2011 $30,000 Shootout: Mileage Challenge


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Each truck filled up at the same gas station by the same fuel filler — once at the beginning, then at the end of the loop — in the same way, making sure the tank was full with a “double-click.”

It’s worth noting that the Ford had more than 3,000 miles on it when it came to us, the Nissan about 1,800, and the remaining three around 600. At each driver-change point along our route, we rotated vehicles to mitigate any differences in weight or driving styles. By the end of the day, each driver had an equal turn in each truck.

Our Michigan loop started in Romulus, just north of Detroit Metro Airport, and headed north to Auburn Hills, about 40 miles away. Most of the first part of our route was a mixture of large four-lane roads and tight city streets.

Our second leg took us from Auburn Hills to Flint, another 40 miles, but this stretch was mostly on Interstate 75. While in each truck, each driver took notes on noise level, ride comfort, any squeaks they hear, and their impressions of the overall package. This is the most subjective part of our test and makes for some lively discussions at the end of the day, but it’s an important part of the judging.

From Flint, we headed south to Howell for another 35-mile stretch, then just outside of Ann Arbor, and finally back to the original gas station, and the same pump, to record final fill-up results. Our total loop was just less than 170 miles.

The fuel economy winner was no shocker, since the Ford was the lightest of our competitors by more than a few hundred pounds and had the smallest (and newest) engine. The F-150 recorded a solid 21.2 mpg. The heaviest truck in the test, the Tundra, also had the worst fuel economy at 18 mpg. In second place, using the Hemi’s cylinder-shutoff technology, the Ram posted 19 mpg, with both the Nissan and Chevy (which also offers cylinder deactivation) close behind with 18.8 mpg and 18.7 mpg, respectively.


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Fuel economy are for tiny cars!

Oxi, that is the dumbest comment ever. But I guess you had to say that because toyota got the worst mileage, nothing new there.

Funny how the truck with the worst epa rating ( Titan ) got better fuel economy in the real world than a truck that is among the best epa rating ( silverado )

That's really amazing, my reg. cab F-150 4x4 5.4 would struggle to get 14-15 on a similar drive. Now my CC 4x4 ecoboost would beat those numbers but not by a whole lot. Very impressive from all the trucks..... except maybe the one that claims best in class mileage, but actually came in dead last. lol

The Hemi got better mileage than the 5.3? Wow.

So much for Bob's 5.3 bragging rights.

@Lou- No, he is right. The tried and true 5.3 could have got 29 if they had used a 3.08 rear, put on a tonneau cover, used low rolling resistance tires, used 99+ octane fuel, drove it down hill, behind a tractor trailer and, and.... yea! lol So let it be written (it has been) so let it be done ( oh it was!) So let Bob b*tch and moan, its all he has left. :-)

The Dodge Ram uses mid-grade fuel with the 5.7, that is what Pickuptrucks.com used, right?

@Benchimus - "So let Bob b*tch and moan, its all he has left. :-)"

That is all he ever has.(PERIOD)

My 07 1500 Silverado Ext Cab 4x4 seems to average 18.9 on the highway, so I would think that the 2x4 would have done better. Still liked my 03 Silverado that would get 21 easy at 60 mph highway.

And yes the Chevy came in last, but I still love mine.

@George: The Hemi does not require anything other than Regular Unleaded (It's not Flex Fuel capable.), but running higher octane fuels will get you slightly better fuel economy. (About 2mpg on the highway difference between 87 and 92 octanes - at least in my 2010 4x4 anyway...)

i under stand the ford was the lightest and would help improve fuel economy but running on all 8 getting 21.2 thats 2.2mpg better then ram.
ram was some times running on 4 (4 banger hemi) what happens if they towed a 5,000lbs trailer do you think it will still have the second best.
plus you dont here hemi guys talking about how my 4 banger hemi can beat your 5.0l of full time v8
i was surprised about how the hemi beat the chevy nice job ram

i am always a ford guy but i should not talk bad about four bangers bec. soon ford will have a 2.3l 4-c ecoboost putting out at least 300hp and tq. plus a 2.7l v6 350hp and tq in the f-150 in the next 2-3 years. it slated for the mustang first.

should only cost 1000 dollars more for the four banger and 1,500 four the 2.7l v6

@ Simcik
The 5.7 makes its rated power/torque with mid-grade fuel.
It will operate with regular grade.
Same thing with Chrysler's new 3.6 V6.

If 19 mpg was returned with regular, would using mid-grade pay for the difference in fuel costs?

Maybe you guys have already done a real world construction site test with half tons and heavy duty trucks. I work for a drilling and blasting company and we run Super Duty's ranging from 03's to brand new. Just about all of them diesel's. I would love to see how anything else stacks up to the Super Duty's. We put them through hell.

Smallest newest engine docent mean anything...it still has more horse power and torque than all the other engines in the competition.

were all the trucks driven by the same driver? I can't seem to believe the resesults, my brother went right out an bought the new F-150 reg cab,4X4,5.0, I'm not sure of the gears, just like in the test, and he is never getting over 20mpg, no matter were he is, or how he tries, in the city he gets around 16mpg, if he takes it easy, and the computer says 17.5 avg. if you leave it alone, on one trip with our bikes in the back, we got 19mpg on the trip up on the hyw. we avg. 18.1 on the trip, not bad considering we had 1200lbs of Harleys in the bed. Now on the other hand, my 2011 Z-71 Chevy with 3:42 gears, all stock, gets 21mpg at a steady 65-70mph, with just the wife and I in it and some lugage, on the last trip we got an avg. of 19.8! from Mass-TN and back! and thats incuding the Blue Ridge Pkw. if I travel with the bikes I still get 18MPG with all the stuff that goes with it. On the island we live on (off the coast of N.E.) we avg. 17mpg, and if I try to hyper-mile I can get 18.5 in town! the highest speed limit here is 45mph, but we have no red lights, just a lot ot stop signs. I will admit I drive like an old man, and I never speed, but I do enjoy driving on the beach, and if I fly around in the sand, I still get around 12-13mpg, in low range! We love the Chevy, I also own a Dakota, have had Jeeps, and also a F-150 reg cab 4X4 8'bed w/Ecco-Boost, and the HVDTY package, we use that for the work around the house and travel trailer when we are alone, and that truck get good milage too. I get 17 in town, and have gotten as much as 22hyw MT, and 16 with the trailer. I guess I'm trying to say is it all depends on who is driving and there habits. Oh yea a cousin of mine owns a Tundra reg cab 6' 4X4 5.7, al I was able to take him off the line with my F-150, to about 60mph, he was starting to catch up by then, and I shut it down by then,just havin a little fun, I know for sure he doesn't get near 20mpg, and he is always complaining about it, his computer says he is getting 15 mpg avg, no matter what he does, anf with the bikes in the back he still gets about 19hyw, it doesn't seem to matter if he is MT or loaded, or pulling his trl, he gets 15-19mpg. BUT he loves the power. I can't wait till we got on a trip with the trailers, and see who gets to 65mph 1st. I will be sure to let you all know, F-150Ecco-Boost reg cab 8' bed---Tundra 5.7 Short bed reg cab.

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