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The majority of pickup truck manufacturers now offer an efficient and powerful turbocharged engine option. So which is the most cost-effective? That may depend on where you live. A Chevrolet Silverado or a Ford F-150 with a turbocharged engine both cost about $36k. They’re so close that which one is cheaper for you may depend on regional discounts. But the engines in these two trucks couldn’t be more different.

Chevrolet Silverado WT – $36,300 + destination

2.7-liter Turbomax | General Motors

The new entry-level engine for the Silverado pickup truck is a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder. This “TurboMax” engine makes 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. It comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base model of both the Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 comes with this straight-four.

For pickup truck fans used to big, naturally-aspirated V8s, an I-4 in a half-ton may be an alarming proposition. But this inline engine has some strengths over a V-shaped one. It has half as many cylinder banks and valvetrains, so many fewer moving parts. Its long piston stroke also creates more torque per liter than many other engines.

The 2023 Silverado 1500 WT’s MSRP is currently $36,300, and the GMC Sierra 1500 Pro is listed at $37,100. These prices are before destination charges. But General Motors is running several regional promotions and claims, even after destination charges, you’ll pay $35,395 out the door in certain parts of the country.

Ford F-150 EcoBoost – $36,975 w/ destination

2.7-liter EcoBoost | Ford

Ford is advertising an MSRP of $34,585 for its 2023 F-150 XL. But this price is for a naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter V6. This engine only makes 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Luckily for torque fans, Ford offers a 2.7-liter turbocharged “EcoBoost” V6 in its pickup trucks for $1,285 more. This engine pushes the Ford’s performance to levels near the Silverado’s base engine. And it has a similar price too.

Ford currently has a $1,995 destination charge. So according to the Ford configurator page, an F-150 XL upgraded with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will have a net total of at least $36,975.

Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 makes 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. It also comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission. To get the same transmission in your Silverado, you would need to upgrade to a premium engine option.

Ford is banking on the turbocharged engine. In fact, it’s developed an entire EcoBoost engine family. If you want an output similar to the 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8, you can opt for the turbocharged 3.5-liter “EcoBoost” V6 in higher trim levels of the F-150.

Toyota Tundra – $38,965 + destination

3.4-liter i-FORCE | Toyota

While Ram and Nissan are not yet offering turbocharged engines, Toyota is all-in on the technology. In fact, Toyota tossed the Tundra’s old naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter V8 when it redesigned the truck for 2022. Every third-generation Tundra comes with some tune of its 3.4-liter turbocharged V6.

This engine is very similar to Ford’s top-trim EcoBoost–in both size and output. It makes 389 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. So you might think that at $38k, it’s a steal. But the truth is that MSRP is for the entry-level Tundra SR. This trim actually comes with a detuned version of the turbo V6 that only makes 348 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque.

Toyota admits it tuned this engine for output, not efficiency. Its high power numbers support this claim–as does its MPG. In fact, Ram’s 5.7-liter V8 and Toyota’s turbocharged 3.5 get the same miles per gallon. That includes city and highway as well as 2WD and 4WD models.

Next, find out whether a turbocharged engine can truly tow as much as a traditional V8 or learn all about turbocharged truck engines in the video below: