- Chevrolet claims the new dual-rear-wheel Silverado 3500HD accelerated quicker than its counterpart at Ram in testing.
- Chevy suggests the 1000-lb-ft Ram 3500 may limit torque in some situations.
- Ram says it is "not worried about" zero-to-60-mph times; its concern is overall capability and the ability to maintain speed on a grade.
Tim Herrick, the 2020 Chevy Silverado's executive chief engineer, told a group of journalists at the new truck's introduction earlier this week that the new Silverado 3500 dually accelerates quicker than Ram's 3500 dual-rear-wheel pickup in Chevy's testing. Both trucks were crew-cab four-by-four models, and the Ram was equipped with the optional high-output, 1000-lb-ft Cummins inline-six (a $2695 upgrade above the 850-lb-ft base version), according to information Herrick provided. Chevy provided the following chart showing the results of its testing:
The Silverado does offer an additional 45 horsepower relative to the Ram, which matters. But perhaps most telling in Chevy's claims is the Silverado's 2.6-second advantage to 60 mph when towing an 18,000-pound trailer. Chevrolet also published unladen acceleration results in which the Silverado outruns the Ram by two seconds, but we had already tested an even heavier Mega Cab 3500 and found it to be more than one second quicker than GM says. So, we’re redacting that bit of info and will settle the footrace once and for all when we get a Silverado 3500 to test.
Among Herrick's commentary was the repeated claim that Chevy does not limit torque in any circumstances, which means that the rear-wheel-drive version of the Silverado 3500 delivers 14,129 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels in first gear, assuming no multiplication through the torque converter. The Silverado's new Allison 10-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive transfer case, however, have an Auto mode, which allows the truck to feed some of that torque to the front axle. Implicit in this claim, of course, is that Ram limits torque in certain situations.
FCA representatives, for their part, point out that the Ram always routes at least 1000 lb-ft of torque into the transmission's input shaft when a maximum torque request is made. They also are eager to point out that the 18,000-pound trailer used in Chevy's testing represents about half of their truck's capability, which is also true of the Chevy. "We're not worried about zero-to-60 times. We're concerned about overall capability and the ability to maintain speed on a grade," FCA said. It should also be noted that the vast majority of tow ratings are determined by frame strength and thermal management, or how well a truck can shed brake, transmission, engine, and axle heat generated by the increased load of the trailer mass.
Incidentally, the two trucks' max towing capacity-which is dependent on cab, bed, and drive configurations-is within 400 pounds of each other (35,100 vs. 35,500), with the advantage going to the Chevy. Both Chevrolet and Ram offer a 12.0-inch rear axle (available only with latter when equipped with the Max Tow package) but the Chevy's features 3.42:1 gears to the Ram’s 4.10:1. The Allison tranny sports a wider ratio spread that lets the Silverado off with a more relaxed final drive.
The differences here are largely academic-you can tow a house with either truck-but the chest pounding is real. Rage on, truck wars. Rage on.
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