Is it time to upgrade to a V6? Sure, big V8 engines and trucks go together like a burger and fries. You get one, you have to get the other. But today’s V6 engines in trucks are smoother, quieter, and make more horsepower and torque than V8s from less than a decade ago, all while (comparatively) sipping fuel. Some of today’s most powerful trucks, like the 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor or 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro use a V6.
So, do you want a V6 or a V8 truck?
A V6 has a lot of advantages over a V8
V6 engines are generally lighter and they’re smaller. With fewer pistons banging around, they use less gasoline. But they’re generally less powerful than a V8. Because of how the pistons balance themselves in a V6 they can provide smoother power. They also generally have lower maintenance costs because they need less oil, and coolant, and they don’t wreak havoc on suspension parts and tires like heavier V8s.
For example, the naturally-aspirated 3.3-liter V6 that is the base engine in Ford F-150 trucks makes 290 horsepower.
V6 engines vs. turbocharged V6 engines
There are two versions of gasoline V6 engines in trucks today. Regularly aspirated and turbocharged. The turbochargers force more air into the cylinders, and that means you can get a more efficient and more powerful explosion in the cylinder. Toyota, Ford, and Chevy all use turbos to help their V6, and even four-cylinder truck engines, make more power.
The turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that’s available for the F-150 Raptor makes 450 horsepower, and an astonishing 510 lb.-ft of torque.
Hybrid V6 engines make even more power
What happens when you take an already powerful turbocharged V6 and then add an electric boost? For Ford and Toyota, that means your V6 has more power than most V8s, and uses less gas. For both manufacturers, the hybrid V6 versions of their trucks are the most powerful. The V6 works so well for Toyota, it dropped the V8 from its truck lineup altogether. Today, many popular trucks have V6 engines and a list from Cars.com is long.
Ford’s 3.5-liter PowerBoost V6 engine in the 2022 F-150 makes 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque, and is so good that it’s the engine the company puts in the 2022 Raptor. In Toyota’s case, the new 2022 Toyota Tundra full-sized truck gets the new i-FORCE MAX V6 that makes 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft of torque. Not that long ago, those numbers would have been unthinkable in Mustangs and Corvettes.
But, V8s sound great and make big power
The V8 engine has two rows of four pistons, set in a V arrangement. Those eight pistons can make some monster power figures, like the available 6.2-liter V8 that you can order in the 2022 Chevy Silverado that makes 420 horsepower. However, that engine gets 16 mpg in the city. But for some of us, the V8 is indispensable for its power, its sound, and simply because we like to say, “It’s got the V8.” Luckily for us the V8 will live on for a while longer in big trucks.