When people talk about pickups, stats are thrown around usually involving torque and towing ability. But what about fuel economy? Thanks to technology, trucks are becoming increasingly competitive in this category. Take the GMC Canyon for instance, which for the 2017 model year is powered by a new 3.6-liter V6, utilizing gas-saving cylinder deactivation functionality that achieves 25 miles per gallon on the highway. Or, the Guts, Glory, RAM 1500 running the miserly 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, rated at a wallet-friendly 29 MPG (mixed driving conditions) and boasting an equally impressive torque spec of 420 lb-ft. Let’s dive deeper into these two vehicles and more below.
The Canyon is a jack-of-all-trades. Being a mid-size, it’s just right for pulling double domestic and work duty. Towing is not a problem, as the truck rated at 7,700 pounds (diesel engine) maximum trailering capacity. Nor is there any shortage of available high tech equipment, like four USB ports, eight-inch touchscreen display with navigation, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity.
A new 308-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine was added in 2017, featuring continuously variable valve timing, direct injection, and Active Fuel Management that can deactivate three of the six cylinders during light driving conditions. Altogether, these technologies allow the Canyon achieve a combined 22 MPG.
Diesels have long been known to be leaders in the realm of efficiency, and the 2016 RAM 1500 packing the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 is proof. Mated to an equally efficient TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic transmission, the pickup can tool around the city doing 21 MPG — nearly equal to what a lot of the competition does on the highway.
The 1500 is about a lot more than sipping gas and hauling stuff. Customers can choose from a plethora of well-endowed trims such as the Rebel wearing a blacked-out grille, off-road-styled front bumper, billet skid plate, projector headlights, LED foglights and twin-snorkel sport hood. Bilstein shock absorbers and a one-inch raised ride height improve the model’s trail-running capability. The Laramie Limited grade, on the other hand, is tailored towards luxury. For example, the body-side and window molding, door handles, and side-steps are all dipped in chrome. Inside, occupants enjoy contrast stitching, soft touch materials, Black Argento Wood panelling and special badging.
When talking about vehicles with history, the F-150 should not be left out of the conversation having been on the market for seven decades. Now in its 13th iteration, the “Built Ford Tough” was completely redesigned in 2015 using copious amounts of high strength steel and aluminum. The result? A weight loss of 700 pounds, better acceleration, handling, etc.
A turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost mill joined the family as well, churning out 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. Active Grille Shutters aid performance, staying open when extra cooling is needed during stop-and-go-driving or hot weather operation. At faster speeds, they close to reduce drag, helping the 2.7-equipped F-150s get 26 MPG on the highway.