For MPG get a small truck or midsize with a small engine. For MPG in bigger trucks buy one with the V6 and a 5 speed manual (to get the most out of the engine). Parts are there for any modern vehicle. Dealers are costlier than private mechanics.
Do not let anyone tell you to get a 6 cylinder over a V-8 in a truck or SUV for best fuel economy. Let me tell you from experience, my truck with a 4.7 liter V-8 gets as good of mileage as my SUV did with a straight 4.0 liter 6 cylinder motor. People often have the misconception that the 6 cylinder will always be more fuel efficient than the V-8. This is simply not true. Additionally, in my opinion, the V-8 power is well worth any minimal difference in mpg compared to a 6 cylinder motor. I will admit that 6 cylinder engines have come a long way, but there is such a nice feeling about a V-8 under the hood, nothing like it!
Don't discount a six cylinder, especially with the manual transmission. The guy who wrote to get the V8 probably has an auto because he can't drive a stick anyway. The 6 cyl with a manual is just as good as a small V8 with an auto, and will achieve better mileage.
Great and important points in a pick-up guys. But one thing. I think it is fairly simple common-sense that in any vehicle manual offers better shifting ratios in each gear than an automatic-thus meaning you are able to accelerate better and get more performance from the immense horsepower. Indeed, many sports cars and performance vehicles are six-speed manual for consistent acceleration and small cars (like Toyota Echo, not saying I like them) in fact are never usually made in auto, as their power output is already quite low and for speed they have to be stick-shift.
I am the gal (not guy) who wrote to get the V-8, and I can certainly drive a manual. My response never mentioned stick or auto, but we can go there if you want. My first three trucks were all stick shift. I drive an auto now because I was simply sick and tired of driving the stick shift. The plain fact is that 6-cylinder engines are not necessarily the better choice for fuel economy. And like I stated before, the performance difference is almost always better in the V-8, especially when talking about low end torque. If all you are doing is driving to and from work, by all means get the 4 or 6 cylinder motor. But, if you want to carry decent loads or tow things, go for the V-8 over the 6 cylinder motor. The mileage difference will usually be minimal, but the performance gains very noteable.
Just my two cents for comparison. The V-8 responder may be referring to a 4.7 liter V-8 that is common in many Dodge trucks and suv's. I happen to know because I own a 2003 Dodge Dakota Quad cab 4X4. Let's talk auto transmissions for a minute. The V-6 offering in the Dakota actually had a worse mileage rating than the small V-8 (2003 models), for the simple fact that the 4.7 V-8 could be mated to a 5 speed auto transmission. The performance difference made the decision a no brainer for me. If I remember correctly, the V-6 was rated at 190hp while my V-8 is rated at 230hp. Why buy the truck with a V-6 when I can get a V-8 with so much more power and performance under the hood. I do not carry much in the box very often, nor do I tow something every day, but it is nice to know I can do so much more, if necessary, with the V-8 offering in my Dakota.
Good point the lady who made the point about practicality and power. Indeed, if all you're doing is driving to work or going for a leisurely ride, then all you need is a four or six cylinder engine pick-up. Indeed, if this is all you need a vehicle for, a pick-up truck is not even practical. But for carrying loads, you need all the power you can get, and that's from a V8 engine.
I'd like to see the actual figures of the 4.2 over the 4.6 and 5.4. Seeing as I have the 4.2 with a 5 speed.
To the lady poster:
You still cannot compare a new 4.7 with a 5speed auto (I'm assuming) to an old 4.0 with a 4 spd auto (Ford explorer?). You just can't do that and make it a working comparison.
Knowing you can tow a lot isn't very smart imo. Save some money of yours on gas and get something for what you'll actually use it for.
If everyone thought like that, we'd have H2s with a truck bed sticking out from the rear of a normal size one just because we knew we could do whatever we wanted with it.
The 4.6 V8 is known to be anemic anyways. (hey I could be wrong) I've heard that a lot. Either way, my 4.2 runs fine and has plenty of power with 3 170lb bikes in the bed. And I've loaded it up before and gotten plenty of crap in there with little effect on performance. A lot of ranger owners can tell you through actual experience that even the small rangers with 2.3s can tow a decent amount.
But again, its about what you're going to use it for. If your going for towing or big stuff, get the V8 by all means. If you're inbetween then maybe a big truck with a v6 will be just fine, or a small truck with the big engine. But if you're not putting anything in the bed, then what's the point of owning it in the first place?
You talk about saving all this money on gas with the smaller motors. Go read the thread for the GMC Canyon with the 4 cylinder motor. The person states they get 17mpg city with it. I get that with my V-8 powered truck. This is the point some of us are trying to make. People have this misconception that the smaller motors are so much more fuel efficient, when the facts are they are not! The smaller motors simply work so much harder than the V-8's.
Well considering that the GM can't make a small truck worth a damn, you can't go by that mileage. Many ranger and tacoma owners will tell you of decent or good mpg.
The canyon has a big 4 cyl anyways and with 4wd and all that, the engine is too small for the truck and works too hard.
I actually just found out the colorado's 4 cyl is a 2.8L. Now that's a big 4 cyl engine and gets V6 mileage. Compare it to older rangers and s10s with 2.2 and 2.3 engines (newer rangers have a 2.5). There is a big mileage difference when you get near 3.0 liters.
Oh, I see. Amazing how far people stretch to try and prove a point, even when they are absolutely wrong. First we are told by a responder that you cannot compare an older 4.0 V-6 to a newer 4.7 V-8. Then we are told you have to question the mileage ratings from Ford on the 4.2 V-6 compared to the 5.4 V-8, they must be wrong! Now we are told by a responder you cannot compare a newer 4.7 V-8 to a 4 cylinder in a GM truck, because GM cannot build a good small truck. And then you throw in there that Rangers and Tacomas deliver good gas mileage? I will tell you, I had a Range 4X4 with a 4.0 liter V-6, and it delivered no better than teens for mileage. Face the facts when they stare you in the face.