Ram and GMC/Chevy Pickups Get Better MPG Than Tundra? – No Way Says Consumer Reports

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The perennial thought, among critics, is that the Tundra is the WORST pickup for fuel economy on the market. Not so fast says Consumer Reports who has tested all of them. Does 1 MPG matter?

Ram and GMC/Chevy Get Better MPG Than Tundra - No Way Says Consumer Reports

Ram 1500, best in class MPG, way better than Tundra? Nope. Try again.

Consumer Reports said today that in their November issue that the full-size truck MPG average hasn’t changed this year. It found both the new Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado to be about the same (1 MPG better for Chevy). In combined driving the Ram gets 15 MPG and the Chevy gets 16. This is about average for full-size trucks with 15 MPG being standard (as in the Toyota Tundra). 

They tested, “Silverado’s widely sold 355-hp, 5.3-liter V8 version with four-wheel-drive.” It found that:

The 5.3-liter delivered ample acceleration, but it lacked the thrust of the 5.7-liter V8s in the Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra. The Silverado’s transmission up shifts smoothly and quickly but can be reluctant to downshift, making the truck sometimes feel underpowered. Towing Consumer Reports’ 5,000-pound trailer to 60 mph took 14.8 seconds, a strong performance. Off-road performance on Consumer Reports’ demanding rock hill course was hampered by wheel spin and ground clearance.

For Ram, Consumer Reports tested, “Ram with Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8, four-wheel-drive, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission that’s smooth and efficient.” They also said:

Consumer Reports found that combination delivered seamless and effortless power, while returning a relatively good 15 mpg overall. Acceleration is quicker than the Silverado and the Hemi feels much brawnier in real-world driving.

The Ram also brings its own impressive workhorse credentials. Its driver-selectable full-time four-wheel-drive system works well, and the truck scrambled up Consumer Reports’ rock hill with ease. It can tow up to 9,950 pounds when properly equipped. The truck pulled Consumer Reports’ 5,000-pound trailer to 60 mph in 14.9 seconds, a strong showing.

What gives then? We have been hearing for a few months about how great the fuel economy is in the Ram and the Silverado/Sierra. Yet, when you compare the same crew cab, 4×4 with a 5L+ V-8, there isn’t much difference. Turns out that if you drive only highway, sure you might see 1-2 MPG improvements over the Tundra. Yet, when you do combined driving, the Ram 1500 is the same and the Silverado/Sierra is just 1 MPG better (see: deal, not a big one).

Consumer Reports actually says in their full-size Top Pickup issue that the Silverado/Sierra is better than the Ram except when it comes to commuting. The nod then goes to the Ram. While, they haven’t released all their results (without a subscription of course), it is highly likely that they tested a 2013 Tundra (not the new one).

Why not the new Tundra? Frankly, they have just been hitting lots and normally magazines have a 3-6 month calendar. Odds are that they did their testing back in the June/July. This is really when the new Silverado came to market and the Ram had already been on the market. They also left out the Ford F-150 from testing saying that there wasn’t anything new and they would wait until the 2015 model.

Sadly, this is how most magazines work and is really reminiscent of the Pickuptrucks.com test which pitted 2014 models against older 2013 models. And yes, many do have their gripes about Consumer Reports and their perceived bias. However, people read and buy things from their reviews.

Let’s forget the relevance of Consumer Reports for a minute. Are you surprised that the trucks get the same fuel economy? Do you think the Tundra needs a vast makeover for better fuel economy? Sound off!

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  1. mk says:

    No experience in new 2014 chevies, but have driven chevy silverados 5.3L thru 2007 model year. It always consistently 80 hwy/20% city, but mostly rural country roads not too many stops got 17.5 mpg. The tundra 5.7L since 2007 averages same route 16.5 mpg. So, ONLY 1 less REAL WORLD mpg.

    I really wish I could test drive the new 5.3L 2014 chevy for 1 week of REAL WORLD driving and see for myself before I buy if it really does achieve for me 22 mpg average driving or just the norm say 18 avg mpg. If 22, I’d be impressed and even over 20 avg mpg I’d be impressed.

    To me, 1 more mpg is nothing but when you talk 4 more avg mpg, I am impressed and highly considering purchasing, at least for me. 4 more mpg achieving 20 vs. 16 is a 20% increase in fuel economy and I think that is a lot vs. say ONLY 1 more avg mpg.

    I think consumer reports reviews are hit or miss for me some are believable and some are not. To say the chevy silverado is worse than dodge at commuting I don’t believe that one bit, but what do I know?? Maybe the softer dodge ram suspension makes the difference in terms of ride quality???

    I do know going from silverado to tundra, the engine/tranny are much improved in the tundra but the ride quality is worse than chevy for sure. I’ll take engine/tranny/reliability over a tad bit better is all ride quality anyday of the week.

  2. Mickey says:

    I have to say I’m a little surprised by that review. Then again lately auto manufacturers have been inflating their mpg ratings. It will all work out same as the J2807 Standards.

    • Justin says:

      LOL. So what if the other manufacturers follow the J2807 Standards or not? The F150 EB is already quicker unloaded, loaded and towing than the Tundra, in both acceleration and braking. The Ram is quicker unloaded and towing, but slightly slower than the Tundra when loaded. And based on the most recent results, the Tundra is the worst at braking, both loaded and unloaded. Appears these trucks can handle anything the Tundra can. And if the J2807 Standards is all that it appears Tundra fans can hang their hat on, then it’s a sad day for Toyota.

      • Mickey says:

        Really Justin? Ford is the worst case scenario in J2807 standards. Why is Ford afraid to do what they agreed upon? You and I know why. For your EB your inflated mpg’s are coming to a head now. As for J2807 standards GM tried and seen Ford failed to provide so GM backed out also. Why agree upon a certain standard and totally back out. What do you have to lose besides a lot of poundage in towing.

        • Justin says:

          You’d have to ask Ford and GM as to why they haven’t agreed to the standard. All I base my opinion on is real-world experience at 5K+ ft elevation. You see trucks taxed much harder here than at sea level, especially if loaded. If the truck controls a similar if not heavier weight of the load better, accelerates up the mtn pass quicker (some up to 11K+ ft), brakes/gears down better decending the other side of the mtn pass, and uses equal fuel, it’s called an advantage. As stated many times before, all are competent trucks that can handle practically anything the others can. A lot simply has to do with peoples preference. But the claim this standard makes the Tundra the “better” truck is perposterous.

      • hemi lol says:

        Justin, if PUTC (which is the test you are quoting) wasnt so ford biased you would see MUCH different results! First of all, NO TEST ON PUTC EVER STARTED WITH THEM BRAKE TORQUING TO 2000 RPM BEFORE LAUNCH!!!!! This was done because of the turbo lag of the ecoboost. secondly the tundra they tested was basic 13 model crew max that was 3500 CHEAPER than the other trucks yet PUTC people CONSTANTLY cry the tundra is more expensive……. IF they tested a tundra with the trd off road package or one with 20’s with good tires they results would be WILDLY different. the brakes on the tundra are larger than every other truck so the ONLY explanation is the crap tires on that truck, period. i can go on for DAYS about all the BS bias of some of these sites but you’ll only believe what you want to and you’ll never look close enough at a tundra to realize how much of a difference there REALLY is. IF you did you would own one. have a good day

        • Justin says:

          Whatever with your PUTC and Ford bias. Each manufacturer has won a PUTC comepetition at one time or another. I’m sorry to tell you, but there is practically no turbo lag in the ecoboosts. I’ve driven a couple different models (3.5L, 2.0L, 1.6L) and the only one to exibit lag, which was extremely slight was the 1.6L. And if you have a problem, or think the price difference should provide you a consolation prize, it doesn’t. Toyota furnished the truck, so if you think it lost simply for this reason, your beef is with Toyota.

          TRD pkg would have made for a rougher ride. 20″ rims (as with any truck when you increase rim size) take away from towing/payload capability. All trucks had stock tires. Sorry, this was a stock truck, as were the rest, provided by the manufacturers. It lost, as the Ford, as the GM and as the Ram have in the past. Just because your preferred brand lost, doesn’t mean the test was rigged, the testers were biased, or that everyone is going to think the Tundra is the best thing since sliced bread.

          And I’ve driven a few ’07+ Tundra’s. Decent trucks. Cheap interior (IMHO) and bad ergonomics, which I hope the ’14 has rectified. Not fond of the bodystyle either, that’s my personal preference though. It has its goods and bads, as does my truck and any truck on the road. But to me, the Tundra didn’t win me over. So been close, driven some, were nice overall, but did not overly impress me and never upped the bar.

  3. Larry says:

    “Are you surprised that the trucks get the same fuel economy?”

    No, with 5000 pound trailer and a 6000 pound truck, it will take the same amount of fuel to move it no matter which truck it is. F=MA and other physics type stuff. The air fuel rations are the same, we are burning the same amount of fuel. Lean out the fuel mixture to save gas and you will be rebuilding the motor in few thousand miles.

    If accelerating 11000 pounds from 0 to 60 as fast as possible is important, the it’s time to stop talking about fuel economy.

    If it’s important to be able to pull 11000 pound up a 10 mile 7 percent grade at 75 MPH, then we will need to keep filling up the tank. Going up hill at 75 will use a lot more fuel the living with 55 MPH.

    These reviews should replace the word “truck” with “station wagon”. What I read is nothing like how I use my trucks.

    MPG aside I vote for the Toyota 5.7 over the other big gas V8s. I still fear that Toyota will cave in and come out with their own complex motor. The longer they wait and the more R&D the better chance of getting it right.

    • LJC says:

      Good points Larry. I hope Toyota doesn’t cave, but instead redefines the 1/2 ton class with a Hilux sized truck that has a 4 cylinder diesel and move the Tundra in the 3/4 ton class.

      • RIck says:

        I’d leave the Tundra alone in its class. It already has 3/4 and one ton parts underneath. It’s unusually stout with a light curb weight. Making it a distinct 3/4 would likely add lots of weight.

        In light of the rumor that Nissan is fitting diesels to its new 1/2 ton Titan, Toyota should take the lead and offer a small V8 diesel in the Tundra adding minor changes to accommodate that power plant.

        • Larry says:

          By moving to the 3/4 ton, 8000 gross weight class the manufacturer is free from all the CAFE C_R_A_P.

          There are things to be gained by building an HD type truck.

        • Justin says:

          If you believe the Tundra is 3/4 ton built and prepped, then you have to say the others, maybe minus Ram with it’s coil suspension, are all also 3/4 trucks. Lastly, if the Tundra has issues competing for sales in the 1/2 ton market, it’ll be much more difficult for them to compete for 3/4-1 ton sales. As for the diesel, Ram appears to already be bringing a small diesel to the the market in the 1500.

          • mk says:

            Larry, braking and payload and acceleration are better than chevy in my opinion in my own ‘real’ world use of both. No idea on ford’s since not going to buy one of them ever – I have my reasons.

          • hemi lol says:

            justin, again with your uneducated comments……. the springs on a tundra are heavier than the other trucks, this is why the rear end drops LESS under the same amount of tongue weight. The Tundra also sports front brakes LARGER than the others at 13.9 inches at 1.26 inches THICK with a 4 piston fixed position caliper THAT YOU CANT GET ON ANY ONE TON. did i mention ALL Tundras have a fluid to fluid heat exchanger on the engine oil AND transmission fluid and the other manufacturers have………….. OH thats right they DONT have that feature either! how about dual Variable Valve Timing that changes the intake cam and exhaust cam timing SEPARATELY of each other to make better low end torque and more HP OH thats right they dont offer that feature EITHER. And then there is my FAVORITE ONE, how can ANY half ton truck tow over 10k pounds when they all have class IV hitches which are only built to handle UP TO 10k pounds? OH accept for the Tundra which is built with a class V hitch thats rated up to 15k pounds! yeah the other trucks really are built just as heavy huh………… go watch some more misleading advertisements and come back and i’ll teach you some more truths Justin.

  4. LJC says:

    The RAM has “workhorse credentials”? Doesn’t the air bag suspension overheat when heavily used?

  5. RIck says:

    This truck is going to redefine this market. AAA estimated this week that gas will never be lower than $3/ga/ again. The diesel market is ripe for the picking and Nissan just made a big statement. Offering 500+ ft. lbs. of torque in a light duty, full size pick up and 20+ mpg will SELL all day long.

    http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2.....mmins.html

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Rick,

      While I have many thoughts about the Cummins in the Nissan, consider this that Cummins has been shopping this engine for a while. I know for a fact that Toyota has one in their test fleet with an 8-speed transmission. It just doesn’t deliver any real improvement and they have decided against offering it so far. If it does have a place in the Toyota lineup, you can bet they will offer one ASAP.

      -Tim

      • Goldie says:

        Tim,
        Do know if that 8-speed transmission is the ZF unit or the Aisin? Do you know if Toyota is also testing their 4.5L V8 diesel in their test fleet?

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Goldie,

          My source says it is a ZF and I’m not sure about the 4.5L V8. I would guess that it is extremely likely they are testing it. I also believe they are testing a Hybrid, Electric, etc… Hell, they are testing all of them.

          Also, by the way, I am currently driving a 2013 Lexus RX 350 with an 8-speed transmission which is most assuredly an Aisin (trying to confirm). So, if they use it in Lexus, I am sure they have one in their test fleet.

          The facts are that Toyota tests everything (like everyone else). The ROI and production math just isn’t there yet, when it does equate, then they could move forward quickly.

          -Tim

          • Goldie says:

            Thanks Tim for the info.

            Yep. That RX 350 transmission is an Aisin. The first production 8 speed automatic transmission for a fwd platform, though your RX is AWD. Are you going to have a write-up about that RX 350 even though this is a Tundra site?

          • Tim Esterdahl says:

            You know, I probably will write it up for THQ. Or at least a piece of it, maybe the transmission. I also drove a 4Runner that I need to write up too. I think people will be interested in it.

            -Tim

      • Rick says:

        Tim,

        I was referring to diesel in general. I’m not too keen on Cummins frankly.

        I had an ’02 Duramax and it was a phenomenal engine in a too-heavy 2500 platform (7200 lbs). With my truck raised 6″ and 35″ tires – 3.73 rear, I still managed 19mpg hwy. My SC Tundra manages but 16mg with a light foot and hwy mixed. I love my Tundra! But diesel is a big jump forward.

        Have you ever owned one?

        Diesel is the answer IMO as opposed to a heavy, complex and expensive hybrid that would require battery replacement in a number of years. Diesel can also go 250k miles before an overhaul. The power and mpg of a modern diesel has to be experienced to be believed. Just do regular oil and filter changes. Fill up and go.

        Nissan will take over that spot as manufactures seem foolishly timid about going there. I assume because the public is misinformed and to some extent, they are.

        Jeep is there with the ’14 Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler gets diesel in ’15. Stay tuned!

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Rick,

          My family has owned several diesels and they do have their place. I’m with Ram on this one though that it won’t be as wholly dominant as it would appear. Ram just stated that they expect just 15 percent of new truck buyers to opt for the diesel. Looking at their current numbers, they have sold 234,642 models YTD. Let’s say they get a 10 percent increase in sales and 5 percent are current Ram customers switching. So, you have roughly 25,000 additional units sold YTD.

          I, for one, hope that the EcoDiesel sells a LOT better than that. If it does, then everyone will adopt it. If it doesn’t, then I am with the other automakers in not offering one. And yes, I agree Hybrid isn’t the way to go.

          Also, I am going to be really curious how many HD owners downsell into the Ram EcoDiesel. This leads me to question Ram’s notion that the used diesel vehicle market will continue to have a higher resale value. Seems like the market will become more flooded and resale values will drop (the whole supply vs. demand thing).

          As I have said many times, these are truly interesting times we are living in. And, for the first time in a long time, consumers truly get a voice. If they buy the EcoDiesel, then the pickup truck world will change a lot. I’m going to be really curious to see what happens.

          -Tim

    • larry says:

      This diesel news in interesting.

      Why did Cummins build a V8? Every engine they make is an in-line engine and that includes their big 15 liter models. Every big engine (locomotive, ship, excavation) I have ever seen made by Cat, Cummins or any other companies is an in-line engine. The largest diesel engine ever made for commercial shipping which is as big as a house is a in-line engine.

      The 5.9 used in the RAMs was mechanically as solid as any piston engine ever built. It’s only problem has been the injector pump made by Bosch. They also make an inline 4 in the same design as what is in the RAM.

      Now they make a left turn and start building V8 motors? This likely means chain driven cams as opposed the bullet proof gear drive setup in the straight 6. While it is my believe the Cummins is the worlds best engine builder, this is another case of an unproven motor.

      Let the first buyers be ware.

      • toyrulz says:

        @Larry

        Mechanic told me once that deisels are used in large equipment and don’t have a need to be light or compact – and more thought goes into strength (including mounts) with design to be rebuilt in place. Inline makes for easier rebuild – and he had stories of some serious work done on deisels right on the side of the road.

        I’m guessing in light duty and passenger applications – it is more important to be light and compact, with less need for roadside rebuilds.

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