Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
As a country, we love ourselves some trucks. Just look at the top three bestselling vehicles in the United States—all trucks. In a normal year, Ford’s F-series pushes 1 million units sold. Last year, decidedly not a normal year, still saw Ford move more than 725,000 F-series trucks. Add those to offerings from Ram, Chevrolet, Toyota, and Nissan, and you’ve got yourself tons and tons and tons of trucks.
With each passing year, automakers have the tricky job of improving performance while minimizing large vehicles’ drag on their government-mandated CAFE targets. That tension between federal law and capitalism has inspired turbocharged engines, hyperefficient transmissions, and weight-saving construction techniques and materials. But we’re here to talk about speed.
With zero-to-60-mph times approaching sports-car territory, these trucks prove that you can have your thrills and haul them too. In the event of a tie, we’re using quarter-mile times to decide the winner.
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: 5.7 seconds
Two decades in, and the Toyota Tundra has finally entered its third generation. Unlike the rest of the full-size pickup offerings, this new Tundra doesn’t have a V-8 powertrain option. Instead, every new Tundra is powered by a twin-turbocharged V-6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Tundra TRD Pro we tested uses the souped-up 437-hp hybrid powertrain. The TRD Pro is the closest thing Toyota makes to a Ford Raptor or a Ram 1500 TRX, which is to say, this is neither of those trucks. Still, it’s certainly equipped for whatever mud most are willing to fling at it, and it’s over a half-second quicker than the last Tundra we tested, which used a 381-hp V-8.
2017 Ford F-150 3.5L V-6 EcoBoost 4×4: 5.7 seconds
The EcoBoost V-6 in the last-gen F-150 moved it only a half-second slower to 60 mph than the venerable Raptor. We tested a luxurious King Ranch edition and found its 5.7-second zero-to-60-mph time in line with the rest of its bourgeois character. However, unlike the Raptor and the F-150 Limited, the standard EcoBoost model gets by with a slightly neutered 375-hp version of the modular engine.
2015 Ram 1500 R/T Hemi: 5.4 seconds
It’s hard not to see the 2015 Ram 1500 R/T as a sort of diet SRT-10. That’s not a bad thing. Its brooding Hemi 5.7-liter sends a healthy 395 horsepower to the rear wheels through an adequate eight-speed transmission. Continuing the diet theme, the sole rear-wheel-drive, regular-cab configuration keeps weight manageable at 5100 pounds. Best of all, however, when we let our resident hotshoes have a go at it, the pastoral truck pegged 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, just a half-second slower than its Viper-powered sibling.
2014 GMC Sierra 1500: 5.4 seconds
It has two additional doors, four driven wheels instead of two, and 566 more pounds to lug than a 2015 Ram 1500 we previously tested. Yet the crew-cab 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 outfitted with a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 tied that Ram R/T to 60 mph, posted an identical quarter-mile time (14.1 at 99 mph), and even recorded the same zero-to-100-mph effort. We ultimately ranked the GMC higher because of its top speed, 110 mph versus the Mopar’s 106. This GMC is the last one we tested equipped with both the 6.2-liter V-8 and the six-speed automatic transmission that GM replaced with an eight-speed for the 2015 model year.
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 RST: 5.4 seconds
The Rally Sport Truck special edition is nearly the cheapest way to get the 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 in a new Chevrolet Silverado 1500. The truck we tested reached a quarter-mile in 14.0 seconds at 100 mph. That’s barely slower than the F-150 Hybrid, but it should be fairly obvious which truck was both more thunderous and more thirsty in its acceleration. For a 5421-pound pickup that looks like it could be any new Silverado (save for the lifted Trail Boss and ZR2), a zero-to-60-mph time of just 5.4 seconds is pretty damn admirable.
2018 Ford F-150 5.0L V-8 4×2 SuperCrew: 5.4 seconds
There are two types of people who buy two-wheel-drive trucks: those who want to go fast and those who wear jackets when it drops below 65 degrees. And while the 2018 F-150 4×2 SuperCrew was surely aimed at the latter group, we were delightfully surprised during testing when the seemingly pedestrian pickup put down a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds. In a way, the truck, powered by a 5.0-liter V-8, was a sort of BOGO deal, especially considering its sub-$40,000 base price.
2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid: 5.4 seconds
As pickups grow, so do regulations and incentives for automakers to produce vehicles with a gas-station allergy. That brings us to the Ford F-150 Hybrid. A twin-turbo V-6 and AC motor combine for 430 horsepower, the most of any F-150 not named Raptor. Compared with a similarly equipped non-hybrid F-150, this model gets 20 percent better fuel economy with quicker acceleration. Plus, the hybrid pickup was 0.3 second quicker to 60 mph, and it also reached 100 mph 2.0 seconds sooner.
1991 GMC Syclone: 5.3 seconds
It was summer of ’91, and trouble was brewing. An unruly group of automotive writers decided it worth the risk of upsetting Anteros, Carmenta, and the rest of the gods in order to see how truly fast a new twin-turbo GMC Syclone was. With 280 horsepower on tap, wide tires, and an overbuilt all-wheel-drive system, the Syclone and its funky brother, the Typhoon, became instant cult classics. The results were groundbreaking, and unfortunately, as punishment for the fourth estate’s transgressions, the quarter-ton segment would eventually be vanquished from the U.S. forever.
2021 Ford F-150 Tremor: 5.3 seconds (tie)
The Ford F-150 Tremor is like the porridge between the standard F-150 and the red-hot Ford Raptor. It’s neither too normal nor too outrageous—it’s just right. Tremor models get a 400-hp twin-turbo V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. Plus, there are 33-inch General Grabber A/TX off-road tires, a locking rear diff, and design cues borrowed from the Raptor, like a vented hood, powder-coated running boards, and a silver bash plate. Despite the extra ruggedness, the Tremor we tested weighed 32 pounds less than the fully loaded 2019 F-150 Platinum tested previously. The Platinum F-150 was tested with Pirelli Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico all-season tires, giving it a slight advantage in acceleration.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 6.2L V-8: 5.3 seconds (tie)
The big small-block Silverado is as polished as one would expect for its $60,000-plus price tag. But our testing exposed the new truck with the 6.2-liter engine, positioned at the top of the 1500 line’s gas-powered offerings, as being only as quick as the outgoing model despite a spat of technology upgrades. Refreshingly, however, Chevy was able to keep the weight off with the redesigned model coming in 170 pounds lighter than the GMC Sierra 1500 we tested in 2014. With 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, the new Silverado leaves little on the table or in the wallet. This Silverado matched the Tremor’s jump to 60 mph, as well as its quarter-mile time and speed, and both trucks have a top-gear 3.0-second 30-to-50-mph time and 3.9-second 50-to-70-mph time.
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor: 5.2 seconds
The new-generation Ford F-150 Raptor is thick with updated bodywork, a nicer interior, and an updated rear suspension that replaces the old leaf-spring design with a better-riding setup of trailing links and coil springs. We tested the Raptor wearing the standard 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A K02 tires, not the optional 37-inch set. Same as the old truck, the new Raptor uses a 450-hp twin-turbo V-6. It’s only slightly slower to 60 mph. The new pickup gets to a quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds at 98 mph, while the former did it in 13.8 seconds at 100 mph.
2001 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning: 5.2 seconds
The second and final generation of the original Ford Lightning was powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 making a claimed 380 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. Despite the full-size truck’s moderate power output and hefty 4702-pound curb weight, back in 2001 we got one to hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Credit the excellent work of Ford’s SVT engineers, who created harmony between the blown V-8 and its four-speed transmission. It doesn’t hurt, either, that many Lightning owners who independently dynoed their trucks reported seeing power levels significantly higher than stock.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew: 5.1 seconds
Ford handed us the keys to its then-new 2017 Raptor SuperCrew for a 40K-mile test, and as expected, we gave it a proper flogging. Since its inception in 2008, and especially after a power-bumping refresh in 2011, enthusiasts have coveted the Raptor for its big power output and trophy-truckish qualities. The second incarnation makes 450 horsepower from a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 and gets to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
2019 Ford F-150 Limited: 5.1 seconds
Ford’s modular EcoBoost engines have opened the door to all sorts of unexpected test results. One of the more peculiar occurred during our thrashing of the 2019 F-150 Limited. Surely, the Limited’s 450 horsepower is justified by its nearly $70,000 price tag. What we didn’t expect, however, was for it to get down just as hard as its varsity-quarterback brother, the Raptor. Crossing the 60-mph mark in just 5.1 seconds, this full-size truck reaches that benchmark only 0.7 second slower than the fire-breathing 2019 Mustang Bullitt.
2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10: 4.9 seconds
A sledgehammer on four wheels, the 500-hp Ram SRT-10 was a beautiful homage to the back-alley, balls-to-the-wall legacy of the Mopar brand. The idea for such a truck was born in the dimly lit laboratories of Chrysler’s Performance Vehicle Operations department, known more broadly as the Street & Racing Technology (SRT) division. SRT strapped the Viper’s massive 8.3-liter V-10 to the truck’s front subframe to successfully bring a vision to life. The standard-cab variant we tested, available only with a Tremec T-56 five-speed manual, rocketed to 60 mph in an eye-watering 4.9 seconds. Good job, Chrysler.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab: 4.9 seconds
The Ford F-150 Raptor makes yet another appearance on this list, this time in extended-cab form. Its 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque easily beat the V-8’s output by 39 horsepower and 76 lb-ft. Combined with a weight savings of 404 pounds compared with the last Raptor SuperCab we tested (thanks, aluminum!), the Raptor isn’t just ballsy for a truck—it’s a genuinely quick machine, period.
2005 Hennessey Venom 800 TT Ram SRT-10: 4.4 seconds
Not content with knowing a production Ram SRT-10 was the quickest pickup we ever tested, Texas-based Hennessey Performance Engineering sent us this modified crew-cab version with a four-speed automatic transmission, which Dodge added to the lineup for 2005. It rocked our truck senses with a 4.4-second pull to 60 mph while blitzing the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 118 mph. Hennessey beefed up the 8.3-liter V-10 with stronger internals and a pair of Garrett turbochargers, upping the already powerful engine’s output to 800 horsepower and a massive 850 lb-ft of torque. The $100K pickup also used an overhauled transmission to handle the extra power.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX: 3.7 seconds
Meet the Ram 1500 TRX, a 702-hp supercharged half-ton pickup with over 13 inches of suspension travel, as illustrated above. Stellantis didn’t just slap its Hellcat engine into a 10Best-winning truck—it reinforced the chassis to make it tougher, added adaptive Bilstein dampers, and gave it 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-season tires to keep the peace. It’s heavier, wider, and 2.3 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the average 5.7-liter-powered Ram 1500. What else is this 6866-pound monster quicker than? A Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and a Porsche Macan Turbo. Plus, it’s only 0.4 second slower than the Lamborghini Urus, one of quickest vehicles we’ve tested in the past 10 years. Naturally, one of the quickest trucks we’ve ever tested is also at the top of our list of trucks with the worst fuel economy.
Rivian R1T Launch Edition: 3.3 seconds
The pickup has been around for a century. The electric pickup has just arrived, and the Rivian R1T is already the quickest truck we’ve ever tested. Four motors, one at each wheel, produce a combined 835 horsepower, which is 133 more than the TRX. The R1T tipped our scales at 7173 pounds, 1755 pounds of which account for its 128.9-kWh battery pack. Pushed by all of that, the truck of the future, available today, completed a quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds at 110 mph. Our test truck was priced at $76,875—that’s $2200 less than a base TRX—and it accelerates almost as quickly as the quickest EV we’ve ever tested, the Tesla Model S Plaid.
Every 2022 Full-Size Pickup Truck Ranked from Worst to Best
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