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  • 2016 Diesel Truck and Van Buyer’s Guide

2016 Diesel Truck and Van Buyer’s Guide

Arm Yourself With Information Before Heading to the Dealership

Oct 19, 2015
Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers
This is a great time for fans of diesel-powered trucks and vans to start shopping for a brand-new vehicle. There are more choices than ever for model year 2016, including the only midsize diesel pickups for sale in the U.S. and the introduction of an all-new ½-ton/HD ’tweener with a 5.0L Cummins V-8 under the hood. Fans of oil-burning vans should also be happy to know there are plenty of offerings from five different manufacturers. Here’s a rundown of diesel trucks and vans for the coming year.
Ford
Photo 2/34   |   A 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 engine with 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque powers the ’16 Ford F-450. This allows the truck to have a maximum fifth-wheel towing capacity of 31,200 pounds.
Super Duty F-250/F-350/F-450
The second-generation 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 in the ’16 Ford Super Duty continues to offer the most horsepower of any diesel-powered passenger vehicle. In addition to 440 hp under the hood, 860 lb-ft of torque is fed through a six-speed 6R140 TorqShift automatic transmission. The maximum fifth-wheel towing capacity continues to be 31,200 pounds for the F-450 and 26,500 pounds for F-350 (when the high-capacity towing package is ordered). With the introduction of an all-new design for model year 2017, there are not many changes for the ’16 Super Duty.
New features include a rearview camera kit that’s available for trucks ordered without a bed; an optional, factory-installed, four-corner LED strobe lighting system for fleet vehicles; a standard rapid-heat supplemental cab heater for cold-weather states; Shadow Black paint to replace Tuxedo Black; and Race Red paint to replace Vermillion Red.
Photo 3/34   |   Whether you buy an F-250, F-350, or F-450 with the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel, the power and torque ratings are the same, and the strong TorqShift 6R140 six-speed automatic transmission is employed.
Photo 4/34   |   The second generation of Ford’s V-8 diesel engine uses a single variable-geometry turbocharger (instead of the dual-compressor turbo found in the first gen) that sends the intake charge through an air-to water intercooler.
Transit
Ford says the Transit became the best-selling van in the U.S. after just six months on sale, and 100,000 units were moved by the end of model year 2015. For 2016, the Transit continues to offer a 3.2L Power Stroke inline-five diesel engine that puts out 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. This provides the van with a maximum GVWR of 10,360 pounds, a payload of up to 4,300 pounds, and a maximum trailer capacity of 7,500 pounds. New dual sliding doors are now available on medium- and high-roof cargo van models, which increases the number of possible configurations to 58 from the 48 offered last year, while providing a lot more versatility. A rearview camera with Tow Hitch Assist is now standard on all models along with a front dome light and map lights that fade to off with “theater dimming.” The Sync 3 communications and entertainment system is now optional and offers faster performance, better graphics, better voice recognition, and a smartphone-like touchscreen. New colors for 2016 are Shadow Black, Magnetic, Race Red, and Caribou.
Photo 5/34   |   Ford says the Transit quickly became the best-selling van in the U.S. after it went on sale last year and moved an impressive 100,000 units.
Photo 6/34   |   The 3.2L Power Stroke I-5 engine in the Ford Transit puts out 185 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, which give the van a maximum GVWR of 10,360 pounds, a payload capacity of up to 4,300 pounds, and a maximum trailer weight of 7,500 pounds.
Photo 7/34   |   For model year 2016, the Ford Transit is now available with dual sliding doors on medium- and high-roof models. The interior can be ordered with LED lighting and the Ford Telematics Powered by Telogis system that allows fleet managers to track where vehicles are located, monitor service needs, and receive maintenance alerts.
General Motors
Photo 8/34   |   012 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax Diesel Driving Dirt Road
Colorado and Canyon
The highly anticipated diesel-powered versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon arrive for model year 2016. Along with all the features found in the gasoline versions, the midsize pickups now receive motivation from the 2.8L Duramax LWN, a four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. GM says it’s the cleanest diesel engine the company has ever produced, and it’s hooked to a 6L50 six-speed automatic transmission that’s fitted with a centrifugal pendulum vibration absorber in the torque converter to minimize noise and vibrations. An exhaust brake, trailer brake controller, and a 3.42:1 axle ratio are standard, and with the diesel engine, the maximum trailer capacity is 7,700 pounds for two-wheel-drive models and 7,600 pounds for four-wheel-drive pickups.
Photo 9/34   |   Fans of midsize trucks can now buy the Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon with a diesel engine.
Photo 10/34   |   The 2.8L Duramax LWN I-4 powerplant creates 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and comes with the 6L50 six-speed automatic transmission. This combination gives the midsize pickups a maximum trailer rating of 7,700 pounds.
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 2500HD/3500HD
With one year left before the all-new models are expected to debut, the ¾- and 1-ton ’16 Chevrolet and GMC pickups continue to be powered by the 6.6L Duramax LML. The V-8 engine is rated at 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque and is backed by the revered Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. GM is now using SAE J2807 towing standards, giving the 3500HD a maximum fifth-wheel towing capacity of 23,200 pounds and a high maximum ball hitch rating of 20,000 pounds. All models now get projector-beam headlamps and LED lighting as standard equipment, and there is a long list of available equipment. New options include wireless phone charging, Active Steering Assist, a remote locking tailgate, a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer preparation package, new paint colors, and an infotainment system with a faster processor, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and either a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen.
Photo 11/34   |   007 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country Diesel Front View
Photo 12/34   |   008 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country Duramax Diesel Allison Transmission Badge
Photo 13/34   |   009 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Diesel High Country Badge
Photo 14/34   |   The exterior of the ’16 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD trucks will remain virtually the same as last year, except all models will get projector beam headlamps and LED lights similar to those seen here on the Chevy High Country and the GMC All-Terrain editions. All-new available features include wireless phone charging, a remote locking tailgate, and Active Steering Assist.
Photo 15/34   |   The 6.6L Duramax LML V-8 used in the ¾- and 1-ton General Motors trucks is rated at 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque and comes with the popular Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. Now using SAE J2807-compliant testing, GM says the 3500HD trucks are capable of towing up to 23,200 pounds with a fifth-wheel hitch and 20,000 pounds using a conventional ball hitch.
Chevrolet/GMC Express/Savana
The body-on-frame GM vans continue to soldier on with power from the 6.6L Duramax LGH engine. It’s tuned to make 260 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque for a maximum payload of 4,120 pounds, a GVWR of up to 9,900 pounds, and maximum tow rating of 10,000 pounds. For model year 2016, head and side airbags are now standard along with six D-ring tie-downs, and an AM/FM radio with an auxiliary input port. New options include a navigation system, OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity, a Wi-Fi hotspot, single-pane side mirrors, a 220-amp generator, and a dual isolated battery system.
Photo 16/34   |   015 2016 GMC Savana Duramax LGH Diesel Passenger Van Front Driving On Road
Photo 17/34   |   The ’16 Chevy Express and the ’16 GMC Savana (shown here) are powered by the 6.6L Duramax LML V-8 engine that makes 260 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque that’s sent through the 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission. This combination is good for a GVWR of up to 9,900 pounds and a maximum trailer weight rating of 10,000 pounds.
Mercedes-Benz/Freightliner
Photo 18/34   |   017 2016 Freightliner Sprinter Diesel Van On Road High Speed Driving
Sprinter
Both Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner continue to sell the Sprinter van for model year 2016. Buyers have the choice of a compound-turbocharged 2.1L four-cylinder engine, which makes 161 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, or a 3.0L V-6 tuned to make 188 hp and 325 lb-ft. Side and head airbags are now standard, along with a locking glovebox, and a smaller 24.5-gallon fuel tank, and the Suspension Seating option has been deleted. Fleet vans now have a 65-mph speed limiter and trailer hitch wiring setup available, and Sprinter 4x4 models can be ordered with a Downhill Speed Regulation system.
Photo 19/34   |   Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner both sell the Sprinter van, and for 2016 they now come with both side-impact and curtain airbags as standard equipment. The lifted Sprinter 4x4 models introduced last year can now be ordered with Downhill Speed Regulation.
Photo 20/34   |   Sprinters are only available with a diesel powerplant. Buyers have the choice between a 2.1L I-4 engine with compound turbos (shown here) that makes 161 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission, or a 3.0L V-6 with 188 hp and 325 lb-ft and a five-speed automatic.
Nissan
Photo 21/34   |   The all-new ’16 Nissan Titan XD will go on sale at the end of 2015 and features a 5.0L Cummins V-8 diesel engine, an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission, and a rear axle by AAM. Nissan says the truck “combines the capability of a heavy-hauler with the driveability and affordability of a light-duty pickup.”
Titan XD
We first reported about the development of a Cummins V-8 diesel consumer engine back in 2006, and now one has finally found a home in the all-new segment-busting ’16 Nissan Titan XD. The pickup is powered by a compound-turbocharged 5.0L Cummins V-8 designed to make 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque that’s backed by a heavy-duty Aisin six-speed automatic transmission. While the official ratings have not yet been released, Nissan says the truck will have a payload capacity of at least 2,000 pounds, and it will be capable of towing more than 12,000 pounds. There is a gooseneck hitch mount integrated into a crossmember of the fully boxed and reinforced ladder frame that’s based on the commercial version used in the Nissan NV vans (which could possibly be Cummins-powered in the future). Other available towing aids include a trailer brake controller, Trailer Sway Control, Tow/Haul mode with Downhill Speed Control, and a Trailer Light Check system that allows the driver to confirm all brake lights, turn signals, and running/clearance lamps are working from the comfort of the cabin. There’s not enough room here to list all the available features for the Titan XD, but we will have a full rundown of the all-new truck in an upcoming issue of Diesel Power. Some of the items we already know about include the Around View Monitor (which provides a bird’s eye view of the truck using front, rear, and side cameras), Moving Object Detection with warnings for impending collisions, LED lighting for the bed and tailgate, the Utili-track tie-down system, an in-bed 120-volt plug, a bedside storage system in the fender panels, and dual lockable in-bed storage boxes. The ’16 Nissan Titan XD is scheduled to go on sale in late 2015.
Photo 22/34   |   The interior of the Titan XD Platinum Reserve has everything you’ve come to expect in a luxury-edition pickup, along with some unique features not yet found in any other diesel truck. There’s an available Around View Monitor camera system that gives a bird’s-eye view of the surroundings, Moving Object Detection with audible warnings of impending collisions, and a Trailer Light Check system.
Photo 23/34   |   The ’16 Titan XD’s 5.0L Cummins V-8 makes 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque with the help of a Holset M2 compound-turbocharger setup with an electronically controlled wastegate.
Ram Trucks
Photo 24/34   |   023 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Limited Front View Driving On Road High Speed
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
Since debuting for 2014, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has been a hit with customers thanks to its 3.0L V-6 diesel engine that sends 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The pickup continues to offer great efficiency, including the best ½-ton fuel economy around with a rating of 29 mpg highway for the HFE models. To help performance in new IIHS small overlap front crash testing, the frame and body of all ’16 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel models have been strengthened. Modifications include tire blockers integrated into the framerails to reduce intrusion into the cabin, along with reinforced A-pillars and doorsills to improve the structural integrity of the cabin. The interior has also been updated with a new phone-friendly center console layout, and Bluetooth connectivity is now available on base model audio systems for hands-free driving. The luxury-edition Limited trim was introduced very late in model year 2015 and continues to feature a dramatic billet ported grille with large “RAM” lettering (and no traditional crosshair design), along with even bigger letters on the tailgate. The high-end model also has standard active air suspension, all-black premium leather material on the seats and doors, wood trim, double-duty floor mats with removable Berber carpet inserts over rubber slush mats, A-pillar upholstery and a headliner that are completely black, and special wheels. New paint colors offered for 2016 are Red Pearl, Luxury Brown, and Pearl White.
Photo 25/34   |   The ’16 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has stronger doorsills, reinforced A-pillars, and tire blockers integrated with the framerails for better crash performance. The Limited edition that was introduced late in model year 2015 includes a dramatic new look with a billet grille, large “RAM” lettering on the tailgate, dual exhaust tips, and a blacked-out interior. The Limited also comes standard with Ram’s active, adjustable-height, four-corner air suspension system, which is the only one for sale on pickups in the U.S.
Photo 26/34   |   The 3.0L V-6 EcoDiesel engine in the Ram 1500 is rated at 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission built by ZF.
Photo 27/34   |   The ’16 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE editions have the highest highway fuel economy rating of any ½-ton trucks at 29 mpg.
Ram 2500/3500
The big news for ’16 Ram HD trucks is the massive 900-lb-ft-of-torque rating for the 3500 (the highest ever of any mass-produced passenger vehicle). This output is available when the pickup is equipped with the 6.7L Cummins engine and heavy-duty Aisin AS69RC six-speed automatic transmission. This combo gives Ram Trucks the highest SAE J2807-compliant fifth-wheel tow rating of any 1-ton truck at 31,210 pounds and comes with a larger rear ring gear and housing, plus a finned aluminum differential cover. Trucks ordered with the 68RFE automatic continue to be rated at 370 hp and 800 lb-ft, and there is 350 hp and 660 lb-ft on tap for trucks with the class-exclusive G56 six-speed—the lone manual transmission available in any ¾- or 1-ton truck sold in the U.S. The 2500 continues to be the only ¾-ton truck sold with a coil-sprung rear suspension, and Ram Truck remains the only manufacturer to offer factory air suspension options. Standard features added for 2016 include a new center console design and Bluetooth connectivity for all radios. All-new available features include a front parking-sensor system, lights mounted in the cargo bed, and a switchable camera display for the 8.4-inch Uconnect setup that allows you to use the touchscreen to flip between the cargo box camera and the backup camera, along with lots of other new functions. The new Limited edition now has a bold billet grille, tailgate lettering, and real wood and premium leather throughout a blacked-out cabin with top-level features similar to the ½-ton models.
Photo 28/34   |   031 2016 Ram 2500 Tradesman Cummins Diesel Work Truck Front Driver Side View At Refinery
Photo 29/34   |   The ’16 Ram 2500 is the only ¾-ton truck that comes with a coil-sprung rear suspension, and there’s an available load-leveling rear air suspension system that replaces the springs with airbags. The 3500 pickups can also be ordered with supplemental rear air springs, making Ram Trucks the only brand that offers these features straight from the factory.
Photo 30/34   |   027 2016 Ram 3500 Limited Cummins Diesel Dual Rear Wheels Front View
Photo 31/34   |   When ordered with the Aisin AS69RC transmission, the ’16 Ram 3500 comes with a 6.7L Cummins I-6 engine that makes 370 hp and a massive 900 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain includes a new larger rear ring gear inside a larger differential housing and is capable of towing up to 31,210 pounds using SAE J2807 test standards.
Photo 32/34   |   Like the Ram 1500, for 2016 the ¾- and 1-ton Ram models get a top-of-the-line Limited trim. It also features a predominantly black interior with an exclusive black headliner and A-pillars, dark wood trim, and premium leather with embroidered stitching.
ProMaster
The design of the Ram ProMaster is unchanged for 2016 and is different from all the other vans in this list with front-wheel drive and the M40 six-speed automated manual transmission. The van is powered by a large-displacement 3.0L I-4 diesel that makes 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and comes with a GVWR rating of up to 9,350 pounds and a maximum payload rating of 4,160 pounds. New features for 2016 include the availability of windows for 159-inch, high-roof, extended vans, and a new chrome grille, 20-amp auxiliary switches, and second-battery preparation package available for conversion van models.
Photo 33/34   |   032 2016 Ram ProMaster 3500 EcoDiesel Cargo Van Front Passenger Side View At Construction Site
Photo 34/34   |   The ’16 Ram ProMaster is powered by a 3.0L I-4 engine with 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (which we hope will find a home in the next generation of Jeep Wrangler). The ProMaster is unlike any other diesel vans for sale in the U.S. with its front-wheel-drive setup and six-speed automated-manual transmission. The M40 uses an electro-hydraulic actuator to operate a single clutch, which allows the driver to manually shift gears and automatically adjusts shift points according to grade steepness.
SPECIFICATIONS:
Ford
Engine: 6.7L 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 turbocharger
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 automatic
Engine: 3.2L Power Stroke
Displacement: 3.2L (195 ci)
Configuration: I-5
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 automatic
General Motors
Engine: Duramax LML/LGH
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 automatic
Engine: Duramax LWN
Displacement: 2.8L (170 ci)
Configuration: I-4
Power: 181 hp at 3,400 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x stroke: 3.70 x 3.94 inches
Compression ratio: 16.5:1
Valvetrain: DOHC, 16 valves
Head material: Aluminum alloy
Block material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Mercedes-Benz
Engine: Mercedes-Benz 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 with compacted graphite iron sleeves
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Engine: Mercedes-Benz OM651
Displacement: 2.1L (131 ci)
Configuration: I-4
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 automatic
Nissan
Engine: Cummins 5.0L
Displacement: 5.0L (305 ci)
Configuration: V-8
Power: 310 hp at 3,200 rpm
Torque: 555 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Turbocharging: Two sequential turbochargers
Bore x stroke: 3.70 x 3.54 inches
Compression ratio: N/A
Valvetrain: DOHC, 32 valves
Head material: Aluminum alloy
Block material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Ram Trucks
Engine: Cummins B-Series
Displacement: 6.7L (408 ci)
Configuration: I-6
Power: 385 hp at 2,800 rpm (AS69RC auto transmission, 3500 only)
Torque: 900 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 automatic
Engine: Ram EcoDiesel V-6
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 automatic
Engine: Ram EcoDiesel I-4
Displacement: 3.0L (183 ci)
Configuration: I-4
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

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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