Originally Posted by Nootherids
Damn, I honestly didn't know they ran gears that low. I figured all modern trucks ran close to 3.80 for towing power at least.
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The thing you have to watch is what truck was used exactly for the mpg that is claimed. Its usually a regular cab short bed no options with the highest gears they can offer. A lot of the Chevy's run 3.08 or 3.21, Dodge runs 3.55 a lot. I've driven several rentals for 500+ miles, and I've found the ecoboost to be just ok, but kind of a dog for higher speed acceleration. Its best at part throttle from lower speeds where you can feel the torque. The Chevy's seem to feel anemic with the 5.3. The Ram has good power --- but its a Ram. I think any one of them with our 4:30 gears would feel so much higher performance.
Ford runs a turbo V-6 to get better mileage. Chevy and Dodge use cylinder deactivation. The newer transmissions are supposed to help with the 8 speeds, but it seems to be a tiny increase compared to the normal 6 speed.
Overall weight makes a difference, so comparing a crewmax 4x4 to a 2wd regular cab will show a significant change.
The way the engine is tuned makes a big difference also. The computer control makes it so you can fine tune it infinitely, so if you want big power you can make it pretty easily, but if you want good mileage you can do that too.
Good example is the Chevy LS engines. People doing engine swaps rebuild them and drop them into classics a lot. Stock rated truck 5.3's were like 315 hp a few years back. Some tweaks (cam, porting, intake and injector mods) and aftermarket controllers they are over 400 pretty quickly. So that shows you that they have been significantly "de-tuned" in production form, and that is often for fuel mileage.
I have several friends with other brand trucks, and they really don't seem to get significantly better real world mileage. One friend has a 2-year old Ram, the other has a 2012 Silverado. I know the Silverado has the 5.3 with 3.08's, and he only beats my truck by about 1.5 mpg with he same type of driving that I do. The Ram gets about 4 mpg better than me, but he drives almost all highway all the time. When I have checked a tank running highway the whole way I've been more like 2 less than him. He has a 3.92 rear, and cylinder deactivation. I think that combo makes all the difference.
Personally, I'm not thrilled with cylinder deactivation. I think long term its a reliability issue. I do like the Ford idea with the turbo 6, but turbo's create other issues down the road.
FWIW, I owned a 2000 Dodge Dakota that I bought new. It got 14 mpg and had a 170 hp V-6. I later upgraded to a 2005 Dodge Ram, it had the 345 hp hemi, and got 14 mpg. I then upgraded to a 2008 Tundra, which got.......you guessed it.......14 mpg.