Fuel Economy Test
Though fuel prices have fallen considerably from their summertime highs, fuel economy is likely to remain a top consideration for truck buyers. We tested all the trucks at the same time over a 90-mile loop. About 50 percent of the driving was highway, 30 percent was on rural roads and 20 percent was in small-town and urban traffic. The trucks ran the circuit twice, for a total of 180 miles — once unloaded and once while towing a 6,500-pound trailer.
We recorded the average combined mpg for each of the trucks and ranked them. All the trucks were filled up at the same gas station before we started the route and filled again at the end to measure how much fuel had been consumed.
The Ford F-150 was the most fuel-efficient truck we drove, averaging 16.8 mpg. Considering it was also the heaviest truck, this was a remarkable achievement. Its new six-speed transmission, well-executed tow/haul mode, and fuel-saving features that cut gas as soon as drivers lift their foot off the pedal all contributed to this score; we’ve driven unloaded midsize trucks that can’t touch that number.
The Toyota Tundra was just over a half mpg behind the F-150, at 16.26 mpg. The Tundra was the second-heaviest truck, but it has a much larger engine. We think the Tundra’s six-speed transmission played the biggest role in its fuel economy.
The Dodge Ram and Nissan Titan were in a near dead heat, at 15.85 and 15.83 mpg, respectively. Not bad for five-speed transmissions, but still about 1 mpg below the F-150.
Most surprising were the GM trucks. The Sierra and Silverado pulled up the back in the fifth and sixth spots, respectively, with their 6.2-liter V-8s. Those are powerful engines for pulling, but they’re mighty thirsty. The Sierra averaged 15.19 mpg, while the Silverado got 14.77 mpg. Just to rub salt in the wounds, the GM trucks both require pricier, 93 octane premium fuel in order to run at optimal power.
Next: Best Overall Half-Ton