The folks at the Environmental Protection Agency are in the midst of fuel economy testing for the 2015 Ford F-150, the nation’s best-selling vehicle. Rumor has it Ford is looking to regain lost turf from Ram and GM on the efficiency front. In fact, Jalopnik had the new F-150 breaking a combined 23 miles per gallon in some informal testing. That would be remarkable, but until then, truck drivers and fleet managers only have the existing crop of 2015 trucks to work with when searching for winning fuel economy in the class.
Here are the seven most efficient pickup trucks by EPA fuel economy ratings for 2015 models, listed from seventh place to the top truck. Base MSRP, power, and towing capacity are included to give consumers a complete picture of a vehicle’s usefulness. Vehicles were only listed once for each make and model unless a larger engine size placed on the list. Different entries were not made for a variance in transmissions or all-wheel-drive options, though they are noted in the text.
Note: GM only publishes photos of its high-trim pickups, which were used to represent the base models discussed.
7. 2015 Chevy Silverado 1500 ($26,105)
Chevy broke into the top fuel economy bracket with the 2015 Silverado 1500 in its base trim. The WT regular cab in two-wheel-drive configuration is capable of 24 miles per gallon on the highway and a combined 20 miles per gallon. Packing a 4.3-liter EcoTec V6, this Silverado is no slouch on a workday, offering 285 horsepower and 305 pounds-feet of torque. That equals a towing capacity of 6,100 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,950 pounds.
6. Ram 1500 HFE V6 ($29,570)
Ram has been winning the fuel economy race for light-duty pickups with both its gasoline and diesel engines. In the 1500 High Fuel Efficiency (HFE) V6 model, Ram offers a pickup with 7,200 pounds of towing capacity, a max payload of 1,424 pounds, and combined economy of 21 miles per gallon, which is the best in the full-size class for a gasoline engine. The combined figure includes 25 miles per gallon on the highway and 18 miles per gallon in city driving or other challenging conditions.
5. 2015 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon V6 ($26,725)
Among smaller pickups, General Motors has come out with efficient trucks for the 2015 model year. The Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon (its mechanical twin) offer 21 combined miles per gallon in the 3.6-liter V6 standard in crew cab, long-box trucks. These pickups offer a maximum 305 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque, good for 7,000 pounds of towing capacity and 1,620 pounds of max payload in the Canyon (1,590 pounds in Colorado).
4. 2015 Nissan Frontier ($17,990)
Based on its 19-mile-per-gallon economy in the city, the Nissan Frontier gets a slight edge over the Canyon and Colorado, though they tie at 21 miles per gallon combined even though the Frontier’s engine is considerably smaller (2.5 liters and four cylinders). That powertrain only serves up 171 pounds-feet of torque, enough to tow 3,500 pounds and handle a maximum payload of 953 pounds.
3. 2015 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon 4-Cylinder ($20,120)
The smallest Canyon and Colorado powertrains consist of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offering 191 pounds-feet of torque for a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. These figures are impressive numbers for the small pickup class, but both trucks back them up with excellent fuel economy, beginning with 27 miles per gallon on the highway. Along with 20 city miles per gallon, these trucks get 22 miles per gallon combined in two-wheel-drive configurations, but the four-wheel-drive Colorado and Canyon also rate high at 21 miles per gallon combined.
2. 2015 Toyota Tacoma 4-cylinder ($20,765)
The 2.7-liter four-cylinder Tacoma offers pickup drivers 180 pounds-feet of torque and 159 horsepower, good for 3,500 pounds of towing capacity. As is Toyota’s wont in efficiency, the automaker managed to squeeze 21 miles per gallon in city economy out of the Tacoma, which represents the best figure for any pickup truck. Along with 25 highway miles per gallon, the Tacoma got a 22-mile-per-gallon combined rating from the EPA for the 2015 model year.
1. 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel ($36,475)
The EPA has already rated the 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at 23 combined miles per gallon, making it the most efficient pickup on the market once again. Between 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 20 miles per gallon in the city, there is no equal for the EcoDiesel. In terms of power, the 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine offers 240 horses and 420 pounds-feet of torque.
These specs deliver a towing capacity of 9,200 pounds and a max payload of 1,620 pounds. Though the 1500 EcoDiesel is by far the most expensive truck on this list, Ram estimates consumers save $708 every year when driving an average of 70 miles per day. Of course, any fuel (or cash) savings means lower emissions and a lighter footprint, as well.