Two major American truck brands, Ford and Ram, recently announced two V-6 powered trucks that are both big on power and big on fuel economy, even though their engines are smaller than the standard V8 engine. The new introductions offer new evidence that downsizing isn't such a bad thing, even under the engine bays of large pickup trucks.

Ford's new 2014 F-150 Tremor is a short-cab, short-bed "sport truck" with menacing styling and a leather-lined interior. It is Ford's first such truck with its acclaimed Ecoboost V-6, and promises strong performance in spite of not having a traditional V-8 under the hood.

Chrysler Corp.'s Ram division announced that its award-winning Ram light-duty pickup will be offered for 2014 with its much-anticipated new 3.0-liter "Ecodiesel" V-6. Ram's current 3.6-liter gasoline-powered V-6 is already America's most fuel-efficient full-size pickup, and the new turbo-diesel promises to deliver even better fuel economy and considerably more torque to boot.

Both products show how engine downsizing can look sexy and feel strong without a fuel-swilling V-8. Read on to get the skinny on the trucks that could make truck customers' collective mouths water from Seattle to South Beach when they hit the market this fall.
The F-150 Tremor shakes things up on the outside with sporty styling elements such as HID projector headlamps with darkened bezels, body-color bumpers, flat black grille and accents, and fog lamps. It will only be available as a short-cab, short-bed body style with running boards to help you get in and out of the truck, and will wear stylized body graphics and black badges with red lettering.

The Tremor rides on unique, six-spoke 20-inch flat-black wheels with white-letter tires for a look that's a little bit rugged and a little bit NASCAR, and we think it really works.
The Tremor's interior features twin bucket seats flanking a flow-through center console with a console shifter for the transmission. The seats are trimmed in black leather and bright red piping, with grippy faux suede Alcantara seat inserts. Brushed metal accents and a red-stitched steering wheel help brighten up the interior a bit, too. Also standard are Ford's MyFord Touch and SYNC infotainment/connectivity systems.

Want options? Too bad. The Tremor comes with only one one set of features.
Under the F-150 Tremor's blackout hood is a turbocharged Ecoboost V-6 producing an impressive 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 420 lb-ft of torque at a low 2,500 rpm. It comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. Other than the the Ecoboost engine and a performance-minded 4.10 rear axle, no significant mechanical modifications were made to the short-wheelbase, standard-cab F-150. This preserves the truck's high towing rating of over 8,000 pounds.

The Tremor will be available with two-wheel driver or four-wheel drive, and fuel economy is expected to match the 16 city / 22 highway (18 combined) for two-wheel driver models, and 15 city / 21 highway (17 combined) for four-wheel drive models.

Pricing will be announced closer to the model's launch this fall.
The pickup truck formerly known as the Dodge Ram until 2009, when Chrysler decided to let its Ram truck brand stand on its own, has never looked better. Its broad-shouldered, big-rig styling looks as bold and all-American as ever, even has it has evolved over the last two decades to look darn near elegant in higher trims.

While all Rams pickups boast segment-leading aerodynamics, an interesting efficiency-related feature for the 2014 Ram is its active grille shutter, a technology that has been emerging in hybrid and fuel-sipping compact cars, but somewhat of a surprise to see on a big truck. Also nifty is a new front parking sensor system that helps you sense objects near the front bumper that you may not be able to see over that long hood.
If you haven't sat inside a Ram during the last three years, prepare to be surprised -- maybe downright stunned -- with its level of fit and finish. Same goes for the quality of its materials, even in work truck models. This is an award-winning interior for many reasons, from its ergonomic sensibility to its aesthetic appeal. High-end Ram trucks rival luxury cars with vast swaths of leather and genuine wood trim, while a Garmin-based navigation system and comprehensive connectivity features are available, too.
As with Ford's gas-powered Ecoboost V-6, Ram's new 3.0-liter Ecodiesel V-6 will be offered in numerous light-duty trim levels when it launches this fall. The engine produces 240 horsepower and a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque.

Ram did not provide fuel economy estimates, except to promise that with its eight-speed automatic transmission and auto stop/start feature, the EcoDiesel V-6 models will exceed the 17 city / 25 highway (21 combined) fuel economy figures of models equipped with the 3.6-liter gasoline-powered V-6. And don't worry, California truck lovers: this diesel is compliant in all 50 states.

The Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel V-6 is priced $2,850 higher than models equipped with the similarly strong gas-powered 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. As with the Ford F-150 Tremor, 2014 Ram models with the EcoDiesel V-6 should be in dealerships this fall.