Myth BUSTED: Does Towing with a Big Engine Net Get Better Fuel Economy Than a Small Engine?

Ford F-150 Raptor R vs. Ranger towing fuel economy
(Images: Ford)

There’s no replacement for displacement…right?

Which truck engine is better for towing: a massive, 5.2-liter supercharged V8 kicking out a volcanic 700 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, or a smaller 2.3-liter four-cylinder with less than half that output? Unladen, the Ranger is obviously far more efficient, netting up to 22 mpg combined (to the Raptor R’s dismal 12 mpg).

But does towing a 7,500-pound load tip the scales? You’d think that the smaller engine would have to work an awful lot harder, taking a huge bite out of its economy advantage. On the other hand, throw that load behind the F-150 Raptor R and it absolutely will not care — at least in theory. So, in this video Andre and Nathan take both trucks from the same Sinclair fuel station in Boulder, Colorado on an MPG loop to see which is more efficient.

While you might think it’s completely a foregone conclusion which will win, it’s not quite as straightforward as it sounds. Sure, the Raptor R has a tremendous power advantage, but it’s significantly taller, wider and heavier than the Ranger. There’s also a serious difference in the tires between the two trucks, namely as the Raptor R is rolling on massive, 37-inch BFGoodrich KO2s.

Check out the full video below to see which truck wins out in this comparison: