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  • 2017 Diesel Truck and Van Buyer’s Guide

2017 Diesel Truck and Van Buyer’s Guide

A big year for big trucks

Austin Lott
Nov 3, 2016
Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers
Could 2017 be the year that a factory-fresh, heavy-duty diesel pickup has to use four digits when describing its torque rating? If the aftermarket has shown us anything, it’s that engines in each of the offerings from the Big Three truckmakers are capable of hitting quadruple-digit torque numbers with just ECM calibration changes, so it’s certainly possible. If you’re in the market for a diesel truck or van, whether you need something dependable for work or something capable of hauling all your toys, 2017’s lineup has plenty to choose from.
Ford
Super Duty F-250/F-350/F-450
Photo 2/27   |   2017 Ford Super Duty
Photo 3/27   |   4 2017 Ford Super Duty Work Truck Rear Driver Side
Ford’s biggest noncommercial trucks return all-new for 2017 and have gone through the same weight-savings regimen applied to the smaller F-150. The exterior is updated and shares styling cues with the rest of the Ford F-Series fleet. The frame uses aluminum and high-strength steel extensively, in addition to aluminum body panels that reduce the weight of the trucks by up to 350 pounds. In the spirit of “best” and “class leading,” Ford upped the output of the second-generation 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 engine to 440 hp and 925 lb-ft of torque. Maximum payload for the F-350 is 7,630 pounds and 4,200 pounds for the F-250, when properly equipped. A particular area of focus during the all-new Super Duty’s development is towing, with features such as a blind-spot system that can support trailers up to 33 feet long, a 360-degree camera system, a center high-mounted camera to help when hooking up gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailers, a factory trailer camera, and adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support. As you might expect, with all these advancements in trailering, the ’17 Super Duty claims a number of “bests” in towing capability, with the F-450 SuperCrew 4x4 boasting a 32,500-pound tow rating with a gooseneck trailer, 27,500 pounds with a fifth-wheel trailer, and 21,000 pounds with a conventional trailer. Even the F-250 has some impressive capabilities, with an 18,000-pound conventional-trailer towing capacity. Pricing for the ’17 Super Duty with the optional Power Stroke engine starts at $42,325 for the F-250, $43,495 for the F-350, and $55,140 for the F-450.
Transit
Photo 7/27   |   LED lighting in the cargo area makes it easier to see what you’re doing when you’re trying to get some work done in the wee hours of the morning or the late hours of the night.
The Transit, Ford’s entry in the commercial van segment, is even more up-fitter friendly for 2017 thanks to a number of changes inspired by customer feedback. The van continues to be a strong seller and is now available in 64 configurations, up from 58 last year. A low-profile center console option is added, which makes it easier for delivery drivers to enter the back of the van from the cab and facilitates installing computer equipment in the center console area for fleet vehicles. LED lighting has been added to the cargo area of all vans; the base sound system now includes four speakers, a tweeter, and a subwoofer; and a 12-volt outlet is now standard in the D-pillar for powering equipment (think cordless tool batteries and such). Wider power running boards are now an option for vans without dual sliding side doors. A number of other changes have also been made to the pieces behind the plastic panels, making the job of upfitters even easier. The 3.2L Power Stroke I-5 diesel engine remains unchanged for 2017 but still allows the van to carry 4,300 pounds of payload or pull a trailer up to 7,500 pounds. Prices for the ’17 Transit start at $38,450 when optioned with the diesel.
General Motors
Chevrolet/GMC Colorado/Canyon
Photo 8/27   |   2016 Chevrolet Colorado Front Driver Towing
Photo 9/27   |   The Canyon Denali will be available with the small-displacement 2.8L Duramax I-4, as well as a gasoline V-6.
The Colorado and Canyon, GM’s extremely popular midsize duo, continue on with only a few new features and a new trim package for 2017. On the GMC side, the Canyon gets the latest IntelliLink 7-inch infotainment system, standard Teen Driver Mode, an optional heated steering wheel, and three new exterior colors: Dark Slate metallic, Mineral metallic, and Red Quartz metallic. The All Terrain X package is introduced, which adds 255/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires and all-weather floor mats to the All Terrain package. The All Terrain X is the closest thing to a factory off-roading model we’ve seen so far. The All Terrain package (mirrored by Chevrolet’s Z71 trim for the Colorado) includes such features as an automatic-locking rear differential (rear-wheel-drive models), hill-descent control, unique wheels, an off-road suspension package, and a transfer case shield (four-wheel-drive models). Diesel versions of the Colorado and Canyon are equipped with a 2.8L Duramax I-4 turbodiesel engine that makes 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. We can’t figure out why GM didn’t deliver a truck like this sooner, but we’re happy to have two stylistically distinct midsize rigs to choose from. The capable pair can pull up to 7,700 pounds with rear-wheel drive and 7,600 with four-wheel drive. Pricing has not been announced for 2017, but a ’16 Chevrolet Colorado with the diesel starts at $35,440 and the GMC Canyon at $36,680.
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 2500HD/3500HD
Photo 10/27   |   8 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500hd
Photo 11/27   |   9 2017 Gmc Sierra Denali 2500hd Front Driver Side
Photo 12/27   |   GM designed the air-intake system for its new Duramax LP5 engines with one particular usage in mind: towing a maximum-weight trailer through the Eisenhower Tunnel in Western Colordo—which sits at 11,000 feet above sea level—on a hot, rainy summer day. Talk about grueling!
Will we look back at 2017 as the year a factory-fresh Silverado or Sierra had to use a comma when describing its torque rating? Chevrolet and GMC are playing official numbers close to the vest, but we do know the next generation of the Duramax 6.6L turbodiesel V-8 is called the L5P and will continue to send power through the proven Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. A new air-induction system has been introduced, which is prominently announced by a very noticeable hood scoop. The system delivers 60 percent of the air the Duramax pulls in, which is much cooler than typical underhood air and provides a ram-air effect when the truck is driven at highway speeds. What kind of numbers should we expect? If the battle for torque supremacy Ram and Ford has had raging since 2015 is any indicator of the L5P’s torque output, conventional logic says the new Duramax needs to break 900 lb-ft if it wants bragging rights—and it’ll need to pull at least 30,000 pounds of fifth-wheel trailer, too.
Chevrolet/GMC Express/Savana
Photo 13/27   |   12 2016 Chevrolet Express Rear Passenger Side
Photo 14/27   |   The two vans from Chevrolet and GMC are due to be replaced in the next few years, but they soldier on as familiar faces in an industry that values things they can count on. For 2017, they receive the efficient 2.8L Duramax I-4 as an option.
After receiving a number of changes for 2016, such as an optional 220-amp alternator and isolated dual-battery system, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans get another big change for 2017. The 6.6L Duramax V-8 will be replaced by a version of the same 2.8L turbodiesel I-4 found in the Colorado and Canyon, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. While official horsepower, torque, and capability ratings have yet to be released, expect the Savana and Express vans to achieve close to the 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of the Colorado and Canyon diesel. Towing capacity will likely drop somewhat from the outgoing Duramax V-8, and the diesel engine will now be more of a fuel economy leader than a towing champ. Pricing is likewise a question mark, but expect a price drop from the old diesel.
Mercedes-Benz/Freightliner
Sprinter
Photo 15/27   |   14 2017 Mercedes Sprinter Rear Passenger Side
Photo 16/27   |   The availability of a four-wheel-drive system, two diesel engines, and a number of body configurations make the ’17 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter a logical choice when searching for the right van for your particular use.
The big news for the 2017 Sprinter, which is sold by Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner here in the U.S., is the addition of the Worker trim to additional configurations of the van, which will be available either stripped down or with three levels available for the cargo-van models: Convenience ($1,499), which includes heated power mirrors, automatic windshield wipers, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, and pre-wiring for a trailer hitch; Utility ($2,999), which includes everything from Convenience plus a rear step, wood cargo floor, LED lights in the cargo area, glass rear-cargo-door windows, rear grab handles, and two additional keys (total of four); and Overtime ($4,499), which includes everything from the other two packages and adds a better sound system, high-beam assist, blind-spot assist, a rearview camera, first-aid kit, and emergency flashlight. Both BlueTEC diesel engines, the 2.1L I-4 and 3.0L V-6, are available.
Worker packages are also available for the Sprinter passenger van, which is powered exclusively by the 2.1L I-4 turbodiesel, seats 12 people, comes with standard rear air conditioning, and is available in three colors: white, black, or silver metallic. Two Worker packages are available: Convenience ($1,999), which includes the same equipment as the cargo-van package but also includes a 12-volt outlet beneath the driver seat and convenience lighting in the cargo and passenger areas; and Overtime, ($3,999) which features the previous package’s equipment and adds an upgraded sound system, illuminated front exits, black leatherette seating, a heated rear window with washers and wipers, a rearview camera, and a 12-volt power outlet in the rear. The Sprinter can haul up to 3,512 pounds of cargo and has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Pricing starts at $33,490 for the 2017 Sprinter.
Nissan
Titan XD
Photo 17/27   |   18 2017 Nissan Titan Duo Worksite
Photo 18/27   |   The first-ever Nissan Titan single cab was revealed in tweener-truck XD form.
Photo 19/27   |   We can’t wait to see how far the aftermarket will be able to push this Cummins 5.0L V-8 engine. In stock trim, it’s more than strong enough to haul the ’17 Crew Cab Titan around with a heavy trailer, so the single cab should be one capable workhorse.
Photo 20/27   |   When opting for the upper trim levels, even the Titan’s new single cab looks like a decent place to spend some time.
For 2017, Nissan introduces the second of three planned body styles for its Cummins 5.0L V-8–powered Titan pickup: the single cab, which is the first-ever single cab for the fullsize from Nissan. This unit is available with two- or four-wheel drive and totes a maximum payload of 2,420 pounds, besting the 2,091 pounds of the Crew Cab by a significant margin. The single-cab XD tows a maximum trailer weight of 12,640 pounds, making it the most capable Titan the automaker has ever produced. Nissan plans to introduce an extended cab (the company says King Cab), covering all the bases in the light truck market. The company’s plan is to offer an in-between truck in terms of capability and size for those who don’t want to step up to the footprint of a heavy-duty truck but want the power and towing prowess of a diesel V-8. Pricing for the 2017 Nissan Titan XD has not been announced, but 2016 models with the diesel started at $41,485.
Ram Trucks
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
Photo 21/27   |   20 2017 Ram 1500 Front Passenger Side
Photo 22/27   |   The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is most at home when it’s pulling a load.
The ’17 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel gets several incremental changes, but it largely remains the same popular truck that debuted in 2014. The updates focus on adding equipment for individual trim levels: The Laramie Longhorn gains passive keyless entry, smart high-beam assist, rain-sensing wipers, and LED bed lighting as standard equipment; the Bighorn gets automatic climate control as standard equipment; and all trim levels receive a new 5-micron cabin-air filter. The 3.0L V-6 engine remains unchanged, delivering 240 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque, and 29 mpg on the highway, making it the most efficient fullsize pickup available. Pricing for 2017 Rams has not been announced yet, but a ’16 longbed Tradesman with the diesel starts at $32,110, including the destination charge.
Ram 2500/3500
Photo 23/27   |   21 2017 Ram 3500 Front Driver Side
Photo 24/27   |   With 900 lb-ft of torque, you’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Photo 25/27   |   With a 31,210-pound towing capacity, you’ve got plenty of capacity just in case you need to take a bit more to the job site.
The Ram heavy-duty trucks get a few minor changes for 2017, such as a new Off-Road Package for 2500 Crew and Mega Cab four-wheel-drive models, which includes hill-descent control, tow hooks, a skidplate for the transfer case, limited-slip differential, Bilstein shocks, wheel flares, off-road decals, and 18- or 20-inch all-terrain tires. Four-wheel-drive Laramie Longhorn and Limited rigs also gain Bilstein monotube shocks, and all Ram 2500/3500 trucks are outfitted with a new 5-micron cabin-air filter. Under the hood, a 6.7L Cummins I-6 engine is available in three different power levels, depending on transmission choice: 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque with the segment-exclusive manual transmission; 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque with the 68RFE six-speed automatic; and the headlining 385 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque with the Aisin AS69RC six-speed automatic. Maximum fifth-wheel towing capacity is 31,210 pounds with the Ram 3500 and 17,980 pounds with the Ram 2500. The Ram 3500 can haul up to 7,390 pounds of payload as well. Prices for the ’17 Ram heavy-duty trucks has not been announced, but buyers could get into a diesel-powered ’16 Ram 2500 starting at $41,970.
ProMaster
Photo 26/27   |   24 2017 Ram Promaster Front Driver Side
Photo 27/27   |   The ’17 Ram ProMaster’s 4,160-pound payload capacity means it can haul more than 2 tons of cargo, and the front-wheel-drive configuration means the load floor is nice and low.
The only front-wheel-drive diesel van available in the U.S. market receives only a few changes to equipment and feature availability for 2017: Uconnect 3.0 is now available on all models, a wide rear axle is now standard on chassis cab and cutaway models, and the 118-inch wheelbase van is no longer available with the 3.0L I-4 diesel engine. All models with the diesel now get a standard electronic parking brake, and upfit interface connectors/rear speaker wiring is now standard on all ProMasters. What hasn’t changed? The van’s 4,160-pound maximum payload rating and the I-4 diesel’s output of 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Prices for the ’17 ProMaster have not been announced, but they started at $37,070 for a van with the diesel I-4 in 2016.
Good News for Volkswagen?
No, Volkswagen hasn’t decided to enter a horse into the pickup truck derby, but it did recently form a strategic alliance with commercial truckmaker Navistar, formerly known as International Harvester. Navistar operates primarily in the medium- and heavy-duty truck and commercial bus segments. Volkswagen acquired a 16.6 percent stake in Navistar for $256 million, giving the Volkswagen’s Truck and Bus group a doorway to the U.S. market, which it lacked previously. Since struggling to find a heavy-duty diesel truck engine that would pass more stringent emissions requirements, Navistar will end up utilizing VW’s next-generation engine for MAN and Scania trucks. With emissions requirements becoming somewhat standardized across the globe in the coming years, it will be easier for the large corporation to lower development costs by utilizing the same concept, transmissions, and after-treatments in multiple regions. In the first five years, Navistar expects the partnership will save a significant amount of money, while helping both companies as they develop and introduce new technologies.
SPECIFICATIONS:
Ford
Engine: 6.7L Power Stroke
Displacement: 6.7L
Configuration: V-8
Power: 440 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 925 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x stroke: 3.90 x 4.25 inches
Compression ratio: 16.2:1
Valvetrain: OHV with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Engine: 3.2L Power Stroke
Displacement: 3.2L
Configuration: I-5
Power: 185 hp at 3,000 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft at 1,500-2,750 rpm
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x stroke: 3.54 x 3.96 inches
Compression ratio: 15.7:1
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
General Motors
Engine: Duramax LML
Displacement: 6.6L
Configuration: V-8
Power: 397 hp at 3,000 rpm
Torque: 765 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x stroke: 4.05 x 3.89 inches
Compression ratio: 16.0:1
Valvetrain: OHV with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Engine: Duramax L5P
Displacement: 6.6L
Configuration: V-8
Power: 425 hp (est.)
Torque: 900 lb-ft (est.)
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x stroke: 4.05 x 3.89 inches
Compression ratio: 16.0:1
Valvetrain: OHV with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Cast aluminum
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Engine: Duramax LWN
Displacement: 2.8L
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 with four valves per cylinder
Head material: Aluminum alloy
Block material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Mercedes-Benz
Engine: Mercedes-Benz OM642
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6
Power: 188 hp at 3,800 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft at 1,400 to 2,400
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbocharger
Bore x stroke: 3.27 x 3.62 inches
Compression ratio: 18.0:1
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Aluminum alloy with compacted graphite iron sleeves
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Engine: Mercedes-Benz OM651
Displacement: 2.1L
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 with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Nissan
Engine: Cummins 5.0L
Displacement: 5.0L
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: 16.3:1
Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Head material: Aluminum alloy
Block material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Aisin six-speed automatic
Ram Trucks
Engine: Cummins B-Series
Displacement: 6.7L
Configuration: I-6
Power: 385 hp at 2,800 rpm (AS69RC automatic transmission, 3500 only)
Torque: 900 lb-ft at 1,700 rpm (AS69RC automatic transmission, 3500 only)
Power: 370 hp at 2,800 rpm (68RFE automatic transmission)
Torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (68RFE automatic 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 with 24 valves per cylinder
Head Material: Cast iron
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, or Aisin six-speed automatic
Engine: Ram EcoDiesel V-6
Displacement: 3.0L
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 with four valves per cylinder
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Engine: Ram EcoDiesel I-4
Displacement: 3.0L
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 with four valves per cylinder
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

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