As the fuel prices continue to climb, we find out which pickup truck is the most fuel-efficient. We do this in typical TFLtruck fashion. We compare every size and classification of pickup trucks, and four different engine types against each other on a long 160-mile loop. This real-world MPG comparison includes a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz with a small turbocharged gasoline engine, a 2022 Nissan Frontier with a naturally-aspirated gas V6, a new Ford F-150 with a new twin-turbocharged gas/electric hybrid powertrain, and a 2022 Ram 2500 HD with a large turbocharged diesel I6 engine.
The results may not be as obvious as you may think. Although the Ram HD Cummins diesel is a large and heavy pickup truck, the standard-output 6.7L I6 engine under its hood is known to get good fuel economy. The big turbo-diesel is known for being efficient on the highway at steady speed driving. This truck has a payload rating of over 2,200 lbs and a towing rating of 20,000 lbs.
The full-size “half-ton” Ford F-150 Hybrid is also a fairly large pickup, but its sophisticated 3.5L twin-turbo V6 with an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic transmission can get exceptional economy under the right conditions. Our driving loop is a total of 160.9 miles. It uses a long section of Interstate I-76 northeast of Denver, Colorado. However, there is still a fair amount of lower-speed driving through several small towns. This F-150 XL has a payload capacity of 1,700 lbs and a tow rating of 11,000 lbs.
The midsize Nissan Frontier is powered by a 3.8L gas V6. It’s more lightweight than the F-150 and the Ram. Although this is a Frontier PRO-4X off-road model with slightly more aggressive all-terrain tires.
Finally, the compact Santa Cruz is a whole new type of pickup truck. It’s a unibody-based vehicle that shares many components with a Hyundai Tucson. It has a smaller 2.5L turbocharged I4 gasoline engine.
Spoiler Alert: you can see all of the surprising results in the table below.
You can see all the details in the video below as Roman, Nathan, Kase, and I put these pickups through their paces.