If you’re looking for a new vehicle, you may face a challenging question, especially if you’re an enthusiast: car or truck? You know that buying a car (particularly if it has a powerful naturally-aspirated engine or it’s turbocharged) is going to be quicker than the truck. That ought to make the daily commute a bit more exciting. What if you need to move things around, though? Clearly, you’re better off going with the more practical truck.
Or, perhaps you can have both these days? Modern trucks have taken on new construction materials (in the case of the Ford F-150), as well as more advanced engines and transmissions. Even without that, half-ton trucks are the last sorts of vehicles you can readily get with good old V8 power. Sadly, that’s no longer the case in most everyday sedans. Have trucks really gotten quicker than passenger cars off the line these days? In this video, we drag race two sedans against two V8-powered half-ton trucks to find out!
Say you’re in the market for an average passenger car, but want some performance without breaking the bank. Today, we have two solid choices. On one hand, you can go with the more elegant styling and turbocharged power that comes with the 2020 Mazda6 Signature. For it’s part, you get a 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv-G engine with 250 horsepower (on premium fuel, otherwise you get 227 hp) and 310 lb-ft of torque. That comes mated to a tried-and-true six-speed automatic transmission.
The other sedan, by contrast, does play more on the sporty side of the equation. Meet the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD, which takes an ordinary V6-powered XSE and cranks things up a bit. Here, you get TRD-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, TRD-branded wheels and a huge wing on the back, which is definitely out of character for a Camry. Under the hood, you still get the same 301 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite the humble powertrain, the Camry is quicker than you might think, especially if you’re driving it at sea level.
Of course, neither sedan comes with a rip-snorting V8 under the hood, does it? That’s where either one of the trucks has you covered. On one side of the drag race equation, we have our own 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss. Under the hood, this truck has GM’s 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. It mates up to a ten-speed automatic transmission and comes with four-wheel drive — and more specifically an automatic setting to give you the best traction when you need it.
The 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, on the other hand, is the old warhorse in this race. It still looks properly beefy, and do not underestimate what it has under the hood. In this case, you still get a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. It’s by far the most powerful vehicle here, but it does come mated to an archaic six-speed automatic transmission. That may be fine in the Mazda, but when you’re packing 130 more horsepower and nearly 100 lb-ft more torque, it would help to have a few more gears to meter out that power. Fortunately, a new Tundra is on the way (eventually).
Whether you’re in the market for a car or a truck, one important deciding factor may come down to price. The Toyota Camry TRD comes in at a reasonable $33,000. Granted, the Mazda6 is more expensive, with all its bells and whistles ringing in at $37,000.
Then you have the trucks. The 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro does come with more off-road kit, but will set you back about $54,000 in crew cab configuration. For all its styling and off-road gear, the Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss comes in most expensive of all, at just under $55,000. So the trucks will cost quite a bit more, but when you get both practicality and quick acceleration, it may be worth it if you’re going for one vehicle to keep for years to come.