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#PTOTY20 – Half-Ton Diesel Happiness

Strong Diesel Showing from GM and Ram

Chad Kirchner
Oct 15, 2019
Every single half-ton, full-size pickup truck participating in this year's Pickup Truck of the Year testing is powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel. Not only is that a first time for our testing, but it's also the first time that every single truck manufacturer offers a diesel in its half-ton truck.
Participating this year is the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 (3.0L Duramax I-6), 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ (3.0L Duramax I-6), and 2020 Ram 1500 Rebel (3.0L EcoDiesel V-6. Ford participated last year with its F-150 and the 3.0L Power Stroke V-6, and we found a lot to like in that oil-burner.
Photo 2/13   |   Ptoty20 Half Ton Diesel Happiness Open Hoods
Depending on how you spec the truck, the diesel engines add $2,500 or more to the bottom line. The tradeoff, the manufacturers tell us, is that it'll get better fuel economy loaded and unloaded. We'll find out more about that this week, but at first blush, we do love their low-end twist and eco quotient (at least as reported by the in-dash display).
When Ram Trucks introduced its first EcoDiesel-powered 1500 back in 2014, it had no equivalent. Ford's fuel economy plays rested in its EcoBoost V-6 motors. GMC and Chevrolet were working to eke out as much as they could out of their 5.3-liter V-8. Six years later, those truck makes are still making those engine families their focus, but they all decided that they need to offer an oil burner to stay competitive.
Photo 3/13   |   Ptoty20 Half Ton Diesel Happiness Chevy Engine
Photo 4/13   |   Ptoty20 Half Ton Diesel Happiness Ram Engine
Photo 5/13   |   Ptoty20 Half Ton Diesel Happiness Gmc Engine
Interestingly, there are only two gas V-8s in this year's test: the 2020 Ford Super Duty Tremor and the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Custom. The rest have 6-cylinders, except the Ranger. Its only engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Do these diesel trucks provide the best of all worlds? That's what we're here to find out. In the meantime, which of these fine machines looks most appealing to your sensibilities and wallets?