Big pick-ups aren’t as slow or hard to stop as you might think

American pick-up trucks are slow to take off, and even slower to stop, right? The data disagrees

Ram 1500 Laramie

American pick-up trucks get a bad rap in Australia in certain circles. Derided for being too expensive and too big, one of the harshest criticisms the public lay at their feet is that they are slow to both accelerate and stop.

Thing is, that just isn’t true. Wheels has conducted independent testing using GPS data that proves that a pick-up like the Ram 1500 Laramie has the same braking performance as some of the lightest hatches on the market.

Powered by a 5.7-litre naturally aspirated petrol V8, the 2650kg Ram 1500 has plenty of go.

Ram 1500

An eight-speed automatic transmission sends 291kW @ 5600rpm and 556Nm @ 3950 rpm to all four wheels, allowing it to crack 100km/h in 6.8 seconds.

Keep your foot in the throttle, and the speedo will click over 150km/h in 15.2 seconds, and on to 170km/h in 21 seconds flat.

During testing we completed a 400 metre pass in 14.8 seconds, with a trap speed of 148.5km/h.

Ram 1500 test

Putting on speed is one thing, but you also need to be able to come to a stop in a prompt, controlled manner.

Thankfully, the Ram performs admirably in this area, stopping from 100km/h in 40.2 metres.

To give you some context, and an indication of what excellent braking performance looks like, Porsche has some of the best stopping cars on the market. The Porsche 992 911 Carrera can stop from 100km/h in 32.5 metres, while the Porsche Cayman GT4 takes 34.5 metres.

Ram 1500

At our Car of the Year testing last year the Peugeot 508 wagon had the best stopping performance on a dry surface, needing only 35.3 metres to come to a standstill from 100km/h.

Clearly, two sports cars and a lightweight wagon are not comparable to the big American pick-up, but they give a clearer idea of what the market benchmark is when it comes to hauling a car to a standstill from 100km/h.

Really, anything that can be brought to a stop from highway speeds in less than 38 metres is performing above average.

Ram 1500 onroad

While the Ram couldn’t get under that benchmark, it was able to stop in a distance that is comparable with cars less than half its weight.

These include the 945kg Suzuki Swift GLX (39.6 metres), and 1070kg Mazda2 G15 Evolve (40.4 metres) – both small, lightweight hatches. A Mitsubishi ASX ES will take 41.3 metres to stop from 100km/h.

When it comes to dual-cab utes, we had a VW Amarok 580 Ultimate on the same test as the Ram, and it was able to complete our braking manoeuvre in 37.5 metres.

Despite being lighter by a hundred or so kilos, the similarly sized Chevrolet Silverado 1500 took an extra 20cm to come to a standstill compared to the Ram.

So, what does all this mean? Well, while the Ram isn’t the sharpest braking model on the market (it was never going to be), it controls its mass and comes to a stop much better than you may initially expect.

Ram 1500 onroad

Despite some initial nervousness from our testing team ahead of the braking exercises, both the Ram and Silverado proved themselves to be confident stoppers, with little fuss or bother from behind the wheel as they fought physics.

In the Ram’s corner is the Hankook Dynapro HT rubber, which wrap the wheels at each corner in 275/60 R20 114T specs. That’s a wide footprint!

There you have it! Hard data that proves you shouldn’t judge a book by its very, very large cover.


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