Ford Tops Tight Half-Ton 4x4 Pickup Economy Race

Differences between today’s F-150 and GM and Ram 1500s very close, but the entire class is far more efficient and capable than models from just a few years ago

2015 Ford F-150
2015 Ford F-150

The 2015 Ford F-150 4x2 with Ford’s 325-hp 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine gets the best fuel economy rating of any gasoline-fueled full-size pickup in America. The smaller EcoBoost, with standard Auto Start-Stop feature, gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

To improve fuel economy, Ford cut up to 700 lb. from the truck using high-strength steel in the frame and high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys to make the body. That weight savings improves the 2015 F-150’s cargo and towing capability, too.

Comparing the 2015 F-150 with 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 to a 2008 F-150 with the 4.6-liter V8 is an interesting illustration of the new truck’s abilities. Today’s EcoBoost V6 makes 77 more horsepower and 81 more ft. lb. of torque than the 2008 V8. The 2015 4x2 truck offers maximum towing capacity of 8,500 lb. – 1,300 lb. more than the 2008 model – and payload of 2,250 lb. – 280 lb. more than the 2008 F-150.

 And the 2015 F-150 EcoBoost’s fuel economy beats the 2008 V8 by 5 mpg city, 7 mpg highway and 6 mpg combined.

Of course most construction trucks are bought with four-wheel drive, and the 2015 F-150 tops out the gasoline 4x4 configurations, too. Powered by the 2.7-liter EcoBoost, it gets 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

But this fuel-economy game is won by inches. GM and Ram’s most efficient 2015 1500 4x4s are within one or two miles per gallon of the F-150:

  • F-150 2.7L EcoBoost 4x4: 18 city/23 highway/20 combined
  • Silverado/Sierra 1500 4.3L V6 4x4: 17 city/22 highway/19 combined
  • Ram 1500 3.6L V6 4x4: 16 city/23 highway/19 combined

And the towing and payload capabilities of these most-efficient half-tons all fall within a pretty tight range as well (see the table above).

Ram’s 1500 4x4 powered by the 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel does open up some advantage, particularly in terms of highway mileage, on the gasoline competition – 19 city/27 highway/22 combined. And it does deliver about 1,500 lb. more towing capacity than the other fuel sippers.

Cost is a very real issue in this fuel-economy competition. GM’s most-efficient engine, the 4.3L EcoTec3 V6 is standard equipment on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Ford gets about a $500 premium for the 2.7L EcoBoost. And Ram’s EcoDiesel comes at a $4,500 cost premium on the Ram 1500. With such a tight range of economy numbers between today’s half-ton pickups, there are few real-world ROI scenarios that would justify extra investment on fuel savings alone.