2014 Annual Physical: Fuel Economy

IMG_2615 II

Photo by Ryan Peterson

Our fuel economy route took us over nearly 205 miles in and around Phoenix with relatively equal portions of city, freeway and desert two-lane highway sections. And in order to make this as challenging and punishing as true pickups deserve, we even included a nasty dirt road portion through a section aptly named the Apache Trail (Arizona Highway 88) northeast of the city.

All the trucks were driven on the same day, over the same route, with six different drivers rotating at six designated points to allow each driver's style to be included in each pickup's results. The temperature for the day was in the low 70s with clear skies and little wind. During the course of our route, we went from the desert basin near Phoenix, heading up several thousand feet toward Theodore Roosevelt Lake, then back down into the city once again.

We filled up each truck at the same gas station at the beginning and end of the route, at the same pump, in exactly the same way — allowing the pump to click itself off the first time, then slowly squeezing fuel in until we got a second click. Of course, we used a separate diesel fuel pump for the Ram 1500 but used the same procedure.




The Full Report:

Overview | Acceleration | Braking | Fuel Economy | Wrap-up


Pretty impressive fuel economy for the Ram, but it falls in other areas.


Absolutely pathetic.

I sure hope that wasn't the new diesel ramturd.

I just don't know what to think of the ecodiesel performance. 26 mpg is just awesome for a fully loaded full size 4x4 truck, but boy does it appear to be slow according to the numbers, but yet it's towing capacity is pretty good. I look forward to test driving one. Aside from the fact it's a ram, I would have a few problems with buying one. I don't see it as a good alternative to gas v8s or the ecoboost because it tows less and probably feels extremely slow in comparison. Definitely seems like a big step down in performance with the only advantage being fuel economy. I think one of the reasons it may not sell well is because people that buy it will feel like they are making a big sacrifice in the fun factor. Truck buyers don't want to make sacrifices. They want the best of both worlds. That's probably why the ecoboost is doing well. You get better performance AND better (slightly) fuel economy than the 5.0. Most people could probably get by with a V6 and save money on fuel and purchase price, but not many people opt for them because they don't want to make the sacrifice. I just don't see who is going to buy the ecodiesel. If you are trying to save money, there are probably better alternatives unless you need to tow exactly 8,000 pounds. If you want performance, there are much better alternatives. Yes it has good towing numbers, but honestly I think people care more about how it throws you back in the seat than what it's tow rating is. I don't think the fuel economy advantage makes up for how slow it is. If you're ready to put down 30,000 to 60,000 for a new truck, you don't want to make sacrifices like that.

everyone dogs the smaller tacoma and it doesnt get as good fuel economy and not as capable yada yada yada........... This test proves otherwise! the Tacoma gets stated fuel economy while ALL the others fall short of their claims (as always) the Tacoma tows more in most cases holds almost the same in the bed and costs thousands and thousands less........ and Toyota "needs" as some say on here to catch up....... where at? cause this 2005 design is STILL cheaper to operate doing the same as these larger trucks with their "fuel efficient" models.......

Surprised the Chevy with the lower gears didn't beat the GMC with the towing and pulling rear in gas mileage testing. Why not just put the 3.42 in all of their trucks if the mileage the same? Curious what each truck's rpms were at 65mph.

Fuel economy won't be optimal if they're drag racing.

Great mpg for the Ram 3.0 diesel. No surprise there.

"we even included a nasty dirt road portion through a section aptly named the Apache Trail (Arizona Highway 88) northeast of the city."

If the above picture is part of the "nasty dirt road portion" then don't follow me down the gravel roads I tend to visit ;)

@hemi lol,

You're touting the Tacoma for fuel mileage? You realize that it beat the full size Sierra by only .5 miles per gallon right? For it size the Tacoma should get way better mileage!

would like to have the gas v6 ram numbers. the diesel will be crazy good on fuel in all situations its in but the need for it for most people is more about image or want of owning a diesel. some will actually use it and be very happy others will buy it and be very happy, its a nitch market truck as of now.

confused about the numbers of gm trucks... I now a few guys with 14's. they are not getting close to what is posted in the above graph. more like 14mpg is real world in upstate ny.

the 2015 ford is really making me think about waiting on my purchase. if the 5.0 gets a real output upgrade and fuel economy boost it will be my first choice. the 2.7 EB also has me thinking I can have my cake and eat it too! 320hp375tq is good enough for me. especially if the 375 comes in around 2500 rpm. if this truck resists rusting and can get better mileage than the posted above with the low end torque the EB produces; call me crazy but it already sounds like it is a few steps above the rest.

The new Colorado/canyon has a great opportunity to prove small trucks have a point or reason for being. if they fall short on fuel economy that will not be the case...

The Ram is way overweight. There is no reason for a half ton truck to weigh over 6000 lbs. Its a shame f150 and ram na gas V6s werent in this test. Im guessing the Pentastar gets better mileage than all other gas trucks, but it would be nice to see the difference between it and the EcoDiesel. Oh well, just another half-assed test for Pickuptrucks.com .

@ woopud

How do you figure it should get tons better? Its faster, Tows more or just as much with very comparable payload capacity with one less gear in the transmission and with better fuel economy to boot. sounds like a pretty good whoopin that a smaller truck does more than the bigger truck while costing 8gs less up front and TONS less in the long haul especially considering resale value.

Why is everyone surprised at the Ram diesel's performance? It has low power relative to the gasoline engines.

Wow! Good Test....

So much for published EPA Hwy numbers.

Using the AAA average fuel price, the Ram was $2.75 cheaper to drive. $33.74 to drive the GM. $30.99 to drive the Ram. But that little savings gets eaten up by the cost of urea.

GM wins here:
better braking
more power
cheaper to drive
$20k less in price

Wonder what happened to all the diesel lovers? Can't tow with this thing. Doesn't save you money. Doesn't get longer range due to the smaller tank. Is more expensive. What is the purpose of this thing again?

@Tom L. Some people just love diesel it don't matter the extra cost to them. Hell I have a diesel myself I like the smell better then gas and love the sound of the thing rattle away, but I don't trust or want to deal with high cost of the emissions junk they have now. If I can find me a mint pre 2007 you can bet your left n*t I jump all over that deal.

The ram being nearly 6500lbs vehicle, 26mpg is impressive.
I find it hard to believe that the tacoma only weighs 4100lbs.

@Hoss, the chevy does NOT have lower gears than the gmc.

The chevy does have numerically lower gears, which is obviously what he meant taken from the context of his post. Why is it hard to believe the small lightweight truck weighs 4100 lbs? Actually I'm surprised it weighs that much, it's not a heavy duty truck.

"If the above picture is part of the "nasty dirt road portion" then don't follow me down the gravel roads I tend to visit"

Got an access road not too far from where I live ,that looks a lot worse than that.

@ TRX 4 Tom Excuses excuses a whole wack of them like I knew you do. Ram came in last like they pretty much always do live with it man.

@Robert Ryan - most industrial "main haul" roads I travel on aren't as nice as that road.

This testing is a joke. I could use a Civic for this purpose. Hook up please at least trailer with ATV behind those trucks to get real world numbers for somebody who wants to use it for weekend activities. I will send you my wife Dodge Caravan for V6 testing to get better numbers. Non of those trucks are meant to be driven empty or without any trailer.

@zviera - the 490 lb cargo capacity Ram replaced the Civic. You must of missed the memo.

Many simple people doesn't know the cargo capacity difference in kg and lb.

@ zviera - this is a USA test. That 490 number is in pounds.

"The truck with the smallest payload capacity turned out to be the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel (Laramie Longhorn with air springs), with a calculated payload of 490 pounds, which equals just 7 percent of the truck's actual weight."

Did you think that 490lb number was Kg?

That would put you in the "simple" category that you mentioned.

The fuel economy test needs more data points to provide results that can be considered statistically accurate. One thing that looks really strange is the fact that the heavier Z71 equipped 4X4 Sierra beat the lighter 2WD Silverado with the same motor. I know that differences exist between each truck manufactured, but this either shows that their was an error in the testing process (perhaps different driving styles on certain sections of the course) or the GMC was a "ringer" that had much better performance than the Chevy that was in the test. If all GMC trucks are like the one in this test, then the premium GM charges for the name plate would be justified over the 7 year life of the truck in better performance and improved economy over the equivalently Chevy variant.

or the slightly shorter gearing of the 4x4 means the V6 can operate more often in the 2.9 liter mode. 'active fuel management'
or it has better tires.

Tow test, payload test????? They are pickups right?

As always , I like the unorthodox categories that pickuptrucks picks, and I enjoyed reading this one . However, I do not like the gas/diesel filling up procedure. Some vehicles do not vent well and click easily before the capacity of the tank has been reached. Also I think it would be helpful to put the 'computer mpg' that the truck has calculated up as well, for comparison purposes.

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