Gas mileage hasn't always been the first reason buyers looked at pickup trucks. But as prices have risen into $4 territory, fuel economy has become paramount to towing capacity, especially for contractors and independent contractors, and truck makers have responded with excellent new drivetrains.
Among full-size pickups, the Ram 1500 now scores the best fuel economy in the class in its base versions, and we're expecting some of the best numbers for its V-8 models as well.
The Ram's mid-line 4.7-liter V-8 is less competitive in its class. It carries over on a few trim lines this year, with its five-speed automatic. On rear-wheel-drive versions, it was rated at 14/19 mpg in the 2012 model year; that's now the rating for 4WD models, with RWD versions rated at 14/20 mpg.Chrysler's rorty, powerful HEMI V-8 comes in for some gas-mileage improvements too. The 5.7-liter engine earned an EPA rating of 14/20 mpg when outfitted with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic on 2012 models, 14/19 mpg with 4WD. That combination will be available in the 2013 model year, even after the new eight-speed automatic and stop/start technology replace it on some models, for a boost to 15/21 mpg. Those upgrades will join the engine's standard cylinder deactivation, which cuts off fuel delivery to some cylinders when full power isn't needed.