Recently, Paul ran a series of articles comparing the acceleration of a new 2015 Toyota Camry to various exotics of yore, such as a Lamborghini Countach. I’m taking his idea and running in the direction of fuel economy in two-wheel drive crew cab pickups.
Before we dive into the weeds, I will freely admit to owning a crew-cab pickup. It’s the most versatile vehicle I have ever owned and I intend to keep my 2007 Ford F-150 until there isn’t a breathe of life left in it. It will carry five in comfort (six if one straddles the transmission hump), easily pull 6,500 pounds (the upper limit of Ford’s recommendations), and it will go anywhere with its four-wheel drive.
Despite this versatility, it shares the same fuel economy concern possessed by every vehicle. Like our candidates below, it has a lot of frontal area due to it being a pickup. So let’s see what one can expect. All fuel economy estimates were taken from www.fueleconomy.gov
First up is the 2015 Dodge Ram 1500. This candidate is powered by the base 3.6 liter naturally aspirated V6 gasoline engine hooked to an eight-speed automatic. This is the same 3.6 that can be found in the Dodge Charger.
Next is a 1991 Toyota pickup, as I sought a good candidate from the era of truly compact pickups in the United States. I’ve seen a few 2016 model cars, so 1991 was chosen since it was a quarter century ago. These durable and long lasting Toyota pickups can be found all over the world; here, it was powered by a 2.4 liter four-cylinder with two-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission.
Another worthy contender is the late Ford Ranger. I arbitrarily picked the 2010 model year as the bench mark since it is relatively contemporary in contrast to the Toyota. This imaginary Ranger is powered by Ford’s 2.3 liter four-cylinder and also has the five-speed manual transmission.
Just for giggles, I’m including the 5.7 liter V8 powered 2015 Ram 1500. Like the V6 Ram, this one has an eight-speed automatic and a goodly number of the current Ram’s I see are powered by the 5.7 liter engine.
Now that you know the contenders, which do you think has the best fuel economy according to the EPA? Place your bets; I’m about to show you what the Environmental Protection Agency has determined for each.
2015 Dodge Ram 1500 V6: 18 mpg city; 25 mpg highway; 21 mpg combined.
1991 Toyota: 19 mpg city; 24 mpg highway; 21 mpg combined.
2010 Ford Ranger: 22 mpg city; 27 mpg highway; 24 mpg combined.
2015 Ram 1500 V8: 15 mpg city; 22 mpg highway; 17 mpg combined.
According to the EPA, the new V6 Ram can be expected to consume fuel at the same rate as the Toyota, with both being thirstier than the Ranger. If one factors in passenger and cargo capabilities, it truly illustrates how technology has evolved in the pickup world.