2015 Diesel Truck Buyer’s Guide

New fullsize pickups and vans coming to dealer lots near you

Nov 17, 2014
Photographers: Photos courtesy of the manufacturers
The year 2015 is going to be a great time to buy a fullsize diesel. Sure, we could’ve probably said that every year during the decade Diesel Power has been in publication, but it’s still just as true. In fact, this year you can even buy a diesel truck from Ram with an amazing 865 lb-ft of torque straight from the dealership—and that’s no typo. For some new rigs, factory torque ratings are nearing four digits, and the horsepower ratings are just as impressive, with Ford reaching modern muscle car levels with 440 hp. In addition to the ¾- and 1-ton trucks continuing to dominate the roads, there’s a ½-ton diesel from Ram, and diesel vans are back in full-force with models available from all of the Big Three manufacturers, as well as Mercedes-Benz/Freightliner. So, if you have a big job to do, you have lots of options. Here’s what you can find on dealer lots to meet your diesel needs.
Photo 2/28   |   The King Ranch edition of the Ford Super Duty shown here is a ’15 F-250 FX4 model. The King Ranch edition has received a number of upgrades, including a body color grille surround, darker paint on the bumpers and lower body, and a new interior design (right) with the “Running W” logo from the actual King Ranch in Texas.
Ford
The second generation of 6.7L Power Stroke engines debuts in the ’15 Ford Super Duty with 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque. That’s a notable improvement of 40 hp and 60 lb-ft over the previous generation thanks to a larger turbocharger, a new downpipe design, and higher-flowing injector tips. The new turbo also provides better exhaust braking, which can now be turned on and off with a push of a button on the instrument panel. Improvements to the F-350 chassis include new front springs along with a wide track axle when the high-capacity towing package is ordered, increasing the maximum gross combined weight rating (GCWR) from 31,900 pounds to 35,000 pounds. The F-450 gets a number of improvements that include new rear leaf springs; upgraded U-joints and rear suspension components; commercial-grade, 19.5-inch wheels and tires; stronger gears and linkages in the steering system; and larger brakes, like those used on chassis cab models. Along with those upgrades, the F-450 has a new fifth-wheel/gooseneck hitch that’s designed to allow it to handle 6,500 pounds more than ’14 F-450s, for a maximum tow rating of 31,200 pounds and a maximum GCWR of 40,000 pounds, which is 7,000 pounds more than the previous year.
The all-new ’15 Ford Transit is a fullsize, rear-wheel-drive unibody van that replaces the iconic body-on-frame Ford E-Series. The Transit has an available inline five-cylinder 3.2L Power Stroke diesel engine that makes 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and is hooked to a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission. The van is available in two wheelbases, three roof heights, three lengths, and four body styles. The high-roof Transit model has 81.5 inches of interior cargo height (enough headroom for a 6-foot, 4-inch person to stand upright) and provides up to 487.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which is 80 percent more than the largest E-Series held. The Transit has a maximum GVWR of up to 10,360 pounds, a maximum payload of up to 4,280 pounds, and a maximum tow rating of up to 7,500 pounds, depending on the configuration ordered.
Engine Specification Ford Engine: Ford Power Stroke
Displacement: 6.7L (406 ci)
Configuration: V-8
Power: 440 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 860 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Turbocharging: Single, variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.90 x 4.25 inches
Compression ratio: 16.2:1
Valvetrain: OHV 32 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Six-speed shiftable automatic
Photo 3/28   |   The new, second-generation 6.7L Power Stroke engine has a larger turbocharger, higher-flowing injector tips, and a “cobra head” downpipe that’s designed to minimize restrictions in the exhaust flowing out of the turbo.
Engine: Ford Power Stroke (Duratorq)
Displacement: 3.2L (195 ci)
Configuration: Inline five-cylinder
Power: 185 hp at 3,000 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft at 1,500 to 2,750 rpm
Turbocharging: Single, variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.54 x 3.96 inches
Compression ratio: 15.7:1 Valvetrain: DOHC 20 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed shiftable automatic
General Motors
The most noticeable change for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD trucks is the addition of the double cab models, with front-hinged doors, that replace the extended cabs. Along with the new cab design, the trucks have new interiors, standard StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control, and a new airflow design for better underhood cooling. Other features include all-new, stronger 6-foot 6-inch and 8-foot cargo beds with CornerStep bumpers and EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgates. The ’15 Silverado and Sierra are powered by the 6.6L Duramax LML V-8 engine that’s good for 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque and is connected to a six-speed Allison 1000 transmission. The maximum available payload is 5,817 pounds, the maximum fifth-wheel/gooseneck tow rating is now 23,200 pounds (formerly 22,500 pounds), and the conventional tow rating has increased from 18,000 pounds to 19,600 pounds. The front suspension for both two- and four-wheel-drive models continues to be a torsion bar independent front setup (unlike Ford and Ram), with a leaf-sprung solid axle in the rear on all models. GM is offering two new up-level models for ’15 to hold buyers over until the new generation of ¾- and 1-ton trucks arrive for 2016. The Chevy Silverado High Country HD and the GMC Sierra All Terrain HD both come with special interior and exterior features and include unique wheels and all-new, chrome-capped, heated trailering mirrors with built-in backup lamps and turn signals.
Photo 10/28   |   Notice something different? There’s no longer an extended cab body style for the Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/ Sierra 2500HD/3500HD. Those models have been replaced by the double cab, which has front-hinged “normal” style doors, like those found on Ram trucks.
The body-on-frame Chevy Express and GMC Savana 2500/3500 fullsize rear-wheel-drive vans continue to be offered with the LGH version of the Duramax 6.6L V-8 diesel engine with ratings of 260 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque—the most available in any van. They use the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission, and the 3500 models have a maximum GVWR of 9,600 pounds, a maximum payload of 4,145 pounds, and maximum trailer tow ratings of 10,000 pounds. Changes for the ’15 model year include the addition of a standard 110-volt power outlet, three banks of LED interior lights, new radios with audio inputs, standard side-cut keys, and new exterior colors (Red Hot and Rainforest Green Metallic for Chevrolet and Emerald Green for GMC).
Engine Specification Chevrolet/GMC Engine: Chevrolet/GMC Duramax LML
Displacement: 6.6L (403 ci)
Configuration: V-8
Power: 397 hp at 3,000 rpm (LML – pickups)
Torque: 765 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (LML – pickups)
Power: 260 hp at 2,800 rpm (LGH – vans)
Torque: 525 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (LGH – vans)
Turbocharging: Single, variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 4.05 x 3.89 inches
Compression ratio: 16.0:1 Valvetrain: OHV 32 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed shiftable automatic
Photo 11/28   |   The GM diesels are powered by the LML version of the 6.6L Duramax V-8 engine that’s rated to make 397 hp at 3,000 rpm and 765 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm. The engine is backed by a six-speed Allison 1000 automatic transmission.
Coming Soon:
It’s been announced that the all-new ’15 Nissan Titan will have an optional Cummins 5.0L V-8 diesel engine that makes “more than 300 hp” and will have a torque rating “in the mid-500s (lb-ft).” The engine is called the ISV5.0 and features a compacted graphite iron block, aluminum heads, and a variable-geometry turbocharger. We had a first look at this engine (and a V-6 version) in the December 2006 issue of Diesel Power (“Sneak Peak— New Cummins V-6 and V-8 Diesel Engines”) while it was still being developed by Cummins along with the Department of Energy.
Photo 18/28   |   Nissan Titan Engine
Ram
Ever since the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel debuted for the 2014 model year, it’s been flying off dealer lots—up to six times as fast as the gas models—according to Chrysler Group executives. In fact, the initial 8,000 trucks fitted with the diesel powertrain were spoken for just three days after the order banks opened. America had been without a ½-ton diesel for 15 years, and a pickup with 420 lb-ft of torque that can tow up to 9,200 pounds and gets up to 28 mpg highway is apparently just what the people wanted. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is equipped with the VM Motori 3.0L V-6 diesel that’s rated at 240 hp and adds $2,850 to a similarly equipped Ram with a 5.7L Hemi gas engine and the Torqueflite 8HP70 eight-speed automatic by ZF (the only transmission you can get with the diesel). All Ram 1500 pickups have an independent front suspension and smooth-riding five-link rear suspension, and some models can be ordered from the factory with an active airbag suspension system with adjustable ride height. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has a maximum payload of 1,610 pounds and a maximum GCWR of 14,750 pounds. For 2015, the Ram 1500 can be ordered with Black Forest Green paint, and SLT trims with the Luxury Group and Laramie models get a new instrument panel welcome screen.
Photo 19/28   |   The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was the first ½-ton clean diesel to go on sale and has been a huge success, leading Ram to announce in September that it will double production. It features a 3.0L V-6 diesel engine and an eight-speed 8HP70 transmission combination that’s rated at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
The engineers at Ram decided to turn up the torque for 2015 and achieved the highest rating for any 1-ton truck ever sold in the U.S., with 865 lb-ft at 1,700 rpm. The 15 lb-ft of additional torque comes with a 385hp rating, with both figures attributed to aggressive fuel delivery and turbo boost calibrations for the Cummins 6.7L engine. These output ratings are reserved for the 3500 with the Aisin AS69RC six-speed automatic transmission, which has a maximum payload of 6,720 pounds, a GCWR of up to 37,900 pounds, and a maximum towing capacity of up to 30,000 pounds. When the 6.7L is ordered with the 68RFE transmission, it’s rated at 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque, and the trucks with the G56 six-speed manual transmission (the only manual available in a ¾- or 1-ton truck) are calibrated for 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. The Ram 2500 continues to be the only ¾-ton truck with a five-link rear suspension setup with coil springs (or optional airbags). The 1-ton 3500 models use leaf springs over the solid rear axle and have optional supplemental airbags available from the factory. A new feature for 2015 is optional “Ram Work Grade” vinyl seats designed for extreme durability, especially on the sides of the seats, where excessive wear often occurs. Other new features include power-folding 7x11-inch tow mirrors, a flat-load floor option that’s now available on crew cab models, a new instrument panel welcome screen for higher-level trims, and Black Forest Green Pearl paint.
The ’15 Ram ProMaster is a fullsize front-wheel-drive van with a combination unibody and ladder frame design that’s based on the Fiat Ducato sold in Europe. It’s powered by a large displacement 3.0L inline four-cylinder engine that makes 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is based on the Fiat Multijet 180 engine. It provides payload capacity of up to 4,160 pounds, a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,100 pounds, a maximum GVWR of 9,350 pounds, and a maximum GCWR of 12,500 pounds. The engine is backed by the unconventional M40 gearbox that has the efficiency of a manual but with automatic gearshifts and clutch functions accomplished by an electro-hydraulic actuation system. The ProMaster is available in 14 different configurations thanks to the availability of two roof heights, three wheelbases, and four body lengths.
Engine Specification Ram Engine: Cummins B-Series
Displacement: 6.7L (408 ci)
Configuration: Inline six-cylinder
Power: 385 hp at 2,800 rpm (AS69RC auto. transmission, 3500 only)
Torque: 865 lb-ft at 1,700 rpm (AS69RC auto. transmission, 3500 only)
Power: 370 hp at 2,800 rpm (68RFE auto. transmission)
Torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (68RFE auto. transmission)
Power: 350 hp at 2,800 rpm (G56 manual transmission)
Torque: 660 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm (G56 manual transmission)
Turbocharging: Single, variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 4.21 x 4.88 inches
Compression ratio: 16.2:1
Valvetrain: OHV 24 valves
Head Material: Cast iron
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed shiftable automatic
Photo 20/28   |   The 6.7L Cummins engine is the only diesel still available for ¾- and 1-ton trucks with a manual transmission. When equipped with the G56 six-speed manual, the engine is rated to make 350 hp at 2,800 rpm and 660 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. When the 6.7L is mated to the 68RFE automatic, the ratings are 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 800 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm. The highest power ratings are reserved for 3500 models with the Aisin AS69RC transmission and clock in at 385 hp and 865 lb-ft of torque.
Ram Engine: Ram EcoDiesel (VM Motori A 630)
Displacement: 3.0L (182 ci)
Configuration: V-6
Power: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 420 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Single, variable- geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.60 inches
Compression ratio: 16.5:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic
Engine: Ram EcoDiesel (Fiat 180 MultiJet)
Displacement: 3.0L (183 ci)
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 174 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft at 1,400 rpm
Turbocharging: Single, variable- geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.78 x 4.09 inches
Compression ratio: 17.5:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast Iron
Transmission: Six-speed automated-manual
Mercedes-Benz
Freightliner Sprinter
The Sprinter by Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner was completely redesigned in 2014. Not much has changed for 2015, except for the addition of a lifted all-wheel-drive model. The ’15 Sprinter 4x4 has an electrically activated all-wheel-drive system that splits torque 35:65 to the front and rear, and an optional low range that provides a gear reduction of 42 percent. The Sprinter 4x4 is only available with the 3.0L BlueTEC V-6 engine that makes 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and a five-speed shiftable automatic transmission, but other models can be ordered with a 2.1L BlueTEC inline four-cylinder two-turbo engine that puts out 161 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and is hooked to a seven-speed shiftable automatic transmission. The ’15 Sprinter is available in two wheelbases, three body lengths, and two cargo area heights and has a maximum payload capacity of 5,508 pounds, a GVWR of up to 11,030 pounds, and a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 pounds.
Photo 26/28   |   2015 Mercedes Benz Sprinter
Engine Specification Mercedes-Benz Engine: Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC (OM642)
Displacement: 3.0L (182 ci)
Configuration: V-6
Power: 188 hp at 3,800 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft at 1,400 to 2,400 rpm
Turbocharging: Single, variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.62 inches
Compression ratio: 18.0:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Aluminum alloy/compacted graphite iron sleeves
Transmission: Five-speed shiftable automatic
Engine: Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC (OM6510)
Displacement: 2.1L (131 ci)
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 161 hp at 3,800 rpm
Torque: 265 lb-ft at 1,400 to 2,400 rpm
Turbocharging: Two sequential turbochargers
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.90 inches
Compression ratio: 16.2:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Seven-speed shiftable automatic
Towing Standards
Be sure to check out the February 2015 issue of Diesel Powerfor a full breakdown of the new SAE J2807 towing standards and how the testing affects the maximum trailer tow ratings of new ¾- and 1-ton diesel trucks. Throughout this buyer’s guide, the maximum specifications listed are dependent on the vehicle configuration.
The maximum ratings shown are the highest for each category (payload, conventional towing, fifth-wheel/gooseneck towing, GCWR, and so on) based on the configuration that has the best setup for that measurement. For example, a regular cab two-wheel-drive pickup will have different ratings than a crew cab four-wheel-drive dualie with the same model name.

Sources

Ford Motor Company
Dearborn, MI 48126
800-392-3673
www.ford.com
Mercedes-Benz
Montvale, NJ 07645
800-367-6372
www.mbusa.com
Chevrolet
Detroit, MI 48323
www.chevrolet.com
Ram Trucks
Aubum Hills, MI 48321
800-726-4636
www.ramtrucks.com
GMC
888-988-7267
http://www.gmc.com
Freightliner Sprinter
877-762-8267
www.freightlinersprinterusa.com

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