The 10 Fastest Trucks on the Road: From Ford SVT Raptor to Dodge Lil’ Red Express
When it comes to speed and acceleration, most drivers immediately imagine a sleek sports car. However, sports cars aren’t the only vehicles to offer power in abundance and earth-shattering acceleration. Over the years, automakers have created a number of trucks that have been fitted with impossibly powerful engines. These hot trucks, as they’re called, offer drivers a helping of adrenaline to complement the utility of their trucks.
1. 2014 Ford SVT Raptor
- Engine: 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6
- Horsepower: 450 HP
- Base MSRP: $49,520
With its bold Ford logo proudly emblazoned across its front grille, the Ford SVT Raptor is not a subtle vehicle. Its aggressive, sharp lines ooze muscle and power, and its 4WD transmission gives drivers the freedom to go wherever they want.
Off-road enthusiasts will find a beast perfectly tailored to their needs. It offers the power, torque and grip needed to tackle rough terrain, and its specially designed bead lock wheels can stand up to the toughest terrain. A front-facing camera also helps to navigate tough rock climbs. The 2017 model is set to offer improved on-road and off-road performance thanks to its aluminum construction, helping it to achieve even stronger acceleration. Although the Raptor is a fantastic off-road monster, its interior is a little dated and uncomfortable when compared to its competitors, and other trucks offers a better ride.
2. 2001 Ford SVT Lightning
- Engine: 5.4-liter V8
- Horsepower: 380
- Base MSRP: $27,735
The 2001 Ford SVT Lightning straddles two worlds. It has the figure of a light-duty pickup, but the posture of a sports car. It can tow 5,000 pounds and haul 800 pounds of gear, yet it can go from 0-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. On the outside, it’s a low-slung pickup with an exaggerated hood and a prominent forward-facing lean. Inside, the Lightning is a fairly standard two-person cab; the seats are comfortable but not luxurious, and space is at a premium. The Lighting is heavy and stiff to drive; it’s optimized for going fast in a straight line, not pulling tight corners or tackling winding mountain roads. Drivers of the Lightning can enjoy one of the fastest pickups ever built, but they’re advised to keep it parked during winter weather; its speed-tuned drivetrain doesn’t handle poor weather well.
3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 6.2
- Engine: 6.2-liter V-8
- Horsepower: 420
- Base MSRP: $28,780
Classic and modern pickup lines conceal the powerhouse hiding underneath the hood of the Silverado 1500 6.2. The well-tuned 6.2-liter engine delivers an abundance of power to this workhorse, giving drivers of this vehicle a 5.4-second 0-60 mph time while also offering more than 9,000 pounds of towing capacity.
The interior is comfortably appointed, fitted with the latest technology, thoughtfully laid out with clever hidden touches, and spacious. The rear seats can fold up to offer additional storage space if the truck bed isn’t enough. The ride is quiet and smooth, and the Silverado handles with a grace that its powerful exterior wouldn’t suggest. All of those creature comforts come with a price, however; compared to similar trucks, the Silverado is more expensive, and its power and acceleration come at the cost of its overall top speed, which rests at 99 mph.
4. Dodge Ram SRT-10
- Engine: 8.3-liter V10
- Horsepower: 500
- Base MSRP: $50,000
With its smooth lines, bulging hood and unique hood scoop, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 cut an aggressive figure on the pavement. Its “Viper Powered” badges proclaim its identity as a mix between a pickup truck and a super-powered sports car; beneath the hood lays the beating heart of a Dodge Viper.
The SRT-10 accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, and its speed tops out at 154 mph. Inside, the SRT-10 is mostly a no-frills affair, but a few necessary instruments give away its overpowered character. Handling and ride performance are unfortunate but necessary sacrifices to give the SRT-10 its overwhelming power. In the end, the Viper engine under the hood is both the SRT-10’s greatest strength and its greatest weakness; it gives the SRT-10 its unique character, but the sacrifices needed to work around the engine impair the vehicle’s practicality and comfort.
5. Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharger
- Engine: 5.6-liter supercharged V-8
- Horsepower: 504
- Base MSRP: $31,215
From the outside, the Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged looks exactly like any other Toyota Tundra with a well-muscled profile. Inside the cabin, the TRD Supercharger still doesn’t give away the truth lurking underneath its hood. However, turning on the ignition and applying the full force of the TRD Supercharger’s engine instantly gives the game away. This bolt-on option for the Toyota Tundra TRD adds more than 100 horsepower to the TRD’s already brawny engine, transforming the truck from a powerful workhorse into a charging destrier. Although the Supercharger has plenty of power to spare and is theoretically capable of amazing acceleration, the TRD was not designed to channel this much power. Handling is poor when under full throttle, and traction suffers from a lack of weight in the rear of the truck.
6. 2015 RAM 1500 R/T
- Engine: 5.7-liter hemi V-8
- Horsepower: 395
- Base MSRP: $27,715
Monochromatic styling, oversized chrome wheels, a vented hood and an athletic profile herald the sporty roots of the Ram 1500 R/T. Inside, the R/T is decidedly more refined than some of its hot pickup predecessors; technology and infotainment options abound, and little touches like a heated steering wheel make the two-person cab more comfortable to ride in. The truck itself is balanced nicely, with a carlike feel that’s easy to control. The engine in the R/T is powerful enough to offer great acceleration for a full-size truck, but the full potential of the 395-horsepower engine is governor-limited at 106 mph.
7. Dodge Lil’ Red Express 1978-79
- Engine: 5.8-liter V-8
- Horsepower: 225
- Base MSRP: $7,400 in 1978
A short wheelbase, oversized wheel wells, vertical exhaust stacks and classic hot rod styling advertised that the Lil’ Red Express was built for one purpose alone: speed. In 1978, this hot rod truck was the fastest car from 0-100 mph, propelled by its modified police engine that escaped pollution regulations thanks to a loophole in the laws of its time. Gold accents and oak trim complemented the otherwise bright red truck; the interior sported the same color scheme, with either bucket seats or bench seats to accommodate the driver and a single passenger. The Red Express handled well for its day, but as a relic of the 1970s, drivers can’t expect modern responsiveness. Because of its limited production run and collectability, the Lil’ Red Express is quite expensive for what it is, and it offers limited practicality, few creature comforts and poor gas mileage.
8. Ford F-150 Tremor
- Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6
- Horsepower: 365
- Base MSRP: $27,735
The Ford F-150 Tremor maintains the same aggressive lines and muscular posture of the 2014 Ford F-150, but the addition of 20-inch black wheels and a distinctive graphics package differentiate the limited-production Tremor from the rest of the F-150 line. Inside, the black interior is accented with red stitching and silver trim, and the bucket seats give the cabin a race-inspired feel while supporting you through cornering. The beefy engine at the heart of the Tremor gives it plenty of power to attack the pavement, giving it strong numbers for acceleration. Although the Tremor is comfortable to ride in, its cornering ability can’t keep up with the output of the engine, and there’s a significant amount of bounce in the chassis.
9. Toyota Tacoma X-Runner
- Engine: 4.0-liter V-6
- Horsepower: 236
- Base MSRP: $26,775
Angular lines and a low profile clad in a body kit hint at the performance lying within the Tacoma X-Runner. Although its engine isn’t the most powerful in the world, other elements of its design work to make the X-Runner one of the most agile and sporty trucks ever made.
The interior of the truck is trimmed for comfort and usability; the cabin is spacious, the jump seats fold for extra storage, and a subwoofer between the rear seats adds to the enjoyment of driving. Unlike most sport trucks, which aim for pure power, the X-Runner is designed to be a blast to drive. Its sport-tuned suspension and rear stabilizer bar give it a responsive feel that can attack corners with gusto, and its performance tires help you to grip the road with confidence. Visibility is excellent despite its low profile. The X-Runner does offer good towing figures, but other similar trucks offer more hauling power.
10. GMC Syclone
- Engine: 4.3-liter turbocharged V-6
- Horsepower: 280
- Base MSRP: $25,970 in 1991
Despite its legendary reputation among hot truck enthusiasts, the GMC Syclone isn’t much to look at. All that distinguishes it from a regular 1991 Sonoma is its lowered ride height, 16-inch wheels and plastic ground effects. The interior of the Syclone isn’t anything special either; other than a few additional dials, it’s essentially a standard Sonoma. One step on the gas pedal, however, is all that it takes to tease out the truth of the Syclone. Its turbocharged engine is perfectly balanced to deliver power to all four wheels, blasting out enough power to beat a Ferrari through the quarter mile. On the downside, however, the Syclone was only produced in limited numbers; getting your hands on a Syclone of your own might prove challenging.
Thanks to their utility and versatility, trucks are popular vehicles. Automakers have gone to great lengths to make pickup trucks every bit as alluring as cars, outfitting these vehicles with a wide variety of options, creature comforts and powerful engines. As the cars on this list show, drivers don’t have to compromise on their love of driving if they need the utility of a truck.