controlling for all other variables your peak power motor is going to win a long straight line race (outside of creating some odd textbook case that does not apply to the real world).

Also, I am glad that trailer posted the link to the initial dyno tests of the Coyote vs. the Ecoboost. It shows how closely matched those two engines were - and the Coyote that would be tested here (2015 model) has been updated.

you are a lost cause. Nothing I said was innaccurate. Obviously there is more to know than JUST the torque curve in regards to acceleration, but seeing the torque curve of two vehicles should easily help determine which vehicle will accelerate faster. The ecoboost will accelerate faster than the 5.0. That isn't even debatable unless the new truck has a huge power boost or a very much improved torque curve.

In a long race towing up a hill you are not going to be at peak output all the time. Have you ever towed up a hill? You are going to be shifting through the gears many times as the grades change on the way up. That means the rpms will change constantly and through most of that range the ecoboost will be faster. A truck is not going to stay at constant perfect rpm the whole time or at constant speed unless it is perfectly programmed and perfectly geared and on a perfectly flat surface and the race doesn't start until the truck is already up to top speed. The ecoboost will have a huge head start from the beginning because it accelerates much faster. Also at elevation the ecoboost has even more advantage vs. a naturally aspirated engine. You are beating a dead horse. You are wrong. Your argument is like trying to say water is not wet.

How do you explain that in every test and every race the ecoboost has always been significantly faster than the 5.0?


The Coyote was updated. It now puts out more power than the ecoboost. Why are you having such a difficult time understanding this. There are probably more than 20 articles covering this around the internet. There are multiple press releases from Ford covering this. Take the two engines in identical trucks and race them in the idiotic fashion that these magazines do and the Coyote will win, hands down. The ecoboost will take a minor lead (depending on how good they are at brake launching) and then will lose, because that minor lead is irrelevant in a multi mile race. The coyote puts out more torque until *at least* 1500 rpm, and then at all RPM after 5000 rpm. So, best case, you have a relatively narrow window of operation where the ecoboost will make more power, and very little of that RPM range will be in use given the stupid way these tests are done.

You clearly don't even know what you're arguing about since you're droning on about shifting gears multiple times etc. etc. That doesn't happen in these tests, there is no significant amount of shifting at all. Truck hits the highest gear that puts enough torque to the ground to keep it moving at speed. The engine that produces more power is going to win this every time. Its going to get a higher top speed out of each gear.


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