Just prior to the turn of the millennium, Toyota introduced the world to the very first mass-produced hybrid vehicle with the brand’s Prius model. And while twenty years ago, the main selling points of the Prius’ hybrid gas-electric powertrain were better mileage and fewer emissions, this has drastically changed in more recent times, as hybrid engines now have the ability to bolster performance across the board — while still improving miles-per-gallon rates and emissions standards.
Though the segment has been a late adopter compared to most other genres of automobile, today’s pickup truck sector has begun embracing these increasingly-advanced gas-electric systems — giving way to a small, but growing number of incredibly capable petrol and proton-powered workhorses. And it’s this group of vehicles that we’ll be exploring today in this condensed guide to the best hybrid pickup trucks, counting down all of the available options currently available, along with the benefits of hybrid trucks and what to consider when shopping.
Gas-Electric Trucks 101
Factors To Consider When Buying A Hybrid Pickup
Shopping for a hybrid pickup isn’t all that different from purchasing a regular gas-powered model, however, there are a few finer points that are worth exploring. Below, we’ve broken down the five most crucial areas to consider when shopping for a hybrid pickup truck.
Dimensions, Seating, & Cargo Space: One of the first things to consider when buying any pickup truck is what class (i.e. size) you’ll need, whether this be a compact, mid, or full-size truck. From there, you’ll also want to look into areas such as its configuration, the length of the bed, and the number of doors and seats. It’s also worth checking on a truck’s available cargo space, including both the bed and cab.
Towing & Payload Capacity: Considering that pickup trucks are engineered specifically to act as vehicular workhorses, it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that payload and towing capacity are pivotal areas to consider when shopping. On top of the figures for payload and towing, it’s also worth exploring if a particular truck is available with a “towing package” or upgrade to increase these capabilities.
Powertrain: As the heart of the truck, its powertrain is of extreme importance. On top of determining horsepower and torque figures, a truck’s motor is ultimately what is responsible for its mileage, range, and towing and payload capacities. When reviewing this area, you’ll want to look into the displacement (size) of the engine, as well as its configuration (layout and number of cylinders), whether it’s naturally aspirated, and what kind of hybrid system it’s been paired with.
Range & MPG: One way in which trucks hugely benefit from the use of hybrid engines is mileage, with more gas-efficient powertrains that put out fewer emissions. What’s more, hybrid engines also almost always afford better miles-per-gallon, and as a result, they boast a superior range compared to regular models, while also requiring fewer stops at the pump.
Tech & Amenities: Pretty much every new car on the road comes brimming with tech-focused bells and whistles, and hybrid pickups are no different. However, they actually manage to take this one step further, with supplementary systems and features that rely on the electrical components of a hybrid powertrain — such as onboard mobile generators that can be used to run power tools or even back up a home’s power supply in emergencies.
The Many Benefits Of A Hybrid Pickup Truck
The average motorist is well-aware of the emissions, mileage, and range benefits of hybrid powertrains, though there are actually a number of benefits that are unique to pickups. In addition to being able to keep turbochargers spooled up, the electric motors in hybrid powertrains also help gas engines to achieve greater power figures without increasing displacement. As a result, hybrid powertrains are able to deliver better towing and payload capacities, making for an even more utilitarian workhorse of a truck. Like electric trucks, hybrid pickups can also receive extra energy and range through systems such as regenerative braking — a factor that gives hybrid models markedly better mileage, especially when driving in the city.
Unlike purely electric cars — or plug-in hybrids — hybrid pickups are able to benefit from the use of batteries and an electric motor (or motors) without needing to be plugged in to be recharged. Some models — like Ford’s F-150 — also boast massive onboard power banks that are capable of acting as mobile generators for powering tools and electronics, or even serving as a backup power supply for your home. With fewer moving parts compared to traditional, non-hybrid engines, battery-boosted powertrains feature fewer moving parts, and as a result typically require markedly less maintenance, making ownership both cheaper and more convenient. And, while this last area is dependent upon where you live, quite a few regions offer tax credits and rebates for hybrid truck owners, making ownership all the more appealing.
GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid / Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid (Used)
Though these twin models have been out of production since 2013, these 1500 pickup options are still well worth exploring when shopping for a hybrid truck. Utilizing a 6.0-liter V8 engine helped along by General Motors’ patented two-mode hybrid system, these models manage to deliver 33 percent greater city fuel economy, while also bolstering payload and towing capacity. Both trucks also come with a four-wheel-drive transfer case, an electronically-variable transmission, and an advanced 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System — all as standard. And, with clean examples starting from around $10,000 – $15,000, the Sierra and Silverado 1500s can be purchased used for a fraction of the cost of a brand-new hybrid pickup.
Engine: 6.0L Hybrid V8
Power: 369HP & 380FT-LBs
Towing Capacity: 6,100LBs
Payload Capacity: 1,527LBs
Ford Maverick XL
An entry-level pickup equipped with a hybrid powertrain as standard, the Ford Maverick is another clear-cut example of how pickups can hugely benefit from hybrid-boosted engines, with the ability to achieve 42-miles-per-gallon in the city (or 33 on the highway) and a payload that punches well over its weight with 1,500lbs. Boasting a unibody construction, the new Maverick also gets an electronic brake boost, variable-assist power steering, and a slew of available upgrade packages, including the off-road-ready Maverick Tremor. Best of all, despite its relatively cutting-edge nature, the base model Maverick (the XL) starts at just under $20,000, giving it some pretty incredible value.
Engine: 2.5L Hybrid Inline-Four
Power: 191HP & 155FT-LBs
Towing Capacity: 2,000LBs
Payload Capacity: 1,500LBs
Ford F-150 Powerboost
If we had to select a single model to help make the argument for hybrid pickups, it would undoubtedly be Ford’s mighty F-150. Equipped with the Blue Oval’s 3.5-liter hybrid V6 Powerboost engine, this American-made truck puts down 430hp and an even more impressive 570ft-lbs of torque, allowing for a stump-pulling 14,000lb towing capacity and a payload capacity of over a ton — all while getting around 25 miles to the gallon. It doesn’t end there, however, as the Powerboost-equipped F-150 also comes with Ford’s Pro Power Onboard system which offers up an enormous 7.2kW of exportable power, providing more than enough juice to power up your worksite or campground.
Engine: 3.5L Hybrid V6
Power: 430HP & 570FT-LBs
Towing Capacity: 14,000LBs
Payload Capacity: 2,120LBs
Toyota Tundra Hybrid Limited
Powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter hybrid i-FORCE MAX V6 engine, the Toyota Tacoma is a beautiful example of how a work-focused pickup can massively benefit from a hybrid powertrain. In addition to featuring a 12,000-lb towing capacity, the engine produces a whopping 437hp and 583ft-lbs of torque, giving it a 0-60mph time of around six seconds. Alongside a modern suite of genuinely practical tech such as a trailer backup guide with straight path assist, the latest Tundra is also fairly off-road capable in its stock form thanks to Crawl Control with automatically modulating throttle and brakes, an electronically locking rear diff, and a multi-terrain selector with five different low and high range modes.
Engine: Twin-Turbocharged 3.5L Hybrid V6
Power: 437HP & 583FT-LBs
Towing Capacity: 12,000LBs
Payload Capacity: 1,940LBs
RAM 1500 Limited 5.7L V8 Hybrid
RAM’s 1500 Limited — more specifically, the 5.7-liter hybrid HEMI V8-powered Crew Cab Long Box – offers an interesting mix of power and comfort, with best-in-class luxury backed by a more than 8,000lb towing capacity. Backed by an extensive warranty, this version of the 1500 Limited also boasts a 360-degree surround camera, a new air filtration system, a newly-designed multifunction tailgate, and an available, class-exclusive RamBox Cargo Management System. With the RAM 1500 already widely viewed as one of the best pickups in production, it probably isn’t hard to see why a hybrid-engine variant is that much more enticing.
Engine: 5.7L Hybrid V8
Power: 390HP & 410FT-LBs
Towing Capacity: 8,180LBs
Payload Capacity: 1,970LBs
Though it has yet to be confirmed, Honda — which currently offers a trio of hybrid models — is rumored to be working on a new hybrid variant of its existing mid-size pickup. Thus far, information and specs on this forthcoming unibody model are practically non-existent, though we can make a few safe assumptions based on the current Ridgeline. With its current 3.5-liter V6 engine cranking out 280hp, 265ft-lbs of torque, and a 5,000-lb towing capacity, we expect the hybrid version to trump these figures by at least 25%. And, with a base model MSRP of around $37,000, we anticipate a price of somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.
The 12 Best High-Performance Pickup Trucks
Want to check out an additional selection of ultra-capable trucks? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best high-performance pickups for a dozen ultra-quick and off-road-capable turnkey models currently available on showroom floors.