Video: What’s The BEST Half-Ton Truck Engine? Here’s Your Expert Buyer’s Guide!

2021 best half-ton truck engine tfl talkin trucks podcast

Are you curious about what the best half-ton truck engine is for you?

It may seem trivial, but for many consumers, finding the best half-ton truck engine is a pain in the neck. Why? Just think about the sheer multitude of engine choices throughout all of the automakers. It may not seem like a lot when you’re looking at one or two truck-builders, but it truly is mind-boggling when you look at all of them put together.

Here’s a brief list of what I am referring to:

  • The Toyota Tundra has just one engine/transmission combination. Technically Nissan has two V8 configurations – if you consider the XD to be the second choice of half-ton trucks. Ram has a V6, two V8 variations, a V6-diesel, and a supercharged V8 in the TRX (which will be on dealership lots soon). All Ram truck engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. GM (Chevy and GMC) have a base model V6, turbocharged I4 gas engine, two V8s, and an I6 turbo-diesel. There are three GM transmission choices with some trim and engine combinations. You may select a six, eight, or a ten-speed automatic transmission. Ford has a base V6, THREE turbocharged V6’s (there are currently two version of the 3.5-EcoBoost which changes in 2020) a V8, a diesel V6, AND a new gas/electric hybrid. Fortunately, all Ford half-ton trucks come standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Know before you tow

Over the past few years, we noticed that many consumers were either over or under-estimating what they need to tow. Often, truck-buyers spend a ton of money on a more-than-capable truck that they will never use to its fullest potential. Buying a truck that can pull over 9,000-lbs is unnecessary when you are only pulling a 3,500-lbs trailer. The same goes for buyers who need to tow over 9,000-lbs and are always too close (if not surpassing) their capabilities.

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Our point to this podcast was: let’s boil down what you can get from each automaker.

In the past, we covered the specifics of each engine choice from each major truck-builder. In those videos, we jump into detail about the ratings and capabilities of each engine. In this case, it’s more of an overview of all the currently available powertrains.

We hope it will help those who need extra input to be more informed.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.