Half-Ton Truck Wars Include MPG Battles

Pump gas

There was a time when good fuel economy would never show up on a potential pickup customer's wish list, but times have changed. Truck buyers are getting smarter with every new generation of pickup truck, and fuel efficiency is among their demands.

According to one Automotive News writer, the fact that Ford and Ram have a strong dependence on turbocharger technology could give them an advantage (albeit Ram's turbo is on a diesel while Ford has a pair of turbos on a gasser) over the traditional, non-turbo (however high-tech) GM EcoTec3 engines.

The EcoDiesel-versus-EcoBoost debate is not likely to quiet down for a while, but it does seem to open up a good opportunity for smaller players like Toyota and Nissan (and possibly Honda), which have many high-tech options to choose from in their deep quiver of engine technologies. Saving weight with advanced, high-strength materials is a logical step for the next Ford F-150, but we like reporter Richard Truett's suggestion that Ford could also do some weight savings with an all-new rear suspension to combat some of the Ram 1500's ride advantages. We'll know more soon.

MPG Chart 1 II



These updates are a nice start, but seriously they should be pushing 40 mpg if they really tried. I'm the last person who would say compromise on capability to gain some fuel economy. I don't believe they need to do that with modern technology.

So nobody's achieving 20+MPG in the city yet? I'm Looking foreward to seeing the year when that happens.

^forward not foreward.

@wararazawanga - "So nobody's achieving 20+MPG in the city yet? I'm Looking foreward to seeing the year when"

The only way that's going to happen is the bubba feared H word. Hybrid.

Consumer reports shows they all still get 15 MPG in the gas form. The ecodiesel is the only one that shows promise with Motor Trends real world testing.

GM did with last gen hybrid half ton pickups, 23 mpg city.

One of the interesting things with diesel vs gas is the EPA diesel numbers can usually be beat by the regular drive where the EPA gas numbers are very seldom reached by the regular user.

I think Ram is going to pull off a 20 mpg city number with the 2wd EcoD. The marketing hype is just too great for them not to make it happen. Ford claims V6 fuel economy with the power of a V8. GM has shown that Ford offers V8 fuel economy with the EB. Ram is poised to really trounce everyone else provided Ford doesn't have something revolutionary under the hood of the 2015 F150. If Ford can shave 800 lbs off the next gen truck, that may let them nip on Ram's heels with a smaller, more efficient EB. If someone could get a half ton back down to the 4500 lb range and install a smaller diesel with 9/10 speed transmission, air suspension, auto stop/start, and other fuel saving tech, there is no reason you couldn't see 25 city/35 hwy/28 combined mpg.

My pickup truck is a tool not a daily driver! I don't give a hoot about MPG's in a truck!

Just as with the cost of diesel engines, the exotic gas engine technology has to be amortized over the life of the owner to make sense.

In the meantime, enjoy your V8 pickups.

Gas prices will not go up much as long as the supply equals demand, and the currency remains stable.


You're quoting numbers for the naturally aspirated 3.7 V6. The EcoBoost 3.5 V6 (the most powerful engine listed on this chart) is rated one MPG less at 16/22, 18 combined. So for 2 MPG's less than your GM 4.3, you get 80 more hp and 115 lb-ft more torque.

Your wrong on the pricing of EcoDiesel Ram. It's a $2,500 uptick over the hemi 5.7 v8. Which almost all of the Ram 1500 sold are 5.7 v8. Relatively few people buy Ram v6's unless its for fleet duty. Just saying it's not a true $6000 upgrade for most people who are set on buying a Ram 1500.

I am a little more positive that something will change with the Tundra soon and probably no later than the 2016my Tundra. I have read rumors of cylinder Deactivation, direct injection and an 8-speed which would help the Tundra more than any other 1/2 ton because you will be able to get something other than the FE killing 4.30 axle ratio with a tow package. What I haven't read is the rumor of a higher compression ratio which from what I read direct injection and being undersquared are best for a high compression engine http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=34958.0. The 5.7L iforce V8 is the most undersquared v8 engine currently in a 1/2 ton pickup. I see know good reason why the any of the EcoTec3 should have a higher compression ratio than the 5.7L iforce other than Toyota refused to advance the engine. I didn't have a good feeling at launch that Toyota was going to advance the engines but now I think the rumors might be true for some of the features above because the 5.7L/3UR is based off the other members of the UR engine family http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forums/tundra/221326-the-ur-series-engine-performance-thread/. Toyota may have advanced the UR engine family with the upcoming Lexus RC F http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/lexus/85015/lexus-rc-f-leaked. The whole space shuttle thing I thought was a bad sign along with the fact that no other member of the UR engine family advanced but if other members of the UR engine family advance than the 5.7L/3UR might as well.

Ram, The class leader. AGAIN!

The US is a long way off getting a 40mpg (highway) pickup.

It would have to be a diesel and smaller.

At the moment we only have one Korean dual cab that's getting that type of economy.

The US would have to change it's design, emissions, etc standards to achieve that.

Under the current US CAFE model trucks a full size will be hard pressed to reach 32 mpg (highway) with a diesel.

I really don't count hybrid as they can't be manufactured sustainably as a long term and affordable product.

Aerodynamics is the best and easiest option in improving mpg's. All pickups are bricks.

Someone please tell me why we can't have a ΒΌ-ton (after passengers) truck in the 3500 pound range? That would absolutely meet the needs of the vast majority of compact-truck buyers.

Ford says the next F-150 sheds 400 lbs. by using aluminum instead of steel for most of the truck. Prices are going up and up and up from here....so much that it'll eat into the fuel economy savings.

I'd rather drive a $25K truck that gets 16MPGs than pay $35k for a base truck that gets 20MPGs.

My ecoboost gets 12L/100km in good weather hwy. but I've noticed that once temps drop to -20C or worse I'm getting an embarrassing 17.5L/100km hwy. almost thought there was some thing wrong. But I guess cold winds and turbos don't like each other

Ecoboost motors are good for getting a good MPG to put on the lable, but you better be ready to drive like a grandma to get those numbers because as soon as your in the turbo the MPG falls way off.

"Truck buyers are getting smarter..."

Sadly truck buyers are not getting smarter. We're still the same old morons. Willing to buy vehicles based nominal differences in numbers on a brochure.

Truck buyers are getting poorer. That's really what it is.

Can't afford to drive it but it sure do look mighty fine in the driveway.

The ecoboost was pretty good when it came out. There's a reason they have been selling so well. When it was first available it was arguably better than offerings from both chevy and Ram for the combination of power/fuel economy. I don't own one and have been skeptical of the ecoboost reliability from the start, but I know multiple people that get great mileage with it and most people that own it HIGHLY recommend it. If you have a lead foot the ecoboost seems to do very poorly in MPG, but if you take it easy there is no reason why it won't get v6 fuel economy as claimed(because it IS a v6 and the turbos aren't doing much when you take it easy). Ram and chevy have only very recently leap-frogged the ecoboost (arguably as I think Ram still has poor reliability after my current ram experience) and I'm hoping the f-150 will soon leap-frog the other two again. For those of you that don't know, the 2015 f-150 will be revealed in 11 days and go on sale later this year. I have high hopes because even though my truck is also "a tool" used for work, MPG and SAVING MONEY is important to me. I doubt the next f-150 will beat the ecodiesel MPG, but if it does as good or better than the chevy my next truck will probably be an easy decision. I've already ruled out the Ram. No way I'd be the guinea pig for an italian motor in a truck I already have had bad experiences with.

I agree that the base Ram diesel is a lot more likely to pull off 20/30. Motor Trend tested a crew cab Laramie; the top EPA number will be based on a 4x2 regular cab Tradesman with the 6'4" bed - the lightest combination.

When I drove a 2012 F150 and a 2013 Sierra I monitored the mpg and the gas gauge quite a bit while asking myself if I really needed a 4wd truck. Now that I have a 2014 Ram with the 5.7 I can't see the gas gauge through the grin on my face and I'm actually enjoying driving the truck so much I really don't care about the gas anymore.

@Brad, my 5.4 Triton drops down to 18L/100 on the highway in the winter (from 14L/100 in the summer). I'm pretty sure every car gets significantly worse mileage in the winter with higher fluid viscosity.

Its hilarious how these guys are able to post "EPA" numbers that is testing that the MANUFACTURER does supposedly by guidlines.........

Funny how Consumer reports says the ecoboost 3.55 gears averages 15 mpg and the Tundra with the 5.7 and 4.30 gears reports the SAME MPG numbers despite EPA numbers. LOL LOL somebody is cooking numbers while another manufacturer is posting very realistic numbers so customers arent disappointed and are happy instead...... Same ole jokes from the Ford, GM, and Ram...... as always.

tundra V-6, gets the same mpg as the Chevy 6.2? how is that possible? in a truck that weighs less, and has a lot less power?

I am happy to see a MPG war instead of just HP wars going on. I bet we see some hybrid tech in the next 3 years or so and diesels for all if Ram manages to sell at least 50k of them a year.

I have heard Ford's estimates are 400-800 lbs less for the 2015 F-150 which will help city mpg quite a bit. That combined with the 10 speed and the 2.7 Ecoboost I expect to see something close to 18-20 city and 26+ on the highway. It will only be for a mid tier motor but with 300+ hp and well over 300 lbs of torque across the broad curve it likely will be able to reasonably tow 7-8k lbs. That is about the cut-off point for most people between buying a half ton or 3/4 ton anyway.

Not bad for the Ecoboost being right inline with the competitors gas saver low tow rating engines while being able to outdo most of the competitors towing engines in performance and fuel economy. I really don't think the Ecoboost should even be on this list since not one of those engines would hold a candle to it's capabilities. That's like comparing a base engine to the premium engine and claiming the base engine is better because it gets better fuel economy. Well of course it does, but it is also considerably less powerful which is why it is a base engine. That is why I always laugh at those GM commercials where they compare the fuel mileage of their Ecotec 5.3 to the Ecoboost yet they neglect to mention that very same Ecoboost would blow the 5.3L away in performance and stand toe to toe with their 6.2L in towing.

@Brad - there is quite an increase in parasitic loses in very cold weather. Lubricants increase in viscosity making engines, transmissions, axles etc. all more difficult to turn. Even tires get stiffer. Idling consumes fuel, and extra drain on the battery requires more power from the alternator. Throw in wind and/or snow and it all gets harder on fuel. I've seen 19-24 litres/100 km around town in bad weather when having to use 4x4.

To the guys that say fuel economy doesn't matter, most are making excuses or rationalizing what they are driving. I am seeing fleets in my area try different 1/2 ton pickups over 3/4 tons to save money on purchase price and fuel economy. The company my brother works for just bought a fleet of Ecoboost equiped F150's and they cited mpg as a primary reason.

@AD - ignore anything posted by "Lou". My screen name was hijacked by a bottom feeding troll.

ALL1 The Eco Bust from Ford is a joke, they still haven't fixed the problems. it gets worse MPG then V8's. It should of been left in a light car where it belongs.

"Ecoboost should even be on this list since not one of those engines would hold a candle to it's capabilities."

Yeah you got that right no engine can blow up and be as much of a pile the Eco Boost is.

I agree that id rather own a 1/2 ton that gets good mpgs.
And leave the heavy lifting for the 3/4 and 1 ton trucks.

I Know about 10 people that love the eco boost power but don't like fuel economy, in the city. I don't understand why it isn't offered in a super duty. to me that means it wouldn't perform well when put to work. the ram eco diesel is going to be a good truck. the euros know how to make diesels run. audi, bmw, Mercedes have invested a lot of cash on diesel emissions tech just for American regulations. The eco diesel is a very strong and heavy built motor and is said to be better built and designed, also has a bed plate made of cgi iron! I don't think any other models from said manufacturers above have anything more than aluminum in the bed plate. The eco diesel was built for the euro Cadillac but never was used because of bad economic times.

No one is saying put the eco diesel in a regular cab powerwagon 2500. maybe make a 1500 powerwagon? I think it has been done already? 4.56 gears 8 speed auto sounds like it might be able to get the job done.

@ Johnny Doe

LOL, you are contradicting yourself. Hmm, for something that belongs in a car it sure put an arse whooping to the Ecotec 6.2L in the Ike Gauntlet where it it pulled 10,000 lbs up an 8 mile hill a minute quicker. Maybe that only belongs in a car too? If the Ecoboost was junk then what does that say about the 6.2L that it beat or even the 5.3L that doesn't even come close. So those must be even more a joke since they couldn't out do the Ecoboost engine that you call a joke. Show me a towing performance test where the 5.3L out does the Ecoboost...........I'm waiting.

Real world towing test towing 10,000 lb up and 8 mile stretch of road that gets up to 7 degree incline.

Silverado with an Ecotec 6.2L and 3.73 gears- 8:26

F-150 with an Ecoboost 3.5L and 3.73 gears- 7:36

For an engine that is a joke as you say, you would have thought that GM's all inspiring 6.2L would have mopped the floor with it. I can see how you GM fan boys are pissed about the Ecoboost (or Ecobust as ya'll call it). Afterall, not only did it mop the floor with the Ecotec 5.3L in the PUT.com 2013 truck shoot out, but it also gave it to the 6.2L in the Ike Gauntlet. It's okay, I would be pissed too if I was GM fanboy. Please, post some more fan boy giberish so I can have a good laugh. Sad thing is, I am posting facts off of factual events and you are calling the Ecoboost a joke not being able to out do the GM in towing without nothing to show as evidence. Hmm, who to believe, the person who has evidence of the Ecoboost handing it to the 6.2L in towing or the fanboy who just blurts out name calling based on no real world proof.

The Eco Boost is a joke it falls apart when put it to hard work read the Ford forums. The 5.3 had 3.08s vs the Fords 3:73's you're test you like to talk bout. Run them in manual mode like a normal towing person would and that Eco Boost would be miles behind, sad the Eco Boost got less MPGs then the 6.2L.

Here a review for you F450 LOL! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qru3q_yYaJI guy tows well under Ford rated limit he replaces front tires every 5 to 6 weeks from (Death Wobble) and rear diffs like its fuel. Common Ford owner, only thing that runs good on them are the owners mouth.

@Johnny doe doesn't have a clue. My father in law has an 11 ecoboost that had the problems. The problems have been fixed. For anybody who actually believes epa numbers, you're not smart. In real world, the v-8s and ecoboost get about the same mpg with ecoboost having more power than it's competitors. The ram has the advange now because of the 8 speed. Once the new 10 speed arrives in the new f-150, lights out for everybody else. The ecodiesl is by itself. Better fuel economy but a slug compared to the rest. Pick your poison.

They don't get the same mileage. In the Ike Gauntlet tow test from another website, EcoBoost got better mileage than the new Chevy.

@johhny doe

Actually no even in manual mode it would not have made much of a difference and the fact that the GM even needs to be in manual mode in order to out do a small 3.5L is a bit comical. Based on factual specs of the truck, the 6.2L could not have gone any faster than 64.2 mph with the 2.364:1 ratio of GMs 6L80 2nd gear, 31.7 inch diameter tires,and a rear gear of 3.73. At 64.2 mph the truck would have hit the 6.2Ls max engine speed of 6,000 rpm and the instant it shifted into 3rd then it would drop speed as seen in the video. So the fastest it could have gone up the hill was 64.2 mph while the Ecoboost was over 65 mph and even in 4th gear at times. The one time the Ecoboost was in 2nd was when the idiot fumbled around to turn tow/haul mode on and let off the gas, but he quickly recovered. So to recap this, in order to maintain speed up the hill the 6.2L would have had to stay in 2nd gear pegging the max rev limiter at 6,000 rpm without having enough power to hold 3rd which would have dropped speed down to 45mph. The Ecoboost on the other hand stayed between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm for the most part in 3rd and even 4th gear hardly falling below 60 mph the whole way. And you say the Ecoboost is a joke? Man, I would hate to think what you would think of the 6.2L if it was a non GM motor with a performance like that. I bet you would be bashing it like crazy if competitors engine performed that way, but I am guessing you will defend it since it is a GM motor.

Also, I have no probs with the GM 2500/3500, and would be happy driving one if I needed that much capability. They have damn good engines in them so bringing up a F450 issue holds no weight with me. Its the 1500s that I feel are lacking testicular fortitude. Also, every manufacturer has dirt on them and anyone can dig up dirt on all manufacturers with a simple Google search.

@johnny doe they sre fixed. My father in law has had no problems since the last fix. His buddy is the service manager at a ford dealer here and has said they haven't had any new problems with any of the trucks after this last fix. My info is first-hand not from unreliable forums.
@dave actually the Chevy 6.2 got a little better mpg. I watched the video on YouTube. I don't trust it though. Since the ecoboost was able to hold speed and the Chevy couldn't it's not an equal comparison. I would like to see them lower the speed to 50 so the Chevy can hold speed. Then we'll see a better comparison.

@johnny doe - I work with guys who have the ecoboost and not one has gone into limp mode. I'm not saying it hasn't happened. I'm just saying they're isolated incidents. Ford isn't dumb. They're not going to continue selling a product that would bankrupt the company with recalls.

I was referring to the first ike gauntlet. Tundra 9.4 mpg. EB 11.3 mpg. Chevy NA - it could not tow the same amount. People always say the Tundra gets the same mileage. It does not.

@ Kev12345 The guy's I been working with past 6 months with have be driving their company's old worn out left over 1990s Fords and Chevys more then their newer Eco Boost. The Eco Boost is good, but not for work.

The Ike Gauntlet only proves that the EB is the most powerful production 1/2 ton to use in the mountains due to twin turbo's are more efficient than NA at that elevation. The results with the 6.2L "may" be different where the vast majority of us live. Also the way that tranny worked in that video I would hope that it was isolated event for GM because that 6.2L will probably not be in a truck that cost under 42K so that is unacceptable to me. You have to tip your cap to Ford as the EB performed the best in that extreme test.

As for the 5.7L iforce against the EB in the mountains I will predict that the more torque twin turbo engine will perform and get better mpg in that situation but like the PUTC test above it will get worst FE towing where majority of us live. Also I do not believe the EB gets the same mpg on average as the 5.7L iforce as that is some Toyota marketing that came about after the 3rd gen Tundra came out with no powertrain changes and they needed a reason to justify no changes.

The EPA numbers for the EB are probably not what you would see on average like most vehicles but are probably achievable at times example PUTC test http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2013/06/2013-light-duty-challenge-mileage-drive.html. My guess would be in the Ford forums their are people who probably get around the EB's 18 mpg average.

@ ALL1

If you actually knew anything you might be dangerous. the "ike gauntlet"???????? SERIOUSLY?? That guy is a total JOKE! seriously your claiming that at 60mph the ecoboost makes it up a hill faster than another truck? You truly dont understand how vehicles work. that goofball from the fastlanetruck is a ford guy who is spouting propaganda from ford. you find a speed where the truck will actually work well with engine speed/gearing to make it appear better. The ecoboost CANNOT complete the davis dam test for the J2807 test which is why ford wont adopt the standard! in 100 degree heat and air on it shuts down the turbos when they overheat! The ONLY fanboi in this debate is YOU! Even IF the ecoboost was marginally better than another engine empty or loaded how is it better when you add $3000 in turbos and extra complexity? THEN when you work it hard it gets by FAR the worst fuel economy! Unlike your ecoboost the Tundra test that idiot did led me to check into it. I own a Tundra and can tell you that test was BU**S**T! I have towed 12,500 with mine and can STILL accelerate up steep grades. get off your fanboism you look foolish.

@ dave

you too!??!! good lord you people will believe ANYTHING you see on the internet eh? For starters the Tundras tow/haul button need not be on when towing any weight. that system is only for ultimate control over the weight keeping the engine loaded so it immediately accelerates or decelerates as soon as you press or depress the accelerator pedal. Its foolish how you people believe this nonsense all the time. before you spout some BS back at me think and do research first. the trans in the tundra is WAY ahead in technology compared to these slush boxes the others use...... the trans will change how fast, and when it shifts based on throttle input, load on the engine and speed. It also adjusts itself for wear and tear something else the others cant do! OH, did i also mention it has a variable lock up converter that can engage in 3rd,4th,5th, and 6th gear. You people need to study up and stop believing this garbage propaganda you see and watch and read.........

@AD- My brother is on his 3rd GMC HD crewcab 4x4 with the 6.0. The first 2 were bad for shifting like the 6.2 in the Ike gauntlet. His current one behaves better under load but still suffers from rev/bog shifting.

The thing to keep in mind is the high price of diesel in most parts of the U.S. The Ram diesel would need a 23 mpg EPA combined estimate to beat the estimated annual fuel cost for a Chevy with the less expensive, more powerful 5.3L V-8. So if you want to save money and are cross-shopping gas and diesel trucks, look at the estimated annual fuel cost on the window label, not the fuel economy numbers

For the jokers saying the ecoboost can't complete the davis dam test, quit being a ford hater. The ecoboost has beaten every other comparable competitors it has gone up against. The only exception is the ram 8 speed tranny. It's the tranny, not the hemi. Ford wont apply j2807 because they don't want their tow ratings to go down on a current model. Not because they can't do it. Use your head! We'll see if they apply it to the next gen trucks. You all might not like it and you can make all the excuses you want. The F-150 did make it up the ike gauntlet without manual mode easier than the rest. Seems to me its the best engine/tranny light duty combo at high altitude.


this was tested by engineers that the ecoboost was only able to do around 7800lbs for the davis dam test. AGAIN this isnt propaganda this is 100 ambient temp with ac on high able to maintain 40 mph with no check lights or issues. the ecoboost WONT do it. by your OWN argument if it could do it then they would have BRAGGING rights which they always seem to want. so the ONLY reason they wouldnt is because it WONT do it. it just that simple. GM WAS goin to do it until ford anounced they wouldnt do it so then gm said they wont either until ford complies! your brainwashed if you believe anything else.

OH btw toyota did it in the middle of both models of trucks 2 years before EVERY manufacturer agreed to adhere to the policy. by 2013 EVERYONE agreed to adhere.................. obvious to me

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