While “truck” and “fuel-efficient” might not seem to have a great natural affinity, many buyers still want to get a truck with the best possible fuel efficiency out there. It’s better for the environment than other trucks and saves a little money too.
Buyers looking for a new midsize truck for 2021 should consider the Honda Ridgeline and the Ford Ranger for the superior fuel efficiency, but other competitors are close behind.
Honda and Ford midsize trucks have the best fuel-efficiency
All six of the 2021 compact trucks that Consumer Reports tested had better than 18 MPG overall mileage. Consumer Reports comes up with its own fuel economy rating by looking at fuel usage during a “prescribed city course and highway cruising.” Older road tests also included a 150-mile trip test.
The 2021 Ford Ranger and 2021 Honda Ridgeline did the best, both with 20 MPG. The 2021 Toyota Tacoma comes in third, with 19 MPG, so the top three are all very close.
The other three compact trucks all were rated for 18 MPG by Consumer Reports. That includes the 2021 Chevy Colorado, 2021 GMC Canyon, and the 2021 Jeep Gladiator.
Comparing the different 2021 compact trucks
There are other ways to compare the trucks in addition to fuel efficiency. The overall rating from Consumer Reports is one comprehensive way to compare current compact trucks.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline comes in first with an overall score of 80. The 2021 Ford Ranger appears in fourth with an overall score of 46. In between are the 2021 Jeep Gladiator, with an overall score of 65, and the 2021 Toyota Tacoma, with an overall score of 51.
Looking at just the road-test scores, the Ridgeline received an 83 for its road-test score, while the Ranger received a 55. Coming in between are the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and the 2021 GMC Canyon, both with a road test score of 61.
Fuel efficiency in full-size trucks
Consumer Reports found that all of the compact trucks have better fuel efficiency than the full-size trucks, although not by an enormous amount. Fuel efficiency for the full-size trucks ranges from 15 MPG to 17 MPG.
The top three most fuel-efficient full-size trucks are the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2021 GMC Sierra 1500, and the 2021 Ram 1500, all with 17 MPG overall as rated by Consumer Reports.
Hybrid truck options
There is also the option of the hybrid truck, which increases fuel efficiency. A Honda Ridgeline hybrid isn’t available, although there are rumors one is in the works, as reported by New Best Trucks.
There have been rumors of a Toyota Tacoma hybrid as well. While Jeep suggested last year that all its vehicles would have plug-in or hybrid versions in the next couple years, as reported by Jalopnik, there isn’t yet a plug-in hybrid Jeep Gladiator.
For full-size trucks, CNET mentions that there is the new 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid, which the EPA has rated for 24 MPG on the highway and 24 MPG combined. The Chevy Silverado isn’t available with a hybrid, and the Ram 1500 already utilizes a mild hybrid system. Upcoming electric trucks will change the efficiency game as well.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline and the 2021 Ford Ranger both have the honor of being the most fuel-efficient for trucks in 2021 according to Consumer Reports, but the overall variation between trucks in this segment is pretty small.
The Toyota Tacoma is the most popular truck for the segment, and the Ridgeline along with the 2021 Jeep Gladiator have Consumer Reports’ recommendation. There are a number of good choices among the smaller trucks, and all are more fuel-efficient than the full-size trucks.