Comprehensive Guide: Which is the Most Efficient Truck for Towing? Here They Are!

Which is the most efficient truck for towing? Is it a diesel or gas? Is it a light duty or heavy duty?

We cover all of the pickup trucks. We do real world testing to bring you all of the results. Where else can you get a comprehensive list of real-world towing efficiency results? Here are the trucks we have tested over the years. [Note: we will be updating these tables as more trucks and data become available.]

What is the MPG Challenge all about?

It’s a 98-mile highway run on I-76 (east of Hudson, CO). It’s as flat of a highway stretch as we can find in Colorado. We run all trucks and big SUVs in 2WD with tow/haul mode enabled at a constant 70 MPH as set by cruise control and checked by GPS.

All Half-Ton Trucks

All half-ton trucks listed here are towing a CM Trailers Cargo Mate or a Cimarron Norstar with a total trailer weight of 7,000 lbs. It’s a box trailer and a weight that simulates an RV camper trailer or a large boat that you might be towing.

Year Make Model Powertrain Highway Towing MPG
2020 Ram 1500 Quad-cab 2WD 3.0L V6 Diesel/260 HP/3.21 axle 12.4
2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Double-cab 2WD 3.0L I6 Diesel/277 HP/3.23 axle 12.0
2018 Ford F150 Crew 4×4 3.0L V6 Diesel/250 HP/3.55 axle 11.6
2017 Nissan Titan XD Crew 4×4 5.0L V8 Diesel/310 HP/ 10.7
2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew 4×4 6.2L V8/420 HP/ 10.7
2019 Ford F-150 Crew 4×4 5.0L V8/390 HP/3.31 axle 9.8
2017 Nissan Titan XD Crew 4×4 5.6L V8/390 HP/ 9.6
2019 Ram 1500 Crew 4×4 5.7L V8/395 HP/3.92 axle 9.4
2018 GMC Yukon XL 4×4 6.2L V8/420 HP/3.23 axle 9.15
2017 Ford F150 Crew 4×4 3.5L TT V6/375 HP/3.55 axle 9.1
2019 Ford F-150 Crew 4×4 2.7L V6/325 HP/ axle 8.7
2017 Nissan Titan 1500 5.6L V8/390 HP/3.91 axle 8.6
2016 Ford F150 3.5L TT V6/365 HP 8.5
2017 Ford F150 Raptor Crew 3.5L TT V6/450 HP/4.10 axle 8.4
2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4 3.5L TT V6/400 HP/3.73 axle 8.3
*2017 Ram 1500 Crew 4×4 3.0L V6 Diesel/240 HP/ *13.3
  • The 2017 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel result is no longer counted because it was done with a EcoDiesel V6 truck with a before-emissions-scandal calibration.
  • Where are some of the other trucks, such as the Toyota Tundra and midsize trucks? Those towed a different trailer with less weight.  We will add the additional data soon.

Here is how the new 2018 Ford F-150 Diesel did on our 98 mile highway MPG loop with and without a trailer.

All Midsize Trucks

2017 chevy colorado gmc canyon diesel v6 mpg towing 0-60 mph specs
2017 GMC Canyon diesel vs. 2017 Chevy Colorado V6 gas

Which power plant is best for a midsize truck? Is a small four-cylinder diesel or a gas V6? We tested these two GM midsize trucks together. We towed a CM Trailers Stocker (6×14 feet) loaded to 6,100 lbs of total trailer weight.

Year Make Model Powertrain Highway Towing MPG
2017 GMC Canyon Crew 4×4 2.8L I4 Diesel/181 HP/ 12.7
2017 Chevy Colorado Crew 4×4 3.6L V6 Gas/308 HP/ 8.7

The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road towed a Logan Coach trailer with a total trailer weight was 5,600 lbs.

Year Make Model Powertrain Highway Towing MPG
2017 Toyota Tacoma Crew 4×4 3.5L V6/276 HP/ 8.4

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline towed the same CM Trailers Stocker, but the total trailer weight was 4,800 lbs (maximum capacity for the Ridgeline).

Year Make Model Powertrain Highway Towing MPG
2017 Honda Ridgeline Crew AWD 3.5L V6/280 HP/ 11.5

All Heavy Duty Trucks

2018 2017 ford f250 6.2L v8

Here is how the newest HD trucks perform on our highway loop empty and towing a heavy 16,000 lbs truck.

Gas Trucks

Year Make Model Powertrain Highway MPG
2020 Chevy 2500 Crew 4×4 6.6L V8 Gas/401 HP/3.73 axle 6.9 (towing)/16.0 (unladen)


Year Make Model Powertrain Highway MPG
2020 Chevy 2500 Crew 4×4 6.6L V8 Diesel/445 HP/3.42 axle 9.7 (towing)/19.9 (unladen)


What about heavy 3/4 ton trucks that are towing a CM Trailers Cargo Mate loaded to 12,500 lbs? Here is your latest data for both diesel and gas powered HD trucks.

Year Make Model Powertrain Highway Towing MPG
2018 Chevy HD 3500 Crew 4×4 SRW 6.6L V8 Diesel/445 HP/3.73 axle 12.2
2018 Ram HD 2500 Crew 4×4 6.7L I6 Diesel/370 HP/3.42 axle 10.9
2017 Ford F250 Crew 4×4 6.7L V8 Diesel/440 HP/3.55 axle 10.0
2017 Ford F250 Reg 2WD 6.2L V8 Gas/385 HP/ 8.6
2017 Ram HD 2500 Reg 2WD 6.4L V8 Gas/410 HP/ 7.3

All Diesel Duallies

What about the biggest and the heaviest pickup trucks out there? We tested all three one-ton dually trucks with a BigTex Trailers 3xGN trailer loaded to 22,800 lbs. That’s a lot of weight to pull at 70 MPH on the highway.

Year Make Model Powertrain Highway Towing MPG
2017 Ram HD 3500 Crew 4×4 6.7L I6 Diesel/385 HP/4.10 axle 6.6
2017 Chevy Silverado HD 3500 Crew 4×4 6.6L V8 Diesel/445 HP/3.73 axle 6.4
2017 Ford F350 Crew 4×4 6.7L V8 Diesel/440 HP/4.10 axle 5.7

Andre Smirnov
Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.