The greenest big pickups

As the only hybrid in the segment, the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid (or its GMC Sierra Hybrid twin) garner the best eRatings. With its optional EcoBoost engine, the Ford F-150 posts a strong second place.

For millions of Americans, their car is a truck and nothing but a fullsize pickup will do. Ford’s F-series has been the top-selling nameplate in the country for countless years. But that’s because Ford offers only one fullsize pickup; combined sales of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra have made that General Motors duo the combined top seller for just about as long as anyone can remember.The Dodge Ram is Chrysler’s perennial fullsize pickup, with the Ram name recently promoted to brand status itself. The Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra round out the established fullsize pickup competition. Pickups can be spec’ed with numerous options, from standard and extended to full four-door crew cabs, short or long beds, two- or four-wheel drive and several engine choices. Those are just the major mechanicals; buyers can select among many other options and specially branded trims. For greener hauling, it mainly comes down to finding the best fuel economy with the other features you want. That in turn means going easy on the specs that add more mass and muscle than you really need to do whatever manly man or strong woman chores you have in mind.

Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid for 2011

That is unless you spring for the Chevy Silverado Hybrid, which nabs the top fullsize pickup eRating by a handy margin. Available only with the full four-door crew cab and short bed, the 4×4 version of Silverado Hybrid lists for $42,485 (including destination fee). A combined fuel economy value of 21 mpg pushes its eRating up to 83, well above the class average of 72. The Silverado Hybrid has 6.0 Liter V8 engine rated at 338 horsepower and a hybrid version of the GMC Sierra is also available with the same powertrain.

Within the Chevy lineup, the cleanest similarly configured non-hybrid pickups are those with the 5.3 Liter V8.  This engine delivers 315 horsepower with 420 pound-feet of torque and is packaged with a 6-speed automatic. The resulting powertrain is more efficient (15 city, 21 highway mpg) than the base model with its smaller, less advanced engine and 4-speed automatic (13 city, 13 highway). The 5.3 Liter 4-wheel drive crew cab Silverado scores an eRating of 76 and lists for $35,610 (including destination fee).

The competing Ford F-150 model offers the company’s new EcoBoost 3.5 Liter V6 as the optional engine, which pushes the fuel economy for a similarly equipped short-bed 4×4 Ford crew cab to the same 15 city, 21 highway level as the 5.3 Liter Chevy. But that’s not all: Ford’s cutting-edge engine is also turbocharged, delivering this efficiency level plus a peak 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, and has the added eco-benefit of a cleaner tailpipe, meeting an emissions standard one notch better than the requisite average. The result is an eRating of 79, between that of the hybrid and non-hybrid Chevys. So configured, a F-150 4×4 crew cab lists for $37,620 (including destination fee).

What about the other contenders in the segment? All configured as 4×4 crew cabs, the Ram 1500 with a 5.7 Liter, 390 hp Hemi eRates at 74 (also helped by a cleaner than average tailpipe); the Nissan Titan with a 5.6 Liter, 317 hp engine eRates at 66; and the Toyota Tundra with its 5.7 Liter 381 hp V8 eRates at 67. Opting for the smaller 4.6 Liter, 310 hp V8 ups the Tundra’s gas mileage by 2 mpg and would move its eRating to 74.

AutoEcoRatings for Full Sized Pickup Trucks

All models are four wheel drive short bed crew cabs
Make and ModelEngineCity/Hwy MPGComb MPGeRating
Chevy Silverado Hybrid6.0 L 322 hp V820 / 23 mpg21 mpg83
Ford F-150 EcoBoost3.5 L 365 hp V615 / 21 mpg17 mpg79
Chevy Silverado 15005.3 L 315 hp V815 / 21 mpg17 mpg76
Dodge Ram 15005.7 L 390 hp V813 / 19 mpg15 mpg74
Toyota Tundra5.7 L 381 hp V813 / 17 mpg15 mpg67
Nissan Titan5.6 L 317 HP V812 / 17 mpg14 mpg66


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