Texas Truck Showdown 2016: Towing Acceleration

Ram 1500 Accel II

By Joe Bruzek, Cars.com

The Royal Purple Raceway outside of Houston served as our test grounds for measuring zero-to-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration of five max-tow pickup trucks, measured both empty and with 1,750 pounds of payload. We equalized the payload evenly across each truck even if the 1,750 pounds exceeded its calculated payload capacity; such was the case for the 2016 Ram 1500 and the 2016 Toyota Tundra. The goal was to see how well each truck handled an equal payload within what we think is a reasonable weight encountered by truck owners who are concerned with maximum capabilities.

There were really only two trucks vying for the top spot in acceleration: the 2016 GMC Sierra with its powerhouse 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 and the less powerful, but 540 pounds lighter, 2016 Ford F-150 and its 365-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost. The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado with its 5.3-liter V-8, the Ram with its 5.7-liter V-8 and the Tundra with its 5.7-liter V-8 were really only competing for third quickest.


TTS16_Tow_Accel_Empty_F (3)

TTS16_Tow_Quarter_Empty_F (3)

How They Drove Empty

The Sierra's zero-to-60-mph time of 5.86 seconds and quarter-mile time of 14.4 at 96.9 mph was so fast that the truck nosed over before the quarter-mile ended as the Sierra hit its self-imposed 98 mph speed limiter 100 feet before the finish line. While the Sierra was already the fastest, there's more in it as well. A GMC spokesman said the Sierra's limiter is set to 98 mph to avoid driveline vibrations and resonance possible above that speed.

The next fastest truck, the F-150, had its problems at the start of the track rather than the end, thanks to its tire-frying wheel spin and bed-shaking wheel hop. Starting in 2nd gear via manual mode proved the smoothest way to harness the 3.5-liter EcoBoost's 420 pounds-feet of torque available at 2,500 rpm. Only then were we rewarded with a zero-to-60 time of 6.36 seconds and a quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 97.4 mph. We think a combination of the truck's fuel-saver Michelin Energy Saver tires and just how little the F-150 weighs might have made it a bear to launch; fuel-saver tires often place priority on low-rolling resistance over traction.

The rest of the pack was separated by just four-hundredths of a second in the zero-to-60 test, with the Tundra measuring 6.99 seconds, the Ram getting 7.01 seconds and the Silverado with its new, eight-speed automatic transmission clocking in at 7.03 seconds.


TTS16_Tow_Accel_Loaded_F (3)

TTS16_Tow_Quarter_Loaded_F (3)

Chevy Braking Loaded II

How They Drove Loaded

Adding 1,750 pounds of bagged rock salt over the rear axle helped equalize traction issues with the F-150, but traction wasn't everything that the F-150 needed to catch the Sierra. The Sierra hit 60 mph in 6.90 seconds with the 1,750-pound payload and did the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds at 92.9 mph, while the F-150 did 60 mph in 7.21 seconds and the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds at 90.8 mph. Here's a fun fact: The Sierra is faster loaded than the Toyota 5.7-liter, Silverado 5.3-liter and Ram 5.7-liter are empty. The Ford, however, had the least falloff in performance from empty to loaded in both zero-to-60-mph and quarter-mile times.

Eight-speed automatic transmissions in the GMC, Chevrolet and Ram let those trucks pounce from a standing stop with aggressive ratios in 1st gear: 4.56 on the Chevrolet and the GMC, and 4.71 on the Ram. This "pop" off the line is more apparent with loaded with cargo where those trucks hide the weight very well. Once moving, though, you can't ignore how light the EcoBoost 3.5-liter makes 1,750 pounds feel in the bed.

For a complete look at specifications of the tested trucks, including axle ratio, curb weight, horsepower and torque, click here for our What You Get chart.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears and Angela Conners

Overview | Acceleration | Braking | Mileage | Results


GMC Sierra burnout II






The 6.2 being faster with a full payload than the Ram, Tundra and GM 5.3 is impressive. Too bad you can't get it in lesser option groups.

Remember the days when you thought you had a wicked pony car that ran in the 14'same in the quarter mile? Now we have trucks doing it bone stock.

So much for people thinking the 5.7 Hemi outperforms the 5.3.


Too bad Ford didn't have the 5.0 in the test too.

Mike, I don't the 5.0L would have bested the 3.5L but I'm sure it would have the fiat. My guess it would have been around the GM 5.3L.

@ LMAO ,

The older 60's 70's cars you talk of,had zero traction..and were 11-12 second 1/4 mile cars (depending on engines) when stock,if had tires of modern day..Skiny 205-70-14 tires didn't cut it..These are more like Lincoln and cadillacs and big Imperials of the 60's and early 70's,some of those were quicker too..

Cant understand how the RAM is slow..

The CrewCab 5.7 HEMI with the 6 speed runs 6.4 0-60 and 14.6 in the 1/4 mile,tested by other mags..That's the 6 speed..Not the 8 speed..

QuadCab is quicker as its lighter..and here at the track (sea level) a dealer demonstrator QuadCab HEMI 8 speed,3.92 ran 14.20's all day..well 3 times during Friday Night Drags..

I was running my 2003 Mustang GT that ran 13.40's..late October cool night..Cam/heads/exhaust/headers/tuner/4.10's..its a 2 owner car that I am selling...did a clutch and it works great...drag radials it would run in the 12's..I did the motor as the 1 owner before me blew it up,so I did it right..heads/cam better than stock ..beats new 2015 Mustang GT's...

Love the GMC 6.2,but they need to have no limiter just to see how quick it would run...it had 100 feet left..

I would have thought the 6.2L would have killed the F150 with way more hp/tq.

I remember the Ford children saying their 3.5L eco pop dual turbo V6 turd F150 out ran GM's 6.2L. Guess they lied about that to.

The Ram's that have run 6.4 to 60 and 14.6 seconds in the 1/4 mile were not crew cab 4wd trucks.

I would assume a Ford 5.0, with similar gearing would run about what the GM 5.3 does as well.

The 5.0 seems neglected in these tests. Agree it would have come in around the 5.3 Chevy. Quick search of the net finding an Edmunds test of a 2011 Supercrew 5.0 of 15.2 @ 92.5 MPH

Wow. The semi-Hemi really is slow.

Wow....the GMC cut power before the finish line and still had the lowest ET, which means GM gave the others a handicap and still won the 1/4 mile test

"Cant understand how the RAM is slow.'

Except for the transmission it is the most outdated truck domestic truck of the bunch.

Too bad the XD wasn't included in this test. No doubt it would have embarrassed itself.

I still like the way the Silverado is performing.

It seems to be the better of these pickups from a buyers perspective if you want to "tow".

Was the Ram filled with regular 87AKI gas, instead of mid-grade 89?
That could explain why it was so slow?
{or the 5.7 Hemi is overrated power/torque wise}

How many people would hitch up a 10 000lb trailer and in real life do 0-60mph testing?

How do the engine perform using "normal" and mature driving techniques?

Again, I would think the Silverado would be a good performer and the Ram wouldn't look so bad.

They said they filled the trucks with the required gas. 6.2 and 3.5EB got premium, Hemi got midgrade and the Toyota and Chevy got regular.

Those most be some small horses in the semi-hemi as it even had the most aggressive gearing at 3.92. No excuses for how slow that truck is compared to everything else.

It either tied or lost (depending on how you look at it - empty or loaded) to the small v8 in the Chevy while turning in 6mpg less.

6.2 8 speed combo is an absolute gem. Best performance AND mpg is outstanding. Much like the Camaro with the LT-1 / 8 speed, it's just an awesome combo.

Glad Chevy sent a 5.3 too

Big Al from Oz - "How many people would hitch up a 10 000lb trailer and in real life do 0-60mph testing?"

I see that sort of stupidity on an all too frequent basis.

It does give a baseline just like government MPG numbers give a baseline. Passing and "on ramp" acceleration may be extrapolated from these numbers.

The Tundra with it's 9 year old drive train and 4x4 instead of 4x2 like the others is super close in all the testing. Rock solid reliability trumps .5 seconds of acceleration and bells & whistles that will break as soon as the warranty is up IMO. I'd take that Tundra over any of the others hands down.

@ furd fan girls

"the F150 performed great for an outdated V6. We'll see the results change when Ford updates the Eco V6. Then the table will turn, for now, congrats to the Sierra, who barely eeked out the Ford despite have more HP/TQ."

the GMC performed great for an outdated, simpler, smaller, pushrod V8. We'll see the SAME RESULTS when GM updates to a LIGHTER truck. Then the table will REMAIN THE WAY IT IS, congrats to the SUPERIOR Sierra, who beat the crap out of furd despite the Sierra being 500 POUNDS HEAVIER!

Free Dog Tacos - the 5.3 and 6.2 are "all new" and share little with the prior vortec engines unless you have some insider information you carer to share?

How many people would hitch up a 10 000lb trailer and in real life do 0-60mph testing?

How do the engine perform using "normal" and mature driving techniques?

Again, I would think the Silverado would be a good performer and the Ram wouldn't look so bad.

Posted by: Big Al from Oz | Jan 25, 2016 3:09:46 PM

Maybe getting onto a highway? You think it would be safe for some putz that enjoys kangaroo porne to enter a highway with everyone doing 70 mph+ around 40 mph?

The tundra went from the lightest halfton in 2000 to the heaviest in 2016. WTF.

The Military grade Tundra with it's Military grade 9 year old Military grade drive train and Military grade 4x4 instead of Military grade 4x2 like the Military grade others is Military grade super close in all the Military grade testing. Military grade Rock solid Military grade reliability trumps .5 Military grade seconds of Military grade acceleration and Military grade bells & Military grade whistles that will Military grade break as soon as the Military grade warranty is up IMO. I'd take that Military grade Tundra over any of the Military grade others Military grade hands down.

Free Dog Tacos Much agreed. Wonder where that clown Chuck Taylor is, LOL his high tech Ford V6 got smoked by what he calls a 1955 push rod grandpa engine LMBO!!!! ThereS one other clown always dising push rod engines to for Fords DOHC engines, I forget what name he postS with. latten wood or some b/s.

The tundra went from the lightest halfton in 2000 to the heaviest in 2016. WTF.
Posted by: uh huh | Jan 25, 2016 5:51:13 PM

Heaviest curb weight, most thirsty, yet still uncompetitive with the half-ton market leaders, GM and Ford. Even the mythical Toyota reliability can't help capture marketshare.

Bottom line is All of these trucks Haul Azzzz! Who cares about fractions of a second in timing!

I'd really prefer to see some focus on niche user bases for these tests. How about showing some off-road testing? I can find these types of tests anywhere.

Why did the testers choose to use a Hemi Ram instead of the new diesel? Diesel would be the obvious choice for max towing. The Hemi is strong for lighter weights but not for heavy loads like when towing or with a bed full of heavy payload. So why was the diesel not the Ram of choice for these tests? If someone thinks that's unfair because the others don't have half ton diesels, then they're not thinking straight. Buyers are looking for what is best for them from among the real choices out there. If I'm in the market I'm not ignoring the Ram diesel just because no other manufacturer offers diesel in a half ton. Having towed a 39 foot fifthwheel around this country for many years with diesel and gas I am very much aware of the better towing performance of the diesel. I also wouldn't buy this tests #1 because most of the time I drive empty, not towing, and that bouncy empty ride and need for premium fuel just doesn't make good sense in a purchasing decision. These testers need to remember these vehicles are used for multiple purposes.

Does "towing" mean something different on PUTC? Towing is mentioned dozens of times, but I don't see one case where they actually towed ANYTHING. While I love the loaded tests, they do not really indicate how a truck handles a 5000lb to 7000lb trailer load.

Give me a 6000lb trailer with electric brakes and do a low speed rally-style course that reflects in-town driving and some highway miles (preferably on a bad highway).

Dale - quite the opposite. The Ram 5.7 can out tow and haul the Ecodiesel.

A the VM diesel would tow as well as the Hemi. Here in Australia the Grand Cherokee is the obvious choice with the Grey Nomads and camper tow set.

It also comes down to gearing. The VM would not of taken out any of the acceleration testing. But it would of done well with driveability and FE.

If you want a car then buy gas, if you want a work vehicle I agree a diesel is the best option.

Considering not many would ever tow 10 000lbs with a half ton I think the Ram VM diesel is probably the better half ton pickup in the US. It even has a comforatable ride and judging by the comments the best interior.

I do like the "black and silver" Ram interiors I have seen. Those cowgirl interiors that adorn many US pickups is very crass and even obnoxious.

"It also comes down to gearing."

Funny how you recognize that with the Ecodiesel but not a 1950's era 1 ton inline six pickup with a 1:1 transmission final drive.

I don't understand, the Toyota has a max calculated payload of 1200#, the ram 1300#. Did they run these trucks with 1750# in the bed? 550#-450# over gvwr a number to never be exceeded!

If they wanna play with the big boys they're gonna have to carry extra weight.

^The funny thing is, they overload the Ram, and complain.

Like boo hoo hoo, the back end sags...Well gee, get,air suspension, it won'the sag AT ALL! You won'the need adjustable headlights! Don'the overload the crap out of it. Is that one driver and 1750, or plus 1 passenger?

Then there is the hitches pictured not using weight distribution hitches. I would'very thought the "experts" would use a WD HITCH when towing 10,000, but I guess I'm asking for too much? I would have thought anywhere around 6000 pounds people should start using them. At least on a full size truck.

It'seems not like the others were so great with the load.

I guess they figured if they did run twelve or thirteen hundred pounds of payload the RAM would be just fine there, but they couldn'the have that.

At the end of the day, yeah, RAM could do a lot better with progressive coils, they help put the 2500 above the F-250 in capacity, less sag, and more comfort, as well as close to the GM 2500 when talking capacity, yet better comfort.

But you knew what you were going to do with this truck, sor all you had to do is ask for a crew cab air suspension truck.

Gas mileage? I think you made an error, you've done that before in the past. I would not expect the enemy to be real close to the 5.3, but these results aren't very realistic.

damn auto incorrect!

If you compare these same trucks in 4X4 models.......and somebody knows how to launch an F-150 3.5 ecoboost properly, I would bet the results will be different.
Boost launch the 3.5 at 2200-2500 rpm in "4-high"......and it will take down Chevy's 6.2 as well. Regardless of 8 speed tranny!

Watching a review on the Titan XD Diesel. 0-60 9.5 seconds. 1/4 mile 17.5 @ 82mph seconds. Defiantly not the quickest the truck in the bunch.

"The older 60's 70's cars you talk of,had zero traction..and were 11-12 second 1/4 mile cars (depending on engines) when stock,if had tires of modern day..Skiny 205-70-14 tires didn't cut it..These are more like Lincoln and cadillacs and big Imperials of the 60's and early 70's,some of those were quicker too.."

LOL, there were literally no sub 13 second stock cars in the muscle car era. Id love to see some of your references to these 11-12 second cars as I bet I have enough actual tests by empirical sources to disprove any of the. Slap the old 426 hemi on a dyno and in its stocks form it was lucky to put 315hp to the wheels.

The Ford Ecoboost 3.5 was faster than GM's old version 6.2, not this newer one.

Ford's 2.7L Ecoboost comes really close to the 6.2L with less than half the displacement.

Run these trucks at a higher elevation and Ford wins all day.

Wait until the new 3.5 HO with the 10 speed transmission comes out. GM will need a 9.0L.

Just a quick note to the dodge being domestic.. the hemi eng8ne is not domestic.. and crysler does not make their own tannins in the ram either

My friend has a 2016 eco boost f-150. I have the mighty hemi 5.7 3016 Ram limited with 3.92 gears we both agree and have tested my truck is way faster .These articles all rigged go out and try yourself the ford boys hate seeing the Rams tailgate.

I am driving my 3rd Ram 1500 (11, 13, 15) Crew after owning F150's and I can tell you my Ram is not even close to a 150 3.5 Ecoboost Crew in acceleration...... Ram's are too heavy! Why Ram, because I like the way they look inside and out and I like the sound of a V-8 vs. a 6.

Different strokes......

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