In the world of trucks, finding the best pickup for fuel economy is like striking gold. With gas prices soaring, who wouldn’t want a ride that can tackle heavy payloads and still save you some bucks at the pump? In this article, we’re diving into the top 3 fuel-efficient trucks of 2023 that’ll have you cruising with a smile.
As a fellow truck lover, I know that performance and power are crucial, but let’s not forget about fuel efficiency. With advancements in technology, automakers have been working their magic to create pickups that pack a punch without guzzling gas like there’s no tomorrow. Trust me, it’s a game-changer for your wallet and the environment.
So buckle up and get ready to explore these fantastic trucks that are shaking up the market. We’ll be covering everything from their sleek design to the roaring engines under the hood. By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear winner in mind for your next fuel-sipping beast on wheels. Let’s get started!
What Makes a Pickup Fuel-Efficient
Technology and Engineering Behind Fuel-Efficient Trucks
When it comes to the best pickup for fuel economy, there’s a whole lotta engineering magic going on under the hood. Manufacturers are constantly innovating to make trucks with good gas mileage without compromising performance. Some of the top-notch techs that help create trucks that get good gas mileage include:
- Advanced engine technologies: Say hello to turbocharging, direct fuel injection, and variable valve timing. These babies help to optimize power and efficiency, giving you more miles per gallon (MPG).
- Hybrid and electric powertrains: The future’s here, folks! Electric and hybrid trucks are making a splash, offering impressive fuel economy numbers, and reducing emissions.
- Stop-start systems: No more wastin’ gas at stoplights! These systems automatically turn off the engine when you’re stopped and seamlessly restart it when you’re ready to roll.
Importance of Aerodynamics
Now let’s talk about the sleek and sexy side of trucks that get good gas mileage: aerodynamics. The better a truck’s aerodynamics, the less air resistance it faces, and the better its fuel efficiency. Here’s how manufacturers are cutting through the air like a hot knife through butter:
- Smooth body designs: Sleeker, more streamlined shapes reduce drag, making trucks glide through the air effortlessly.
- Air dams and spoilers: These nifty add-ons redirect airflow around the truck, keeping it steady on the road and saving you some gas money.
- Active grille shutters: When you don’t need as much engine cooling, these shutters close up, reducing drag and boosting fuel economy.
Lightweight Materials and Design
Last, but definitely not least, we have lightweight materials and design. Trucks with good gas mileage often feature lighter components, which means less weight to haul around and less fuel to burn. Some of the ways manufacturers are trimming the fat include:
- Aluminium and high-strength steel: These materials are lighter than traditional steel but still strong enough to keep your truck tough and durable.
- Carbon fibre: This space-age material ain’t just for fancy sports cars! Carbon fibre is ultra-light and strong, making it a great choice for truck components.
- Smart design: By optimizing the truck’s structure and eliminating unnecessary weight, manufacturers can shave off pounds without sacrificing strength and capability.
12 Best Pickup for Fuel Economy for 2023
2023 Ford Maverick
Cruisin’ into its second year, the Ford Maverick once again snags the title for the most fuel-efficient truck available in the U.S. market. Sure, it’s a compact truck, but let’s give a standing ovation to the hybrid powertrain under the hood, which is the real star of the show.
Outfitted with the standard hybrid powertrain, the Maverick boasts an EPA-rated 37 mpg combined, 40 cities, and 33 highways. Maverick enthusiasts might notice a two mpg dip in the city rating compared to its 2022 debut. Ford points the finger at changes made to the aerodynamic grille shutters.
- Hands down, the pickup MPG king
- Rad new Tremor off-road trim
- A passionate superfan community offering support, advice on mods, and even software hacks
- Can’t snag AWD on hybrid models
- A basic, dated infotainment system saves money but leaves us wanting more
- Even with the optional EcoBoost engine, it lags behind competitors in speed and towing capacity
Some folks might write off the Maverick as just a suburban toy, but it checks all the boxes by providing a practical bed, seating for five, and the ability to tow either 2000 pounds (hybrid) or 4000 pounds (non-hybrid).
Keep in mind, the extra towing power comes with a slightly more gas-guzzling turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, rated at 26 combined, 23 cities, and 30 highway – still pretty impressive for any truck.
The Maverick ain’t a wimpy full-size truck alternative; it’s a fresh spin on a classic concept, delivering 90% of the capabilities that half of the truck buyers need.
Although the Maverick is pretty much the same ol’ beauty for 2023, Ford did whip up a new Maverick Tremor version. This off-road-ready beast aims to entice buyers who are torn between the Maverick and rivals like the Hyundai Santa Cruz or midsize trucks such as the Ranger and Toyota Tacoma.
2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
While it seems like half-ton and midsize diesel pickups are losing their charm, the Chevrolet Silverado’s 3.0-litre turbodiesel inline-six breathes new life into the world of diesel engines.
This bad boy is powerful, efficient, and smooth, boasting 305 horsepower and a jaw-dropping 495 lb-ft of torque, a noticeable improvement from last year’s 277 hp and 460 lb-ft.
This beast can tow an impressive 13,300 pounds and carry a payload of 1,970 pounds when needed. The cherry on top? The diesel engine helps the mighty Silverado achieve EPA ratings of 26 mpg combined, in 24 cities, and 29 highways when equipped with rear-wheel drive.
- Amped-up powertrain options for 2022
- Significant boost in standard safety features
- All-new interior design, except for work-truck grade
- Not as polished as Ford or Ram and falls short of Ford’s muscle
- Duramax diesel inline-six is a $2,390 option on most trims
- Many sought-after features still come at an additional cost
With diesel’s current price advantage, these figures really make a difference for folks racking up the miles. Plus, diesel engines tend to maintain their efficiency when towing, even when compared to their gasoline counterparts with similar specs.
It also makes life easier for heavy equipment operators and utility companies working in remote locations where 90% of the machinery already relies on diesel fuel.
As for the Silverado itself, a major overhaul for the 2022 model year introduced a revamped interior, enhanced infotainment, and additional standard safety features.
2023 Ford F-150
In 2021, Ford sold a whopping 600,000 F-series pickups and bagged numerous awards for their efforts. The F-150 hybrid model, in particular, stole the show and secured its spot on this list.
This beast combines a twin-turbo V6 with a 47-hp electric motor, churning out 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque – a dream come true for any truck aficionado.
But here’s the kicker: it’s got a modern powertrain tucked under its unique, lightweight aluminium body, giving it an EPA rating of 25 mpg for city, highway, and combined driving. Opt for a four-wheel drive, and you’ll still get 23 mpg.
- Payload and towing capacity that’s best in its class
- A powerful, fuel-sipping hybrid variant
- An impressive range of body styles, bed sizes, and powertrain options
- Ram 1500 takes the crown for interior luxury and a silky-smooth ride
- High-end models can empty your wallet in no time
- No standalone hybrid or diesel options
When it comes to the F-150 lineup, the turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 is Ford’s smallest standard gasoline engine. It manages to outdo the hybrid with 26 mpg on the highway (vs. 25) but falls behind in combined and city mileage by 3 and 5 mpg, respectively.
With 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, it doesn’t quite measure up to the hybrid’s 430 hp and 570 lb-ft figures. The rest of the lineup, including the revered 5.0 V8 and twin-turbo V6, come closer in power, but none can match the hybrid’s clever mobile electric generator, which dishes out up to 7.2 kW A/C in its most powerful incarnation.
If you’re a diehard Ford enthusiast who’s hesitant about the upcoming F-150 Lightning EV (or you’re just not keen on waiting or paying a premium), the F-150 Hybrid is an excellent choice to help you ease into the future.
2022 Jeep Gladiator
When you hear “pickup trucks,” Jeep might not be the first name that pops into your head, but these guys have a solid track record with trucks. Sure, the Forward Control Jeeps were the real pioneers, but it was the J10 “Gladiator” that stole the show from 1962 to 1988.
Then came the XJ Cherokee-based Comanche, which had a good run from 1986 to 1992. But let’s not forget about the CJ-based Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler, the Gladiator’s true granddaddy. The CJ-8 was a rare gem, produced from 1981 to 1986, with fewer than 28,000 units sold during its short-lived glory days.
- Rugged looks and adventurous vibes
- Unbeatable off-road prowess
- Even more useful than the Wrangler, if you can believe it
- Safety features and crash test info? Not so much.
- That 3.0-litre diesel V6 tacks on an extra $4k
- On-road handling leaves something to be desired
The good news is that the Toledo-born Gladiator doesn’t suffer from the same obscurity or sales struggles as the Scrambler. In 2021, nearly 100,000 units found homes across North America.
And when it comes to off-road capabilities, the Gladiator is tough to beat—especially with the Rubicon trim’s extra ground clearance. Plus, the diesel model delivers a respectable EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined, 22 city, and 28 highway.
Sure, diesel fuel might cost you a bit more than regular gas, but the Gladiator’s 3.0-litre turbodiesel (cousin to the engine in the Ram 1500) offers a hearty 442 lb-ft of torque. Perfect for off-road crawls and slow-speed city driving where torque reigns supreme.
And as a daily driver, it’s pretty spacious and practical, but keep in mind that its off-road focus means you’ll deal with some noise, and its on-road steering and handling might not be the smoothest ride around.
2023 Ram 1500
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, now has its availability limited to certain 2023 models. Even more heartbreakingly, it’s been officially given the axe.
Production is set to halt in January 2023, but EcoDiesel still has a strong presence on the manufacturer’s website. So, keep your eyes peeled, you clever bargain hunters! You just might score a sweet deal on one of these bad boys collecting dust at the dealership.
- Class-leading refinement and ride quality
- Luxurious interior with tons of smart storage solutions
- Fuel-efficient V6 diesel engine option
- Towing capacity leaves something to be desired
- A diesel engine could set you back up to $4,995 extra
- Barn-door tailgate seems more like a gimmick
Bearing those points in mind, the 2023 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel still boasts a commendable 24 mpg combined, 21 mpg in the city, and 29 mpg on the highway. For a full-size truck, that’s nothing to sneeze at! In fact, it even goes toe-to-toe with the much tinier Maverick Hybrid’s 33 mpg highway rating.
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz
Honestly, we thought the Santa Cruz, with its compact design and four-cylinder engine options, would’ve secured a spot in the top three. Truth be told, the leading five vehicles made the cut with their hybrid or diesel engines.
The Santa Cruz, on the other hand, comes with a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This combo results in EPA fuel-economy ratings of 23 mpg combined, 22 cities, and 26 highways.
Opting for the all-wheel drive only reduces city and highway mileage by 1 mpg, keeping the combined figure at 23 mpg.
- Man, the ride quality and handling are way better than most pickups
- Super versatile bed and a cosy interior for the fam
- Tons of tech goodies, including a solid set of standard safety features
- Entry-level models feel a bit underpowered
- High-end trims are pricey, rivalling more capable midsize trucks
- Limited trim’s touchscreen-only controls can be a pain
Now, if you go for the turbocharged all-wheel drive version, you’re in for a treat. It cranks out 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, leaving the base model’s 191 hp and 155 lb-ft in the dust.
Rated at 22 mpg combined and 19 cities, this turbocharged beauty even beats the base engine’s highway fuel economy at 27 mpg. Trust me, driving this version is a whole lot more satisfying, and we’d gladly trade the tiny fuel economy dip for that extra power any day.
All in all, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is a fresh, sophisticated twist on the typical pickup truck. Measuring under 200 inches in length, this compact ride has the smallest bed in the game, and while it may have a modest load capacity, it boasts nimble handling, eye-catching style, a polished interior, and loads of tech.
Don’t let the bed size fool you – the Hyundai can tow just as much or even more than its Ford and Honda rivals, making it a more practical, daily-driver option compared to your average midsize truck.
2022 Ford Ranger
After a half-decade break, it made a grand comeback to the U.S. market in 2019. This little beast was a fan-favourite affordable small truck from 1983 to 2021. Now, the modern Ranger keeps things versatile and capable without losing that compact charm we all love.
- Tons of cool safety tech
- Sweet acceleration and cargo-haulin’ power
- The new Tremor package really amps up off-road prowess
- Price skyrockets when you add those extra features
- Kinda boring style and an old-school interior
- Competitors still have the upper hand when it comes to off-roading
Under the hood, you’ll find a reliable turbocharged 2.3-litre inline-four engine paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. This bad boy gets some pretty decent EPA numbers, like 23 mpg combined, 21 cities, and 26 highways.
It’s neck and neck with Santa Cruz in combined and highway ratings but loses out by one mpg in the city. Keep in mind, though, the Ranger is all about the working folks, while the Santa Cruz is all about the thrill of outdoor adventures.
With the Ranger, you’ll get a whole bunch of active safety features, solid off-road and towing capabilities, and the best payload capacity in its class. That new Tremor package seriously ramps up the truck’s off-road game, but it’ll also add a few extra bucks to the price tag of what can sometimes feel like a rough-around-the-edges ride.
2022 Chevrolet Colorado
As the curtain closes on the second-generation Chevrolet Colorado in 2022, we’re eagerly awaiting the official EPA fuel economy numbers for the 2023 model. But for now, let’s chat about the 2022 Colorado.
Heads up, though – the diesel option will be riding off into the sunset, making way for the turbocharged 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine as the main powerhouse, available in three different flavours.
- Engines that pack a punch and tow like a boss
- Smooth and comfy ride
- Tons of options to make it your own
- The upcoming 2023 model outshines the current one, making it feel a bit dated
- Safety scores ain’t too hot, plus it’s missing some driver-assist features
- Interior quality? Just average, my friend
For those of you thinking about snagging a 2022 Colorado before the fresh 2023 model rolls in, here’s the scoop: it shares the same platform and 2.8-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine as the GMC Canyon, but it’s got a couple of tricks up its sleeve that the GMC doesn’t.
Crew-cab models are pretty similar to the Diesel Canyon, boasting a combined 23 mpg, 20 cities and 30 highway fuel economy, and a hefty 7,700-pound max tow rating. But Colorado’s got something special – the diesel’s available in the off-road-ready extended-cab ZR2 and ZR2 Bison models.
These bad boys are even more off-road-capable and eye-catching than GMC’s AT4 model. The catch? The ZR2’s combined fuel economy dips to 19 mpg. The diesel option’s price tag depends on the trim and ranges from $3,500 to $5,680. And for 2022, Diesel Colorado’s keeping things mostly the same.
2023 Toyota Tundra
Oh boy, here’s something you don’t see every day! For the first time in, well, forever, Toyota’s big ol’ Tundra pickup has actually managed to outdo its little brother, the Tacoma, in fuel efficiency. And it’s all thanks to that shiny new twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 hybrid powertrain and the smooth ten-speed automatic transmission.
- Standard twin-turbo V6 packs a punch, with an optional hybrid boost to kick things up a notch
- The easy-to-use infotainment system and thoughtfully arranged controls
- A whole bunch of active-safety tech comes standard
- Doesn’t quite measure up to domestic rivals in terms of refinement and capability
- Work-truck enthusiasts will miss the standard cab version
- Despite the powertrain updates, it’s still got that old-school gas-guzzler vibe
Out of the three engine options, the hybrid is the star of the show. It’s not just the most powerful, with a jaw-dropping 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, but it’s also the most fuel-efficient.
With rear-wheel drive, the EPA says you can expect 22 mpg combined, in 20 cities, and 14 highways. (Opting for all-wheel drive drops those numbers a bit, but hey, you can’t have it all!)
2023 Toyota Tacoma
The year 2023 marks the eighth awesome year of the third-generation Tacoma in production. But hold your horses, there’s something exciting brewing! A new 2024 model, possibly electrified, is said to be in its final stages of testing.
Until that baby hits the road, we’ve got our trusty ol’ Taco to have fun with. And let me tell ya, the Taco’s got a rock-solid reputation for being rugged, simple, and tough as nails, brushing off rough treatment like it’s nothin’.
Now, the flip side is that the Taco might not be jam-packed with all the latest tech and fancy features that some of its competitors are flaunting. So, it’s a bit more on the barebones side of things.
- Unbeatable reliability and resale value (it’s like money in the bank!)
- Loads of standard driver aids to make life easier
- Tons of customization options and genuine off-road chops
- A bit cramped inside, especially in the Crew Cab
- The base engine could use some more muscle
- On-road handling’s a little iffy, and the transmission can be indecisive at times
The most fuel-efficient version sports a naturally-aspirated 159-hp 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed auto and rear-wheel drive. It’s got EPA estimates of 21 combined, 20 cities, and 23 mpg highway.
The 278-hp V6, on the other hand, gives you more oomph without guzzling gas. It’s rated at 21 mpg combined, 19 cities, and even bumps the highway number up to 24 mpg.
Just like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Chevy Colorado, the current Taco’s days are numbered. If this model tickles your fancy, now’s the time to strike a deal before it rides off into the sunset.
2023 Honda Ridgeline
Honda’s Ridgeline is a unique beast, living in a sweet spot between compact trucks like the Maverick and the more traditional midsized trucks using half-ton build techniques. Honda’s plan wasn’t to topple the big boys like the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, or Toyota Tacoma.
Nah, they wanted to give their loyal Honda fans a chance to grab a pickup as a second vehicle, often snatching them away from the competition.
- Smooth-as-butter ride for a truck
- The cosy and spacious cabin
- Handles “truck stuff” like a champ
- Some competitors tow and haul better
- Bed size leaves something to be desired
- Exterior design ain’t for everyone
Now, the Ridgeline’s fuel economy ain’t anything to write home about. It’s got an EPA rating of 21 mpg combined, 18 city, and 24 highway. It’s decent, but not the main selling point over its rivals.
But hey, the 3.5-litre V6 teams up with a nine-speed automatic transmission and rocks standard all-wheel drive. What makes this bad boy stand out is its smaller size, smooth ride, and peaceful cabin experience that just lets you sit back and enjoy the drive.
2023 Nissan Frontier
The Frontier got a fresh makeover for 2022, while still keeping that classic Frontier vibe we all know and love. The exterior has a more unified look, but you can still tell it’s a proud Frontier at first glance.
Under the hood, there’s a beastly 3.8-litre, 310 horsepower V6 – the strongest in its class – ready to tow up to 6,720 pounds or carry a 1,610-pound payload. Talk about muscle!
- Powerful engine options with an unbeatable tow rating
- A ride as smooth as silk
- Drop-dead gorgeous looks
- Driver-assist features are scarce and not standard
- The base engine could use some more oomph, and upgrading to diesel ain’t cheap
- The fanciest trims don’t quite live up to their name or price tag
Sadly, the Frontier isn’t exactly a champ when it comes to fuel efficiency. With the rear-wheel drive model, you’re lookin’ at an EPA rating of 20 mpg combined, 18 cities, and 24 highways.
Sure, it’s only a smidge behind the Tacoma and Ridgeline in that department, but the difference is so tiny that things like looks, features, or the dealer’s charm could tip the scales. Fuel efficiency might not be the Frontier’s strongest suit, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with!
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fuel-Efficient Truck
Your Driving Needs and Habits
First things first, you gotta ask yourself what you’re gonna use your truck for. Are you planning on tackling tough off-road terrain, or cruising the highways and city streets?
Your driving needs and habits play a huge role in determining the best truck with good gas mileage for you. If you spend most of your time on the highway, you’ll want a truck with excellent aerodynamics and a fuel-efficient engine designed for cruising.
On the other hand, if you’re a fan of off-roading, you’ll need a truck with good gas mileage that can handle some rough-and-tumble action without guzzling fuel like there’s no tomorrow.
Towing and Payload Capacity
Now, let’s talk about towing and payload capacity. I mean, what’s a truck without the ability to haul some serious weight, right? When you’re on the hunt for the best fuel-efficient pickup truck, make sure you don’t compromise on towing and payload capacity.
Some trucks with great gas mileage might sacrifice a bit of muscle in the name of efficiency, but there are still plenty of options out there that can handle a heavy load without guzzling fuel. Keep an eye out for those sweet spots where efficiency and power meet, and you’ll have yourself a winner.
Maintenance Costs and Reliability
No one wants to end up with a truck that spends more time in the repair shop than on the road. When choosing the best truck with good gas mileage, don’t forget to consider maintenance costs and reliability.
Fuel-efficient trucks often come with cutting-edge technology, and while that’s great for your wallet when it comes to fuel consumption, it might mean higher maintenance costs in the long run. Be sure to do your research and choose a truck that has a reputation for reliability and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to keep running smoothly.
Last but not least, let’s talk about resale value. Your truck is an investment, and it’s important to think about how well it’ll hold its value over time. Trucks with great gas mileage tend to have a higher resale value, as more and more buyers are looking for fuel-efficient options.
But don’t just take my word for it – do your homework and check out the resale values of various models to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. A truck that holds its value well will be easier to sell or trade-in when the time comes for an upgrade.
Tips to Maximize Fuel Economy in Your Pickup Truck
Driving Habits and Techniques
First up, let’s talk about your driving habits, which can make a huge difference in getting the best fuel mileage from your pickup. Here are some useful techniques to keep in mind:
- Smooth and steady: Accelerate gently, avoid sudden braking, and maintain a constant speed. The smoother you drive, the less work your engine has to do, which means better gas mileage for your truck.
- Watch your speed: Keep your speed in check. I know it’s tempting to let loose on the open road, but the most fuel-efficient pickup trucks perform best when cruising at a moderate speed.
- Limit idling: Don’t let your engine idle for too long. It’s a total fuel waster! Turn off the engine if you’re waiting for more than a minute.
Proper Maintenance and Tire Pressure
Next up, proper maintenance is key to making your truck the best gas mileage machine it can be. Here’s what you should focus on:
- Regular tune-ups: A well-maintained engine runs more efficiently, so make sure you’re keeping up with regular tune-ups and oil changes.
- Clean air filters: A clogged air filter can decrease your truck’s fuel efficiency. Check it regularly and replace it when needed.
- Tire pressure: This one’s a biggie! Under-inflated tires create more resistance and make your engine work harder, which means lower fuel efficiency. Keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure and watch your pickup’s gas mileage soar.
Using the Right Fuel and Additives
Last but definitely not least, let’s talk about fuel and additives. Picking the right stuff can make all the difference in getting the most fuel-efficient pickup on the road.
- Choose the right octane: Stick to the manufacturer’s recommended octane rating for your engine. Higher octane fuel doesn’t necessarily mean better performance, so save your money and stick with the recommended rating.
- Fuel additives: Some fuel additives can help improve your truck’s gas mileage by cleaning the fuel system and improving combustion. Do your research and choose one that’s suited for your pickup.
Fuel Economy Champs: Driving Towards the Future
In the end, choosing the best pickup for fuel economy in 2023 comes down to balancing your personal preferences, driving habits, and budget. We’ve explored some outstanding trucks that deliver both performance and efficiency, and we’re confident you’ll find the perfect fit among them.
Fuel efficiency is a crucial aspect of owning a truck, and it’s great to see automakers stepping up their game in this department. The trucks we’ve highlighted in this post showcase some of the most innovative and eco-friendly features, without compromising on power or capability.
So, go on and take one of these fuel-efficient beasts for a spin, and see for yourself why they’re the top contenders in the quest for the best pickup for fuel economy. Don’t forget to share your experience and thoughts with fellow truck enthusiasts, because, after all, we’re on this journey together!