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Top 15 Most Fuel-Efficient 2016 Trucks

Haulers that Won’t Hose You at the Pump

Feb 5, 2016
For commuters that zealously prize fuel economy over all else, there’s the Toyota Prius, the Nissan Leaf, or the now eco-villain Volkswagen TDI. But let’s be honest: if you’re a hardcore truck guy, you wouldn’t be caught dead in any of those. It’s a truck or nothing for you. But thanks to the efforts of truck engineering teams, there are plenty of pickups out there that let you keep your dignity intact while not wincing every time you have to pull up to the pump. We’ve compiled the 15 most fuel-efficient 2016 model pickups below.
1) Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon Duramax 2WD – 22 city/31 highway
The new Colorado and Canyon diesel currently hold the title of the most fuel-efficient trucks you can buy in 2016. While miserly at the pump, they’re also highly capable, with a more than 1,400-pound payload and 7,700 pound towing capacity. Those are real truck numbers. Unfortunately, the engine’s $3,700 option price may take a few years to recoup from fuel savings.
Photo 2/19   |   07 2016 Colorado Driver Side Front View
2) Ram 1500 HFE 2WD EcoDiesel – 21 city/29 highway
Unsurprisingly, the second most fuel-efficient truck on our list is also a diesel, in the form of the Ram 1500 HFE EcoDiesel. We’ve become big fans of this package for its capability, smoothness, and great real-world fuel economy. Despite the truck’s miserly consumption, it’s still rated to tow more than 8,000 pounds.
Photo 3/19   |   2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE Front Three Quarter
3) Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon Duramax 4WD – 20 city/29 highway
The 4WD version of the Colorado/Canyon diesel gets slightly fewer mpgs than its 2WD counterpart but is still capable of some impressive economy on the road. We’ve seen 30 mpg highway in the 4WD in real-world mixed driving.
Photo 4/19   |   2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax TurboDiesel Front Quarter
4) Ram 1500 EcoDiesel 2WD – 20 city/28 highway
The HFE model may get the glory for being the most fuel-efficient fullsize truck, but the non-HFE EcoDiesels are not much less efficient. Truth to be told, installing side steps and a soft tonneau on any other Ram would yield similar results.
Photo 5/19   |   2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Passenger Side Front View
5) Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon 2.5L 2WD – 20 city/27 highway
GM’s midsize twins make another appearance on this list, powered by the base 2.5L 200hp I-4 gas engine. Equipped with the six-speed automatic, these trucks return a highly respectable 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. However, truth be told, the 2.5L is the engine we’d least likely choose. The 305hp V-6 is only 2 mpg thirstier in the city and 1 mpg less on the highway, while providing substantially more power and smoothness. The diesel, on the other hand, nearly doubles the torque of the 2.5L while besting it in mpg.
Photo 6/19   |   2015 Chevrolet Colorado WT 25 Front Side View On Road
6) Ram 1500 EcoDiesel 4WD – 19 city/27 highway
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel makes a third appearance on the list, this time in 4WD form. If fuel economy in a fullsize is a high priority for you, the Ram EcoDiesel in any of its forms is worth a look.
Photo 7/19   |   2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
7) Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost 2WD – 19 city/26 highway
If you’d prefer to stick with a gas engine, the 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 in the Ford F-150 is a very compelling package. Before we got a chance to drive it, we were skeptical how well such a small-displacement engine would do in a fullsize truck. We were frankly blown away by the spunk this mighty mite puts out. It’ll easily spin the tires off the line and offers ample passing power. Standard auto stop-start helps conserve fuel when stopped in traffic.
Photo 8/19   |   2015 Ford F 150 Front End
8) Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon 2.5L 4WD – 19 city/25 highway
GM’s midsize twins appear once again in the form of the 2.5L with four-wheel drive. Once again, we have to add the caveat of the small fuel economy delta between both the Duramax and the V-6. It’s not a bad choice, but the other two engines are bigger standouts.
Photo 9/19   |   2015 Chevrolet Colorado Front Angle
9) Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon 3.6L 2WD – 18 city/26 highway
You see a trend emerging here? Yep, the Colorado and Canyon are good choices for fuel economy regardless of powertrain. The gas V-6 returns a surprisingly frugal 26 mpg highway in 2WD form, just 1 mpg less than the gas I-4. For that small difference, the choice of the V-6 over the four-banger is a no-brainer in our book.
Photo 10/19   |   2016 GMC Canyon SLT Front Three Quarter 01
10) Ram 1500 HFE 3.6L 2WD – 18 city/25 highway
Ram’s across-the-board adoption of the eight-speed automatic has helped make its fullsize line among the most fuel-frugal among the Detroit Three. The HFE is available in both gas and diesel flavors, and we’ve found the 3.6L Pentastar V-6 to be plenty powerful for daily driving and light truck duty.
Photo 11/19   |   2013 Ram 1500 SLT Front End In Motion
11) Toyota Tacoma 3.5L 2WD – 19 city/24 highway
Toyota’s move to a smaller 3.5L V-6 for 2016 has increased the Tacoma’s fuel economy substantially. The greater irony is that the V-6 is actually 1 mpg more fuel efficient than the base four-cylinder. Add the V-6’s 119 additional horsepower and 85 lb-ft of torque and this one’s truly a no-brainer. Get the V-6.
Photo 12/19   |   2016 Toyota Tacoma SR5 Front Three Quarter
12) Ford F-150 EcoBoost 2.7L 6,649 GVWR 2WD – 18 city/24 highway (tie)
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 4.3L 2WD – 18 city/24 highway (tie)
Here we see an interesting study in contrasts between two different approaches to fuel economy. The Ford is a highly boosted small-displacement multivalve V-6, while GM does a larger-displacement naturally aspirated V-6 with cylinder deactivation. The Ford is substantially more powerful on paper, but neither engine is a slouch. Either of these choices offers a good balance between power and economy.
Photo 13/19   |   2015 Ford F 150 09 Front Three Quarter
Photo 14/19   |   2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Rally Edition In White
13) Ram 1500 3.6L 2WD – 17 city/25 highway
The Ram 1500 makes yet another appearance on the list in base Pentastar 2WD guise. The only major difference between the HFE and non-HFE gas models is auto stop-start. Other than that, they’re pretty close. If most of your driving is open highway, your fuel economy will be about the same.
Photo 15/19   |   2013 Ram 1500 SLT Front Three Quarters
14) Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon 3.6L 4WD – 17 city/24 highway (tie)
Ford F-150 EcoBoost 3.5L 2WD – 17 city/24 highway (tie)
Once again we have two very different trucks delivering the same result. The Colorado/Canyon V-6 with 4WD delivers the same fuel economy as a 3.5L EcoBoost F-150 with 2WD. They’re both great trucks. The EcoBoost is much more powerful, and if you’ve got a big enough garage and don’t go off-road much, we’d probably go with the Ford, although the Colorado/Canyon 4WD is lots of fun in its own right.
Photo 16/19   |   2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss 3.0 Front End
Photo 17/19   |   2015 Ford F 150 Front Three Quarter 05
15) Ram 1500 3.6L 4WD – 16 city/23 highway (tie)
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 5.3L 2WD – 16 city/23 highway (tie)
Again we’re presented with a conundrum: 2WD or 4WD, V-6 or V-8? The Silverado/Sierra deserves honorable mention for being the only V-8 truck on the list. Even in 4WD form, it delivers a respectable 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. The thought of having 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque with more than 20 mpg highway in a fullsize truck would have been unfathomable in decades past. Today, it’s commonplace.
Photo 18/19   |   2013 Ram 1500 Petastar 3.6L V 6 Front Three Quarter Motion
Photo 19/19   |   2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom Passenger Side Front View

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