Not long ago, V-6 engines in the 1/2-ton segment were the bottom-of-the-barrel, loss-leader choice, mainly selected for their low price. Even fuel economy relative to more powerful V-8 models wasn't that much better. Thanks to a concerted effort by the Detroit Three, V-6s are a much more popular choice with truck buyers, thanks to much-improved power, refinement, and fuel economy over their predecessors.

The biggest relative gainer lately is the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, where the take rate on the V-6 model has gone up from a dismal 5 percent to a significant 20 percent. Although that's a respectable chunk of overall sales, it pales in comparison with the combined 77.8 percent V-6 retail market share the Ford F-150 had in 2013. But to be fair, General Motors doesn't offer a direct equivalent to Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

Like GM and its 5.3-liter V-8, the most popular engine in the Ram 1500 is currently the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. But since the introduction of the Pentastar V-6, and the introduction of the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, the powertrain share between the three available engines is expected to change in 2014. Bob Hegbloom, Ram Truck brand director, said the popularity of the Pentastar V-6 over the past year has increased to the point that it will be offered for the first time in the premium Laramie trim level starting in March 2014.

Expect the popularity of V-6 1/2-ton trucks to continue to increase with the introduction of the 2015 Ford F-150, with three of its four available engines being V-6s.

Source: General Motors, Ford, Ram