Motoramic

GM bests Ford, Ram in pickup mileage battle, because that’s a thing that exists

Justin Hyde
Motoramic

Pickups trucks may not seem like a good example of commerce and environmental concerns working well together, but that's what's happening in Detroit. The latest example: General Motors touting today that its new 2014 full-size pickups — the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra — will get better mileage and more power from the most common V-8 engine than Ford's F-150 makes with its highly promoted Ecoboost twin-turbo V-6. They look like the same old metal boxes, but pickups have gone high-tech in pursuit of every last drop of gasoline

GM says the reworked 5.3-liter V-8 that 75 percent of Silverado and Sierra buyers will take gets an EPA-rated 16 mpg in city driving and 23 mpg on highways in two-wheel-drive models; the four-wheel-drive version shaves one mpg off the highway figure. That engine will churn out 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque — enough to give GM temporary bragging rights in tow ratings at 11,500 lbs., albeit for a truck with special towing equipment.

Model

City MPG

Combined MPG

Highway MPG

Chevrolet Silverado 5.3L V-8 2WD

16

19

23

Chevrolet Silverado 5.3L V-8 4x4

16

18

22

Ford 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 2WD

16

18

22

Ford 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 4x4

15

17

21

Ford 5.0L V-8 2WD

15

17

21

Ford 5.0L V-8 4x4

14

16

19

Ford 6.2L V-8 2WD

13

15

18

Ford 6.2L V-8 4x4

12

13

16

Ram 4.7L V-8 2WD

14

16

20

Ram 4.7L V-8 4x4

14

16

19

Ram 5.7L Hemi V-8 2WD (6-spd)

14

16

20

Ram 5.7L Hemi V-8 4x4 (6-spd)

13

15

19

Ram 5.7L Hemi V-8 4x4 (8-spd)

15

17

21

Toyota 4.6L V-8 2WD

15

17

20

Toyota 4.6L V-8 4x4

14

16

19

Toyota 5.7L V-8 2WD

13

15

18

Toyota 5.7L V-8 4x4

13

15

18

Nissan 5.6L V-8 2WD

13

15

18

Nissan 5.6L V-8 4x4

12

14

17

Those fuel economy rankings put the Chevy/GMC V-8s one mpg better than similarly equipped Ford Ecoboost trucks and the Ram with its new 8-speed transmission. While it sounds small, that one mpg could theoretically save a 2014 Silverado or Sierra owner about $1,000 over five years in gas costs versus the Ecoboost or Rams. That truck buyers now even have a model with double the number of gears common just a few years ago highlights how far automakers have pushed their technology to make these figures. The new GM engines shut off four cylinders at highway speeds to save fuel, and feature shutters in the body that close to smooth airflow at higher speeds.

GM also revealed the base prices for the new trucks, ranging from $24,585 for the regular-cab Silverado to $32,710 for the crew cab — number that run about $500 more than the current model, and act mostly as a starting point for the inevitable bartering and incentives that come with pickup truck buying. At least those shoppers — and there's a growing number of them as the economy straightens up a bit — can count on burning a little less gas if they shop wisely.

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