The battle between the major truck manufacturers continues to heat up thanks to the proliferation of smaller, more efficient diesel engines in the half-ton truck range. The latest to enter the fray is GM with its 3.0-liter Duramax unit, for which it announced pricing on Monday.
The new Duramax unit will find a home first in the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and to get it, you're going to have to pay just as much as if you'd specced the 6.2-liter V8. That means it's a $3,890 premium over the 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder and just a hair under $2,500 more than the smaller 5.3-liter V8.
What are you sacrificing by going with the new inline-six cylinder diesel over the well-proven and decidedly excellent 6.2-liter V8 gasser? To start with, it's rated at 277 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque compared with 420 hp and an identical torque rating in the V8.
The diesel makes peak torque at a much lower engine speed and maintains it from 1,500 to 3,000 rpm while the gasoline engine doesn't hit its peak torque figure until 4,100 rpm. Both models have 10-speed automatic transmissions with tow/haul modes, so both should have little trouble keeping in their powerband when load demands it.
Usually, the reason one makes the switch to diesel from gas (in addition to increased torque) is the bump in fuel economy. Diesels are typically more efficient than their gasoline counterparts, and we'd expect that to play out here as well, especially given the displacement difference between the two engines.
GM hasn't offered economy figures for the 3.0-liter Duramax, but we already know that the 6.2-liter engine has the ability to shut down as many as seven of its cylinders under low load conditions, and is surprisingly frugal -- comparing favorably with the 4.3-liter V6 engine also offered in the
-- so the delta likely won't be vast.
So, much as is the case with Ford's new six-cylinder PowerStroke diesel, you really have to want a diesel engine to justify the expense. Diesel fuel, remember, is typically more expensive than gasoline and service on diesel vehicles is slightly pricier too.
Which way would you go on your new Silverado -- gasoline or diesel? Let us know in the comments.