2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax dieselEnlarge Photo
Americans buy more pickup trucks than any other type of vehicle, so boosting their efficiency can have a significant impact on overall fuel consumption.
And since trucks--especially full-size ones--start out with relatively poor fuel economy, even small increases can add up to much more significant amounts of fuel saved, compared to slightly increasing the fuel economy of the most-efficient cars.
In recent years, manufacturers have also had to consider stricter fuel economy standards, and have steadily improved their trucks' efficiency to keep their fleet averages up.
DON'T MISS: Why Green Car Reports Writes About Full-Size Pickup Trucks (Dec 2013)
As we've done for the past couple of years, we rounded up the official figures to see which 2016-model-year truck from the Detroit Three automakers--Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler--is the most efficient on the road.
Last year saw some big changes, headlined by the arrival of the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150.
Overall, changes for 2016 are smaller, but one key update has caused the fuel-economy crown to change hands.
2016 GMC CanyonChevrolet/GMC
2016 GMC CanyonEnlarge Photo
General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins as 2015 models, but the addition of a 2.8-liter Duramax diesel four-cylinder engine option for 2016 makes them the most fuel-efficient new trucks available.
The diesel engine is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission, and returns identical fuel-economy figures in both the Chevy and GMC.
With rear-wheel drive, both mid-size trucks get 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway), while four-wheel drive models get 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway).
The Duramax is one of three engines available in the Colorado and Canyon.
Base models get a 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder which, when paired with the six-speed automatic, returns 22 mpg combined (20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway) with rear-wheel drive, and 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway) with four-wheel drive.
The gasoline four-cylinder can also be matched with a six-speed manual transmission in the Work Truck model, which is aimed primarily at fleets. Available only with rear-wheel drive, this configuration gets 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway).
There's also a 3.6-liter V-6, which can only be had with the automatic transmission. It's rated at 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway) with rear-wheel drive, and 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway) with four-wheel drive.
2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500Enlarge Photo
The two models are nearly identical, and earn the same fuel-economy ratings.
The most fuel-efficient option is the base 4.3-liter V-6, which is offered only with a six-speed automatic transmission.
It's rated at 20 mpg combined (18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway) in rear-wheel drive C15 models, and 19 mpg combined (17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway) in four-wheel drive K15 models.
For 2016, the mid-level 5.3-liter V-8 gets an optional eight-speed automatic transmission, in addition to the standard six-speed automatic.
C15 models get 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway) with the six-speed, and 18 mpg combined (16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway) with the eight-speed.
Interestingly, K15 models are also rated at 18 mpg combined (16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway) when equipped with the six-speed, while eight-speed models get 17 mpg combined (15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway).
One last option is the 6.2-liter V-8, which is only offered with the eight-speed automatic.
It gets 17 mpg combined (15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway)--in either RWD or 4WD configuration.