2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel vs. Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra
Here's how the diesel-powered, half-ton pickups from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Ram stack up.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
With the introduction of the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel on Monday, the full-size, half-ton pickup truck class will have four diesel-powered offerings. When the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel goes on sale at the end of this year, it'll battle the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra, both of which offer new, turbo-diesel engines.
With that in mind, let's take a look at how these diesel-powered pickup trucks stack up. Unfortunately, because the General Motors twins and the Ram aren't officially on sale yet, we don't have all the final details; pricing, fuel economy and, in some cases, towing information are not available as of this writing. (Stay tuned for updates.)
A final point of clarification: Some of you may wonder why we've excluded the Nissan Titan XD from this comparison. For starters, the Titan XD uses a larger, 5.0-liter, turbo-diesel V8. And in fact, the truck is a bit larger than these American competitors -- it's more of a heavy-duty pickup than a half-ton, light-duty truck. Therefore, we've decided to leave it off.
All four trucks use 3.0-liter, turbo-diesel, 6-cylinder engines. The Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra use a Duramax inline-6, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford, meanwhile, uses a Power Stroke V6, also mated to a 10-speed automatic. Ram's EcoDiesel V6 uses the 1500's TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic gearbox. All four diesel-powered trucks are available with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive.
Given the fact that all three engines have the same displacement, output figures are pretty close across the board. The Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra offer the most horsepower, with 277. But with diesel engines, it's torque that matters most of all, and the Ram 1500 takes the cake here, with 480 pound-feet.
Fuel economy is a big reason to go diesel, and while we would've called it out in its own section, only the Ford F-150 Power Stroke has official EPA ratings. For 2019, the 3.0-liter, diesel-powered, two-wheel-drive F-150 is estimated to return 22 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. With four-wheel drive, those numbers drop to 20, 25 and 22, respectively.
Because diesel engines make tons of torque, it means these trucks offer towing and payload capabilities that rival their thirstier, V8-powered counterparts. The Ford F-150 is a notable exception here, however, as it also offers a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, gasoline-fed V6, which is how you get the truck's maximum, 13,200-pound tow rating.
As of now, General Motors has not confirmed the maximum towing and payload capacities for its diesel-powered trucks. Ram has released the EcoDiesel's tow rating, but says we'll get payload information closer to the truck's on-sale date.
Full-size pickup trucks are known for offering myriad configurations and trim levels -- that's part of what makes them so popular with buyers in the US. For the diesel-powered variants, Ram is the only truckmaker that offers its EcoDiesel engine on all 1500 models. Hell, you can even get the new EcoDiesel engine on the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic, which is actually a carry-over, last-generation truck.
Chevrolet and Ford offer their diesel engines on four trims of the Silverado and F-150. GMC, meanwhile, offers the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel on all but the base Sierra trim.
Though pricing has not yet been confirmed for all models, opting for a diesel engine in any half-ton truck usually costs a few thousand dollars extra.
For the 2020 Silverado, Chevrolet says the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel is a $2,495 premium over a comparable truck with the 5.3-liter V8 engine, or $3,890 more than a model with the 2.7-liter, turbocharged I4. The 3.0-liter diesel I6 is priced identically to the Silverado's larger, 6.2-liter, gasoline V8.
In the F-150, the 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 is a $4,000 option on XLT and Lariat models, and a $3,000 upcharge on the King Ranch and Platinum.
We expect the GMC Sierra to have a pricing structure similar to the Chevy Silverado since, you know, they're the same truck. As for the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, we're told pricing will be available near the end of this year, but don't be surprised if it's a several-thousand-dollar option, as well.