Update 1: 2011 Most and Least Efficient Pickup Trucks

2011 Most and Least Efficient Pickup Trucks

Update 1: March-17 2011 08:44 am PT
Corrected the MSRPs for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 XFE and GMC Sierra 1500 XFE.


The Environmental Protection Agency has published its list of the most and least fuel-efficient pickup trucks. Here's a look at the rankings, plus we've dug a bit deeper.

Among small pickups, the Toyota Tacoma is ranked as having both the best and worst fuel economy ratings for models equipped with automatic transmissions. The two-wheel drive, 2.7-liter four-cylinder Tacoma achieves 19/25 mpg city/highway (21 mpg combined) at the high end, while the four-wheel-drive six-cylinder hits only 14/18 mpg (15 mpg combined) at the low end of the segment.

The Ford Ranger compact pickup with a five-speed manual transmission is rated a best-in-class 22/27 mpg (24 mpg combined).


Among full-size pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid and GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid 6.0-liter V-8 half-ton twins have best-in-class mileage ratings at 20/23 mpg (21 mpg combined) for both two- and four-wheel-drive models. However, higher fuel-economy ratings don't necessarily make up for higher upfront purchase prices, which are approximately $3,000 more than comparable conventionally equipped 6.0-liter V-8 Silverado and Sierra pickups - or around 845 gallons of regular gasoline at $3.55 a gallon.

Since virtually all full-size pickups have conventional powertrains, we also took a look at those mileage figures.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 XFE and GMC Sierra 1500 XFE light-duty pickups that share the same 5.3-liter V-8 are rated at 15/22 mpg (18 mpg combined), while Ford has top honors for its all-new 3.7-liter V-6. The Ford F-150 with the 3.7 is rated at 17/23 mpg (19 mpg combined).

The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor occupies the bottom slot in the segment, with a thirsty 6.2-liter V-8 that's rated at 11/14 mpg (12 mpg combined).


Way to go Ford! Best fuel economy for compact and full-size trucks. The F-150 S.V.T. Raptor does not count because it is a specialty vehicle that nobody is purchasing with fuel economy in mind.

Dodge normally makes this list under 'Worst'. I guess great aero and MDS helps. Can't wait for 6 speed auto, rumored for next year.

@Mike I agree with Buy American. Raptor does not count. What is second worst?

So a hybrid truck which costs 3,000 more will only give you 3 mpg better fuel economy than the same truck that has better towing and hauling capacity. If you use the cost of fuel provided in the story - it would take 100,000 miles to pay for the hybrid.

What you could do is buy a Raptor and a I-4 Ford Ranger. Assuming you drove them equally = you'd get a combined fuel efficiency rating of 18 mpg.
That in itself would only be 3 mpg less than a battery powered truck.

All of these fuel ratings are appalling, really. Only 21 or 24 from a small compact truck with a 4 cylinder, really? The automakers aren't even trying here.

@Rich: I agree. I think small trucks should get 30 mpg or higher.


The rumored six speed is just the current 545RFE reprogrammed to use all six forward gears, instead of the normal 5.

But in 2013 model year the ZF 8 speed will be implemented. Not to mention MultiAir, Direct Injection, and aluminum blocks have been rumored.

So Ford only gives you a 1 mpg increase and you have to move to a V6? No thanks... I will take the GM V8.

GM trucks all over the list and they are freaking 4 years old! Imagine what they are going to do when they are brand new in about a year.

Only a idiot would say, "way to go ford for having the best fuel economy for small pickups and full size"

While the 5 speed manual two wheel drive ranger is best in class, the 5 speed automatic ranger is rated at 24 and the two wheel drive Colorado is 25.

In full size trucks the Ford F-150 with a 3.7 liter V6 is rated at 17 city and 23 highway. The Silverado Hybrid is rated at 19 city and 23 highway and has a 6.0 liter V8 and has a combined epa rating of 21mpg vs 19mpg for the 3.7 V6 in the ford.

I won't let these ford minions get away with Bill Clinton esque lies. Nobody get's better fuel economy than GM does in their trucks period. Don't take my word, go to www.fueleconomy.gov and look for yourself. You can even do a side by side comparison.

Congradulations GM for having the most fuel efficient trucks on the road and beating the competition in head to head comparisons. Whooooo hoooooo, GM whips them ford boys again!!! Yea Haaaaa!!!

So much for the Ford guys thinking the eco-turd is a gas miser..it not !!Ford drop the 6 shooter and build a v-8 ,they better buy a Ranger !!! Too bad Ford is dropping it !

Tacoma is a pig on gas,ugly looking truck,rough ride,major reliability issues..

Only an idiot would say: "Nobody get's better fuel economy than GM does in their trucks period."

The proof is in the chart!

So let it be written
So let it be don
I'm sent here by the chosen one
So let it be written
So let it be done
To kill the first born pharaoh's son
I'm creeping death

I do know how to spell *done*, don't you know?


Six speed: That's OK with me. I read somewhere (possibly here) that Ram is sluggish on the current shift from 2nd to 3rd.

2013: I think the 8 speed will be overkill. I don't tow much so a Ram with a Pentastar 340HP V8 (not a typo) and 6 speed auto would be fine for me.

The 3.5 EcoBoost gets better mileage than the two 5.3 V8 twins from GM so I don't know why EB is not listed.

EcoBoost is better than the 5.3 in every way: mileage, towing, hp and torque!


It is the sluggish 1st to 2nd gear shift, that you speak of, on the current 545RFE Dodge/Ram transmission. You read the details, I am sure, on the pickuptrucks.com 2007 Heavy Duty Shootout.

I agree with this statement. My 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 is plagued with this annoyance.

3.5L V6 EcoBoost
4x2 16 City/22 HWY Should be on the list in front of GM also.

Small pickup trucks available in the U.S. stink. The actually small ones get SUV mileage and aren't especially capable, and the bigger compact trucks get no better mileage than fullsize models, while offering less (and not actually being very much smaller than fullsize trucks). I think it would be great to see some modern turbodiesels in the U.S. in a wider range of applications, or, at the very least, a few more engineering hours put toward existing small pickup trucks and their powertrains.

The following might not be that great an example seeing as the U.S. Ranger is currently dead in the water, but it's been exactly the same truck for 10+ years.

Here's an example:

Vehicle:.........2011 Ford Ranger SuperCab 4x2 AT........2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i w/CVT
displacement..........................2.3L (140CID)..........2.5L (150CID)
torque (lbf*ft)..........................154.........................165
towing capacity.......................3500......................3500
max tongue wt.............................350......................200
ground clearance (rear diff).......8.2.........................8.7
curb weight...............................3136......................3386

*full-time symmetrical AWD

So a well-designed family car is a better truck than the Ranger in most ways except trailer tongue weight, and well, having a bed. But I think my point is clear. In addition, the Outback is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and rear seat passengers are allowed to have legs.

So a 4x4 auto V6 Tacoma gets worse mileage than a V8 auto 4x4 Dakota or Colorado? Thats pretty bad.

@ Bob and Hair ball - does hot air improve MPG?

Rating trucks by CAR PARAMETERS is highly misleading.

If I had to work my truck for a living - a Duramax pulling 15,000 lbs is pound for pound more efficient that a GM hybrid pulling a 5,000 lb trailer.

I'd have to make 3 trips with the Hybrid to match the diesel truck.

There was an interesting statistic stating that the USA government is the biggest buyer of hybrids.
Exerpt "The government purchased about 64 percent of GM’s Chevy Malibu hybrid models and 29 percent of all Ford Fusion hybrids manufactured since Obama took office in 2009, the data show."

quote"Hybrid and electric vehicle technology only makes sense if it can stand without government support, Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally told Detroit-area supplier executives in a Nov. 8 speech that was closed to the media."

I have to say that comment should extend to any business endeavor.


Where did you get your information regarding the Toyota Tacama V6 auto?

Here's a link to their specifications:

A 4x4 Tacoma with a V6 and automatic transmission gets 16/20 for a 18 combined, NOT 15.


Help me out here.

bob p you beat me to it, above they talk about "automatic" transmissions, the Tacoma V6 4x4 is 16 cty 20 hwy with the 5 spd auto, and 14 cty and 18hwy with the 6spd manual. the gear box in the manual is different and was designed to work with the 2wd xrunner so it suffers in the 4x4 and they dont even make but a couple thousand a year, LESS THAN THE RAPTOR even. what gives with those numbers?

I also think its crap that just because a manufacturer builds a 1% vehicle that you cant find at the dealer that wont tow anywhere near what the readers on here think they will that it should even be considered here, its just more of the same old same old BS advertising. Think about it, when was the last time you went to a GM dealer and saw an xfe on the lot? please, 3.08 gears on a truck? whats the point? OR go to a ford store and find the sfe f150 with that BS 3.15 rear ratio?? again you wont find it? why? because they dont work as a truck, PERIOD. the GM store will have 3.42 gear sets as a standard and 3.73 as tow. the ford will have 3.55 standard and 3.73 for towing. PLEASE TELL US WHAT THEY GET INSTEAD of this BS advertisement that means NOTHING.

Who in their right mind would buy an automatic tranny anyways?

Unless your handicap, you should not own a auto tranny!

By the way comparing an automatic tranny to a manual tranny is apples and oranges. How about a 4-cylinder manual Tacoma and a 4-cylinder Ranger.

The Tacoma is almost $2,000 less than a Ranger, hmmmm...

Where is the 7 speed automatic to replace the 5 speed automatic in the Nissan Titan & Frontier? Where is the VQ40 4.0 V6 with said 7 speed automatic for the Titan? Where is direct injection or VVEL?

Where is Toyota's Valvematic or direct injection at? Where are the 8 speed automatic for the Tundra? Where is the updated 1gr-fe 4.0 V6 for the Tacoma? Where is the 6 speed automatic (as a minimum) for the Tacoma?

Where is ANY kind of modern transmission to replace the horrid 545rfe in the Dodge Ram? VCT is nice, but how about VVT-which required separate camshafts, via cam-in-cam?

Why doesn't GM have any kind of entry level full size pickup that uses the 3.6 V6 & 6L50 transmission?
Why doesn't GM's small pickup trucks have variable intake valve timing? When will GM ever finish their 8 speed automatic? Why doesn't GM just offer a LIVC [semi-Atkinson cycle] of the 6.2?

Why did Ford make a retrograde step to 2 valves per cylinder in the 6.2 ?[Why didn't Ford fix their TERRIBLE three valve cylinder head design a long time ago?]

6 speed automatics are nearing the end of acceptability for new vehicles.

@ Mike L,

Any word on the Ecoboost? As jugger mentioned 16/22, then that will average to about 19 mpg combined, which knocks off the GM twinkies.

and @Bob,

Please don't!

@ Oxi and Bob:

Yep, I really don't care about this mpg battle, i think its garbage. I drive Dodge trucks, and i don't care if you can make better mileage with something else, I like Dodges, I have a heavy foot, and no matter what i drive, 12 is about tops (If i have 390 horses at my disposal, I'm going to use every damned one of them).

I'm an american, I drive what I want to, i will bitch about everyone else's ride that isn't similar to mine, and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it!!

Wow the auto companies are going to get there asses handed to them when fuel hits $4


You can't help but troll can you? Why is the 5.0L V8 or the Ecoboost not on this list? From what I understand they get either the same or better MPG than the 5.3L GM, but the difference is the 5.0L and Ecoboost actually have...You know...POWER.

I don't care so much about MPG's...I perfer Ford and I'll drive Ford regaurdless of what MPG's they get. To me its just a perk if its more efficent.

Gee - if THIS is the best the industry can do, then I feel less bad about my 2000 Dodge Ram (Short Bed, Std. Cab, 3.7 V6) only getting 17-18 mpg.

Of course, I'm still disappointed with it, in comparison to its predecessor - a 1992 GMC (Long Bed, Std. Cab, 4.3 V6), which got a consistent 21 mpg, with a good bit more 'git up n go'.

If I were buying a New one now, for 18 mpg, the 2011 GMC with a 5.3 V8 certainly piques my interest. But there's the matter of not having the $35,000 or so to buy it....and only having 40,000 miles on the old Dodge thus far. Rusty though it's getting to be, it is paid for...and I know where it's been.

GM always wins in the fuel economy department.

STOP comparing your observed fuel economy to what the EPA says. You should feel bad that your 2000 V6 only gets 17 observed. A 2011 from Ford will get 24 observed. That is 41% better fuel economy and it will have a lot more power. 2000 Ram 3.9 has 175 hp. 2011 V6 F150 230 or 365 hp/420 torque with EB. 41% more fuel economy and twice the power. That is called progress!

My 1970 GMC Camper Special longbed 2wd (2500) with a 350ci (5.7L) with quadrajunk 4bbl carb that needed a rebuild every two years got 10-15mpg with a 4.10 gear ratio. Fast forward 41 years and a new truck with same size engine and gear ratio struggles to get even 15% better mileage than a 41 yr old truck?? What a Joke !!! Had a 91 Toy X-cab 2wd Manual with v-6 got 21-27 Mpgs. Why is the fuel economy going backwards??? Remember the honda accords and crx's from the 1980s got in the 40s and 50s for mpgs???
All these new trucks are garbage in regard to fuel economy imo. 41 years & your lucky to get 15% better mileage. We should not buy any of this inefficient junk. Then mfgs might wake up and either make more fuel efficient vehicles or how about this, why not sell us the great fuel efficient vehicles (diesels) you sell to the REST of The WOrld ????? How can an engine that gets almost double the mileage (diesels) and same power with almost half the displacement be harmful to the environment??? Its only harmful to the oil industry and mfgs wallets. Im done with this gas junk. Oh and the reason why no one buys manual transmissions is because there are never any to buy. Dodge puts em in thier diesels occassionaly. WAKE UP AMERICA AND DONT LET FRIENDS BUY INEFFICIENT JUNK !!!!!!!

For a smidge better mileage and Since a manual trans wasnt available in a Tundra, I kick the auto in neutral when i see a red light and coast just like shifting a manual into neutral. Cause when i lift my foot off the gas that wonderful auto trans starts downshifting like crazy running up the rpms for no reason other than to waste fuel and save the brakes??
These fine trucks are designed to waste fuel imo.
In search of a 5.9L cummins with a manual and the world might be right again. Remember the 7.3L ford diesels, when you let your foot off the gas those trucks coasted in neutral. Why, probalby to save some fuel and keep the rpms down for engine longevity. Where is the Progress??? Why can we buy pull the neighborhood mega diesel trucks and not the smaller more fuel efficient trucks like sold in the rest of the world?? Diesel takes a lot less refining, why does it cost more?
because the oil industry and mfgs dont want us to get good mileage at all. Just milk us dry ! Have to figure out a way to beat the system. buy a 4 year old truck where the first guy took all the depreciation and the $10-20k you saved will buy a lot of gas. dont buy new until its worth it !!!!

Ford guys bitching about GM engines not having power is very hypocritical.

It took Ford 4 new engines to crawl out of that last place hole they have been in for the last decade.

A.J. and Buy American:

The only thing I'm not happy about with my 08 Ram trans is the TC lockup in 4th. If it just waited 300 to 400 rpm more to lockup, I would consider the trans perfect.

As for the sluggish shifting, I have never felt that, must be something that Ram was able to get rid of between 07 and 08. My truck doesn't have it, and in the 2010 HD shootout the HEMI beat Fords new 6.2 in a lot of the towing tests, so I'm guessing the new HEMI didn't have it either. I don't believe it would have been able to accomplish that if it did.


How many XFE GM trucks do you see on the road? Me? I've yet to see one! And I live in the heartland of trucks (Texas) EVERYONE here drives trucks of all kinds, Fords Chevys Dodge's Nissans Toyotas all of varying models, but I have not seen ONE XFE GM. I've only seen one Ford SFE and it wasn't even on the road...It was on the dealership lot!

And as far as your little hybrid argument goes...Seriously? Who the hell, wants to pay extra to gain 1 or 2mpg and lose that much towing capacity? As it stands with current technology Gas/Electric Hybrid systems on Pickups and SUV's are a Joke! Have some watered down 6.0L with a pansy 3.08 rear end and a 6,000lb towing capacity...No thanks.

On the other hand though, the Hydraulic Launch Assist that Ford is working on sounds to be much more promising, as its apparently yielding close to 40mpg in a 4.6L V8 powered F-150. A hell of alot better than GM's pathetic 23mpg Gas/Electric Hybrid set up. Apparently you FORGOT that the Ford Ecoboost offers 22mpg and FAR more power than the Hybrid GM. Hell even Fords new 5.0L V8 is close as it is rated at 21mpg WITHOUT hybridization and it too makes ton's more power than the 5.3L or 6.0L Hybrid.

@Universe Master

You say that's hypocritical but GM guys have done the same thing before. I'm not denying that the Ford 4.6L and 5.4L were behind the competition in both power and efficiency. All I am saying is that it doesn't matter what company you support, Ford,GM,Dodge whatever...Whenever your company is on top in a specific aspect then you gloat about it to others. Its just how it goes in this business. You think GM guys didn't have their time in the engine spot light back in 1998 when they came with the 5.3L? Or how about the Dodge boys when their Hemi's hit the streets in 2003? Same with Nissan and Toyota.

And now Fords on top with their new lineup of stout V8's and V6's so Ford guys will do the same. This should not be surprising to you at all.

After observing the ratings above, i'd like to throw my two-cents in regarding my 2010 Taco DoubleCab Pre-Runner. Althought it's only a 2WD model, i still average 19-20mpg a tank here in Florida running the A/C when the family or customers are with me (majority of the year), but when we have a few months of cool weather here, i average 20-21mpg w/no A/C running. The only addition i've made to my Taco is installling a K&N air filter and i don't think it makes that big a diff. I bought the truck new (my first new vehicle, and i'm 51) and the sticker says my combined average should be 19mpg. So either way you look at it, i'm getting what the chart above depicts for a 4cyl Taco in my 6cyl. Have over 22k miles on it, and the only issue i have is the constant downshifting the tranny wants to do everytime you lift. Love the ground clearance, performance and handling. The only thing i'd change is i wish the rear brakes were disc vice the drum setup they come with, just don't understand that. I'm thinking with discs all around, the payload and towing capacity would increase due to better stopping power. but other than that, life is Taco good here in the Sunshine State.


Chrysler has not done anything to improve the 545RFE transmission since 2001? The disappointing gear ratios have not changed. What has changed is; the HEMI in the Ram has gone from 345 horsepower/375 lb.-ft. torque (2003) to 390 horsepower/407 lb.-ft. torque (2009).

The increase in horsepower and torque has masked the deficiency of the transmission gearing. If you read the the very well put together, pickuptrucks.com report; 2007 Heavy Duty Shootout, you will see the comments about the 2007 Ram 2500 HEMI (345/375). They point out, a couple of times, how the transmission gearing hurt the truck's scores.

Mike Levine, Is it true that the 8 speed transmission coming out this summer 2011 for the Dodge Durango? Because I was looking at one at the dealership and the saleman told me this. Thanks!!!

what about the vw caddy diesels from the 80s that get like 50mpg?

It is intersting to see someone claim that a 1970 p/u gets the same or better fuel economy. I had a 1990 F250 4x4 reg cab long box with 3.55 gears, 5 sp manual, and 5.0 V8. The V8 was rated at 195 HP. The best I ever got empty was 16 mpg. My 2010 F150 Supercrew 6.5 box 4x4 with 5.4, 6 sp auto, 3.55 has gotten 18 mixed city/highway. My 2010 has at least 100 hp more, weighs probably 600 lb. more and so far is getting 20% better fuel economy.
I don't recall any of my father's pickups 1977, 1970, 1964 etc. get better mpg than my current p/u.
I don't buy the old vehicles are better argument.

My dad is an older guy and has been working on/driving trucks (not just PUs but semis as well) for a long time. Now, he is a bit of a crack pot and believes in some weird conspiracy stuff but he told me that way back in the day a guy designed a carb that could get a truck back in the 50s/60s mpgs in the 20s without sacrificing power. He went on to say that some big company (he didnt know whether it was a manufacterer of maybe the oil company) bought the plans for it from him but then never used it. Then when he started making this story public the guy died of "natural causes" shortly after that. Now at first I just blew this off as some conspiracy that my dad and his old man buddies buy into but since then I have has some other old timers, whom my dad does not know or speak to, tell me the same thing. I know this sounds kind of stupid but can anybody shed any light onto this? Tell me somebody on here has heard something about this or at least something similiar

Buy American:

The 545RFE is poorly geared compared to modern 6 speeds, but that is the reality of having a 5(6) speed that is geared like a 4.

But saying Chrysler has done nothing to improve the trans is wrong. If you read the very well put together 2010 HD shootout, you will notice the Hemi outperforms a truck that has more HP, TQ, and a Gearing Advantage. The Ram wouldn't have been able to do that, if the trans was as bad as you make it out to be. As I have said before, my truck with the old Hemi (08) has NO shift lag in-between any shifts. This shows Chrysler must have changed Shift Algorithms, TQ Management, and Line Pressure Control, in-between 07 and 08, to make up for its gearing disadvantage.


The ZF 8 speed WILL be the summer of 2012 for the 2013 model year Ram.

During a recent statement to Congress, Chrysler stated that the trans alone is 12% more fuel efficient then the outgoing 545rfe, and 11% more efficient then the Mercedes 5 speed in the cars.

That is just the start of it, if the rumored tech is add, gains will be:
MultiAir - 10%
Direct Injection - 5ish%
Aluminum Block will lower the weight.
- A new rumor surfaced yesterday:
Stop/Start tech - (according to ZF) 5-10% city mileage.

If all this tech is added, Ram will have the most powerful and fuel efficient truck on the market. Now the real question, does the new Chrysler have the balls to add it?

@"universe master," are you sure about that? I had a GM 5.3, then went to a Ford 5.4, and the 5.3 doesn't even come close to pulling power.

It's funny that people always say the 5.4 had more "pulling power" then the 5.3, yet it never showed up in real world tests.

@Benchimus no comment. they are watching us :)
I've heard similar rumors/stories/folklore/urban legends.

@Lled - I've only read one direct comparison test between a Chev 5.3 and Ford 5.4. That was done by a car magazine. The Chev crewcab truck was 0.1 seconds faster than the 5.4 in a 1/4 mile (trucks empty) drag race.
The F150 is taller, has a front bumper that is at least 3 inchs higher, and the F150 weighs more.
I would take it that a bigger, taller, heavier truck being 0.1 seconds slower is a negligible amount and therefore means the 5.4 engine pulls harder than the 5.3.
You can spin it any way you want but that is how I see it.

What's disgusting about the American truck market is the lack of small diesels from established manufacturers. Below is an excerpt from a review of the Nissan Navara, which is basically a Frontier, in an Australian auto blog.
"There are two powerplants available for those considering a Nissan Navara ST-X Dual Cab. A 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine or a 2.5-litre turbodiesel. Frankly, it’s hard to make a strong case for the petrol model. Sure it has more power (198kW compared to 140kW for the diesel) but it has less torque (385Nm at 4000rpm compared to 450Nm at 2000rpm) and uses a truckload more fuel (13.6L/100km compared to 8.5L/100km). It also happens to miss out on vehicle dynamic control (VDC) and an active-brake limited-slip differential (ABLS) – features available on the diesel model. 90 percent of all Navara sales are diesel, so we decided to test the diesel variant instead."

The 4.0L is essentially the US version of the Frontier. Converting the L/100km to mpg is 27.67 mpg for the diesel and 17.30 for the gas version. The diesel gets about 60% better mileage than the gas version, which way offsets the price differential. Why don't we get this choice? If it's based on EPA pollution regulations, it seems like the increased efficiency would more than offset any possible increase in pollutants. Does the EPA view pollutants in absolute terms or on a gallon of fuel burned basis?

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