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We Brits are adopting this iconic type of vehicle invented in 1925 by Henry Ford.

Their popularity on UK roads is ever increasing. However, we still feel a little timid when selecting, at least compared to our cousins across the pond!

Traditionally known for their large size and impressive torque, pickups got a bad name for their terrible fuel consumption figures.

However, in the early 2000s, manufacturers had to develop new technologies to improve fuel consumption due to increased pressures on emission regulations. Engineers had to achieve this while maintaining payload, power, and towing capacity. Ultimately this is what made them more attractive to drivers globally.

As a result of this, we thought we would cover arguably the 3 most fuel efficient trucks in the UK market.

We feel the honour goes to these workhorses mentioned below:

  1. The stylish & versatile Ford Ranger with impressive power & off-road capabilities.
  2. The reliable Toyota Hilux considers safety and comfort as paramount.
  3. The durable Isuzu D-Max is highly customisable.

The fuel efficiency of pickup trucks is typically measured in miles per gallon (MPG) in the UK. Essentially, this is the distance a vehicle can travel on one gallon of fuel.

According to the UK Department for Transport, the average combined fuel economy for pickup trucks (in the UK) is around 29.4 mpg (8 L/100km). Town fuel economy is around 25.5 mpg (9 L/100km) and motorway fuel economy at about 33.5 mpg (7 L/100km).

Note: These are average figures. Actual figures will vary depending on several factors, such as driving habits, weather conditions, terrain, and cargo load!

Pickup Truck Fuel Efficiency Comparison

It’s all good and well to name the 4 pickup models that we think have the best fuel consumption rating. But a more interesting question is, how do these comparable models stack up against each other?

Ford Ranger

The fuel efficiency of the Ford Ranger varies depending on the engine and drivetrain configuration. In this example, we look at the 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine with 10-speed automatic transmission and 4×4 drivetrain:

WLTP figures:

  •  Between 29.1-31.7 mpg (9.7-8.9 L/100km) combined.

Toyota Hilux

The fuel efficiency of the Toyota Hilux also varies depending on the engine and drivetrain configuration. In this example, we look at the 2.4-litre diesel engine with 6-speed manual transmission and 4×4 drivetrain.

WLTP figures:

  • Between 28.2-30.4 mpg (10.2-9.3 L/100km) combined.

Isuzu D-Max

The Isuzu D-Max is available with a 1.9-litre diesel engine with 6-speed manual transmission and 4×4 drivetrain or a 3.0-litre diesel engine with 6-speed automatic transmission and 4×4 drivetrain.

We feel the latter is a fairer comparison against the other 3 models.

WLTP figures:

  • 1.9-litre – between 36.2-40.4 mpg (7.8-6.2 L/100km) combined.
  • 3.0-litre – between 28.2-32.5 mpg (10.0-8.7 L/100km) combined.

Which Pickup Has the Best Potential Fuel Savings?

As is often the case in the automotive industry, it’s challenging to make an exact like-for-like comparison due to differences in configuration.

To make matters even more challenging, just because a vehicle has a better overall combined fuel efficiency, doesn’t necessarily mean it performs better on fuel on a specific configuration (such as driving in the snow while 4×4 is activated or going off-road for example).

So there will be some level of discrepancies, depending on what conditions you use your truck on the most.

Pickup Truck Fuel Efficiency Tips

No matter the pickup you have, there are several tips for improving its range. These tips don’t differ much from what you would do with a car.

Nonetheless, we feel the following are some great pointers to consider:

  1. Keep tyres properly inflated: Proper tyre inflation improves fuel efficiency by up to 3%. Check the pressure regularly and maintain them at the recommended level.
  2. Use cruise control: Activating cruise control on the motorway helps maintain a consistent speed and reduce fuel consumption.
  3. Avoid 4-wheel drive: Use 4WD when necessary. However, when driving in this mode on the road, in dry conditions, it increases fuel consumption (we often forget to switch off 4WD mode).
  4. Use synthetic oil: Compared to conventional oil, synthetic oils generally improve engine efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

Close windows at high speeds: Opened windows create drag and reduce fuel efficiency (especially at high speeds). It’s estimated that driving at 70 mph with open windows reduces fuel efficiency by as much as 10%.

Fuel Efficiency Technologies for Pickups

Engineers are working hard in developing cutting-edge technologies to improve fuel mileage for these off-roading vehicles. Here are 5 wonderful ways manufacturers are tackling this problem:

  1. Cylinder deactivation: This technology allows some of the cylinders in a pickup truck’s engine to shut down when they are not needed, which can save fuel.
  2. Advanced transmissions: Some automakers are incorporating advanced transmissions like 8 or 10-speed automatics, which can improve fuel efficiency by keeping the engine in its most efficient operating range.
  3. Low rolling resistance tyres: These tyres are designed to reduce the energy required to move the vehicle, which can improve fuel efficiency.
  4. GPS-assisted cruise control: Cruise control has come a long way, with some vehicles fitted with a variation of this system that uses GPS technology. GPS is used to predict changes on the road ahead, and as a result, allows the vehicle to adjust its speed and save on fuel without adding more time to the journey.
  5. Active suspension systems: These systems are designed to adjust the suspension of a vehicle in real time. As a result, this improves handling and stability while also improving fuel efficiency by reducing the energy required to maintain a stable ride.

These are a few examples of the many technologies available on pickup trucks.

As manufacturers are constantly researching and developing new features and technologies to improve fuel efficiency, it’s only likely we will see further advancements coming soon. This brings us to the next section!

The Future of Fuel Efficiency for Pickups

In regards to the future of fuel efficiency for these motors, things look very promising. We can’t claim to know what engineers will bring in the future, and manufacturers don’t easily share advancements in technology with the public (at least not until the vehicle is released).

Having said that, we do know a few things that will likely soon be incorporated. For example:

  1. Connected vehicle technology: Connected vehicle technology allows vehicles to communicate with each other, which can help optimize traffic flow and reduce fuel consumption.
  2. Predictive powertrain technology: Some vehicles are incorporating predictive powertrain technology, which uses data from sensors and GPS to optimize the vehicle’s powertrain for maximum fuel efficiency. This can include things like automatically selecting the best gear for the road ahead or adjusting the engine’s power output based on the terrain.
  3. Active aerodynamics: Some automakers are already incorporating active aerodynamic features into their pickup trucks. For example, the 2022 Ford F-150 features an active air dam that automatically lowers at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency performance.
  4. Active grille shutters: Some automakers are incorporating active grille shutters into their pickup trucks, which automatically open and close to regulate airflow and improve aerodynamics. This can help reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency.
  5. Waste heat recovery systems: By capturing and reusing wasted heat from the engine, these systems can improve fuel efficiency by reducing the load on the engine’s cooling system. The heat can also be converted into electricity to power other systems on the vehicle.

Author’s Final Words

Our team of experts is always helping businesses get on the road with our pickups at competitive rates. We have a wealth of knowledge on these vehicle types given their widespread popularity here in the UK.

We, therefore, dedicated an informational page on this topic to help answer any questions you may have.

If you are still unsure about anything, give us a call and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.