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What Are the Best MPG Pickup Trucks?

by CheroCar 12 Jul 2023 0 Comments
Most pickup truck ads feature capabilities — towing, payload, tech, and off-road features — over fuel efficiency, which makes sense because if the truck isn’t up to your tasks, more miles per gallon won’t make that truck work for you. But a lot of trucks now feature robust capability and better fuel economy that can lower your operating costs.

The top spots are dominated by diesel and electrified trucks, though some have higher prices or less capability than the gasoline alternatives. Before you pay more, you should calculate whether you’ll save enough on operating expenses in your situation to be dollars ahead in the long run with alternative fuels. Your total mileage, as well as towing and payload use, matter, as do the relative cost of fuel (diesel being generally higher) and charging for an electric truck. And in most cases, size matters — you can save a lot on expenses and sticker price with a smaller truck if that’s all you really need.

Compact Trucks
The Best: Ford Maverick, 37 mpg combined, front-wheel drive
The Ford Maverick revived the compact pickup category for the U.S., and with its standard gas-electric hybrid 2WD powertrain, it is by far the most fuel-efficient pickup of any size with an internal combustion engine. The hybrid’s overall work specs are more limited than most trucks but still are robust enough for many needs, particularly in urban areas where its stellar 40 mpg city rating stands out. Fuel economy for the hybrid system, which is based on a 191-horsepower, 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine, drops to 33 mpg on the highway. The Maverick’s lone other powertrain is a 250-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 277 pounds-feet of torque. It is the only version that offers all-wheel drive, and it’s EPA-rated for 25 mpg combined with FWD and 24 mpg with AWD. An off-road-oriented Tremor version was added for 2023 and is rated at 21 mpg combined. In its debut year, the Maverick was Cars.com’s Best Pickup Truck of 2022 and Best of the Year 2022.


Mid-Size Trucks
The Best: Jeep Gladiator, 24 mpg, 4WD
The Gladiator is a specialty mid-size truck that blends pickup capability with the top-down, off-road personality and skills of Jeep’s Wrangler and standard 4WD. Now in its fourth year, it’s little changed for 2023 and still leads the mid-size group in fuel economy with 24 mpg combined with the optional 260-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel engine that puts out 442 pounds-feet of torque. The standard gasoline engine — a 285-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 — is less of a star with an EPA rating of 19 mpg combined.


The Rest
Ford Ranger, 23 mpg, 2WD: This is the highest rating for a 2WD truck with the Ranger’s only engine, a 270-hp, turbocharged 2.3-liter gasoline four-cylinder that puts out 310 pounds-feet of torque. The best rating for 4WD with that engine is 22 mpg combined. Note that the Ranger is being fully redesigned for the 2024 model year. The 2.3-liter base engine carries over, but there will be a pair of newly available engine upgrades.
Chevrolet Colorado, 22 mpg, 2WD: Fully redesigned for 2023, Colorado dropped its diesel and V-6 options in favor of turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engines. The base version puts out 237 hp and 259 pounds-feet of torque, while a higher-output version produces 310 hp and up to 430 pounds-feet. The best rating with 4WD is 21 mpg combined.

Full-Size Trucks
The Best (Tie): Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 26 mpg, 2WD and GMC Sierra 1500, 26 mpg, 2WD
These GM corporate siblings vary in features, trims and options, but they share the top 26-mpg rating and the powertrain that produces it: an available 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine that puts out 305 hp and 495 pounds-feet of torque. The trucks also rack up the best 4WD mileage at 24 mpg combined. The trucks’ best mileage with a gasoline engine is 20 mpg with 2WD and the available 310-hp, turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 430 pounds-feet of torque.


The Rest
Ford F-150, 25 mpg, 2WD: The top F-150 rating is for a 2WD truck with the available hybrid twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 powertrain that has a total output of 430 hp and 570 pounds-feet of torque. The best with 4WD is 23 mpg combined, also with the hybrid powertrain. With a conventional gasoline engine, the best fuel economy figure is 22 mpg combined for a 2WD truck with the available 325-hp, twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 400 pounds-feet of torque.
Ram 1500, 23 mpg, 2WD: Production ended in January for the 2023 Ram 1500 diesel, last year’s best full-sizer. The Ram 1500 mileage leader now, at 23 mpg combined, is the 2WD Tradesman HFE model, an extended-cab work truck available in white or black and powered by a 305-hp, 3.6-liter V-6. The best V-6 fuel economy is 22 mpg combined, and the best 4WD truck also uses the V-6 and is rated 21 mpg.
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