Most pickup truck engines as of 2016 are either naturally aspirated V-8 or turbocharged V-6 gasoline engines, though turbocharged diesel engines with inline-6 or V-8 configurations are also common in heavy-duty pickups intended for hauling or towing. Modern truck engines produce anywhere from 300 to 500 horsepower, while the most powerful turbodiesel models can produce up to 800 foot-pounds of torque.
Full-size pickup trucks have traditionally been most popular with V-8 engines due to the substantial power advantages over the V-6 engines used in entry-level versions of those trucks. However, many manufacturers now use turbocharging to boost the output of V-6 engines to equal or exceed the power of V-8s. For example, the EcoBoost V-6 engine used in the 2014 Ford F-150 produces 365 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque, while the 5-liter V-8 engine used in that model year produces only 360 horsepower and 380 foot-pounds of torque. However, V-8 engines remain popular due to their simpler construction and perceived higher reliability due to their lack of a complex turbocharger system.
Compact pickups such as the older Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier rarely have V-8 engine options. Most compact pickups instead rely on smaller four-cylinder engines or V-6 motors. The output of a compact pickup truck engine rarely exceeds 300 horsepower in V-6 models and is usually less than 200 horsepower in four-cylinder models.