Not long ago, we took a closer look at the fuel-economy testing from our 2017 3/4-Ton Premium Truck Challenge, and found the 2017 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn, with its burly 6.7-liter inline-six Cummins turbo-diesel, did an impressive job in both empty and loaded testing when compared to other pickups in the Challenge.
Big diesels are not for everyone, especially if you need your pickup to do a variety of jobs. For many, the livability and convenience of a good, old-fashioned gas V-8 is just the right power plant to have under the hood.
Our look back at the Premium Truck Challenge prompted us to review our 2017 3/4-Ton Work Truck Challenge, which pitted heavy-duty pickups with gas V-8 engines against each other. Here's what further examination of our fuel-economy testing revealed:
2017 Ford Super Duty F-250 XL: 15.2 MPG Empty/Loaded Average
With its 6.2-liter V-8, the Ford ran away from the field. Not only did the Super Duty's new high-tech 6.2-liter single-overhead cam (with roller rocker shafts for the valve train), 16-valve V-8 get the best empty and loaded (with more than 2,000 pounds in the bed) fuel economy, it was the smoothest and most livable of the test.
2017 Nissan Titan XD S: 14.7 MPG Empty/Loaded Average
Equipped with a 5.6-liter V-8, the Nissan's biggest advantage was the segment's only seven-speed transmission; it made solid shifts and was comfortable running up and down the gears quickly as demand and speeds changed. This was the only all-aluminum, dual-overhead cam, direct-injection engine of the segment. Our fuel-economy results would have been better had Nissan sent us a 4×2 pickup as requested instead of the 4×4 we received.
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 WT: 14.1 MPG Empty/Loaded Average
By far the oldest engine technology in the segment, the 6.0-liter V-8 tried-and-true pushrod made its first appearance in HD pickups almost 20 years ago. If it wasn't such a solid workhorse, providing long-lasting performance appropriate for the more cost-effective end of the 2500/3500 lineup, GM would have ditched this engine long ago. Although outgunned in torque and horsepower, it hung in there on fuel efficiency.
2017 Ram 2500 Tradesman: 13.9 MPG Empty/Loaded Average
Our judges were quite clear: The Ram's 6.4-liter V-8 Hemi made the best noise when driven around town and at the track. As the only player in this segment with cylinder-deactivation technology, we hoped it would perform better, but it only falls into Eco mode when off throttle or gliding down long hills. During our loaded run, it worked the hardest, delivering our worst "loaded" numbers at 12.1 mpg.
Cars.com photos by Angela Conners