In heavy-duty pickups, diesel engines are chosen for their pure grunt. They shoot towing capacities well into the 30,000-pound range and fuel economy is relatively low on the list of concerns for buyers. But in the light-duty segment, diesel engines are a bit of a mix; they provide towing capability, of course, but they're also a fuel mileage play. Chevrolet's 3.0-liter inline-six Duramax engine in the 2020 Silverado is the latest entry in that segment, and as it turns out, it's quite fuel-efficient.
The 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel in two-wheel-drive configuration is rated at 23 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway. The four-wheel-drive version also boasts 23 mpg in the city and a slightly lower 29 mpg highway.
For comparison, Ford's Powerstroke diesel in the F-150 is 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for the two-wheel-drive, along with 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway on the four-wheel-drive. Ram has a new EcoDiesel coming, and it'll be interesting to see what its trucks are capable of.
The Silverado diesel is rated at 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It'll tow 9,300 pounds when properly equipped and it has a payload capacity of 1,870 pounds.
Chevrolet is quick to point out that 33 mpg on the highway is even better than some family sedans, such as the V6 Toyota Camry or the Subaru Legacy in 2.4-liter four-cylinder spec. While accurate, most customers are likely to opt for the four-wheel-drive version of the truck.
In all, this does illustrate how mainstream pickups have become. Once just a workhorse that would sit in the driveway when it came to a family road trip, the modern pickup is capable of doing it all. It's also why automakers are looking at ways to boost fuel economy and also offer the safety and creature comforts of modern cars because buyers are looking to trucks these days to pull double duty.
We expect similar fuel economy numbers from the upcoming GMC Sierra 1500 diesel.