The runs took place on Highway 68, where the local law enforcement occasionally halted traffic so the test drivers could make clean runs up the course. On the day of the test, each truck had an identically equipped 9000-pound trailer hitched to their bumpers. Ambient temperatures hovered around 85 degrees with very little wind, so extreme heat did not come into play. In the 0-60 mph runs against the F-150, the Chevy did slightly better than the Ram off the line, but neither could keep up with the Ford. We're guessing the fact that the Ford's transmission has a lower first gear and axle ratio than the Chevy, and more gears than the Dodge, had a lot to do with that outcome. Next came 4-mile runs up the 5-, 6-, and sometimes 7-percent grade climb.
The Ford's first runs up the hill against the Chevy started out pretty close; however, as the rpms climbed in the EcoBoost, the F-150 pulled away with authority from the first mile marker, almost making it impossible to see the GM pickup in the Ford's rearview mirror. The Ram was a different story. As expected (after seeing how the Ford and Ram measured up against each other in the 0-60 test) the Ford had an easy time taking the early lead. But once the Ram got into second gear, it pulled hard, not losing any ground for the remainder of the climb. It finished behind the F-150 by a touch under 4 seconds over the three-minute course.
In the end, the tests seemed convincing, although we would have liked to see all the same ring and pinions, and some extreme heat on the hillclimb would have been nice. As to why the Chevy didn't have 3.73:1 axles, test coordinators said GM products in that body style with that engine cannot be ordered with the 3.73:1 or higher axle ratios. But we know those gears fit in those axles, and to keep this test as apples-to-apples as possible, it would have been better to have a more representative axle gear. We have a pretty good idea why GM might decide not to offer that axle ratio and, as you might have guessed, it has to do with CAFÉ numbers. 3.08:1 or 3.23:1 or 3.42:1 gears will do much better in EPA MPG testing than (numerically) higher gears.