Full-Size Truck Shootout: Turbo V6s vs. Regular V8s

V8 lovers across America are starting to panic as more full-size truck makers are rolling out a new class of powerful, small-displacement turbocharged engines. Turbo V6 pickups won’t last they say. There’s no replacement for displacement, right? Maybe, maybe not.

Should you grab a V8-powered pickup truck while you still can? Or are the powerful new turbocharged V6s everything they say? Find out in this Major World article! 

Ready to Buy a Truck — Do You Go Ecoboost V6 or a Trusty V8?

Buying a new or low-mileage used pickup truck isn’t as simple as it used to be. There are not only a ton of options and trim levels out there, but a new generation of turbo V6 engines has made major inroads in the full-size truck market. Used car lots from Queens to Newark now have turbo V6 full-size trucks in inventory.

But what’s the right choice for you? A Ford F-150 with the athletic Ecoboost turbo V6? Or the rock-steady Chevy Silverado with its trusted and proven OHV V8s? Or maybe it’s the limo-smooth ride of the RAM 1500 you crave… Your friends at Major World wrote this article to help you decide. Below we break down the numbers and the pros and cons of pre-owned pickup trucks with V8s and turbo 6-cylinders so you can make a smart choice for yourself! 

Advantages of Buying a Turbo V6 Pickup Truck Over a V8

V8 engines are associated with pulling power and low-end torque, right? Well, would it surprise you to hear that the full-size pickups from Ford and RAM that are rocking turbo V6s put out torque at much lower RPM than the naturally aspirated V8s? It’s true. 

Many people hear “turbo” and they think of turbo lag — but it’s not the 1980s or 90s anymore. Turbo technology has changed A LOT in the past 30 years. Advances like space-age alloys to “Hot-V” designs and variable vane turbochargers mean that today’s turbo V6s have nearly no lag at all. In fact, they come out swinging offering V8-like torque at lower RPMs than any non-turbo engine. That means immediate power on tap for towing, shooting through holes in traffic, or climbing hills with a full load in the bed. 

Don’t believe us?  Take a look at the numbers.

Ford’s EcoBoost V6 Truck Engines:

Ford F-150 2.7 Liter EcoBoost V6 (2018-21): 

325 hp @ 5000 RPM and 400 lb-ft @ 2750 RPM — 20/26 MPG (22 combined)

Ford F-150  3.5 Liter EcoBoost V6 (2021+): 

400-450 hp @ 6000 RPM and 500 lb-ft @ 3100 RPM — 18/24 MPG (20 combined) 

Now, compare those figures with Ford’s 5.0 liter Coyote V8:

400 hp at 6000 RPM and 410 lb-ft @ 4250 RPM — 17/24 MPG (20 combined)

RAM’s New Hurricane 3.0 Liter Turbo I-6:

420 hp @ 5200 RPM and 468 lb-ft @ 3500 RPM — 18/25 MPG (21 combined)

Compared to the 5.7 Hemi V8:

395 hp @ 5600 RPM and 375 lb-ft @ 4400 RPM — 18/23 MPG (20 combined) 

If you know anything about trucks, you know that low-end torque is what gets the work done. The truth is any power that you’re not getting until you’re over 3500 RPM or so is power you will rarely get the chance to use. 

The pros of buying a turbo V6 pickup truck:

  • The turbo V6s make the same torque or more and at a lower RPM
  • Turbo V6 pickups deliver better fuel economy than naturally aspirated V8s
  • Turbocharged engines lose about half as much power as you go up in altitude.
  • Turbo engines are MUCH more tuner-friendly, you can gain 100 hp for less than $1000. 

The Case for Buying a Used Pickup with a V8 Engine

So, we’ve given you some numbers to look at. It’s clear that on paper at least, the new crop of 3-something liter turbo 6-cylinder engines found in the Ford F-150 and RAM 1500 do offer some advantages. They make the same or more torque than their V8 counterparts — and they do it 1000-1500 RPM lower on the tach. They also tend to deliver (a little) better fuel economy, sure.

But that old rule, “There’s no replacement for displacement” didn’t come from nowhere. Our dads and grandfathers knew a thing or two. There are good reasons why the 5-6 liter V8 has been the bread and butter of the working man’s truck and the choice of hot rodders for more than 75 years now. 

The Truth About Buying A Low-Mileage Used Pickup with a V8

The simple truth is that trucks are not so simple anymore. More and more we’re getting away from some of what made American full-size trucks great. They weren’t overcomplicated and fussy. They didn’t try and reinvent themselves every other year. When they found a formula that worked well — they stuck with it, making incremental improvements and tweaks from year to year, but mostly not messing with success. 

A naturally aspirated V8 engine is less complicated than a turbocharged V6 — it’s one of Chevy’s tried and true OHV pushrod V8s, that’s even more true. Granted, GM has dipped a toe in the turbo water with its 2.7 turbo I-4 base engine in the Silverado, but they are still the only full-size truck maker with THREE V8 engines in its line up (5.3, 6.2, and the 6.6 liter Duramax diesel) 

Having a Trusted Track Record Matters

There’s absolutely an argument to be made for buying a low-mileage used pickup truck with a trusty V8 engine and driving it off into the sunset — we get it. We love V8s too. Nothing sounds like a V8, we don’t care what exhaust system you put on a 4 or 6-cylinder engine. The V8 rumble is unequaled. 

But it’s about more than sound of course. It’s about trust. The naturally aspirated V8s from Chevy, GMC, Ford, and RAM (formerly Dodge) built a reputation for dependability and strength over the decades. These new turbo 6 cylinders are impressive… but they don’t have the track record backing them up yet. 

Turbo technology and engine designs have come a long way in the last 30 years or so, that much is true. Today’s turbo engines aren’t the turbo lag-prone beasts that gave up the ghost at 85,000 miles anymore. But it remains to be seen how dependable and long-lasting the newest turbo 6-cylinder pickups will be 

The pros of buying a V8 pickup truck:

  • Proven track record of over 75 years of helping America get work DONE.
  • Naturally aspirated V8s are just simpler — less to go wrong (especially if it’s an OHV V8)
  • Better real-world MPG — most people say turbo V6 MPG claims are wildly optimistic. 
  • No worries about exhaust gas temperatures when towing in extreme conditions. 

Major World has Low-Mileage V8 Trucks and Turbos too. 

So… you might be wondering where Major World stands on this issue of our time. To be honest, we’re kinda neutral. Individually we have our own opinions, but the truth is we all get to drive some of the nicest, cleanest low-mileage F-150s, Silverados, and RAMs out there. 

It’s tough to pick a favorite and we’re not just saying that. The higher-end RAMs have great interiors and a limo-like ride, but the Ford EcoBoost V6s pull like nobody’s business. We all know somebody who’s put over 300,000 miles on a solid small-block Chevy V8 truck too.

It comes down to deciding what your priorities are — but nothing makes this decision clearer than actually getting a look at our gleaming inventory of pre-owned pickups and taking a few for a test drive. We can write another 1000 words here about Ecoboost V6s and HEMIs, but what you really need is to get down here and DRIVE them. We promise we’ll make it well worth your time and you’ll get a price that’ll make you smile. 

Let’s Do This!

Find your perfect match in our inventory of full-size trucks right here on our online search portal before you visit. Our no-nonsense financing process is the best in the business. You can even pre-qualify yourself right now to save yourself time and it won’t hurt your credit

Don’t settle for less than the very best inventory of pre-owned full-size trucks in Long Island. You deserve the Major World standard of customer care. Give us a call now at (866) 614-2884.

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