2009 Full-Size Pickup Truck Comparison Test and Video

2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew

(5.4L V8 FFV 6-speed Automatic 5.6 ft. Bed)
  • 2009 Full-Size Pickup Truck Comparison Test Video

    The Full-Size Truck Comparison Test pits the Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram, Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra against each other in a battle of all-around capability. | October 01, 2009

4 Videos , 70 Photos

  • Comparison Test
  • Top 14 Features
  • Data and Charts
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2009 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Specs and Performance
  • 2008 Toyota Tundra Specs and Performance
  • 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Specs and Performance
  • 2009 Ford F-150 Specs and Performance

We see it every Friday during our evening commute. A stream of vehicles choking the freeway, headed out to the Mojave Desert or the Colorado River for some well-earned weekend stress relief.

The fun varies, from camping to dirt-bike riding to water-skiing. But the vehicle that invariably gets tasked with hauling the corresponding equipment is a full-size pickup truck. You know, like the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, 2009 Ford F-150 or 2009 Toyota Tundra.

Sure, we talk about the virtues of the minivan as a family hauler, and there are many. But the minivan stands no chance against a looming 25-foot camping trailer. And SUVs are easily flummoxed by motocross bikes and the need to carry their smelly gas cans (or anything that's remotely dirty, actually) in the vehicle's cargo area.

There's nothing like a pickup, with its big bin in back that doesn't care what you toss into it. And the truck is sure to be around long after the full-frame SUV falls completely out of favor and descends into the three-row car-based sensibility that is the crossover.

The Game
All the big hitters have introduced new machines in the last couple of years. It's time to see if the pecking order has changed, so we sought out one of everything for a simulated weekend romp: the 2009 Chevy Silverado, the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, the 2009 Ford F-150 and the 2009 Toyota Tundra. (That's everything except the Nissan Titan, which is overdue for a refresh.)

With them we'd pull camping trailers to the desert, so they needed to be tow-ready. Once there, we'd unburden our beasts and play in the sand, so four-wheel drive was a must. And of course we'd subject them to two weeks of day-to-day use, so we made sure all of them had a crew cab (with 5.5-foot bed), sunroof, navigation system and other convenience features.

We added another task to our tow-test regimen this time. We always test trucks against their claimed capacity, ballasting each rig to a similar percentage of its particular Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR). But this produces different trailer weights for each combatant, and it confuses some readers. So we added a second test: a fixed-weight face-off in which each truck pulled an identical trailer up our test mountain.

Let's meet the contestants.

The Players
Our Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x4 test truck is actually a 2008 model, but we've used 2009 pricing because the truck hasn't changed. Ours had the 381-horsepower 5.7-liter iForce V8, the TRD off-road package ($2,155 option) and rear-seat DVD entertainment ($1,670), yet its $44,434 price is still the least in this test because this SR5 model doesn't have leather upholstery.

The 2009 Ford F-150 Lariat Super Crew 4x4 comes loaded with a host of comfort and convenience features, inside and out. It is powered by Ford's venerable 5.4-liter V8, which makes 310 hp. An optional 3.73:1 rear axle ratio ($300) and other towing bits give it a claimed towing capacity of 11,200 pounds, the highest rating in this bunch. All that and more cost $46,415.

Our decommissioned 2007 Silverado long-termer had a 6.0-liter V8, but this 2009 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 4x4 test truck has the larger 403-hp 6.2-liter V8 ($1,000) bolted to its six-speed transmission, a stouter combination that nevertheless results in a lower tow rating. It prices out at $48,175 with leather bucket seats, 20-inch chrome-finished wheels ($745) and LTZ trim.

Finally there's the 2009 Dodge Ram Laramie Crew Cab 4x4, with coil-spring rear suspension and the only five-speed automatic transmission in this group. Its 5.7-liter V8 makes 390 hp and matches up here with the optional 3.92:1 rear end ($350), but the truck's 7,300-pound tow rating is still the lowest by far. And at $52,555, the Ram is also the priciest. Much of the cost comes from the unique RamBox bed ($1,895) and a rear-seat entertainment system ($1,695).

And let's not forget the trailers these trucks pulled. Our Fleetwood Prowler 230 RKS is a 29-foot camper that weighs 6,280 pounds with dry tanks. We also had a Fleetwood Backpack 210 FQ, a 3,880-pound unit that's around 23 feet long. All the trucks pulled the heavier Prowler (ballasted to an even 6,500 pounds) in the fixed-weight test. Afterwards, trailers and ballast were manipulated to burden each truck to 80 percent of its GCWR.

4th Place: 2009 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCrew 4x4
What? This isn't supposed to happen. After all, the F-150 is the perennial pickup sales champ. Perhaps, but this is a strong field, and the margin between 1st and 4th is thin.

Our Lariat-trim F-150 is truly a nice place to spend time, featuring Sync voice-actuated audio and telephone control plus sumptuous leather seats that can either heat or cool our posterior. But nothing about the interior style is subtle, and there's lots of chrome. The Lariat Plus package ($1,295) adds still more brightwork outside. With Amber Gold paint, the "pretty truck" theme goes to an oxymoronic extreme.

The 2009 F-150's elongated wheelbase (144.5 inches, an increase of 6 inches over last year) provides a smooth and confident highway ride, plus there's ample cabin space for the tallest among us, especially in the backseat, where it offers 43.5 inches of legroom.

But the extra length affects performance. More truck means more weight, and our test example weighs a whopping 6,040 pounds, some 200-500 pounds heftier than the others. Parking this beast was no picnic either, thanks to a turning radius of 47 feet.

Put both extra wheelbase and extra weight together and you'll understand why the F-150 feels ponderous on twisty roads. Our test-driver looked like all arms and elbows through the slalom test at the track, but came away with only a 55.9-mph run. Secure? Yes. Predictable? You bet. Willing dance partner? No.

Acceleration isn't particularly sprightly, either. Despite the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic, the F-150's 8.4-second run to 60 mph from a standstill (8.0 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) lags 1.0-1.8 seconds behind the rest.

Perhaps it's optimized for towing, we theorized. A mere 6,500-pound trailer should be a minor annoyance for a truck with an 11,200-pound tow rating, right?

Well, it didn't work out that way. Simply put, the Ford got beaten on our 11.5-mile test grade, coming in dead last by 27 seconds in a test that should have stressed it least. It was the only truck to drop below 50 mph, sagging to 47.8 mph at one point, and it spent the most time at wide-open throttle.

None of this should be a surprise. Physics suggests that a tepid 5.4-liter V8 that makes 310 hp (in the heaviest truck, no less) should not be able to out-tow others that boast 380 hp and up. Physics is right. Furthermore, the 3.73:1 axle ratio that's needed to generate the advertised tow rating drastically affects everyday fuel economy. Our unburdened F-150 achieved 12.6 mpg, well below the window sticker ratings of 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway (which were achieved with the standard 3.55:1 ratio).

This 2009 Ford F-150 is a nice truck in many ways, but it's clearly time for a new engine. The 5.4-liter V8 is simply being asked to do too much, and the rumored 4.4-liter turbodiesel cannot come soon enough.

3rd Place: 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab 4x4
If lots of motor makes a trucker's life easier, the 2009 Chevy Silverado proves it with a stout 6.2-liter V8 that cranks out 403 hp — the class of the field by 13 horses. On top of this, the Silverado tips the scales at just 5,520 pounds, some 500 pounds less than the F-150 and more than 300 pounds less than the others.

This pays off big at the test track, where the Silverado beats the rest with a 6.6-second run to 60 mph from a standstill (6.3 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). It is also king of the slalom, where its relative lightness and lower overall height help it to 58.6 mph. Its stopping distance from 60 mph while unloaded is also best in this test at 124 feet.

Uphill with a trailer attached, the Silverado trails the quickest truck by only 4 seconds after almost 13 minutes of climbing. The steepest stretch requires some encouragement with wide-open throttle and the speed dips to 50.2 mph, but this is still a pretty stout performance from a truck with a standard 3.42:1 axle ratio. And here the use of a standard axle ratio means our 14.2 mpg observed fuel economy (best of the test) accurately reflects the EPA window sticker, which predicts 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway.

We also like the Chevy's six-speed transmission, which executes snappy yet smooth shifts. And its tow-haul mode demonstrates psychic ability by downshifting proactively to control descent speed on hills without first requiring a dab of brakes — reassuring when some 6,500 pounds is attempting to shove you down a 7 percent grade.

The Silverado's leaf-spring rear suspension supports the trailer weight well enough, and Chevy's ride when unladed is second best here. But axle tramp enters the picture when the truck is accelerating on silty off-road surfaces. (Our truck didn't have the Z71 off-road package, which seems like a $275 no-brainer to us.)

Athletic prowess aside, the Chevy settles into 3rd because of day-to-day issues. The interior is well-finished enough, with nicely grained surfaces and a clean overall design. But our top-line LTZ's black interior is more than a little monochromatic and dreary and the tiny control buttons on the center stack are hard to use. Plus, the as-tested price of our truck does not include things like extendable tow mirrors, a rearview camera, a fully integrated iPod connection or rear-seat entertainment — which are found on most of the other trucks. Even the Silverado's sliding rear window is an optional extra, and it's the only truck here that doesn't have side curtain airbags.

And so the Silverado seems the polar opposite of the F-150. It's athletic and willing, but the day-to-day functionality and convenience come up a little short. It's a solid truck that could stand a bit more polish.

2nd Place: 2008 Toyota Tundra SR5 CrewMax 4x4
When it was introduced in 2007, the Toyota Tundra leaped to the top of the pickup truck pile thanks to its 5.7-liter iForce V8 with 381 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, a six-speed automatic transmission and a tow rating in excess of 10,000 pounds. From the get-go, this capability applied to all cab configurations and trim levels, and that's because Toyota has to do everything with the Tundra; it has nothing like a heavy-duty T-250 or T-350 in its lineup. Chevy and Ford quickly countered with trucks that had higher tow ratings, though only in low-volume variants.

But Toyota's all-aluminum 5.7-liter DOHC V8 with variable intake and exhaust valve timing remains mighty impressive. It likes to rev a bit more to make power, so the axle ratio here is 4.30:1. But this combination produces a 6.9-second acceleration to 60 mph from a standstill (6.6 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and a run to the quarter-mile in 15.1 seconds at 91.7 mph — only a couple tenths behind the lighter Silverado with its pushrod 6.2-liter V8.

On the towing hill the Tundra tops the list, cruising easily at California's towing speed limit of 55 mph all the way up at part throttle, dipping to 53.4 mph only because we didn't use cruise control. Transmission performance is excellent, as there isn't any hunting between ratios.

This towing prowess does not come at the expense of everyday fuel economy. The standard 4.30:1 axle ratio leads to an EPA rating of 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. The EPA rates this truck at 14 mpg combined, and our Tundra does just that with 13.6 mpg over 1,000 non-towing miles, 2nd best overall. This kind of powertrain performance is possible when a strong engine is mated to a well-calibrated six-speed transmission. Some of the other trucks in this test could learn from this.

At the same time, the Tundra's high tow rating leads to compromises some might be unwilling to accept. Stiff rear springs are required to support higher tongue weights for trailers, and this affects everyday ride comfort. But anyone who chooses the 5.7-liter Tundra gets such springs, and we think a significant number of "anyones" won't be towing. For us, the F-150 Lariat rides a bit smoother than this Tundra, even though the Ford's stated towing capacity is 1,100 pounds higher. (Perhaps this is a by-product of the Tundra's TRD off-road package, which made our Toyota a demon in the dirt. Then again, our past experience has shown that the Bilstein dampers that accompany this option don't necessarily harm ride comfort.)

Equipmentwise, the Tundra doesn't feel like the least expensive truck in the test. Sure, it's the only truck with cloth bucket seats, and it has a simple aux jack instead of an iPod connection, but it does have a lot longer list of convenience features than the Chevy, including side curtain airbags, a rear-seat DVD player, extendable towing mirrors, a telescoping steering column, a rearview camera and a damped tailgate. It also has the only full-width, power-operated rear window instead of a small pass-through. And then there's that standard 10,100-pound tow package.

The Tundra is a very strong product, but with no 3/4-ton or 1-ton variants to sell, it has to be. If the day-to-day ride had less edge, it might have won this comparison. It's that close.

1st Place: 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4
After all the points were tallied, the Dodge Ram takes the win with a very well-rounded performance, despite being the priciest truck in the group.

We knew from previous experience that the Ram's coil-spring rear suspension works well when the truck is unloaded, but this time we found it has the chops to handle a trailer, too. The superior lateral stiffness of a five-link rear axle and a rear antiroll bar keep things from getting all swimmy while towing, even when we're late for lunch and with a winding road between us and a burrito plate. Later, the burritos stayed down because the Ram 4x4 is best at smoothing out washboard tracks and putting the power down in sand, as you don't get the insistent rear-axle hammering of leaf-spring rear suspensions.

At the track, the Ram clears the slalom cones at 57.6 mph, second quickest of the bunch. But the 390-hp 5.7-liter V8 is held back in our acceleration runs by its optional 3.92:1 rear-axle ratio and a five-speed transmission. The Ram's time to 60 mph from a standstill of 7.4 seconds (7.1 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) is 0.8 second slower than the Chevy but still a full second clear of the F-150.

And the Dodge does better over the long haul up the long grade, where the horsepower and the axle ratio come into play. It clears the top in a virtual tie with the Tundra (12 minutes, 51 seconds) and never once needs full throttle — this from the truck with the lowest advertised tow rating (7,300 pounds) in the test.

Yes, its minimum speed during towing does sag to 51 mph for a few hundred yards as the five-speed tranny dithers between its more widely spaced gears. The lack of 6th gear hurts fuel economy, too, as the Dodge comes in 3rd at 13.1 mpg, just behind the Toyota. Here again, the EPA rating of 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined is misleading because of this truck's optional axle ratio.

The optional RamBox proved itself useful by swallowing 85 pounds of greasy trailer hitch parts in its lockable bins. And its repositionable bed divider is easily the best of its kind. If you don't need this stuff, you can opt out and save $1,895. You win either way.

Inside, the Dodge is a happy medium between dull and overdone. The new Crew Cab replaces last year's Mega Cab, and it's just right. There's just enough rear legroom, yet the whole truck avoids growing to an unmanageable size and weight. At 227.5 inches overall, the Dodge is the shortest truck here. It sits on the shortest wheelbase at 140 inches and it turns around in a second-best 45.4 feet. It's also the second lightest at 5,860 pounds, RamBox notwithstanding.

There's lots of functionality, too, with heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. It's got rear-seat DVD and TV, a back-up camera, Bluetooth and a fully integrated iPod connection that works. If only the radio itself — accessed through the same navigation screen — was as easy to use.

The Dodge Ram impresses us with a solid performance, an understated ability to tow the socks off some others, a feature-laden presentation and rugged good looks. Oh, and those coil springs? After this, many of us won't have our truck any other way.

Summing Up
Still, none of them is perfect. A better truck is theoretically possible if someone took the best elements from each and mashed them together. The final results show just how good the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado, 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, 2009 Ford F-150 and 2008 Toyota Tundra are.

For now, the 2009 Dodge Ram sits atop this pile, but any of the others could forge ahead if they spend a little time on their respective weaknesses. It's that close.

And we think it's safe to say that horsepower and torque are still among the more important elements in the mix if you're going to tow or haul for work or play. And if you're not going to tow or haul, why buy a truck at this point?

The manufacturer provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

Second Opinion

Senior Road Test Editor Josh Jacquot says:
For me, trucks are about utility. I wouldn't own one unless I had to perform heavy towing and large payload-hauling as we did in this test. Everything else — and I mean everything — can be done with another kind of vehicle. For this reason, I can't help but evaluate trucks without placing significant weight on those abilities.

Here's something else. Since I could never drive a full-size truck every day, I consider many of their creature comforts and aesthetic add-ons unnecessary. Chrome 20-inch wheels and a leather-trimmed interior are perfect examples of this. They just aren't amenities I'd pay extra for. They're nice if you're going on a date but just not important on a utility vehicle.

In my world, a good truck has a serious motor. That easily rules out the Ford — when heavily burdened, its powertrain shows itself for what it is: dated. The Dodge Ram shows promise in our tow test but ultimately isn't as strong as the leaders of the group.

That leaves the mega motors and six-speed trannys in the Chevy and Toyota, both of which get the job done nicely.

The Chevy even hits 60 in 6.6 seconds. Six-point-six seconds! That's a performance that would have embarrassed some sports cars only a few years ago. And the Toyota, which isn't quite as quick, manages to yank the trailer around just as effectively with a half-liter less displacement.

From here it comes down to the details — some more important than others. Here's one that matters: ride quality. Chevy easily wins this contest. Drive both these trucks unloaded and the Toyota will send your man boobs into gyrations that would make any pole dancer proud. But the Silverado's ride frequency is more Cadillac than autocrosser, which is nice. Still, the Tundra feels like it's the tougher truck. Drive them both up a sand wash at maximum attack and the Chevy's rear doors sound like they're going to rattle themselves loose and fall off.

So, I suppose, given a choice between these two exact vehicles, I'd take the Tundra. It's the sensibly priced, sensibly optioned truck with the right powertrain and the right ruggedness.

But if I had to go on a date in one, I'd take the Chevy. Every time.

The Tow Test

Trucks wouldn't be trucks if they didn't tow or haul, so performance attributes such as payload and tow rating are important for many truck buyers.

A Corvette owner might never take his car up to its top speed or make laps around a racetrack, but a truck owner will push his rig to the max when towing up a steep grade with the engine giving all it's got at wide-open throttle.

Yes, tow ratings matter to mere mortals. Any comparison of full-size trucks would be incomplete without a towing component.

In Search of Tow Ratings
But tow ratings are a tricky business — trickier than they have to be. We can't go by the advertised maximum, because the inevitable fine print says that a particular configuration is necessary to achieve that much-ballyhooed number.

And the amount any random truck on a dealer's lot can tow isn't printed on the window sticker or conveniently stamped on the door-jamb ID plate. To acquire our information, we had to do some research on manufacturer Web sites, scan owner's manuals and cross-reference the equipment with the window sticker to figure it out.

After all of that, here's what we found.

Manufacturer Tow Ratings

Manufacturer Tow Ratings
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
Engine 6.2-liter V8 5.7-liter V8 5.4-liter V8 5.7-liter V8
Axle ratio 3.42 3.92 3.73 4.30
GCWR, lb. 14,000 13,000 17,100 16,000
Curb weight, lb. 5,348 5,440 5,628 5,685
Stated towing capacity, lb. 9,300 7,300 11,200 10,100

Of the four trucks in our comparison test, the Toyota Tundra is the only one that includes all the towing equipment — cooling capacity, shorter axle ratio and tow hitch — as standard. Simply buy the 5.7-liter V8 and you're all set.

Our F-150 has the equipment called out by the maximum tow rating: a 3.73 axle ratio and the maximum-capacity towing package.

The Silverado's tow rating is tricky because a critical cooling "option" is standard on the LTZ crew cab, but it's not mentioned on the window sticker. The truck's rating would've been 10,400 pounds with the optional 3.73:1 axle ratio.

Our Dodge Ram has the optional 3.92:1 axle ratio required for the maximum tow rating. But Dodge drops the rating by 1,000 pounds when 20-inch wheels are fitted, and these are standard for the Laramie.

But none of the ratings shown in the chart above are the actual towing capacities of our specific trucks. Instead we need to focus on the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) to figure what these trucks can really tow. (We said it was tricky.)

GCWR and You
That's because GCWR is the design parameter around which the suspension, engine, cooling system, brakes and frame are designed and tested. It is the definitive maximum allowable weight of the entire rig as it rolls down the road. Period.

As such, tow ratings are derived from the GCWR using the following simple formula:

Tow rating = GCWR - vehicle weight - occupant weight - cargo and luggage weight

Published manufacturer tow ratings assume a truck has minimal options and weighs the same as the published curb weight. Cargo and luggage weight is assumed to be zero, as in zilch, nada.

And these published ratings assume the driver is alone and weighs 150 pounds. This SAE standard "person weight" is the average of a typical female and a typical male, which means it simultaneously represents everybody and nobody.

What we need to do is weigh our trucks as they sit, with options. Then we need to weigh our passengers, their luggage, any cargo and the plug-in parts of our trailer hitch.

Here's the GCWR math for our test trucks, and the actual towing capacity each has available for our test:

As-Tested Towing Capacity

As-Tested Towing Capacity
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
GCWR, lb. 15,000 13,000 17,100 16,000
Measured curb weight, lb. 5,520 5,860 6,040 5,880
Driver + 2 passengers, lb. 540 540 540 540
Load-equalizing hitch, lb. 79 79 77 77
Luggage and cargo, lb. 0 0 0 0
As-tested towing capacity, lb. 8,861 6,521 10,443 9,503

Options and high trim levels make our trucks outweigh their respective published curb weights. And we'll have three people on board.

What's left is the amount left for the trailer and its contents — the actual towing capacity. These are anywhere from 440-780 pounds less than the tow ratings published by the manufacturer. They'd be even lower if we had an ATV or a dirt bike in the bed of the trucks.

Finally, Some Trailers
We typically compare vehicles by ballasting them to an equal percentage of their GCWR to see which tow rating is the most believable. We're measuring relative performance, and we don't need to go to 100 percent of GCWR to see differences. Our steep, 11.5-mile mountain grade sees to that.

We added a second test this time, in which all trucks towed the same identically weighted trailer. You'd expect that the highest-rated truck would walk away from the others in this test, but that doesn't always happen.

The trailer chosen for the equal-weight test will stress our lowest-rated truck to 100 percent of its GCWR. Here that's the Dodge, and the trailer in question is a Fleetwood Prowler 230 RKS, a 29-foot twin-axle camper with a single slide-out. We added 220 pounds to bring it up to an even 6,500 pounds. The trucks with a higher GCWR will be less heavily taxed. Stress levels for the Chevy, Toyota and Ford are 84 percent, 81 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

For the 80 percent GCWR test, this trailer would be too heavy for the Chevy and the Dodge, so we acquired a shorter and lighter Fleetwood Backpack 210 FQ camper for them. The Toyota and Ford pulled the heavier Prowler with varying amounts of ballast here.

Time To Go
We've got our trucks and tow ratings figured out, and the trailers are set. We're ready to go.

All measurements are carried out with our VBOX GPS data logger. We measure 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration in the usual way, but we can't take the trailers to our test track, so we use a deserted straight road at sea level. It's not quite perfectly level there, so we measure in two directions and average the results.

Our hill climb starts at the Ocotillo entrance ramp onto Interstate 8 westbound in the California desert. Our goal is to maintain the towing speed limit: 55 mph here in California. We stop the clock 11.5 miles later when we reach the exit at the summit. They call it Jacumba Grade, and temperatures regularly top 115 degrees F in the summer.

But it was a balmy 70 degrees F and clear on our test day, so our trucks got a little break. Here, then are the results. And interesting results they are, because they illustrate that tow ratings are not a good indicator of how strong a particular truck is up a grade. Far from it, in this case. And that's why we test.

Tow Test Results

Tow Test Results
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
Fixed 80% GCWR test
0-60-mph acceleration, sec. 13.7 13.4 19.0 14.5
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec @ mph 19.9 @ 68.5 19.5 @ 71.8 21.7 @ 64.5 20.4 @ 70.1
Time to climb 11.5-mile grade, min. 12:49 12:50 13:05 12:49
Minimum climbing speed, mph 50.1 51.0 47.8 53.4
Fixed 6,500-pound test
0-60-mph acceleration, sec. 14.3 16.9 18.3 14.5
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec @ mph 20.3 @ 70.4 21.1 @ 68.7 21.5 @ 65.2 20.4 @ 70.1
Time to climb 11.5-mile grade, min. 12:53 12:49 13:16 12:49
Minimum climbing speed, mph 50.2 52.8 47.7 53.4
Towing Fuel Economy, overall, mpg 8.4 7.1 8.8 8.4

The trucks we're comparing are quite similar. All are powered by the strongest available V8 engine and the top-level transmission. All have part-time four-wheel drive. All are crew cabs with 5.5-foot beds. And all are equipped with a sunroof, a navigation system, separate front seats and a center console.

But even though these trucks are basically similar, it's impossible to configure four trucks exactly alike. After all, there are lots of potential differences in the pickup world.

So we've included useful features that we could reasonably justify in our analysis. After all, the prices vary quite a bit, and price differences often come down to equipment. Here, then, are 14 distinguishing features.

Features

Features
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
Coil-spring rear suspension N/A S N/A N/A
Extendable tow mirrors O* O* O O
Integrated and lockable bed storage N/A O N/A N/A
Integrated iPod and USB connection N/A O S N/A
Integrated tailgate step N/A N/A O N/A
Integrated trailer brake controller O N/A O N/A
Leather bucket seats S O O O*
Max towing configuration O* O* O S
Power-sliding rear window O S O S
Rear-seat entertainment O* O O* O
Rearview camera O* O O O
Side curtain airbags N/A S S S
Six-speed transmission S N/A S S
Tailgate damper N/A S N/A S

Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional
O*: Optional, but not present on test vehicle
N/A: Not Available

Coil-spring rear suspension: Yes, we know that the Dodge is the only one here that has this — for now. Expect to see more of it in the future, because it's a big advantage in terms of ride comfort and handling stability.

Extendable tow mirrors: You need to see around your trailer, but most are wide enough to block the view aft through standard mirrors. Enter the extendable towing mirror. The Tundra and F-150 have them, and they are very nice. You can get them on the Silverado and the Ram, but our trucks were not equipped with the option.

Integrated and lockable bed storage: Again, this refers to the RamBox, which is only available on the Dodge. But there are real advantages here, and real costs. Both reasons justify its place on this list.

Integrated iPod and USB connection: The electronics world moves pretty fast. A couple of years ago a simple 3.5mm aux jack for an MP3 player was awesome. But now nothing less than a full-blown iPod connection will do for tech heads. They'll also accept USB devices or a simple USB memory stick (cheaper than an MP3 player, we might add). Either way, songs appear on the navigation screen and you can pick and choose at will without ever touching the device.

Integrated tailgate step: This contraption is something found only on the Ford. You might not need it if you're a spry young feller, but it certainly does have its fans.

Integrated trailer brake controller (ITBC): Every camping trailer has electric brakes, and just about every state has a law requiring brakes to be used. Before the ITBC, the best you could hope for was a pre-wired hitch that led to a socket under the dash into which you could plug your own brake controller. There's some splicing, and you have to mount your controller on the dash somewhere. It can be done, but it's a pain and it looks ugly. The Toyota and Dodge still go this route. But Ford and Chevy have fully functional ITBCs built right into the dash. You don't have to do anything but plug in your trailer, spend one minute to scale the strength of the output to your trailer, and motor on down the road.

Leather bucket seats: Not everyone likes leather, but we're including leather-upholstered seats here because our aim is to account for items that might explain the price differences we see. In this case, it does. The Tundra is the only one that doesn't have them, and it's the least expensive truck here.

Max towing configuration: This can be many things, from cooling system upgrades to axle ratios to the hitch itself. The Tundra is the only truck here that makes all of it standard. Our Ford has the required "Max Tow" cooling package and the 3.73 axle ratio, but these are options, not standard items. Our Chevy lacks the proper axle ratio for its best rating. The Dodge has the optional towing axle ratio, but its 20-inch tires knocked the rating down by 1,000 pounds. You need to get the delete-option 18-inch tires or go down to the SLT grade to tow the max here.

Power-sliding rear window: Sliding rear windows have been a staple on pickup trucks for years. But with a crew cab, you can't reach back and open it yourself. Enter the power-sliding rear window. Here the Toyota goes the others one better; its window is full-width instead of a token pass-through, and it has a defroster grid built in.

Rear-seat entertainment: The rear seats in all these trucks are spacious enough to handle long trips, but long trips can get old, especially for kids. This option is available from all of our contestants, but only the Dodge and Toyota had them this time around.

Rearview camera: Trucks put these to good use in two ways. First, you can see behind you, and you don't want to back over anything or anyone. Second, they're really handy for hooking up the trailer hitch when you don't have a helper (and even if you do, if you know what we mean.) The Chevy is the only truck here without one. It's an option, but we are frankly surprised that it isn't automatically part of the navigation system, a common strategy with the others.

Side curtain airbags: Also called head airbags, these deploy between your head and the side glass to protect your melon in a side-impact crash or rollover. Every truck here except the Chevy has them.

Six-speed transmission: This is quickly becoming a must-have feature on trucks because it makes the truck behave as if it has two final-drive ratios: one for fuel economy and one for towing. A six-speed basically increases the performance envelope and prevents gear-hunting in the bargain. The Dodge was the only truck here without it, and it could use it.

Tailgate damper: Tailgates are growing heavier, what with integrated spoilers, locking mechanism, rearview cameras and all. A tailgate damper keeps it from dropping suddenly and banging open. Amaze your friends. And who knows? You might be helping your rearview camera live longer.

Dimensions
Engine & Transmission Specifications
Warranty Information
Performance Information


Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions & Capacities
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
Length, in. 230.2 227.5 231.7 228.7
Width, in. 80.0 79.4 78.9 79.9
Height, in. 73.7 74.8 76.2 76.0
Wheelbase, in. 143.5 140.0 144.5 145.7
As tested curb weight, lb. 5,520 5,860 6,040 5,880
Turning Circle, ft. 47.2 45.4 47.0 44.0
Interior Dimensions
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
Front headroom, in. 41.2 41.0 41.0 40.2
Rear headroom, in. 40.5 39.9 40.3 38.7
Front shoulder room, in. 65.2 66.0 65.9 66.6
Rear shoulder room, in. 65.1 65.7 65.6 65.4
Front legroom, in. 41.3 41.0 41.4 42.5
Rear legroom, in. 38.7 39.4 43.5 44.5
Bed length, in. 69.3 67.4 67.0 66.7

Engine & Transmission Specifications

Engine & Transmission
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 6200 (378) 5700 (348) 5400 (330) 5700 (348)
Engine Type OHV V8 OHV V8 SOHV V8 DOHC V8
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 403 @ 5,700 390 @ 5,600 310 @ 5,000 381 @ 5,600
Max. Torque, lb-ft @ rpm 417 @ 4,300 407 @ 4,000 365 @ 3,500 401 @ 3,600
Transmission 6-speed automatic 5-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
2008 EPA Fuel Economy City, mpg 12 13* 14* 13
2008 EPA Fuel Economy Hwy, mpg 19 18* 18* 17
2008 EPA Fuel Economy Combined, mpg 14 15* 15* 14
Edmunds Observed Fuel Economy Combined, mpg 14.2 13.1 12.6 13.6
    *EPA ratings are made with standard axle ratios. These trucks have optional ratios that will worsen
    fuel economy.

Warranty

Warranty Information
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain 5 years/100,000 miles Unlimited 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Roadside Assistance 5 years/100,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles Not available
Corrosion Protection 6 years/100,000 miles 5 years/100,000 miles 5 years/Unlimited miles 5 years/Unlimited miles

Performance

Performance Information
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax
0-60 mph acceleration, sec. 6.6 7.4 8.4 6.9
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec. 14.9 15.4 16.1 15.1
Quarter-mile speed, mph 94.1 87.8 85.7 91.7
60-0-mph braking, feet 124 130 127 138
Lateral Acceleration, g 0.69 0.67 0.69 0.66
600-ft slalom, mph 58.6 57.6 55.9 54.5

Final Rankings

Final Rankings
Item Weight Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4WD Crew Toyota Tundra SR5 4WD CrewMax Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4WD Crew Cab Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew
Personal Rating 2.5% 75.0 66.7 58.3 50.0
Recommended Rating 2.5% 83.3 66.7 58.3 41.7
Evaluation Score 20% 74.5 72.4 72.6 71.6
Feature Content 15% 57.1 52.4 33.3 57.1
Performance 20% 90.0 90.0 96.2 74.4
Fuel Consumption 20% 33.8 35.1 36.6 32.5
Price 20% 28.5 33.1 30.8 31.8
Total Score 100.0% 57.9 57.3 55.2 52.9
Final Ranking 1 2 3 4

Personal Rating (2.5%): This is purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the trucks in order of preference based on which he or she would prefer for his or her own use.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): Similar to the personal rating, but this time the editors were asked to rank the trucks based on which he or she might recommend to a friend, relative or random car shopper they might meet.

30-Point Evaluation (20%): Each editor rated each truck on a 1-10 scale using a comprehensive evaluation process that covered everything from exterior design to dynamic performance to cupholders. The results were calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are the average of all participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (15%): Editors picked 14 significant features that differ to some degree among the trucks in the test. Each truck was then given points based on which of those features it possessed. Standard features earn more points than optional ones, and unavailable features earn zero points. The score given here represents the percentage of total points out of a maximum of 42 points.

Performance Testing (20%): Each truck was taken to the test track to undergo our standard series of objective performance tests, then it was taken on the road for additional towing tests. Scores were awarded by giving the best truck in each specific performance category 100 percent. Subsequent trucks were scored based on how close they came to the best-performing truck. But the top scorer almost never earns an overall score of 100 points because it's rare for one vehicle to finish first in every specific test.

Fuel Consumption (20%): We usually base our fuel economy score on official EPA combined fuel economy ratings. But this time some of the trucks had optional axle ratios, and in those cases the EPA rating is inaccurate because it does not reflect the as-built condition of the vehicle. So instead we used the observed fuel economy we recorded during two weeks of use (not including towing miles) as a basis for scoring. Points are awarded on an absolute scale, so high-mileage economy cars score best. None of the trucks were particularly fuel-efficient, so all scores were relatively low.

Price (20%): Price is also scored on an absolute basis. Inexpensive economy cars score highest, while expensive ultra-luxury machines do poorly. These trucks fall somewhere in the middle, and so do their scores.

Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeDodge
ModelRam Pickup 1500
StyleLaramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 5A)
Base MSRP$44,390
Options on test vehicleRamBox Cargo Management System ($1,895); Rear-Seat Entertainment System ($1,695); UConnect GPS Navigation ($945); Power Sunroof ($850); Preferred Package 26 ($795 - including rear parking sensors, electric shift-on-demand transfer case and dual exhaust); Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats ($500); 3.92 Limited-Slip Rear Axle ($375); Class IV Towing Receiver Hitch ($335); Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Paint ($225); Back-Up Camera ($200); Skid Plates and Tow Hooks ($150); P275/60R20 Outline White-Letter Tires ($125); 32-Gallon Fuel Tank ($75).
As-tested MSRP$52,555
Drivetrain
Drive typePart-time four-wheel drive
Engine type90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)5,654 (345)
Block/head materialIron/aluminum
ValvetrainPushrod-actuated, 2 valves per cylinder with variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation
Compression ratio (x:1)10.5
Redline (rpm)5,800
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)390 @ 5,600
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)407 @ 4,000
Transmission type5-speed automatic with tow/haul mode
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 3.00; II = 1.67; III = 1.00; IV = 0.75; V = 0.67; FD = 3.92
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, double wishbones, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearSolid axle, coil springs, trailing links, panhard rod and stabilizer bar
Steering typeRack-and-pinion with hydraulic power assist
Steering ratio (x:1)17.9:1
Tire brandGoodyear
Tire modelWrangler HP
Tire typeAll-season
Tire size, frontP275/60R20 114S
Tire size, rearP275/60R20 114S
Wheel size20-by-9 inches front and rear
Wheel materialChrome-clad aluminum alloy
Brakes, front13.2-by-1.1-inch ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear13.8-by-0.87-inch discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)4.6
0-60 mph (sec.)7.4
0-75 mph (sec.)10.6
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)15.4 @ 87.8
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)7.1
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)31
60-0 mph (ft.)130
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)57.6 (ESC off); 56.6 (ESC on)
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.67 (ESC off or on)
Sound level @ idle (dB)43.1
@ Full throttle (dB)74.9
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)66.2
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsVery mild torque converter lock-up makes the Ram come out of the hole slowly. Shifts are equally mild. The result is a less snappy feel than the Chevy and Toyota. But smooth transmission operation is a bonus in the Ram.
Braking ratingAverage
Braking commentsForgettable pedal feel (literally). Nothing significant here. Soft pedal, but better-feeling than the F-150.
Handling ratingAverage
Handling commentsSkid pad: Good stability control calibration allows the Ram to equal its stability-off performance with stability on. Otherwise, this is a large truck with swimmy steering. Slalom: Otherwise-beneficial rear coil springs don't seem to help the Ram here. Its feel, response and pace were on par with the other (leaf spring) trucks, but nothing more.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)64.8
Wind (mph, direction)2.6
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)13 city/18 highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)13.1 (normal); 7.1 (towing)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)32
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)5,542
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)5,860
Length (in.)227.5
Width (in.)79.5
Height (in.)74.8
Wheelbase (in.)140
Track, front (in.)68.1
Track, rear (in.)67.5
Turning circle (ft.)45.4
Legroom, front (in.)41
Legroom, rear (in.)39.4
Headroom, front (in.)41
Headroom, rear (in.)39.9
Shoulder room, front (in.)66
Shoulder room, rear (in.)65.7
Seating capacity5
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 years/36,000 miles
PowertrainUnlimited
Corrosion5 years/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance3 years/36,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard Not available
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist, electronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard, including trailer sway control
Tire-pressure monitoring systemDirect tire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemNot available
NHTSA crash test, driver5 stars
NHTSA crash test, passenger5 stars
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistance3 stars
Vehicle
Model year2008
MakeToyota
ModelTundra
StyleSR5 4dr CrewMax Cab 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)
Base MSRP$35,030
Options on test vehicleDVD Navigation With Premium Stereo Bluetooth and Back-Up Camera ($2,690); TRD Off-Road Package Including Off-Road Suspension and Tires, 18-inch Alloy Wheels, Skid Plates, Tow Hooks and Foglamps ($2,155); Rear-Seat DVD Entertainment System ($1,670); Power Tilt and Slide Moonroof ($810); Front and Rear Clearance Sonar ($500); Bedliner ($345); Anti-Theft Alarm System ($220); Bed Rail System With Adjustable Tie-Down Cleats ($135); All-Weather Floor Mats ($99); Extendable Tow Mirrors ($90).
As-tested MSRP$44,434
Drivetrain
Drive typePart-time four-wheel drive
Engine typeLongitudinal V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)5663cc (346 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum block and heads
ValvetrainDouble overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake and exhaust valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)10.2:1
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)381 at 5,600
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)401 at 3,600
Transmission type6-speed automatic with tow/haul mode
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 3.33; II = 1.96; III = 1.35; IV = 1.00; V = 0.73; VI = 0.56; Final Drive = 4.30
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, double wishbones, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearSolid axle, leaf springs
Steering typeRack-and-pinion steering with hydraulic assist
Steering ratio (x:1)18.1:1
Tire brandBFGoodrich
Tire modelRugged Trail T/A
Tire typeAll-season, all-terrain
Tire size, frontP275/65R18 114T
Tire size, rearP275/65R18 114T
Wheel size18-by-8 inches front and rear
Wheel materialAluminum alloy
Brakes, front13.9-inch ventilated disc
Brakes, rear13.6-inch ventilated disc
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)4.6
0-60 mph (sec.)6.9
0-75 mph (sec.)10.3
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)15.1 @ 91.7
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)6.6
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)33
60-0 mph (ft.)138
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)54.5
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.66
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsSnappiest gearchanges of the group, but also the least grip. Launching the Tundra requires careful pedaling and awareness (anticipation) of its rapid throttle response. This powertrain is the most responsive of the group tested.
Braking ratingAverage
Braking commentsEasily the best pedal feel of the four trucks tested in terms of firmness and consistency. Oddly, and perhaps due to lackluster tire grip, it produces the longest stopping distances. Still, if I had to make this stop 20 times, I'd want this truck.
Handling ratingAverage
Handling commentsSkid pad: Buried against the electronic butler (stability control), there's little a driver can do here except lift. And that only slows things down. Slalom: Tundra's stiff suspension and reasonably responsive steering give it an edge here. Stability control applies heavy constraints.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)63.7
Wind (mph, direction)2.1
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)13 city/17 highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)13.6 (normal); 8.4 (towing)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)26.4
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)5,610
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)5,880
Length (in.)228.7
Width (in.)79.9
Height (in.)76
Wheelbase (in.)145.7
Track, front (in.)67.9
Track, rear (in.)67.9
Turning circle (ft.)44
Legroom, front (in.)42.5
Legroom, rear (in.)44.5
Headroom, front (in.)40.2
Headroom, rear (in.)38.7
Shoulder room, front (in.)66.6
Shoulder room, rear (in.)65.4
Seating capacity5
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain5 years/60,000 miles
Corrosion5 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistanceNot available
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist, electronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionStandard
Tire-pressure monitoring systemDirect tire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemNot Available
NHTSA crash test, driver4 stars
NHTSA crash test, passenger4 stars
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot Tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot Tested
NHTSA rollover resistance3 stars
Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeChevrolet
ModelSilverado 1500
StyleLTZ 4dr Crew Cab 4WD 5.8 ft. SB (5.3L 8cyl 6A)
Base MSRP$42,350
Options on test vehicleTouchscreen Navigation With CD, MP3, XM and XM Traffic ($2,250); 20-Inch Chrome-Clad Aluminum Wheels ($1,045); 6.2-Liter V8 With Flex-Fuel Capability ($1,000); Power-Sliding Glass Sunroof ($995); Power-Sliding Rear Window ($250); Integrated Trailer Brake Controller ($200); Cargo Management System ($195); LTZ Plus Package ($190 -- including rain-sensing wipers and lockable easy-lift tailgate); Wheel Credit (-$300).
As-tested MSRP$48,175
Drivetrain
Drive typePart-time four-wheel drive
Engine typeV8 with flex-fuel capability
Displacement (cc/cu-in)6,162 (376 cu-in)
Block/head materialCast aluminum block and heads
ValvetrainPushrod-actuated, 2 valves per cylinder, variable valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)10.5:1
Redline (rpm)6,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)403 @ 5,700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)417 @ 4,300
Transmission type6-speed automatic
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 4.04; II = 2.36; III = 1.52; IV = 1.15; V = 0.85; VI = 0.66; Final Drive = 3.42
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, double wishbones, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearSolid axle, leaf springs
Steering typeRack-and-pinion steering with hydraulic power assist
Steering ratio (x:1)16.7:1
Tire brandGoodyear
Tire modelEagle LS-2
Tire typeAll-season
Tire size, frontP275/55R20 111S
Tire size, rearP275/55R20 111S
Wheel size20-by-8.5
Wheel materialChrome-clad aluminum alloy
Brakes, front13-by-1.2-inch ventilated disc
Brakes, rear13.5-by-0.8-inch disc
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)4.4
0-60 mph (sec.)6.6
0-75 mph (sec.)10
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)14.9 @ 94.1
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)6.3
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)30
60-0 mph (ft.)124
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)58.6 (ESC off); 55.0 (ESC on)
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.68 (ESC off); 0.69 (ESC on)
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsThe Silverado comes ripping out of the hole and banging gears unlike any other full-size pickup. This 6.2-liter V8 and six-speed transmission raise this Chevy from the bottom of the group to the top. An impressive powertrain.
Braking ratingGood
Braking commentsStopping from 123 feet from 60 mph is impressive for such a truck, but I'm not sure it's repeatable. We saw consistent 130-foot stops with no fade, and that's not bad either.
Handling ratingGood
Handling commentsSkid pad: Minimizing understeer is required to get a good number, because the Chevy liked to get into a radical bouncing routine if understeer got too heavy. Stability control-on and stability-control-off numbers are essentially the same. Slalom: Vague steering is typical in full-size trucks, but the Chevy is the worst of the four competitors we're comparing today. Vague, indirect, information-free; call it what you want, it isn't very good. Still, the huge tires (and relatively light weight) keep its slalom speed at the top of the pack. Turning ESC off makes a big difference in this highly dynamic maneuver.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)61.4
Wind (mph, direction)1.9
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)12 city/19 highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)14.2 (normal); 8.4 (towing)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)26
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)5,348
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)5,520
Length (in.)230.2
Width (in.)80
Height (in.)73.7
Wheelbase (in.)143.5
Track, front (in.)68.1
Track, rear (in.)67
Turning circle (ft.)47.2
Legroom, front (in.)41.3
Legroom, rear (in.)38.7
Headroom, front (in.)41.2
Headroom, rear (in.)40.5
Shoulder room, front (in.)65.2
Shoulder room, rear (in.)65.1
Seating capacity5
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain5 years/100,000 miles
Corrosion6 years/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance5 years/100,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsNot available
Head airbagsOptional head airbags
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsElectronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Tire-pressure monitoring systemDirect tire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemNot available
NHTSA crash test, driver5 stars
NHTSA crash test, passenger5 stars
NHTSA crash test, side front5 stars
NHTSA crash test, side rear5 stars
NHTSA rollover resistance4 stars
Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeFord
ModelF-150
StyleLariat 4dr SuperCrew 4WD Styleside 5.5 ft. SB (5.4L 8cyl 6A)
Base MSRP$39,435
Options on test vehicleSony Navigation Radio ($2,430); Lariat Chrome Package ($1,295); Power Moonroof ($995); Leather-Trimmed Captain's Chairs ($895); Lariat Plus Package ($795); Tailgate Step ($350); 3.73 Limited-Slip Rear Axle ($300); Power Telescoping Tow Mirrors ($235); Trailer Brake Controller ($230); Pickup Bed Extender ($195); Skid Plates ($160); Max Trailer Tow Equipment ($100); Lariat Premium Discount (-$1,000).
As-tested MSRP$46,415
Drivetrain
Drive typePart-time four-wheel drive
Engine typeV8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)5,400cc (330 cu-in)
Block/head materialIron block/aluminum heads
ValvetrainSingle overhead camshaft, 3 valves per cylinder, variable camshaft timing
Compression ratio (x:1)9.8:1
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)310 @ 5,000 (gasoline - 320 hp on E85)
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)365 @ 3,500 (gasoline - 390 lb-ft on E85)
Transmission type6-speed automatic with tow-haul mode
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 4.17; II = 2.34; III = 1.52; IV = 1.14; V = 0.86; VI = 0.69; Final Drive = 3.73
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, double wishbones, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearSolid axle, leaf springs
Steering typeRack-and-pinion steering with hydraulic assist
Steering ratio (x:1)20.0:1
Tire brandPirelli
Tire modelScorpion ATR
Tire typeAll-season, all-terrain
Tire size, frontP275/55R20 111S
Tire size, rearP275/55R20 111S
Wheel materialChrome-clad aluminum alloy
Brakes, front13-inch ventilated disc, single-piston sliding caliper
Brakes, rear13.7-inch ventilated disc, single-piston sliding caliper
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)5.2
0-60 mph (sec.)8.4
0-75 mph (sec.)12.5
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)16.1 @ 85.7
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)8
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)32
60-0 mph (ft.)127
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)55.9 (ESC off); 54.4 (ESC on)
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.69 (ESC off); 0.67 (ESC on)
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsThe F-150's lack of motor is almost embarrassing in relation to its direct competitors. It's almost a full 2 seconds behind the competition to 60 mph and down nearly 9 mph in the quarter-mile.
Braking ratingAverage
Braking commentsLots of dive and the softest pedal of the group. Also, some pedal fade on the third and fourth runs.
Handling ratingAverage
Handling commentsSkid pad: Ford's aggressive stability control literally takes away the throttle -- a very frustrating strategy for the driver when cornering. Slalom: This truck manages to feel even bigger than the others in this test. Not sure if it's longer, but it feels less manageable in transitions. It is heavier than the others, and it has the longest wheelbase.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)62.2
Wind (mph, direction)1
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)14 city/18 highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)12.6 (normal); 8.8 (towing)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)36
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)5,628
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)6,040
Length (in.)231.7
Width (in.)78.9
Height (in.)76.2
Wheelbase (in.)144.5
Track, front (in.)67
Track, rear (in.)67
Turning circle (ft.)47
Legroom, front (in.)41.4
Legroom, rear (in.)43.5
Headroom, front (in.)41
Headroom, rear (in.)40.3
Shoulder room, front (in.)65.9
Shoulder room, rear (in.)65.6
Seating capacity5
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain5 years/60,000 miles
Corrosion5 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance5 years/60,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsElectronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard, includes trailer sway control
Rollover protectionStandard
Tire-pressure monitoring systemDirect tire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemNot available
NHTSA crash test, driver5 stars
NHTSA crash test, passenger5 stars
NHTSA crash test, side front5 stars
NHTSA crash test, side rear5 stars
NHTSA rollover resistance3 stars
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Ford F-150 in VA is:

$134 per month*
* Explanation
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