Let’s face it. If you’re in the market for a pickup truck, expecting to haul trees and concrete (together) while achieving Prius gas mileage, you’re either crazy or dreaming. The highest mileage pickup trucks of today, if you’re wanting V8 torque, won’t get higher than 20 and if they do it’s because they’re switched off and sitting in the driveway, which could probably net you a cool 35-1000 mpg.
For the rest of us who actually drive our trucks, your options are more limited. Bear in mind that finding a truck that’s good on mileage is harder than finding the Easter bunny training a unicorn for the circus, but these are all trucks that claim at least 25 mpg (highway of course), so it’s a start. We’ll have to point out now that no truck on this list has a V8, or makes anything close to V8 power.
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma equipped with a 2.7-liter inline-four boasts 25 mpg. They have a blue book value of around $14,000 and can come with a manual transmission. Towing goes up to 3,500 pounds and they only make around 160 horsepower but, for basic trucking and general truck merriment, the Tacoma is a solid choice.
With a full truck bed and a trailer filled with motorcycles (well, probably two at the most), the Tacoma can still easily and comfortably reach freeway speeds without breaking a sweat. Of course, if you do all of that the mileage will go down.
Also stepping into the 25 mpg camp is the 2013 RAM 1500 HFE. Equipped with a V6 that makes 300 horsepower the RAM 1500 can tow more than 4,500 pounds. It’s a bit on the bulkier side compared to the Tacoma, but going by numbers alone including a number of problems that either car has had, the RAM seems like the way to go, and for not too much more money with a blue book value of around $15,000.
Dodge's RAM division had high hopes for this truck, advertising it as a 30 MPG economical workhorse. With a 240 horsepower 3.0-liter diesel engine that only gets marginally better mileage than the previous RAM, one has to wonder why you should get this truck over the former. Drive both and see which one you like. The engines are different, so it's possible the 3.0-liter engine performs smoother and better. It all depends on your preference. But as another decent MPG truck, it's a solid option.
You can't go too far back in terms of age if you want to find an F-150 that can make this list. Nevertheless, it is possible with the 2015 model that comes with the smaller Ecoboost engine. The impressive thing is it still makes more than 300 horsepower while managing the low cost and decent mpg. F-150s have been known to be the best trucks on the market, so for some consumers, the decision has already been made for them.
Diving back into Tacoma territory is the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. Out of its 2.5-liter inline-four engine, the Colorado gets just 200 modest horsepower which is more than the Toyota but less than the RAM, however, the Colorado gets a whole 27 mpg on the highway.
It’s impressive, but the price is higher around $20,400 according to KBB. Be that as it may, in a couple years that price will go down thanks to handy depreciation.
Speaking of depreciation, you may notice that there is one brand new truck on this list and that is the Honda Ridgeline. Since it’s still new you might want to wait a couple years to buy one, but once you do you’ll have a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes about 280 horsepower and pushes 26 mpg.
The truck can tow up to 5,000 pounds as well. This all makes the Ridgeline possibly the most well-rounded truck for everyday use, as well as towing a boat or trailer into the mountains. MSRP starts at around $29,500, but keep an eye out for these after a couple years.
One of the newer cars that made our list is the 2016 GMC Canyon. There are two options for what kind of engine you want under the hood, but if you want that incredible fuel efficiency you're going to need the 2.5-liter inline-four engine. It only makes about 200 horsepower so it won't be breaking any speed records, but that's better mileage than a newer Honda.
The truck that might be able to claim the best truck mpg ever is an early 1980s American built Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup. People have reported finding them for around $10,000 which sounds a little steep for a truck that was built in the ‘80s on a passenger car platform, but your ears might perk up when you learn it’s got a 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that accomplishes 45 mpg. You might be thinking it’s not powerful enough to haul anything, but by rights, the Rabbit Pickup has been known to tow at least 1100 pounds.
Ultimately whatever truck you pick, make sure it can do what you need it to do. If you are in the camp of towing horses, other cars, or houses then the faster you realize 20mpg is a stretch, the easier time you’ll have. Otherwise, for simple daily driving to various job sites, your options are much wider.
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