By on April 7, 2020

2020 Chevrolet Silverado front quarter

2020 Chevrolet Silverado Crew LTZ

3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six (277 hp @ 3750 rpm, 460 lb/ft. @ 1500 rpm)

Ten-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive

23 city / 29 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

31.7 (observed mileage, MPG)

10.4 city / 8.0 highway / 9.4 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $50,595 US / $59,998 CAD

As Tested: $62,515 US / $77,373 CAD

Prices include $1595 destination charge in the United States and $2,000 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Somebody had to ruin the party. Five years ago the Dieselgate scandal broke, and automakers everywhere slowed down the development of their own oil-burning engines for the U.S. market. Until that point, many automakers were looking at bringing “clean” diesel tech from Europe to the U.S.

Of course, compression-ignition engines have been quite common in the truck market – though generally confined to the heavy-duty, three-quarter-ton and larger models for many years. In the last couple of years, each member of the Detroit Three has revealed a smaller diesel for their half-ton pickups. This 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is powered by a Duramax 3.0-liter inline six, backed up by a 10-speed automatic.

I’m not sure I’ve ever fallen so hard for a powertrain.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado profile

Whenever I read car reviews – no matter the source – I cringe at the overuse of the adjective “smooth.” It’s a word that, by definition, describes something with no texture. In other words, dull. But I’m breaking my own personal rule here when talking about this engine. With 277 horsepower and 460 lb/ft of torque, this 3.0-liter inline six pours the power in a smooth, seamless rush.

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At idle, it’s quiet and balanced, sending no vibration through to the cabin. The 10-speed automatic is a perfect companion, as it delivers that torque with imperceptible shifts.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado Duramax badge

While this inline-six diesel is no slouch, it does lag in pulling power. 9,200 pounds of towing is certainly less than the 6.2-liter V8 elsewhere in the Chevy stable (max at 11,900 pounds), as well as the tow ratings from the half-ton diesels from Ford and Ram (11,100 and 9,550, respectively, when looking at comparable crew cab 4×4 models). For most people, these big numbers are primarily used to settle arguments at the bar.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado dashboard

Anyone towing frequently enough to regularly test the upper limits of the official ratings is likely shopping three-quarter or one-ton trucks. A half-ton is for the driver who needs to haul a boat on the weekends in the summer, or a race car to the track every couple of weeks. The rest of the time, it’s a commute to the office or job site. This 3.0-liter oil-burner will be perfect for that kind of duty.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado center stack

After all, the fuel economy is marvelous. A two-wheel drive version of this would be rated at 33 mpg highway, while this four-wheel drive model maxes out on the EPA scale at 29 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. Caveat: I did log a few more highway miles with this tester than I normally do – but I managed 31.7 mpg over my week with the truck. That’s impressive even for a compact crossover; for a truck with this kind of capability, it’s stupendous.

The ride is quite good here, too. You still know it’s a truck – parking a 20-foot long beast takes both practice and planning – but it drives and feels quiet and controlled.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado front seat

Reviewers love to complain about the interior of this truck – and I get it. It’s not quite as plush as one finds in a Ford or Ram. The plastics are indeed harder. The layout is a bit more agricultural. But if you’re coming from a previous-generation truck of any brand (save, perhaps, a high-end trim line like Denali or Platinum), then this interior works perfectly fine for most people. Audio controls on the 8.0-inch touchscreen are intuitive and responsive, while navigation displays are clear and bright.

Seats front and rear are plenty comfortable, with 10-way power adjustments on both front buckets on this LTZ trim. The rear bench gives plenty of legroom for three across, even with the fronts adjusted all the way back. It’s no wonder the crew cab pickup has become a replacement for the traditional family sedan – there is plenty of room and comfort here for everyone and everything.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado rear seat

Let it be known throughout the land that I’m cheap. I’ll spend money when I need to, but it physically pains me to do so. Thus I’m looking at the Silverado 1500 diesel as something I’d actually buy, considering the likely deals to be made in the current environment. My wife loves a truck anyhow, so the sales pitch wouldn’t be difficult to the family CFO. Let’s build one out.

I’d likely spec the RST package on a short-bed truck – it’s $135 less than this LTZ, which isn’t a big deal, but I like the body-color bar across a black grille versus the chrome schnoz on my tester. Paint it Northsky Blue metallic, a no-charge hue (the Cajun Red Tintcoat on the tester is $495 option) and I’m pinching pennies. Cloth seats save me some bucks, too. The “All Star Edition” lists at $2,670, adding dual-zone climate, heated steering wheel and front seats, power drivers’ seat, trailering package, and a locking differential.

Another $890 gives me the Safety Package (rear cross traffic alert, front/rear park assist, and lane change/blind zone alert), and add another $685 for the bed protection package spray on bedliner. The $250 trailer camera package, along with the $490 advanced trailering package will set this up perfectly for the trailer and race car I don’t have yet. This adds up to a tow rating of 7,600 pounds – plenty for that imaginary open race trailer and car. Anyone have an old Camaro set up for SCCA racing they wanna sell?

Here’s a controversial choice: I’m picking a two-wheel-drive truck. I’m in central Ohio, where we will only occasionally see massive snowstorms. I’ve driven entire (bad) winters in a lowered Miata – the ground clearance afforded by a 2WD pickup will be plenty, as long as I have good tires. And 2WD will pay off at the pump. I hear the “resale value” people in the back, of course – 4WD helps resale around here, certainly. But I’m one to keep my vehicles well past the loan payoff, so the difference should be negligible after 10 years.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado Diesel build and price

That puts me at a delivered price of $50,930 for a capable truck that should manage close to 30 mpg in everyday driving. Chevrolet.com shows a bunch of discounts that drop that number significantly, too.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado rear quarter

This 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 isn’t the fanciest truck, nor is it the sexiest. But this Duramax engine – my God, it’s wonderful. I’ve driven a number of new trucks over the last few years. This diesel-powered Chevy is the one I can most likely see myself buying.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado logo badge

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC, screenshot courtesy Chevrolet.com]

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82 Comments on “2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax Review – The Perfect Engine?...”


  • avatar
    RedRocket

    You have written a very favorable and positive review of a GM product. I am pretty sure that is not permitted on TTAC. Is the editor in quarantine and cut off from work duties?

  • avatar
    IBx1

    It’s pathetic automatic scum but it apparently beats the Trailblazer abomination and its 3-cylinder engines for fuel economy.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Be curious to see how it would stack up against a 5.3 version in TCO for the weekend-warrior applications you describe. Given poor expected reliability and more intensive regular maintenance, I doubt the answer is good. And the 5.3 gives you more power once you put your foot in it and no stank.

    Diesel should be banned below Class 3.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Honestly the 5.3L gives you plenty of MPGs in the real world, as I have mentioned in the past the 2017 WT 4 door Z71 5.3L 4×4 6speed I have, easily gets 25-26 HWY real world, and has jumped over 30 on long highway runs in the past.

      The diesel will kill it in city MPG, but the cost difference will never materialize to be worth it.

      The 5.3L also likes to rev and the disadvantage when towing really wouldn’t be worth the cost of the diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      “5.3 gives you more power”
      Nice straw man. Power isn’t as important at torque and MPG for potential buyers of this truck.

      “Diesel should be banned below Class 3”
      Are you stiiiil beating that drum? I can be equally unreasonable. Watch… All forced induction gasoline engines should be banned because… reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Seems the 2.7 Ecoboost undermines this (and the little Powerstroke in the Fords) if those are your criteria.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Ah…I had an ad in the middle of the screen and missed the actual torque figure. Still not sure the diesel half tons make any sense though from a dollars standpoint.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Forced induction gas doesn’t require fraud to meet current emissions standards.

        I have yet to be convinced that any diesel since Euro 5 is actually meeting emissions standards in real-world service.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        power is power. a 277 hp diesel engine can do less work than a 355 hp gas engine.

        period.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          power is power at the given RPM. Comparing these engines at the RPM of max HP is unrealistic. Compare these engines at a much more sustainable cruising/climbing RPM (D:1500-3000/1500-3500, G:2500-3000/3000-4000)and your conclusion as to which engine does more work may be different.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          “power is power. a 277 hp diesel engine can do less work than a 355 hp gas engine.”

          All the way up until the gasser overheats and self protects up the Grapevine or Panamints with a load in tow….

          In anything shy off perhaps Colorado winter, cooling capacity limits towing. And radiator being the same, the increased efficiency of diesel, allows for more HP delivered sustained than a gas engine.

          This efficiency difference is much more pronounced at high loads, than EPA numbers can lead you to believe, since diesels put out power much closer to their most efficient RPMs, than gassers. The latter which requires revving to the inefficient moon, in order to generate even the diesel’s “meager” 277HP.

          I’m personally a fan of gassers, since I rarely, but occasionally, pull something. So can take advantage of the “multiple personalities” of gas engines: Good efficiency at low rpm, fast acceleration and responsiveness when lightly loaded at higher rpm, and still have great occasional maxtow at higher rpm. But for “doing work”, as in putting out sustained power while using the truck as a truck, diesels (as long as you disregard costs of of acquisition and maintenance at least) are just better suited. As in: Have more useful power. Headline numbers notwithstanding.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “All the way up until the gasser overheats and self protects up the Grapevine or Panamints with a load in tow….”

            Assumes facts not in evidence. for example:

            “And radiator being the same,”

            which is a bad assumption to make.

            go look at the spec sheets on Chevy’s website. the 6.2 gasser is rated for higher payload and trailer towing capacity than the 3.0 diesel. If you get the “max trailering package” on the 6.2 (which isn’t available with the diesel) then the 6.2 can tow almost 3,000 lbs more than the diesel.

            and you’re going to sit there and claim they did that just to have the gas engine overheat? HAHAHAHA.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      No, diesels should not be banned below Class 3. But EGR and DPF delete laws should be firmly enforced, and are in many states. Ive seen fines as high as $10000.00 for a DPF delete – and in my opinion that isn’t high enough. Messing with your emissions and making others sick should cost a lot more. Any black smoke = ticket and mandatory emissions test.

      That said, there are people that like diesels and this Silverado seems to check all of the boxes. The engine is great – when was the last time you have seen an I-6? And it seems to work seamlessly with the 10 speed transmission.

      I would go look at one tomorrow if the forums werent littered with service issues and growing pains that are taking new Silverado Diesel 1500s out of service.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “But EGR and DPF delete laws should be firmly enforced, and are in many states. Ive seen fines as high as $10000.00 for a DPF delete – and in my opinion that isn’t high enough. Messing with your emissions and making others sick should cost a lot more. Any black smoke = ticket and mandatory emissions test.”

        why do you hate freedom, you liberal snowflake?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          There’s “Freedom” and then there’s “Manslaughter.” You are pretty much free to do whatever you want, so long as it harms no other. Laws are designed to prevent harm to others.

          So, are you a Law Abiding Citizen, or what?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I really hope you didn’t take my comment seriously.

            next time I’ll be sure to include the /s.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @JimZ: With the way some people believe these days, I think that would be a very good idea.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            that is, however, exactly what those inbred, coal-rolling, confederate-flag-waving hicks would say.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            That’s what is fun in this day and age. Some political and ideological mindsets are so literally insane, that sarcasm, snark and irony are dead.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          I saw a sticker, on a ski lift tower of all places, that I think you might like. It had three words stacked vertically

          Guns
          Coal
          Freedom

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Don’t you mean, “Diesel should be banned below Class 4”?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        No, it’s appropriate for high-usage Class 3 rigs used by hotshotters and people working in construction and agriculture, among other sectors.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The only way some of those Class 3s stay out of Class 4 territory when unloaded is by removing parts… like the rear bumper, in one case. Class 3s today are often doing what should be Class 4 jobs because towing such weights require a CDL and Class 4 trucks are automatically CDL material.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Commercial trucks, even Class 5, don’t require a CDL unless 26,001+ lbs, combination/towing or straight truck. Although California requires (of residents) a CDL, even for 1/2 ton pickups towing 10K lbs or more, private or commercial .

            The F-450 pickup is derated to Class 3 truck towing/payload, since a Class 4 rating would cause hotshotters to lower their trailer’s capacity to stay under 26K and avoid a CDL, which many prefer.

            With a CDL they just opt for the F-550 and go up to 43K combined.

  • avatar
    gtem

    ” then this interior works perfectly fine for most people”

    I think it’s been universally panned as notably cheaper feeling with worse materials than in comparable trim GM trucks of the previous generation. That paragraph is a funny way of dancing around that fact.

    smaller displacement Diesel I6, heck any I6, sounds awesome. But with the added cost up front and then also per gallon of fuel at the pump, AND higher maintenance cost… I’d have a hard time picking this over a 5.3L. I had a rental Tahoe get me an indicated 24.5 mpg in 300 miles of reasonable 75mph cruising last fall, I was awfully impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      IMO 99% of the kvetching about the interior is people in internet comments saying they suck because everyone says they suck. Having spent a little time in these trucks, I don’t care for the interior styling but the materials people seem to be b!tching about are surfaces no one touches anyway. You’re not resting your elbow on the top of the dash above the center stack, so stop complaining that it’s hard plastic and not overmolded with padding.

      it’s 100% “finding something to complain about just to have something bad to say about it.”

      • 0 avatar
        s_a_p

        Bought a truck last year. It was just as the new Chevys were rolling onto the lots. When shopping the same money, the Chevys were markedly worse than Ford or Ram. Ram was probably the nicest of the 3, Ford somewhere between the 2. I was really surprised by how nice the Ram was inside and out. So far the truck has been completely trouble free as well. I dont understand why they took such a step backwards from the previous generation truck. Its like the took that design and worked on making it worse.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @s_a_p: “Its like the took that design and worked on making it worse.”

          — You’re still talking about Chevy, right? Because I agree that their full-sizers look a lot worse than last year’s model. It’s like they’re still trying to keep that Fake Big Rig look after Ram and moderated and almost eliminated that kind of styling.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Unless you are a *total* long-haul, big miles highway warrior I don’t know why you would spend $3600 more (in RST trim) to get the 3.0L over the 6.2L.

    I’m sure you can play around with the numbers to make the diesel come out ahead over the ownership period but you’re talking a relatively small savings percentage on a $50K+ purchase price and you’d have to assume the diesel and gas V8 will have equal 10-year maintenance costs, which seems unlikely.

    Nice touch on offering it with 2WD though.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I want to disagree, but a friend of mine who is actually a diesel mechanic recently bought a motor home. He opted for the gas version.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I think that almost proves ajla’s point. The extra diesel maintenance is almost time related, and not really mileage. Even with emissions equipment, they work well if you drive them long and hard. The cats, EGR systems and particulate filters need to be kept hot. The occasional use of the motorhome likely won’t make it, as your friend knows. The diesel wasn’t an option, but I would have taken the 5.3 anyway because of the same reason. I just don’t drive it enough.

  • avatar
    JMII

    MPG figures like that should help overcome the up charge for diesel fuel pretty easily yes? For towing the extra torque from the oil burner would make it the ideal engine. Imagine if they put this same engine in the midsize twins instead of the 2.8 (I know it will not fit just dreaming).

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Also take into account DEF and expected maintenance costs, which have been much higher for diesel than gas under current emissions standards.

      Forget the 6.2; I’d take a 5.3 over this every time. So you have to rev it a bit more. Big whoop.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Considering that this diesel engine will spend its time at a significantly lower RPM than its counterpart (5.3L) when towing, the wear on the 3.0D moving parts will be significantly less. Big whoop indeed.

        The 3.0TD has its advantage for the looooong term (in mileage) owner. However since most vehicle owners do not keep their trucks long enough to reach the point of life cycle failure, the 5.3 is probably right for most.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          If the oil is in good shape, turning a warm engine at midrange speeds results in nearly zero engine wear.

          If I were keeping a truck for 200k+ miles then I’d be far more afraid of emissions equipment failures on the diesel than engine wear killing the 5.3.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Forget the 6.2; I’d take a 5.3 over this every time. So you have to rev it a bit more. Big whoop.”

            It is a big whoop. Been there done that, it sucks! Nothing worse than having to rev the $hit out of gas engine to get it to move when your trying to keep up with traffic.

            When towing it is often more about moving the air out of your way than moving the weight. I see a few comments about weight, that’s usually the easy part.

            No 5.3 is gonna pull a travel trailer with a front shaped like a billboard bucking a stiff side wind down an interstate @ 70 MPH as easily as this I6 turbo-diesel will. Not even a contest.

            The diesel will be a lot more relaxing & comfortable to drive when towing. Do not underestimate the value in that to a lot of people who own a FS truck ONLY because they need a competent tow vehicle. Many will buy the diesel, and happily put up with the downsides and extra costs to run it strictly because they’ve towed with gas trucks moved to a diesel and will never look back.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “The diesel will be a lot more relaxing & comfortable to drive when towing.”

            As would an HD truck, which is what people should really be buying if they are going to be towing a full-slab 8000+lb travel trailer.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Carlson Fan: ” Nothing worse than having to rev the $hit out of gas engine to get it to move when your trying to keep up with traffic.”

            — Then go electric. No revving involved and the electric motors in most BEVs put out a lot more torque at the bottom end than Diesel engines with the same horsepower. They’ve already proven the ability to accelerate a load faster and can maintain speed better on a grade than even the best turbodiesel.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            Vulpine I own a Volt so you don’t need to sell me on the benefits of an EV. Unfortunately battery tech & charging infrastructure in rural Minnesota/Wisconsin or any other state for that matter isn’t anywhere close to what it needs to be to make an electric PU a viable alternative over an ICE.

            “As would an HD truck, which is what people should really be buying if they are going to be towing a full-slab 8000+lb travel trailer.”

            Don’t need an HD truck to tow a 3 ton camper, which will pull just as hard as a 4 ton camper when the wind is blowing the wrong way.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well if diesel is normally more expensive than gas the diesel payback is longer. Using local prices the fueleconomy.gov website shows over the standard 5.3 with the 8sp you would save $500 per year on fuel. So 7 years if you don’t count the added DEF expense and the fact that the maintenance and repairs are likely to be more expensive for the diesel. If you choose the XFE 5.3 your savings drop to $400 per year or 9 years.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Gas by me is now more than a dollar less per gallon than diesel.

      That’s a long long payback, well into the “expensive as hell” phase of diesel maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        “Nothing worse than having to rev the $hit out of gas engine to get it to move when your trying to keep up with traffic.”

        Oh, I don’t know, I’ll put up with some revs to never again have to replace an HPFP, injectors, $100 DIY oil changes, etc.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I think the Diesel would be a really good idea for fleet use, but alas Chevrolet does not see fit to offer this engine in a RCLB truck.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    Great powertrain although difficult to recoup initial diesel upgrade expense as gas is cheaper than bottled water nowadays. I would never choose rear over all wheel drive in snow country after driving a rear wheel G35 for five winters (white knuckle experience).

  • avatar

    You’d really need a special use case for diesel at this point. My Golf TDi was a lot of fun until the buyback, save DPF replacement because they ran it hot to attempt to compensate for the lack of DEF injection. A $3600 repair bill for a fully maintained car at 73k miles (just out of federal warranty, thanks !) pretty much zeroed out any fuel savings, even if VW “goodwilled” half. Thanks Guys ! /s

    My Jetta S has almost the same power curve, a turbo tuned for low rpm. The TDi had more soundproofing and a better interior, but that part is just marketing segmentation. The 1.4 gives about 35 mpg in the same use that I sat 39 mpg on the TDi…but I doubt the 1.4 is going to spit a $4k repair bill anytime soon.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Modern gas turbos negate much of the low end advantage diesel’s used to enjoy for sure.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        the only down side (apart from fuel economy) with a GTDI engine is that you still have to worry about detonation when you try to wring more power out of it. Diesels are immune to detonation, so making more power just means spraying more fuel into the chamber and blasting more boost into it.

        On the downside, the more air and fuel you run through them, the bigger and more complicated your emissions hardware has to be to deal with it. you create more soot so your DPF hast to be bigger and/or regen more often. You create more NOx so your reduction cat and DEF tank have to be bigger. That’s why you could easily see the entire engine under the hood of the Cummins-powered Nissan Titan, but the Powerstroke and Duramax are buried under a pile of EGR coolers and miles of ductwork.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    AS an owner of a 2018 Silverado I bought new-and someone who tows over the rocky mountain west (5,500 pound-30 foot ultra light travel trailer) I can tell you the 5.3 is the best motor for all around use. You can easily break 20mpg on the highway-if you choose to keep it under 70mph.

    The newer (5.3) motor in the 2019’s have even a little more horsepower-and that’s a plus.

    No need to worry about towing something heavier-because you will run up against maximum payload way before advertised maximum towing capability. And it looks like the diesel will have lower payload numbers-as indicated by the lower towing max numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I drove a new one recently. It didn’t feel more poreful, but I will say they had done a much better job of making it not feel like the transmission and the motor were fighting with each other. Much better driving than the last few I had driven.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    I dunno. It may be that you just like the driving characteristics of the diesel, and if so, hey, awesome. But if you’re making a spreadsheet decision about a Chevy truck, wouldn’t the turbo 2.7-liter 4 make more sense, especially if serious towing is not frequent or important?

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    I’m sure it’s a very fine drivetrain but it’s IMPOSSIBLE to justify a diesel engine in a 1/2 ton pickup for cost reasons. You just have to want it. You’re right about towing – having a 10,000 lbs tow rating on a 1/2 ton truck is pointless, get a bigger truck with bigger brakes and such. TCO will never, ever pan out for this engine, it’s freaking expensive. 99.99999% of people using a 1/2 ton truck for towing don’t need more than about 6,000 lbs. and I’m pretty sure the base V6 will take care of that just fine, man card be damned. Towing is about control of the trailer, turning and stopping most of all, NOT power. Unless you feel it’s absolutely essential to pull a 9,000 lbs trailer up a 6% grade at 90mph – you can get therapy for that. But good call on 4WD, something else most people think they need but actually use less than 0.1% of total miles driven. And the resale you give up is more than compensated for by the lower amount you spend to buy the truck in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Unless you feel it’s absolutely essential to pull a 9,000 lbs trailer up a 6% grade at 90mph – you can get therapy for that.”

      This appears to be the way that many people in rural western Washington amuse themselves on the weekends. There’s far more street racing between trucks towing trailers (which are always wobbling around on their questionably-inflated, 65 mph-rated tires) than between fast cars.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    The good news:

    The hideous front end will be improved smashing it into a concrete wall.
    The interior will instantly improve after a fire.

    The bad news:

    It is still built by Witch Barra Motors.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Now if I only had a need AND a desire to drive something that big, powered by oil.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Everything that I’ve read about this says this is the best half ton diesel, but taking it precludes the best half ton powertrain period and they both come bundled with the worst truck.

    Forget the money, are oily gas pumps and giving up 150 horses really a draw to people?

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Someone above mentioned the difference in horsepower between the I-6 diesel and the 5.3 liter gasser. Just my experience (one of those “anecdotal reports”) when towing my 16k horse trailer with a 235 hp 7.3 diesel and with a 385 hp 6.2 gasser. Except for the different transmissions (the diesel was a 6mt, the gasser a 6 auto), it’s pretty much a wash between the two with the exception of fuel mileage. The horsepower difference (150 hp in my case) resulted in little difference between the two; the torque difference (500 lb-ft diesel, 430 lb-ft in the gasser) was offset by the auto tranny. The real difference was fuel mileage with 12 mpg to 13 mpg in the diesel, 7 mpg to 8 mpg with the gasser over the same routine trips with the same loaded trailer. Fuel cost difference between diesel and gas washes even this difference out. There’s currently no real case for a diesel for me with all the current reliability issues/emmision control headaches and, to me, no real reason for a diesel in a 1/2 ton truck.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @bullnuke: Finally! Someone who confirms what I’ve been saying about diesel all along. At one time diesel fuel was cheaper than gasoline, but with the bit of gas crunch we had around ’02, diesel prices jumped to match or even exceed Premium gas and for a while was nearly a full dollar higher than Regular (it still runs close to Premium prices.) This destroyed the price advantage of going diesel for the fuel mileage.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Also, the mandate to switch to 15ppm Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (to lower particulate emissions) drove the cost of diesel up.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @dukeisduke: When did that happen? Because at the time I’m recalling, the price jump seemed to be more in line with the sudden jump in diesel demand. Maybe the two came almost simultaneously?

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            The ULSD requirement for all highway vehicles went into full effect in 2010:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-low-sulfur_diesel#United_States

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Well, that answered my question.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        the thing is you’re comparing a turbodiesel to a naturally aspirated gasser. a GTDI engine of similar displacement would make more torque and a lot more horsepower than that 7.3.

        The key to torque is turbocharging. always has been. Diesel’s reputation came from the fact that they’ve used high-boost turbocharging for a lot longer than gas engines.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        As a tow truck I agree with you.

        As an expensive commuter the other 99% of the time it’s fun to go past 3,500 and the diesels won’t.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    This powertrain is very rewarding to drive. It’s better than the rest of the truck that it propels. I really want to forgive GM for decades of quality and reliability problems and also give GM a pass for worst interior in a full size truck simply due to this great engine.
    No, I won’t be fooled again GM…..

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    For normal buyers, it has to make sense. Beyond the purchase price, joy of driving (it’s a truck for fricks sake), ROI, etc.

    The old 5.3 is deadnuts reliable, proven, simple, etc, and do the job just fine vs systems upon systems, very high pressures/temps to make all work, run clean and scrub the exhaust cleaner than what it sucked in.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’ve now seen some very positive reviews of this diesel truck. I think one may have pulled even slightly higher real world mpg than TTAC. Pretty impressive.

    I give big props for the Straight 6.

    If General Motors has made this engine reliable, could be a real winner. If it goes the way of RAM eco Diesel v1, then hard pass.

    Is this 10 speed the same unit codeveloped with Ford? Is one of them working better than the other company’s?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s an Isuzu. That’s not a terrible thing but if it’s like the big Duramax, don’t expect greatness. It’s consumer grade, not commercial grade, with just 200K rebuild cycles and even Isuzu claims 225K.

      Enterprise offers a long term rental for hotshot/industry (short term lease) of HD pickups, but only Ram or Ford. The waiting list is months long but still no GM.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    No underhood pictures?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      what, so you can see a pile of emissions hardware, heat shields, and acoustic covers?

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Sadly, that is true. Also, nowadays everyone tucks half of the engine under the cowl, so you have to pull the cab off to perform any kind of repairs. So much win (for the dealer’s service departments, anyway).

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          s**t, I remember that same complaint when my uncle looked under the hood of my ’84 F-250. He’d last had a ’78 F-150, and remarked how the diesel in my truck was “half under the dashboard.”

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I approve of this being an inline 6…

  • avatar
    amca

    I’m all hot and bothered about the upcoming Tahoe diesel. I love diesels. I learned to drive on a Rabbit diesel. I drive an A8 diesel. The gentle rumble. The torque. The economy. The mini-Kenworth aspect. I love diesels.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    “The rear bench gives plenty of legroom for three across, even with the fronts adjusted all the way back.”

    So when the driver pushes the seat back far enough that his beer gut clears the steering wheel, there’s still enough room in the back seat for his 240 lb. teenage daughter. Good feature.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    You forgot to mention weight, as usual. Slightly more forgivable with a truck, but still. Somewhere just under 5000lb, about what I’d expect.

    I used to co-own a 1983 Ram 50 4wd diesel, and for years stuck to the claim of it being the only vehicle available in the US that had reasonable power for highway cruising, the efficiency to deliver over 30mpg (32 highway at ~65, with AT tires), and the capability to haul half a ton of firewood up a muddy logging road. That it ran happily on B100 was icing on the cake. Isuzu Pup? Lacks power. Diesel Yank Tanks? Thirsty due to the weight. VW Caddy? Won’t go off-road. Compact gasser trucks? Thirsty due to the fuel.

    Finally, in the last couple of years, domestic offerings have caught up to what the Japanese were making 30-40 years ago. It still doesn’t look as good, and I bet maintenance when it’s comparably aged is going to be a shitshow… but still, glad to see this truck.

    This straight-six and diesel fan is paying attention. Now, I wonder about getting one of these as a crate engine and throwing it into a car…

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